Best Trading Indicators: A List Of The Most Used Technical Indicators (Guide)
Last Updated on May 19, 2023
Below we have assembled the trading indicators we have covered so far. It’s a work in progress and many more trading indicators are added in the future.
Unlike many other websites, we are not interested in anecdotal evidence and thus we have backtested all the trading indicators.
What are the best technical indicators?
Below, you will find an up-to-date compilation of the finest trading indicators available. It is highly beneficial to invest some effort in comprehending the functionality of these crucial indicators and their potential application in both market analysis and trading tactics.
List of the best technical indicators
- What Are Market Sentiment and Sentiment Indicators?
- TRIN – Arms Index Trading Strategy – What is it? (Backtest)
- What Is The Put Call Ratio? Does It Work? (Backtest And Strategy)
- AAII And Market Sentiment Indicators – How To Trade It (Examples And Backtests)
- Investors Intelligence Sentiment Index (Contrarian Sentiment Indicator)
- What Is The McClellan Oscillator And Summation Index? (Trading Strategy And Backtest)
- Advance-Decline Indicator (Strategy Backtest)
Oscillating indicators (mean reversion indicators):
- Which oscillating indicator is the best for trading strategies?
- The stochastic indicator – does it work? (Stochastic trading strategies)
- Klinger Oscillator Strategy – What Is It And How Does It Perform? (Backtest)
- Williams %R explained – does it work? (Williams %R strategies)
- CCI Indicator — What is it? (Trading Strategy And Backtest)
- Does the MACD indicator work? (Including strategies)
- Ultimate Oscillator Indicator Trading Strategy (Backtest)
- DeMarker Indicator Strategy — What Is It? (Backtest)
- How the RSI indicator works (RSI trading strategies)
- Connors RSI — What Is It? (Trading Strategy and Indicator Backtest)
- Cutler’s RSI — What Is It? (Trading Strategy and Indicator Backtest)
- Weekly RSI vs daily RSI – what is best?
- Zweig Breadth Thrust Indicator – how to measure market breadth
- The internal bar strength (IBS) indicator
- Mass Index Trading Strategy – Does It Work? (Backtest)
Trend following indicators:
- ADX indicator backtest (Strategies – does it work)?
- DMI — What Is It? (Backtest And Trading Strategy)
- The Supertrend Indicator – What is it? (Backtest And Performance)
- RSI momentum strategy (Does RSI momentum work? Backtest)
- The Best Moving Average – A Comparison and backtest of all variants of MAs
- Donchian Channels – What is it and do they work? (Backtest commodities and S&P 500)
- Parabolic SAR (Trading Strategy And Backtest)
- The 200-day moving average trading strategy: How MA systems work (backtest and indicator)
- Are the Bollinger Bands profitable? (Including strategies)
- Average True Range trading strategy (ATR indicator – how to use it)
- Keltner Bands strategies (Keltner Channels strategies)
- What is the VIX and how does it work? (VIX trading strategies)
- WilliamsVixFix explained – does it work? (Including trading strategies)
- Williams Volatility Channel — What Is It? (Trading Strategy)
Other indicators and how they work (including quant systems):
- Which indicator is best for swing trading?
- Divergence Trading Strategy — What Is It? (Backtest)
- What is a Death Cross in Trading? Does it work?
- Double Death Cross Strategy — What Is It? (Backtest)
- Heikin Ashi explained (is it useful?)
- Fractal Indicator Strategy — What Is It? (Backtest)
- Rolling Returns For The S&P 500 – What Is It And How Do You Calculate It?
- Zig Zag Indicator Trading Strategy — What Is It? (Backtest And Example)
- Aroon indicator strategy (backtest and example)
- On-Balance Volume — What Is It? (Backtest And Trading Strategy)
- Rate of Change Indicator Strategy – What Is It? (ROC strategy and backtest)
- Hindenburg Omen indicator: How to use it? Backtest, formula and what is it?
- The Elder Ray Indicator (with strategies): Does it work?
- Andrews Pitchfork Trading Strategy — What Is It? (Backtest And Example)
- The Chaikin Oscillator – does it work? (Chaikin Trading Strategies)
- Linear vs. logarithmic charts and scale – what is log scale chart (what is the difference?)
- What is contango? Examples and what causes it?
- What is backwardation? Examples and what causes it?
- How Do You Calculate The Future Inflation Rate? (How To Measure Future Inflation)
How do technical indicators work?
Technical indicators work by analyzing historical price data and generating mathematical calculations or visual representations that provide insights into market trends, momentum, volatility, and potential future price movements. These indicators are based on the belief that historical price patterns and behavior can provide valuable information for predicting future price movements.
Here’s a general overview of how technical indicators work:
- Data Calculation: Technical indicators utilize various mathematical formulas and calculations to process price data. The calculations often involve factors such as closing prices, high and low prices, trading volume, or a combination of these.
- Signal Generation: Once the calculations are performed, technical indicators generate signals or values that traders can interpret. These signals can indicate potential entry or exit points, trend strength, overbought or oversold conditions, or other relevant information depending on the specific indicator.
- Visualization: Many technical indicators are visually represented on charts. They are plotted as lines, histograms, or other graphical elements that overlay or appear alongside the price data. This visualization helps traders observe the relationship between the indicator values and price movements, facilitating analysis and decision-making.
- Interpretation: Traders interpret the signals generated by technical indicators to make trading decisions. For example, if a moving average crossover occurs where a short-term moving average crosses above a long-term moving average, it can be interpreted as a bullish signal. Traders also consider the overall trend, support and resistance levels, and other factors to validate the signals and make informed decisions.
It’s important to note that technical indicators are not infallible and should not be used in isolation. They are tools that provide insights and assist traders in analyzing market conditions. Their effectiveness can vary depending on market dynamics, timeframes, and the specific indicator used. Therefore, traders often combine multiple indicators, use them alongside other analysis techniques like chart patterns or fundamental analysis, and consider risk management principles to develop robust trading strategies.
What technical indicator should I learn first?
When embarking on your journey to learn technical indicators, it is crucial to begin with a foundational indicator that offers a comprehensive understanding of market dynamics. Among the various options available, one indicator stands out as an excellent starting point: the moving average.
The moving average is a versatile and widely used tool that provides valuable insights into market trends. By calculating the average price over a specified period, this indicator smooths out short-term price fluctuations, allowing you to identify the underlying trend more clearly.
Moreover, moving averages can act as dynamic support and resistance levels. Traders often observe how prices interact with moving averages to gauge potential entry or exit points for their trades. This information helps in making informed decisions and managing risk effectively.
By devoting time and effort to grasp the concept and application of moving averages, you lay a solid groundwork for your journey into technical analysis. It not only equips you with a fundamental understanding of market behavior but also sets the stage for exploring more advanced indicators in the future.
Remember, building a strong foundation is essential to becoming a proficient trader who can navigate the complexities of the financial markets. So, start with the moving average and embark on your quest for trading expertise.
What are the biggest risks of using Trading Indicators
While trading indicators can be valuable tools for analyzing markets and making trading decisions, it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks associated with their usage. Here are some of the biggest risks when relying on trading indicators:
- False Signals: Trading indicators are not infallible and can generate false or misleading signals. Market conditions, sudden news events, or anomalies can cause indicators to produce inaccurate readings. Relying solely on indicators without considering other factors or performing additional analysis can lead to poor trading decisions.
- Lagging Nature: Many indicators are based on historical price data, which means they lag behind the current market conditions. As a result, by the time an indicator generates a signal, a significant portion of a price move may have already occurred. This lag can lead to delayed entry or exit points, impacting profitability.
- Over-Optimization: Traders may be tempted to adjust indicator settings or parameters to fit historical data perfectly, which is known as over-optimization. While this may yield favorable results when backtesting, it can lead to poor performance in real-time trading. Over-optimization can create unrealistic expectations and cause the strategy to fail in different market conditions.
- Indicator Overload: Utilizing too many indicators on a single chart can lead to information overload and conflicting signals. Having an excessive number of indicators can make it challenging to interpret signals accurately and make clear trading decisions. It is crucial to strike a balance and only use indicators that complement each other and align with your trading strategy.
- Market Adaptability: Market conditions are not constant, and they can change over time. Some indicators may work well in specific market environments but perform poorly in others. Traders should regularly evaluate and adapt their indicator selection to match the current market conditions. Failure to adjust indicators accordingly may lead to ineffective trading strategies.
- Emotional Biases: Reliance solely on trading indicators can create emotional biases that impact decision-making. Traders may become overly confident or hesitant, ignoring critical factors such as market sentiment or news events. It’s important to combine indicator analysis with a rational assessment of market conditions and maintain discipline in executing trades.
To mitigate these risks, it is advisable to thoroughly understand the indicators being used, test them in different market conditions, and combine them with other analysis techniques. Additionally, employing proper risk management practices, maintaining a diversified portfolio, and continually educating oneself can help traders navigate the potential pitfalls associated with trading indicators.
What is an oscillator indicator?
An oscillator indicator is a type of technical analysis tool used in financial markets to identify potential overbought and oversold conditions of an asset. It oscillates between defined upper and lower boundaries, providing traders with signals of trend reversals or continuation.
Oscillator indicators typically operate within a specific range, often represented by a horizontal line or a range of values on a chart. The oscillator moves back and forth within this range, reflecting the momentum and strength of price movements.
The value of an oscillator indicator is derived from various calculations based on price data, such as the relative strength index (RSI), stochastic oscillator, or moving average convergence divergence (MACD). These indicators measure different aspects of price changes, volatility, or market sentiment.
When an oscillator indicator reaches the upper boundary or enters the overbought zone, it suggests that the asset may be overvalued or experiencing excessive buying pressure. Conversely, when the indicator reaches the lower boundary or enters the oversold zone, it indicates that the asset may be undervalued or experiencing excessive selling pressure.
Traders use oscillator indicators to identify potential entry or exit points for trades. When an oscillator indicates overbought conditions, it may signal a possible trend reversal or a good opportunity to sell. Conversely, when it indicates oversold conditions, it may suggest a potential trend reversal or a good opportunity to buy.
It is important to note that oscillator indicators are not foolproof and should be used in conjunction with other technical analysis tools and indicators to confirm signals and minimize false indications. Traders should also consider market conditions, trends, and other relevant factors when interpreting oscillator indicator readings.
What are the best forex trading indicators?
When it comes to forex trading, numerous indicators can provide valuable insights and assist traders in making informed decisions. Here are some of the best forex trading indicators, offering a broad range of analysis and potential utility:
- Trend-following Indicators: These indicators help identify the direction and strength of a prevailing trend. They include Moving Averages, Ichimoku Cloud, and Parabolic SAR.
- Oscillators: Oscillators are useful for identifying overbought and oversold conditions, indicating potential trend reversals. Popular oscillators include Relative Strength Index (RSI), Stochastic Oscillator, and Commodity Channel Index (CCI).
- Volatility Indicators: Volatility indicators help assess market volatility levels, aiding in risk management and trade selection. Examples include Average True Range (ATR), Bollinger Bands, and Donchian Channels.
- Support and Resistance Indicators: These indicators identify key price levels where the market tends to stall or reverse. Pivot Points, Fibonacci Retracement, and Support/Resistance lines are commonly used in this category.
- Momentum Indicators: These indicators gauge the speed and strength of price movements, providing insights into potential continuation or reversal patterns. Examples include Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD), Rate of Change (ROC), and Relative Vigor Index (RVI).
- Volume Indicators: Volume indicators measure the trading volume in the forex market, offering insights into the strength and validity of price movements. On Balance Volume (OBV), Volume Profile, and Accumulation/Distribution are commonly employed in this category.
Remember, the effectiveness of these indicators may vary depending on market conditions and individual trading strategies. It is advisable to thoroughly understand the principles behind each indicator, test them in different scenarios, and combine them with other tools to form a comprehensive trading approach.
What is an overlay indicator?
An overlay indicator, in the context of technical analysis, refers to a type of indicator that is plotted directly on top of the price chart. Unlike traditional indicators that are displayed in a separate window or panel, overlay indicators are superimposed on the price data, allowing traders to observe their relationship with the actual price movement.
Overlay indicators are used to provide additional information and insights about the price action, trends, and potential support or resistance levels. They help traders identify patterns, confirm signals, and make informed trading decisions.
Common examples of overlay indicators include moving averages, Bollinger Bands, and Ichimoku Cloud. Moving averages, for instance, are often plotted on the price chart to smooth out short-term price fluctuations and identify the overall trend direction. Bollinger Bands, on the other hand, consist of an upper band, lower band, and a middle moving average, offering insights into volatility and potential price levels. The Ichimoku Cloud, a comprehensive indicator, is plotted directly on the price chart and provides information about trend direction, support and resistance levels, and potential reversal points.
By using overlay indicators, traders can quickly assess the relationship between price movements and the indicator values. This helps in understanding the prevailing market conditions, identifying potential entry or exit points, and confirming the validity of trading signals generated by other indicators or strategies.
It is worth noting that overlay indicators should be used in conjunction with other technical analysis tools and indicators to develop a well-rounded trading approach. Traders should consider multiple factors, including market context, price patterns, and other indicators, to make sound trading decisions.
How can forex traders utilize technical indicators and fundamental analysis?
Forex traders can benefit from a combination of technical indicators and fundamental analysis to enhance their trading strategies. Here are some ways to utilize both approaches:
- Technical Indicators for Entry and Exit Points: Technical indicators can help identify optimal entry and exit points for forex trades. Traders can utilize indicators such as moving averages, trend lines, and oscillators to identify trends, support and resistance levels, and overbought or oversold conditions. These indicators provide insights into market sentiment and potential price reversals, aiding in trade timing and risk management.
- Fundamental Analysis for Market Assessment: Fundamental analysis involves evaluating economic indicators, geopolitical events, and market news to understand the underlying factors that impact currency movements. Forex traders can utilize fundamental analysis to assess the overall economic health of countries, identify potential market drivers, and anticipate long-term trends. This analysis helps in selecting currency pairs with strong fundamental outlooks and making informed trading decisions.
- Combining Technical and Fundamental Analysis: Forex traders can combine technical indicators and fundamental analysis to gain a more comprehensive view of the market. For example, a trader may identify a potential trade opportunity based on a strong uptrend suggested by technical indicators. However, they can further analyze the fundamental factors to validate the trend and assess its sustainability. By aligning technical and fundamental signals, traders can increase their confidence in trade setups and improve their overall trading performance.
- Risk Management: Both technical indicators and fundamental analysis play a vital role in risk management. Traders can use technical indicators to set stop-loss levels, trailing stops, and take-profit targets based on price levels and volatility. Fundamental analysis helps in identifying potential risks and market uncertainties that could impact currency prices. By considering both technical and fundamental aspects, traders can develop risk management strategies that account for potential market fluctuations and unexpected events.
It is important to note that no single approach guarantees success in forex trading. Traders should continuously educate themselves, refine their strategies, and adapt to changing market conditions. Additionally, backtesting and practicing in a demo account can help traders gain experience and confidence in utilizing technical indicators and fundamental analysis effectively.
What are the best technical analysis indicators for day traders?
For day traders seeking effective technical analysis indicators, several tools can assist in making informed trading decisions. Here are some of the best indicators widely utilized by day traders:
- Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD): MACD is a versatile indicator that combines moving averages to identify potential trend reversals, generate buy/sell signals, and gauge market momentum.
- Relative Strength Index (RSI): RSI measures the speed and change of price movements, indicating overbought or oversold conditions. It helps traders identify potential entry or exit points and assess the strength of a trend.
- Bollinger Bands: Bollinger Bands consist of a moving average and two standard deviation bands. They provide insights into volatility and price levels, assisting traders in identifying potential breakouts or reversals.
- Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP): VWAP calculates the average price based on trading volume throughout the day. It helps traders understand the average price levels at which most trading activity occurred and can be used as a reference for assessing trade entries or exits.
- Fibonacci Retracement: Fibonacci retracement levels are derived from mathematical ratios and are used to identify potential support and resistance levels. Traders often use these levels to anticipate price reversals or target profit levels.
- Stochastic Oscillator: The stochastic oscillator compares the closing price to a price range over a specific period, indicating overbought or oversold conditions. It helps traders identify potential trend reversals and generate buy/sell signals.
- Average True Range (ATR): ATR measures volatility by calculating the average range between high and low prices. It assists in determining stop-loss levels and identifying potential trade opportunities based on volatility.
It’s important to note that the effectiveness of these indicators may vary depending on market conditions and individual trading strategies. It is recommended to understand the principles behind each indicator and test them in practice before incorporating them into your day trading routine.
How many indicators should I have on my charts?
The number of indicators to have on your charts is subjective and depends on your trading style, preferences, and the complexity of your strategy. While some traders prefer a minimalist approach with just a few key indicators, others may utilize multiple indicators to gain a comprehensive view of the market.
It is important to strike a balance and avoid overcrowding your charts with too many indicators, as it can lead to information overload and confusion. Having too many indicators can also result in conflicting signals and make it difficult to make clear trading decisions.
Instead, focus on selecting a few indicators that align with your trading goals and strategy. Consider indicators that provide complementary information and offer different perspectives on price action, trend identification, volatility, and market sentiment. This allows you to gather sufficient information without overwhelming your analysis.
Remember that the quality of analysis and the ability to interpret indicators accurately are more important than the quantity of indicators on your charts. It is crucial to thoroughly understand the indicators you use and how they interact with each other to make informed trading decisions.
Ultimately, the key is to find a balance that suits your trading style, allows for clear analysis, and aligns with your overall trading strategy. Regular evaluation and adjustment of your indicator selection can help you refine your approach over time.