The MACD line is calculated by subtracting the 26-period EMA from the 12-period EMA. The period may be configured in different ways , but this article will focus on daily settings. Still, the MACD indicator may be customized to accommodate different trading strategies. The Moving Average Convergence Divergence is an oscillator-type indicator that is widely used by traders for technical analysis . MACD is a trend-following tool that utilizes moving averages to determine the momentum of a stock, cryptocurrency, or another tradeable asset. The Moving Average Convergence-Divergence indicator is a model that follows the momentum of trends by showing the relationship between two moving averages of the price of a security.

exponential moving average

Therefore, it is so important to be aware of the long-term price action in whatever you are applying the MACD indicator to. Interestingly, in this example, when the price forms resistance after breaking support, the price action is subtle, but the MACD bars appear very bullish. In case you missed it, a bearish smart engulfing pattern appeared at the level with bullish MACD bars to give you another short entry opportunity. Notice that the second short entry has stronger bullish MACD bars, yet the price falls further than the first entry. It demonstrates you can trade against strong price momentum if you have the correct price action context to do so. Ideally, you want to see large MACD bars with the price moving swiftly to previous support or resistance.

macd histogram

You can insert any moving average into this model that suits your fancy, and it back-tests well on your security. On a trading chart, the MACD was designed to use exponential moving averages of 26 and 12 days. Supplement the MACD charting resource with other visual tools. The chart also shows whether prices trended up or down during a particular trading day.

What Are MACD Divergences?

Thus, the crossover signals will not be accurate if the trend is weak. It’s a flaw not only of the MACD indicator but of all the indicators. Nevertheless, the time lag between the MACD signal and the price movement is one of the biggest.

A “zero crossover” event occurs when the MACD series changes sign, that is, the MACD line crosses the horizontal zero axis. This happens when there is no difference between the fast and slow EMAs of the price series. A change from positive to negative MACD is interpreted as “bearish”, and from negative to positive as “bullish”. Zero crossovers provide evidence of a change in the direction of a trend but less confirmation of its momentum than a signal line crossover. While the signal crossovers can be helpful, they are not always reliable.

A trend that seems strong may, in fact, be weak and ready to reverse. Dr. Barry Burns is the founder of, which he created to help students shorten their learning curve in becoming professional traders. He was also the lead moderator for the chat room, has written numerous articles, and has been featured in several books and online trading radio interviews. Slowing upside momentum may mean that a trader should prepare to sell. I became a self-made millionaire by the age of 21, trading thousands of Penny Stocks – yep you read that right, penny stocks.

FAQs about the MACD

Futures and forex accounts are not protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation . CFDs are complex instruments and are not suitable for everyone as they can rapidly trigger losses that exceed your deposits. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work. Please see our Risk Disclosure Notice so you can fully understand the risks involved and whether you can afford to take the risk. There are two important ways to read the MACD indicator. You are now leaving the TD Ameritrade Web site and will enter an unaffiliated third-party website to access its products and its posted services.

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This type of crossover occurs when the MACD line moves about the zero line. Traders watch for this change to determine simple changes in momentum. There is upside momentum when MACD is positive and downside momentum when it is negative.

Trade with MACD in Good Crypto

In MetaTrader MT4, the red line shown by the MACD indicator is usually the signal line. Trading platforms usually have this as the default setting. When the MACD line the signal line from above to below, the signal is bearish. The best place to enter a trend is when the price pulls back against it.

Then, the MACD divergence indicator is used by comparing this momentum with the price action. Also, we can have bearish convergence and bearish divergence, as explained by the chart below. We can either have a bearish divergence MACD or a MACD bullish divergence, depending on the type of divergence MACD is showing us. makes no warranty that its content will be accurate, timely, useful, or reliable. When the MACD histogram does not increase in height or begins to shrink, the market is slowing down and might be warning of a possible reversal. A possible buy signal is generated when the MACD crosses above the zero line. When the 12-period EMA crosses below the 26-period EMA, the MACD line crosses below the Zero line.

If short-term EMA moves below the longer-term EMA, it means recent drop in price is faster than in the past. One of the big lessons I teach Trading Challenge students is you have to figure out the trading strategies that suit you. Some of my students use MACD and other advanced technical indicators. Like most other technical analysis tools, the MACD indicator also comes with its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. To fully harness this momentum and trend indicator to its maximum capability, it’s essential to understand where it triumphs and where it can fall short. Firstly, divergence can often signal a false positive, i.e., a possible reversal, but no actual reversal occurs.

A general interpretation of MACD is that when MACD is positive and the histogram value is increasing, then upside momentum is increasing. When MACD is negative and the histogram value is decreasing, then downside momentum is increasing. Convergent when the lines gravitate toward one another and divergent when they move apart. The MACD histogram plots the difference between the MACD fast and signal lines. An upward slope in the bars typically indicates prices are rising, whereas a downward slope indicates falling prices. When the main line, being above the zero level, crosses the signal line from top to bottom, this is a clear signal for the possible start of a downtrend.

The first mistake you can face is the wrong interpretation of the histogram. It shows whether the market is bullish or bearish and the strength of either bulls or bears. The MACD works best in trends when the price range in rather narrow.


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Show breakout how to read the macds Controls indication of MACD crossovers above and the signal line. However, instead of adding a third moving line, the histogram is made of a bar graph, making it visually easier to read and interpret. Note that the histogram bars have nothing to do with the trading volume of the asset. Options are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading may expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses.

The EMA is like a regular moving average, except more weight is given to newer data. Some traders combine the MACD with other indicators to confirm overbought or oversold conditions. The most common technical indicator for this purpose is the Relative Strength Index .

Let’s have a look at how to use the indicator for better entries and exits from a variety of positions. Afterward, we’ll investigate how the MACD is analyzed during pullbacks and in an uptrend. Lastly, we’ll take a brief look at the importance of divergences on the MACD. If the price moves down into a support area, the MACD histogram should be below the zero line, i.e., showing bearish momentum. The signal line is a moving average of the MACD line, giving the effect of smoothing out the MACD Line. The most common signal line setting is a 9-period moving average .

  • When the main line, being above the zero level, crosses the signal line from top to bottom, this is a clear signal for the possible start of a downtrend.
  • A “negative divergence” or “bearish divergence” occurs when the price makes a new high but the MACD does not confirm with a new high of its own.
  • At a bullish signal crossover, the trader should consider buying.
  • Thus, the crossover signals will not be accurate if the trend is weak.
  • The most significant advantage is that it’s multifunctional.

Instead of crossing the Signal Line, Zero Line Crossovers occur when the MACD Line crossed the Zero Line and either becomes positive or negative . The Signal Line is an EMA of the MACD Line described in Component 1. The trader can choose what period length EMA to use for the Signal Line however 9 is the most common. Past performance of a security or strategy is no guarantee of future results or investing success.

The second divergence is the difference line shown as a histogram. The greater the divergence between the MACD line and the signal line, the longer the histogram bars. That said, MACD is still one of the most favored tools by many traders. As the downtrend begins and the fast line diverges away from the slow line, the histogram gets bigger, which is a good indication of a strong trend.

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