4 main indicators of technical analysis

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Traders use technical indicators to get additional insight into future price movements of an asset. Such tools facilitate the identification of various patterns and provide signals to buy or sell under certain market conditions. There are many indicators that are used in day trading, swing trading and sometimes even in long-term investments. While some professional market players even create their own indicators. In this article we will briefly describe some of the most popular technical analysis indicators that can be useful addition to any trader's tool kit.

1. Relative Strength Index (RSI)

The Relative Strength Index (RSI) is a momentum indicator, which provides indicators from which you can conclude whether an asset is overbought or oversold. It does this by measuring the magnitude of recent price movements (the standard setup consists of 14 periods, 14 days, 14 hours, etc.). The data is then displayed as an oscillator, which can have a value between 0 and 100.

Since the RSI is an impulse indicator, it represents the force with which price changes. This means that if the indicator is increasing when the price is rising, the upward trend is strong and more and more buyers are coming. On the contrary, if the indicator measure decreases and the price increases, it may indicate that the sellers may soon gain control of this market.

The traditional interpretation of RSI is in the numerical reading of the line on the chart: if it is above 70, then the asset is overbought, and when it is below 30, then the asset is considered oversold. Thus, extreme values may indicate an impending trend reversal or pullback. However, it would be better not to consider these values as direct buy or sell signals. As in many other
technical analysis (TA), RSI can produce false or misleading signals, so it is always a good idea to consider other factors before entering a trade.

2. Moving Average (MA)

The Moving Average (MA) smoothes out price fluctuations by filtering out market noise and highlighting the trend direction. Because the MA is based on past price data, it is a lagging indicator.

The two most commonly used moving averages are the simple moving average (SMA or MA) and the exponential moving average (EMA). The SMA is formed on the basis of price data for a certain period, and their average value. For example, a 10-day SMA is constructed by calculating the average price of the past 10 days. The EMA, on the other hand, gives more weight to the most recent price data. This makes it more sensitive to recent price changes.

As mentioned, the moving average is a lagging indicator. The longer the period, the longer the signal lag. Thus, a 200-day SMA is much slower to react to a recent price change than a 50-day SMA.
Traders often use ratios of price to specific moving averages to gauge the current trend. For example, if price stays above the 200-day SMA for an extended period, then most traders consider such a market to be bullish.
Traders can also use crossovers or so-called crossovers of moving averages as a signal to buy or sell. For example, if the 100-day SMA crosses over the 200-day SMA, this might be considered a sell signal. But what exactly does this cross mean? It indicates that the average price for the last 100 days is now lower than the last 200 days. The selling idea here is that short-term price movements no longer follow the uptrend and in most cases the trend can change.
Want to know more about this indicator? Check out our in-depth article on moving averages.

3. Moving Average Convergence/Divergence (MACD)

MACD (short for Moving Average Convergence Divergence) is a technical indicator designed to determine the future price movement of an asset using the relationship of two moving averages. It consists of two lines: the MACD line and the signal line. The MACD line is calculated by subtracting the 26-day EMA from the 12-day EMA and plots the result against the 9-day EMA, which serves as the signal line. Many charting tools often include a histogram that shows the distance between these lines.
By looking for a divergence (divergence) between the MACD and the price movement, traders can get an idea of the strength of the current trend. For example: the price shows a new maximum, while the MACD shows a very low reading, which indicates that the market could soon reverse. Because of this indicator, we can conclude: that with such a high price and low momentum there is a high probability for a pullback or reversal.

In addition, traders can use this indicator to look for crosses between the MACD line and its signal line. As a rule, a signal to buy is considered when the MACD line crosses the signal line from bottom to top. And vice versa, a point where the MACD signal line crosses the signal line downward is considered a sell signal.

The MACD is often used in conjunction with the RSI because both indicators measure momentum, but do so from different data. It is suggested that together they can give a more complete technical overview of the market.

4. Bollinger Lines (BB)

The Bollinger lines measure the volatility of the market and also determine the overbought and oversold level of an asset. The indicator consists of three lines: SMA (middle band), upper and lower bands. The settings can vary, but basically the upper and lower lines are two standard deviations from the moving average. The distance between the lines is directly related to volatility, the distance changes when it increases or decreases.

As a rule, the closer the price is to the upper line, the more overbought the chosen asset is. In the opposite situation, the closer the price is to the bottom line, the higher it is oversold. In most cases the price does not go beyond the lines, but it is possible that it may break above or below them. While this scenario may not be a trading signal in itself, it serves as an indicator of extreme market conditions.

Another most important concept from the lines is called squeeze (from the English squeeze). This case refers to the period of low volatility, when all the lines are very close to each other. In this situation, the indicator can signal the potential volatility in the future, in the opposite case, if the lines are at a great distance from each other, it can indicate a possible decrease in price fluctuations.


While technical indicators can give you some data to help you navigate the market, it's important to keep in mind that the interpretation of that data is highly subjective. Therefore, before you form your trades you need to take care that your personal biases do not influence your decision-making in any way. What might be a direct buy or sell signal for one trader will seem like simple market noise to another.

As with most market analysis methods, indicators are most effective when used in conjunction with each other or with other methods, such as Fundamental Analysis (FA).

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All the above is not a financial advice, but only a subjective opinion of the author. If you doubt something, do your own research and double-check the information yourself.
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