MACD Made me $7000 Last Month

MACD Made me $7000 Last Month

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Learning to trade in the direction of short-term momentum can be a difficult task at the best of times, but it is exponentially more difficult when one is unaware of the appropriate tools that can help. This article will focus the most popular indicator used in technical analysis, the moving average convergence divergence (MACD).

Gerald Appel developed this indicator in the 1960s, and although its name sounds very complicated, it’s really quite simple to use. Read on to learn how you can start looking for ways to incorporate this powerful tool into your trading strategy.

Background Knowledge

The MACD’s popularity is largely due to its ability to help quickly spot increasing short-term momentum. However, before we jump into the inner workings of the MACD, it is important to completely understand the relationship between a short-term and long-term moving average.

As you can see from the chart below, many traders will watch for a short-term moving average (blue line) to cross above a longer-term moving average (red line) and use this to signal increasing upward momentum. This bullish crossover suggests that the price has recently been rising at a faster rate than it has in the past, so it is a common technical buy sign. Conversely, a short-term moving average crossing below a longer-term average is used to illustrate that the asset’s price has been moving downward at a faster rate and that it may be a good time to sell.

Notice how the moving averages diverge away from each other in the above chart as the strength of the momentum increases. The MACD was designed to profit from this divergence by analyzing the difference between the two exponential moving averages (EMAs). Specifically, the value for the long-term moving average is subtracted from the short-term average, and the result is plotted onto a chart. The periods used to calculate the MACD can be easily customized to fit any strategy, but traders will commonly rely on the default settings of 12- and 26-day periods.

A positive MACD value, created when the short-term average is above the longer-term average, is used to signal increasing upward momentum. This value can also be used to suggest that traders may want to refrain from taking short positions until a signal suggests it is appropriate. On the other hand, falling negative MACD values suggest that the downtrend is getting stronger, and that it may not be the best time to buy.

Transaction Signals

It has become standard to plot a separate moving average alongside the MACD, which is used to create a clear signal of shifting momentum. A signal line, also known as the trigger line, is created by taking a nine-period moving average of the MACD. This is found plotted alongside the indicator on the chart. As you can see in the figure below, transaction signals are generated when the MACD line (the blue line) crosses through the signal line (nine-period EMA – orange line).

The basic bullish signal (buy sign) occurs when the MACD line (the blue line) crosses above the signal line (the orange line), and the basic bearish signal (sell sign) is generated when the MACD crosses below the signal line. Traders who attempt to profit from bullish MACD crosses that occur when the indicator is below zero should be aware that they are attempting to profit from a change in momentum direction, while the moving averages are still suggesting that the security could experience a short-term sell-off. This bullish crossover can often correctly predict the reversal in the trend, as shown below, but it is often considered riskier than if the MACD were above zero.

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