MACD Moving Average Convergence Divergence Oscillator

How to Use the MACD Indicator

There is no such thing as a ‘best’ time to use the MACD indicator, this will be completely down to you, your personal preferences and trading plan. When using the zero cross strategy, it is crucial to understand where to exit the market, or place a stop.

How do you read MACD 12 26 9?

  1. The 12 represents a moving average of the previous 12 bars.
  2. The 26 represents a moving average of the previous 26 bars.
  3. The 9 represents a moving average of the difference between the two moving averages above.

Crossovers of MACD lines should be noted, but confirmation should be sought from other technical signals, such as the RSI, or perhaps a few candlestick price charts. Further, because it is a lagging indicator, it argues that confirmation in subsequent price action should develop before taking the signal. Furthermore, false positive divergences often occur when the price of an asset moves sideways in a consolidation, such as in arangeortriangle patternfollowing a trend. Again, double-check the ADX and whether a trend is in place before acting. A “positive divergence” or “bullish divergence” occurs when the price makes a new low but the MACD does not confirm with a new low of its own.


The best time frame to use with the MACD depends on the type of trade, instrument, and stock that you’re interested in creating and executing a strategy for. Another potential buy and sell signal is shown in the graph above in the Nasdaq 100 exchange-traded fund QQQQ chart. However, if you choose to use MACD, the best time to use the indicator will depend on which How to Use the MACD Indicator of the above strategies you’re looking to utilize. If you choose a lagging strategy, you’d have to be watching your MACD indicator a lot to receive the signals as quickly as possible. But if you chose a leading strategy, like the histogram, you might be able to spend less time monitoring your MACD, as the signals should present themselves ahead of time.

  • Waning upward momentum can sometimes foreshadow a trend reversal or sizable decline.
  • The next chart shows Pulte Homes with at least four centerline crosses in nine months.
  • Green arrows signal Long trades and Orange arrows indicate Exits.
  • So that shows that there’s very little strength in the market.
  • Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before investing in options.
  • Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The Moving Average Convergence Divergence indicator can help with that. Invented in the 1970s byGerald Appel, the MACD can reveal changes in the strength, direction, momentum, and duration of a trend in a security’s price.

Introduction: MACD Indicator

Both slow reporting and complete outages happened to several trading firms during high volatility days in 2021. A MACD histogram usually accompanies the MACD, which shows the difference between the MACD line and the signal line.

On the other hand, weak signals offered by MACD can sometimes be clarified by extending the timelines of this indicator. If you’re looking to open a long position and longer time frames yield a stronger indicator, for example, you might feel more confident in opening a position. In addition to bearish and bullish divergences, the MACD might confirm price movement as well. Nevertheless, the MACD technical indicator made a clear lower low from Low #1 to Low #2. This bearish divergence warned of the impending downturn of the S&P 500 future and the market as a whole. The prior potential buy and sell signals might get a person into a trade later in the move of a stock or future. This method should be used carefully, as the delayed nature means that fast, choppy markets would often see the signals issued too late.

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