How to Use the MACD Indicator

macd interpretation

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The MACD indicator is special because it brings together momentum and trend in one indicator. This unique blend of trend and momentum can be applied to daily, weekly or monthly charts. The standard setting for MACD is the difference between the 12- and 26-period EMAs.

  • For example, consider a stock with a falling price and an MACD that is growing more negative, indicating downside momentum.
  • If you would like to contact the Bullish Bears team then please email us at bbteam[@] and we will get back to you within 24 hours.
  • A trader can use this information on MACD divergence as part of a trading strategy to determine the direction of the market.
  • A large number of false signals can result in a trader taking many losses.
  • Bullish divergences tend to lead to price reversals, possibly signaling a change in the trend.
  • We put all of the tools available to traders to the test and give you first-hand experience in stock trading you won’t find elsewhere.

However, during range-bound markets, MACD can produce many false signals and can therefore be less useful. Stock moving averages can be calculated across a wide range of intervals, making them applicable to both long and short-term investment strategies. When navigating the financial markets, traders can choose from a number of tried-and-true strategies. MACD 9, 12, and 26 refer to the specific exponential moving average (EMA) periods used in the calculation of the MACD indicator. These numbers represent the default settings in most technical analysis software and are the most commonly used periods for the MACD calculation. To completely understand what the Moving Average Convergence Divergence is, we should also take a look at the reason why it is so popular among traders.

Example of a MACD Trading Strategy

Slowing downside momentum can sometimes foreshadow a trend reversal or a sizable rally. The MACD line oscillates above and below the zero line, also known as the centerline. These crossovers signal that the 12-day EMA has crossed the 26-day EMA. The direction, of course, depends on the direction of the moving average cross.

  • At the close of the candle, open a long position (blue horizontal line).
  • The first indicates the number of periods used for the calculation of the shorter (faster) EMA.
  • It measures the difference between two exponential moving averages and plots the difference as a line chart.
  • The signal line can be added separately by clicking the advanced indicator options and adding a 9-day EMA.
  • The MACD can be a powerful momentum indicator for making swing trades.
  • In other words, the 12-day EMA was above the 26-day EMA for 10 months.

Now we have a clear understanding of how to read MACD as well as where the signals come from. We may begin developing a few strategies that use these signals. Learn more about MACD and some of the strategies used by traders.


Gerald Appel was a seasoned financial analyst and fund manager. His experience in trading and analysis triggered the creation of the MACD indicator. During the development of the trend, the MACD histogram indicators are declining, but the MACD curve continues to move up.

In other words, it is a graphical representation of the average fluctuations in the price value. I left about 70 lines for entering price data, but you can copy the formulas of the last line and stretch the table lower. An alternative option is an automated calculation in an Excel table.

Moving Average Convergence Divergence-MACD Indicator Formula

The following chart demonstrates one potential way to read the MACD histogram. The top curve represents the price chart for a hypothetical security, along with a macd interpretation set of trendlines. The middle chart is a MACD line and histogram, centered around a baseline. The lower histogram represents the volume for each trading period.

  • The EMAs gravitate around the zero line and occasionally cross, diverge, and converge.
  • Traders look for signal line crossovers, centerline crossovers, and divergences to generate signals.
  • In the EURUSD chart, a blue circle marks how the MACD crosses the central line.
  • Like most other technical analysis tools, the MACD indicator also comes with its own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
  • Two EMAs are used for the MACD calculation that includes two moving average lines the fast and slow.

Bullish Zero Line Crossovers occur when the MACD Line crosses above the Zero Line and go from negative to positive. The strength of the move is what determines the duration of Signal Line Crossover. Understanding and being able to analyze move strength, as well as being able to recognize false signals, is a skill that comes with experience.

MACD can be used to identify aspects of a security’s overall trend. Most notably these aspects are momentum, as well as trend direction and duration. What makes MACD so informative is that it is actually the combination of two different types of indicators.

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