Understanding Forex Indicators: Spotlight MACD

By Andrew Daigle – Trading in the forex market tends to be a little confusing when you’re first starting, which is why it’s vital to your success as a trader to understand technical indicators and use them within the framework of your forex trading strategy. Forex indicators assist traders in predicting the direction in which the currency market will travel. Following the indicators will give any forex trader the information they need to work their forex trading strategy. Because of its popularity with forex traders, we will begin with the moving average convergence/divergence (MACD) indicator.

The WHAT? – The MACD indicator sounds complicated so it must be, right? Wrong! The MACD indicator is one of the easiest trading indicators to analyze because it allows you to quickly identify and exploit a short-term trend. Composed of two colored lines, generally red and blue, the MACD forex indicator tells you if a currency is experiencing an up trend or a down trend. The first line, the MACD line is the total difference between two exponential moving averages, commonly referred to as EMAs, whereas the second line is the signal line. The signal line (blue) is plotted on top of the MACD line (red) to show you when to buy or sell.

Interpreting MACD – Now that you have a basic understanding of the MACD forex trading indicator, we will discuss two of the most common techniques used to make a forex technical analysis. First, are crossovers, which are indicators based on when the signal line and the MACD line “crossover” one another. When the MACD line crosses below the signal line that’s a technical indicator that you should sell or go short. If however, the MACD cross above the signal line, that’s a sign that it’s a good time to buy.

Next is the divergence technique, which generally signals to traders that a current trend will end soon. You will notice that the price is moving in the opposite direction of the MACD when a trend is coming to an end. With this technique you must also be on the lookout for positive or negative divergence. Positive divergence happens when the foreign exchange rate makes a new low, but the MACD begins to clime. Negative divergence occurs when the currency exchange rate makes a new high, yet the MACD falls and often closes lower than the previous day’s high.

The MACD is the most popular forex technical indicator because its clear signals are a simple indicator to buy or sell. Additionally this indicator eliminates the need to guess which way the trends are going, because the crossover and divergence techniques lets traders know they are trading in the direction of the trends. If you’ve chosen to use a short term forex trading strategy, you will find the MACD indicator especially useful due to its reliability when tracking short term trends in the market.

When using the MACD indicator, traders should be aware of whipsaw patterns that occur in the forex market. Whipsaw patterns involve a foreign exchange rate heading in one direction, and then quickly moving in the opposite direction. These patterns can cause the foreign exchange rate to fall or surge quickly relative to its position prior to the whipsaw.

About the Author

Andrew Daigle owns many successful websites including http://www.ForexBoost.com , a free Forex educational site to learn Forex trading strategies and partners with http://www.FX-Instructor.com for live forex trading sessions and professional educational services.