What Is The KST Oscillator & How To Trade With It

The KST Oscillator or Know Sure Thing Oscillator is a momentum-based oscillator. Developed by Martin Pring, the oscillator makes the rate-of-change readings smooth for the traders. It gives the four different timeframe readings, measuring their momentum and combining them into a single momentum oscillator. The KST Oscillator indicator can be used on your forex trading platform charts to help filter potential trading signals as part of an overall trading strategy. Presented as graphical oscillators, the KST indicators are based on the smoothed-out rate-of-change (ROC) for four different timeframes. They do this by combining four different price cycles into a single momentum oscillator, thereby allowing analysts and chartists to check for divergences, among other things.

What is the KST Oscillator?

In the 1992 edition of Stocks and Commodities article, Pring describes the KST Oscillator as “Summed Rate of Change.”

The indicator gets its name Know Sure Thing Oscillator because its calculation is based on the ROC (rate of change) indicator and the SMA (simple moving average). The ROC has four different periods, and SMA is of 9-period.

The equation for the KST oscillator is:

KST = (RCMA #1*1) + (RCMA #2*2) + (RCMA #3*3) + (RCMA #4*4)


  • RCMA #1=10-period SMA of 10-period ROC
  • RCMA #2=10-period SMA of 15-period ROC
  • RCMA #3=10-period SMA of 20-period ROC
  • RCMA #4=15-period SMA of 30-period ROC​
KST Oscillator on a chart
KST Oscillator on a chart

On MT4, the default parameters of the KST Oscillator are; 10, 15, 20, 30, 10, 10, 10, 15, 9. The first four values describe the ROC settings. The next four moving averages of the ROC indicator. The last number is a signal line moving average.

KST Oscillator parameters
KST Oscillator parameters

The KST Oscillator is interpreted by the 0 level and has two lines; the KST and the signal line. Go long when the KST crosses above its signal line from below. This is known as positive KST. Conversely, go short when the KST crosses below the signal line from above. This is called negative KST.

Pring mentioned in the article that KST Oscillator could be used on a short, medium, and long-term timeframe. He suggested changing the settings suitable for each timeframe. It is thought that the KST Oscillator can help when used on weekly and monthly charts.

How to use the KST Oscillator?

The KST Oscillator can be used similarly to other momentum oscillators like the RSI indicator (Relative Strength Index) and Stochastic indicator.

A buy signal is generated when the KST crosses above the 0 level. If the KST stays above the 0, this indicates an uptrend. On the other hand, if the KST crosses below the 0 level, a sell signal is generated. And, if it remains below the 0, it’s a sign of a downtrend.

Divergences are also possible with the KST Oscillator. If the prices are falling and the KST is rising, this is a sign of a bullish divergence.

KST Oscillator bullish divergence
KST Oscillator bullish divergence

And, if the prices are rising and the KST is falling, this indicates a bearish divergence.

KST Oscillator bearish divergence
KST Oscillator bearish divergence

Unlike the Stochastic or the RSI, the KST Oscillator doesn’t have an upper or lower limit. Thus, it is probably not ideal for overbought and oversold trading strategies.

The Know Sure Thing indicator is best used when aligned with a higher timeframe trend / momentum bias. You may also increase the probability of successful trades by “buying support and selling resistance”.

KST Oscillator trading strategy

KST is calculated by taking the simple moving average (SMA) of four different ROC periods (a period usually refers to a single trading day, but in this case it can be any period the trader wishes to analyze). These periods are then combined together to come up with the KST, creating a signal line by taking the 9-period SMA of the KST itself.

The Know Sure Thing (KST) is a momentum oscillator intended to interpret rate-of-change price data. Trading signals are generated when the KST crosses over the signal line, but traders also look for overbought or oversold conditions.

As we mentioned before, the KST is often use on weekly and monthly charts. This can help traders in long-term trading strategies.

Traders who apply simple trading strategies, the KST can help them determine the strength of the trend and breakout trading strategy signals.

You can combine the KST with other technical indicators to enhance your forex trading strategy.

KST Oscillator buy strategy

  • The KST oscillator should be above the zero line.
  • Wait for the price bar to go bullish before entry.
  • Set a stop-loss near the recent swing low.
  • Exit the trade when the oscillator drops.
KST Oscillator buy setup
KST Oscillator buy setup

KST Oscillator sell strategy

  • The KST should be below the zero line.
  • Wait for the price bar to go bearish before entry.
  • Set a stop-loss near the recent swing high.
  • Exit the trade when the oscillator rises above.
KST Oscillator sell setup
KST Oscillator sell setup

KST Oscillator Conclusion

In short, KST measures price momentum for four different price cycles, combining them into a single momentum oscillator. Like any other unbound momentum oscillator, chartists can use KST to look for divergences, signal line crossovers, and centerline crossovers.

The KST Oscillator is a powerful momentum indicator which can be used on all timeframes. It combines the four different cycles into a single oscillator. One of the effective ways to use the KST is with the Volume Indicator. This helps validate trends. To try and avoid whipsawing, we could use the KST Oscillator on weekly or monthly charts.

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