Market Strength Indicators

The phrase “Market Strength” is not entirely clear. In addition to referring to a specific currency pair, it may also be used to describe the strength of a certain trend within that currency pair. While the latter takes volume or open interest into account, the former may relate to a market index, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Index (DJI), or the number of advancing and declining stocks in a market.

What are the Best Market Strength Indicators?

Popular market-wide market strength indicators include the advance/decline line and TRIN. For particular stocks and commodities, the popular market strength indicators On Balance Volume (OBV), Accumulation/Distribution (A/D), the Chaikin A/D Oscillator, the Money Flow Index (MFI), and Price By Volume (PBV) can be utilized.

Accumulation/Distribution (A/D)

What is it?

Larry Williams created accumulation/distribution (A/D) in 1972 as a leading market strength indicator for trading stocks, while it may also be used for futures and other kinds of securities. As it considers both price and volume, Accumulation/Distribution (A/D) is an improvement over On Balance Volume (OBV). Instead of focusing only on the close, it additionally considers the relationship between the opening and the close as well as the price range. When the price close exceeds the open, volume is deemed bullish. When it is deemed bearish, the opposite is true for A/D. The distance between the open and close, the high and low, or the price range, however, determines how much volume is attributed to the indicator.

How is it determined?

Calculating accumulation/distribution (A/D) involves two processes. The first step is to compute and divide the difference between the high and low of the price range by the difference between the close and the open. After that, the volume is multiplied by the outcome. A/D = (Close – Open) / ((High – Low) x Volume) is the formula.

What does it do?

The A/D line, like the OBV indicator, shows the strength of purchasing or selling. A rising A/D shows greater demand for the underlying security, while a declining A/D shows declining demand for the underlying security. The price of the underlying security is anticipated to rise when A/D increases and to fall when A/D lowers. Divergence between A/D and the price, however, happens when the price keeps rising while A/D falls or keeps falling while A/D rises. This is the most important indication that A/D offers, and it suggests that a price reversal is likely.

Considering Volume (OBV)

What is it?

Joe Granville created the On Balance Volume (OBV) market strength indicator, which he first described in his 1963 book, The New Key to Stock Market Profits. By comparing volume to price changes, the OBV is a leading indicator that is used to identify positive and negative volume flow for a particular investment. It is a straightforward indication that, when the closing price is up, adds the volume of a time-frame and subtracts it when the closing price is down. The OBV line represents the volume’s ongoing cumulative total. The time period can be a month, a week, an hour, a half-hour, etc.

How is it determined?

Adding the volume for the time period to a running cumulative total when the security’s closing price is up and deducting the volume from the running cumulative total when the security’s closing price is down yields the OBV, as was previously mentioned.

The new OBV is determined using the following formula if the closing price is higher than the prior closing price for the time period: OBV = current OBV + Volume

OBV = current OBV – Volume is the formula used to get the new OBV if the closing price is lower than the prior closing price.

What does it do?

The OBV line reflects the buying or selling strength, therefore its direction is more significant than its value. A strong uptrend is required for a rising OBV since it signals growing demand for a security, which increases the likelihood that its price will increase.

Divergence between the OBV and a rising security price, on the other hand, indicates that the uptrend is shaky and won’t last.

A rising OBV in a range-bound market denotes a potential bullish breakout, while a falling OBV denotes a potential bearish breakout.

Money Flow Index (MFI)

What is it?

Gene Quong and Avrum Soudack created the Money Flow Index (MFI), an oscillating momentum and market strength indicator. Its methodology is similar to that of J. Welles Wilder’s Relative Strength Index (RSI), but a key distinction is that the MFI employs both price and volume, a characteristic it shares with the Chaikin Money Flow (CMF) indicator. As a leading indicator, it tends to precede price action. In actuality, a volume-weighted RSI is frequently used to define the CMF. The MFI is interpreted similarly to the RSI and is a range-bound oscillator that oscillates between zero and 100.

The primary goal of the MFI is to ascertain whether funds are moving into or out of a security during a given look-back period, with 14 days or periods being the norm. Generally speaking, a rising MFI indicator indicates that there is purchasing pressure as money is pouring into the asset, and a falling indicator indicates that there is selling pressure as money is flowing into the security.

How is it determined?

The MFI calculation is fairly involved and involves the following steps:

First, use the following formula to determine the Typical Price (TP) for each of the periods that make up the look-back period:

Price on average equals (High + Low + Close) / 3.

Second, multiply the Typical Price by the Volume of each Period to determine the Raw Money Flow for that Period:

Flow of Raw Money = Volume x Typical Price

Third, total the positive raw money flow numbers to determine the positive money flow for the look-back period:

Sum of positive raw money flow across the look-back time equals positive money flow.

Fourth, add the negative raw money flow numbers to determine the negative money flow for the look-back period:

Sum of negative Raw Money Flow over the look-back time is negative Money Flow.

Fifth, divide the positive money flow by the negative money flow to determine the money flow ratio for the look-back period:

Positive Money Flow / Negative Money Flow is the Money Flow Ratio.

Finally, use the following formula to determine the MFI:

Money Flow Ratio plus MFI equals 100 – 100 / 1.

The outcome is a range-bound line that fluctuates between 0 and 100.

What does it do?

A asset is deemed overbought when its MFI increases beyond 80 and oversold when its MFI drops below 20. The MFI fluctuates between 0 and 100. Although Quong and Soudack do not recommend these levels as entry signals, they are the proposed overbought and oversold levels. These levels of concern instead signal that the price action and the present trend have reached unsustainable extremes. The 90 and 10 lines, respectively, are suggested by Quong and Soudack as truly overbought and truly oversold levels. Rare MFI moves over and below 10 point to greater levels of unsustainability.

Trading indications for trend reversals can be produced using divergence. When the price and MFI both achieve higher highs, this is known as bearish divergence. This shows a weakening in the uptrend and suggests a possibility of a trend reversal. When the price makes a lower low but the MFI makes a higher low, there is a bullish divergence. Once more, a trend’s weakness is hinted to with a high likelihood that the trend will change direction soon.

The 20 or 80 level failure swings can also be utilized to spot probable price reversals and trade entry points. When the MFI crosses over the overbought or oversold level but turns around before crossing over to the other level, this is known as a failed swing. Therefore, it shows that the uptrend is fragile and that it may soon reverse when the MFI goes above the 20 (oversold) level but turns around before it hits the 80 (overbought) level. This indicates that you need to shorten or cover any long locations. Similar to the previous example, when the MFI goes below the 80 (overbought) level but turns around before it reaches the 20 (oversold) level, it shows a weakness in the downward trend and increases the likelihood that the trend will change. This would be an indication to cover any short positions or to purchase long.

Chaikin Money Flow (CMF)

What is it?

Marc Chaikin, who started working as a stockbroker in 1966, invented the Chaikin Money Flow (CMF), an oscillating market strength indicator. The CMF largely relies on the Accumulation/Distribution (A/D) indicator, which assesses whether money is flowing into or out of an asset during a certain period by comparing the close price and volume of a security with its range (the high and low). According to Marc Chaikin, there should be a default look-back duration of 21 days. Generally speaking, a rising CMF indication indicates that money is beginning to flow into the security, while a falling indicator indicates that money is beginning to flow out of the security.

How is it determined?

Four steps go into calculating the CMF. The Money Flow Multiplier is determined in the first stage using the following formula for each of the periods that make up the look-back period:

((Close – Low) – ((High – Close)) / 2) is the money flow multiplier ( High – Low )

The Volume for each of the periods is multiplied by the Money Flow Multiplier in the second phase to determine the Money Flow Volume:

Volume of Money Flow is equal to Volume x Money Flow Multiplier.

The final step involves summing the Money Flow Volumes from each of the constituent periods to determine the amount for the look-back period.

The sum of the money flow volume for the look-back period is divided by the total volume for the look-back period to arrive at the final result.

The outcome is a line that oscillates between +1 and -1, oscillating above and below the zero line.

What does it do?

The direction of the CMF reflects purchasing or selling strength, with a rising CMF showing higher demand for the underlying asset and a declining CMF indicating a fall in demand, just like the Accumulation/Distribution (A/D) line and On Balance Volume (OBV).

However, in addition to oscillating above and below a zero line, the CMF is also an oscillator. As a result, when the CMF crosses over the zero line, it may be a sign to purchase and go long in the market. On the other hand, when the CMF crosses downward and beyond the zero line, it can be a sell signal to short the market.

Divergence may be used to analyze the CMF, as it can with the majority of other oscillators. The current trend on the price action is weakening, and a potential reversal is coming, when the price action of the underlying asset forms a higher peak or a lower valley without being verified by a higher peak or lower valley on CMF. The downtrend is therefore losing momentum, and a bullish price reversal is likely, when the price of the underlying security hits a lower low while the CMF makes a higher low. Similar to the previous example, it shows that the uptrend is waning and a negative price reversal is likely when the price of the underlying securities hits a higher high but the CMF makes a lower high.


The term “market strength” can be used to describe the overall market as in an All Share Index or the likely strength of a specific trend for a given stock or commodity. The number of rising and falling stocks in a market is taken into account when referring to the broad market index. It takes volume or open interest into account when referring to a certain stock or commodity.

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