Relative Volume Indicator

In the world of financial markets, traders and investors rely on a plethora of tools and indicators to make informed decisions. Among these, the Relative Volume Indicator (RVOL) stands out as a powerful yet often underutilized tool. RVOL allows traders to gauge the significance of trading volume over a specified period, making it easier to identify trends, potential breakouts, and market sentiment. In this extensive guide, we will delve deep into the Relative Volume Indicator, examining its features, functionalities, and practical applications.

Relative Volume Indicator
Relative Volume Indicator

Understanding the Essence of Relative Volume

At its core, the Relative Volume Indicator (RVOL) is a metric that quantifies trading volume, facilitating easy comparisons between different trading sessions. By assigning colors to different volume levels, RVOL simplifies the process of interpreting market activity:

  1. Green – Above Average Volume: When the RVOL indicator turns green, it signifies that the trading volume during that session is notably higher than the average volume calculated over a specified time frame. This suggests heightened interest or activity in the asset.
  2. Yellow – Average Volume: A yellow RVOL reading indicates that the trading volume for the session is in line with the calculated average volume over the chosen time period. This suggests a relatively typical level of market activity.
  3. Red – Below Average Volume: When the RVOL is displayed in red, it means that the volume during the session is lower than the average volume calculated over the specified time frame. This can imply a lack of enthusiasm or participation in the market at that particular moment.

Default Setting and Time Frame

The default setting for the Relative Volume Indicator is often set at 20 days, roughly equivalent to a month’s worth of trading data. This default setting is versatile and works well for many traders and investors. However, one of the strengths of RVOL is its adaptability. Users have the option to customize the time frame to align with their trading strategies and preferences. This flexibility enables traders to focus on short-term trends or gain a broader perspective by extending the time frame.

Tick vs. Real Volumes

A notable feature of the Relative Volume Indicator is the ability to choose between tick volumes and real volumes. This choice becomes relevant when trading assets involving futures contracts, as different brokers may provide varying data sources. It is imperative to understand the difference between these two volume types for the effective use of RVOL:

  • Tick Volumes: Tick volumes represent the total number of trades executed during a specific time period, regardless of the volume of each individual trade. This can be useful for assessing market activity and identifying rapid changes in trading frequency.
  • Real Volumes: Real volumes, on the other hand, consider the actual volume of each trade, providing a more accurate depiction of the total volume traded during a session. Real volumes are often considered more reliable when available.

Practical Applications of RVOL in Trading

The Relative Volume Indicator serves as a valuable tool for traders and investors, offering several practical applications:

  1. Evaluating Breakouts and Support Levels: RVOL can help traders assess the strength of a breakout from a trading range or the penetration of a critical support or resistance level. When a breakout is accompanied by above-average green RVOL, it suggests a stronger and more convincing move, increasing the likelihood of a sustained trend.
  2. Analyzing Impulsive Moves and Pullbacks: Impulsive moves in the market, characterized by sudden price surges or declines, can be evaluated using RVOL. Traders can look for green RVOL during impulsive moves, indicating strong buying or selling pressure. Additionally, yellow or red RVOL during pullbacks can help assess the sustainability of the retracement.
  3. Identifying Hidden Opportunities: RVOL can reveal hidden trading opportunities. For instance, if a stock or asset experiences a sudden surge in price with green RVOL but remains under the radar of most traders, it may indicate a potential early entry point before the broader market catches on.
  4. Confirmation of Trends: Traders often use RVOL to confirm the strength of existing trends. Consistently green RVOL during an uptrend or consistently red RVOL during a downtrend can provide confidence in the trend’s continuation.

Leveraging Historical Data for Precise Analysis

It is crucial to emphasize the significance of historical data in ensuring the accuracy and reliability of RVOL calculations. If the RVOL histogram starts to appear distorted when scrolling back in time, it implies that more historical data is needed. To address this issue, traders can scroll back as far as possible and then reload the timeframe. This action prompts the RVOL histogram to recalculate accurately, ensuring that traders have access to the most reliable data for their analysis.

Advanced RVOL Strategies

While the basic applications of RVOL are undoubtedly powerful, more advanced strategies can further enhance its utility for traders and investors:

  1. RVOL Divergence: RVOL can be used in conjunction with price action to identify divergence patterns. For instance, if the price of an asset is making higher highs while RVOL is making lower highs, it can be a bearish divergence signal, indicating potential weakness in the trend.
  2. Multiple Time Frame Analysis: Traders can apply RVOL across different time frames to gain a comprehensive understanding of market dynamics. For example, combining RVOL on daily and hourly charts can provide insights into both the macro and micro trends.
  3. RVOL Crossovers: Similar to moving average crossovers, traders can use RVOL crossovers to identify potential trend reversals. When the short-term RVOL crosses above the long-term RVOL, it may signal a shift in market sentiment.

Real-Life Examples and Case Studies

To illustrate the practical use of RVOL, let’s examine a few real-life examples and case studies:

Example 1: Identifying a Strong Breakout

Suppose you are analyzing the stock of Company X, which has been trading in a range for several months. One day, you notice that the stock breaks out of this range with a substantial increase in price. Simultaneously, the RVOL indicator turns green, indicating above-average volume. This combination suggests a strong breakout with significant buying interest, increasing your confidence in the sustainability of the upward move.

Example 2: Assessing a Pullback

In another scenario, you are trading a cryptocurrency that has been on a bullish run. However, you notice that the price suddenly starts to pull back. By checking the RVOL, you see that it has turned yellow, signifying average volume during the pullback. This suggests that the market is taking a breather rather than experiencing a significant reversal, potentially offering a buying opportunity for traders looking to enter the market at a lower price point.

Example 3: Recognizing Hidden Opportunities

Imagine you are an active trader who regularly scans for potential trading opportunities. You come across a relatively unknown biotech company that has recently released positive clinical trial results for a groundbreaking drug. While the stock is not widely covered, you notice that it has experienced a substantial price increase accompanied by green RVOL. This suggests that institutional investors or savvy traders are taking notice, and there might be an opportunity to get in early on the trend before it gains widespread attention.


The Relative Volume Indicator (RVOL) is a versatile and valuable tool for traders and investors seeking to gain deeper insights into market dynamics. Its ability to quantify trading volume and categorize it into above-average, average, and below-average categories simplifies the interpretation of market activity. Whether you’re assessing breakouts, identifying impulsive moves, or confirming trends, RVOL can provide you with a comprehensive view of market sentiment and help you make well-informed trading decisions.

Moreover, the flexibility of RVOL in terms of time frame and data source (tick vs. real volumes) enhances its utility for traders across various markets and asset classes. However, it is imperative to ensure the availability of historical data to maintain the accuracy of RVOL calculations.

In summary, the Relative Volume Indicator is a powerful tool that deserves consideration for inclusion in your trading strategy. By mastering the nuances of RVOL and incorporating it into your analytical toolkit, you can gain a competitive edge in the dynamic world of financial markets.

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