Average Directional Index ADX: Definition and Formula


The Average Directional Index is a popular technical analysis tool and a widely-used three-line indicator. It helps traders to find out if the market is trending and how strong this trend is. Finally, the smoothed moving average is calculated over the number of periods selected – at 14 – and the average true range is a smoothed average of the true ranges. The average directional movement is estimated over a period during which the average price’s expansion or contraction is figured using a trend. The trend strength is organized in a trading system formed by Welles Wilder. ADX values help traders identify the strongest and most profitable trends to trade.

average directional index

The Average Directional Index depicts a presence or absence of a trend. ADX advices on the strength of the dominant forces that move market prices here and now. If the ADX climbs by 4 or 5 units after staying low for a long time , it could be a hint to trade the current trend. To get the ADX, continue to calculate DX values for at least 14 periods. The ADX indicator equals 100 times the EMA of the absolute value of (+DI minus –DI) divided by (+DI plus –DI). It is only from which angle you look and how you interpret it.

Sell Signal With Directional Index Crossover

Along these lines, investors can check which direction has more power and spot crossovers that might show recent trends. They weren’t glued to their computer screens every day looking for the next trendy single stock to trade. In fact, not a single one whats a pip in forex of them put single stocks in their top three wealth-contributing factors. Above are examples of the ADX scans that generates buy and sell signals and also give us a list of the stock which fulfills the criteria of the scans for that particular day.

average directional index

In this case, the negative divergence led to a trend reversal. Any time the trend changes character, it is time to assess and/or manage risk. Divergence can lead to trend continuation, consolidation, correction or reversal . The trend is losing momentum but the uptrend remains intact. Even though breakouts are not hard to spot, they often fail to progress or end up being a trap. Yet, the ADX can tell you if they’re valid by showing when ADX is sufficiently strong for the price to trend following the breakout.


Average directional index calculation is based on a couple of steps. These involve the calculation of the directional movement indicators , and calculation of the true range with a moving average or other method selected by the trader . The ADX is used for determining the trend strength irrespective of its direction, which is defined by the components of the Directional Movement Index .

The Average Directional Index indicator is a technical analysis tool traders can use to better get a read on the overall market, particularly related to the strength of a trend. The indicator can also be used to signal when trends are weakening, potentially signaling a reversal. The average directional movement index indicates a trend’s strength and direction; the trend tells traders what to do.

The positive directional indicator, or +DI, equals 100 times the exponential moving average of +DM divided by the average true range over a given number of time periods. The negative directional indicator, or -DI, equals 100 times the exponential moving average of -DM divided by the average true range . The ADX indicator itself equals 100 times remote php developers the exponential moving average of the absolute value of (+DI minus -DI) divided by (+DI plus -DI). Calculations for the ADX are based on a moving average of price fluctuations over a specific period. The ADX combines two other indicators developed by Wilder, the positive directional indicator (+DI) and the negative directional indicator (-DI).

The green dotted lines show the buy signals and the red dotted lines show the sell signals. Wilder’s initial stops were not incorporated larry williams trader books in order to focus on the indicator signals. As the chart clearly shows, there are plenty of +DI and -DI crosses.

You may want to do additional research to determine if closing open positions is appropriate for you. Wilder suggests that a strong trend is present when ADX is above 25 and no trend is present when below 20. An example of how you can use the ADX indicator to identify the type of market condition is presented in the next graph. ADX Crossing 25 from Below indicates that the stock is in trending phase whereas ADX Crossing 25 from Above indicates that the stock is in consolidation phase. Charles is a nationally recognized capital markets specialist and educator with over 30 years of experience developing in-depth training programs for burgeoning financial professionals. Charles has taught at a number of institutions including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Societe Generale, and many more.

average directional index

For instance, when the +DI line crosses past the -DI line and the ADX reading is above 20, then some traders may see this as a lucrative opportunity to buy and go long on an asset . Alternatively, when the -DI crosses past the +DI line, and the ADX reading is above 20, then they may see this as an excellent opportunity to sell and go short . Directional movement indicator crossovers can be used to estimate the performance of a security and predict coming changes in a trend, such as reversals or breakouts.

Trend Strength

The indicator is one of many created by a pioneer in technical analysis, J. Welles Wilder, who also created the Relative Strength Index, the Parabolic SAR, and many others. However, the Directional Movement Indicator only discusses the trend direction.

The Negative Directional Indicator (+DI) is a part of the Average Directional Index and is utilized to quantify the presence of a downtrend. When the -DI is sloping up, it is a sign that the downtrend is getting more grounded. The Positive Directional Indicator (+DI) is a part of the Average Directional Index and is utilized to quantify the presence of an uptrend. When the +DI is inclining up, it is a sign that the uptrend is getting more grounded. One way to trade using ADX is to wait for breakouts first before deciding to go long or short.

Alternatively, if you see a falling ADX line, which indicates an existing trend is weak or there is no trend, you may not want to place as much value in the signals given by trend-following systems. Whereas technical indicators like RSI, MACD, and stochastics can help you determine at what price to buy and sell a stock, ADX is used to help determine how strong a trend is. From an investing perspective, strength can be an important factor as it can help determine if there is momentum behind a market move. The average directional index is a technical analysis indicator used by some traders to determine the strength of a trend. All you have to do is apply the average directional index indicator to a chart, and the indicator will complete all the calculations for you based on the time frame you select.

  • Often used as a complement to other technical indicators, the ADX is a strong factor in deciding whether to buy or sell an asset.
  • When any indicator is used, it should add something that price alone cannot easily tell us.
  • ADX advices on the strength of the dominant forces that move market prices here and now.
  • Moving average convergence/divergence is a momentum indicator that shows the relationship between two moving averages of a security’s price.
  • For example, when ADX rises from below 25 to above 25, the price is strong enough to continue in the breakout direction.

This is nothing more annoying than a messy chart, the ADX cramps up the chart with lines that looked like spaghetti on the screen. We prefer to look at the clean price chart and make our trading choices from reading and interpreting the candlestick movements. Now it’s time for the fun part, where we cut it open and reveal what’s actually the driving force of this indicators operation. Like most indicators the input period is how many candles are passed into the guts of the indicators core algorithm for data processing.

The two indicators can be viewed individually but are most commonly found side-by-side on stock charts. When the two lines cross it can provide buy or sell signals for traders. Full BioCandy Schaap was a long-time price-action trader in traded futures, options, stocks, and bonds. She was a mentor, speaker, and founder of stockmarket.com, a website dedicated to teaching others how to use technical analysis for trading decisions.

Below is the EURUSD daily chart, you can see how our mean value analysis can really give us the edge in determining market direction. Many War Room members were able to capture a nice bearish move here by using this type of mean value analysis and confirming a trade with one of our Price Action signals. This sell signal from the Calculated Bets got us into a bad trade here, depending how wide your stop loss was you probably would have gotten stopped out. Let’s go back over that ADX 20 cross over strategy that many traders are told to use again.

You must have at least 2×N+100 periods of quotes to allow for smoothing convergence. We generally recommend you use at least 2×N+250 data points prior to the intended usage date for better precision. I want to thank a friend for a novice not to have trading in the demo so real and yesterday I discovered your site. You’ll find it in MT4 under Trend indicators, under name «Average Directional Movement Index». The nature of ADX indicator allows experimenting with settings to get best performance.

The chart above shows AT&T with three signals over a 12-month period. These three signals were pretty good, provided profits were taken and trailing stops were used. Wilder’s Parabolic SAR could have been used to set a trailing stop-loss. Notice that there was no sell signal between the March and July buy signals. This is because ADX was not above 20 when -DI crossed above +DI in late April.

Average Directional Index (ADX) Indicator

We do not make any endorsements or warranty on the accuracy or completeness of the information that is provided on this page. By relying on the information on this page, you acknowledge that you are acting knowingly and independently and that you accept all the risks involved. Full BioPete Rathburn is a freelance writer, copy editor, and fact-checker with expertise in economics and personal finance. Anderson is CPA, doctor of accounting, and an accounting and finance professor who has been working in the accounting and finance industries for more than 20 years. Her expertise covers a wide range of accounting, corporate finance, taxes, lending, and personal finance areas.

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Read price first, and then read ADX in the context of what price is doing. When any indicator is used, it should add something that price alone cannot easily tell us. For example, the best trends rise out of periods of price range consolidation. Breakouts from a range occur when there is a disagreement between the buyers and sellers on price, which tips the balance of supply and demand. Whether it is more supply than demand, or more demand than supply, it is the difference that creates price momentum.

When we trade in the direction of a strong trend, it reduces risk and also increases our profit potential. The direction of the ADX line is important for reading trend strength. When the ADX line is rising, trend strength is increasing, and the price moves in the direction of the trend.

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