Best Technical Indicators for Rookie Traders

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Best Technical Indicators for Rookie Traders

Are you just getting started in the trading game? It is critical to look for the best technical indicators to track the event. It influences how you assess trends—both on positions and overall averages—as well as the kind of opportunities that appear in your nightly research. Choose well, and you’ve laid a good basis for speculative success. If you make a bad decision, predators will be there to pick your pocket at every step.

Key Takeaways

  • Technical indicators are classified into five types: trend, mean reversion, relative strength, volume, and momentum.
  • Leading indicators seek to forecast where the price will go, whilst lagging indicators provide a historical record of the factors that led to the present price being where it is.
  • Simple moving averages (SMAs), exponential moving averages (EMAs), bollinger bands, stochastics, and on-balance volume are all popular technical indicators (OBV).

Novice Trading Strategies

When creating their first trading screens, most amateurs follow the herd, grabbing a stack of prepackaged indicators and shoving as many as possible beneath the price bars of their preferred stocks. Because it looks at the market from too many sides at once, this “more is better” approach short circuits signal creation. It’s odd, since indicators perform best when they simplify analysis, cutting through the noise and offering actionable information on trend, momentum, and timing.

Instead, adopt a different strategy by categorizing the sorts of information you want to monitor during the trading day, week, or month. In reality, practically all technical indications fall into one of five study areas. Each category is further separated into two parts: leading and trailing. Leading indicators seek to forecast where the price will go, whilst lagging indicators provide a historical record of the factors that led to the present price being where it is.

  • Lagging trend indicators examine whether a market is trending up, down, or sideways over time.
  • Mean reversion indicators (lagging) determine how far a price movement may go before a counter-impulse causes a pullback.
  • The oscillations in purchasing and selling pressure are measured by relative strength indicators (leading).
  • Momentum indicators (leading) assess the rate at which prices move over time.
  • Volume indicators (leading or trailing) count transactions and determine whether bulls or bears are in charge.
  Trading Strategy Definition

So, how can a novice choose the proper setting from the start and prevent months of fruitless signal production? In most circumstances, the ideal way is to start with the most popular figures, modifying one indication at a time, and evaluating whether the result improves or degrades your performance. You’ll soon comprehend the special demands of your level if you use this strategy.

Now that you’ve learned about the five ways indicators analyze market behavior, let’s look at the finest ones in each category for new traders.

Trend Indicators

50-Day EMA and 200-Day EMA

Image by Sabrina Jiang © Investopedia2020

We’ll start with two indicators that are shown alongside the daily, weekly, or intraday price bars in the same panel. Moving averages examine price movement over certain time periods, dividing the total to establish a running average that is updated with each new bar. The 50- and 200-day exponential moving averages (EMAs) are more sensitive counterparts of their more familiar siblings, the simple moving averages (SMAs).In a nutshell, the 50-day EMA represents a security’s average intermediate price, and the 200-day EMA measures its average long-term price.

The 50- and 200-day EMAs of the US Oil Fund (USO) increased consistently during the summer of 2014, while the instrument reached a 9-month high. The 50-day EMA fell in August, and the 200-day EMA followed suit a month later. The shorter-term average then crossed over the longer-term average (shown by the red circle), indicating a negative shift in trend before a historic collapse.

Mean Reversion Indicators

Bollinger Bands

USO buying and selling impulses extend into apparently buried levels, triggering counter waves or retracements. Bollinger bands (20, 2) attempt to detect these turning moments by evaluating how far price may move away from a central tendency pivot—in this example, the 20-day SMA—before triggering a reversionary impulse move back to the mean.

  Bullish Divergences and Bearish Reversal Signals

The bands compress and extend in response to volatility swings, alerting traders when this unseen factor is no longer an impediment to quick price movement.

Relative Strength Indicators


Image by Sabrina Jiang © Investopedia2020

Market action is characterized by buy-and-sell cycles, which may be detected using stochastics (14,7,3) and other relative strength indicators. These cycles often peak at overbought or oversold levels and then reverse direction, with the two indicator lines crossing over. As you may assume, cycle changes do not inevitably translate into higher or lower security prices. Rather, bullish or bearish turns indicate times when buyers or sellers dominate the ticker tape. Price movement is still driven by volume, momentum, and other market variables.

Over a 5-month period, SPDR S&P Trust (SPY) oscillates through a series of buy-and-sell cycles. Look for indications in:

  1. There has been a crossing at or near an overbought or oversold level.
  2. The indicator lines then shove toward the panel’s center.

Because stochastics may swing around extreme levels for lengthy durations in strongly moving markets, this two-tiered validation is required. And, although 14,7,3 is a good starting point for new traders, you should try to discover the level that works best for the instrument you’re monitoring. Experienced traders, for example, use quicker 5,3,3 inputs.

Momentum Indicators


Image by Sabrina Jiang © Investopedia2020

The Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) indicator, with settings of 12, 26, 9, provides inexperienced traders with a valuable tool for analyzing quick price changes. This basic momentum indicator examines how quickly a market moves while attempting to identify natural turning points. When the histogram hits a high and reverses direction to pierce through the zero line, buy or sell signals are generated. The height and depth of the histogram, as well as the rate of change, all combine to provide a wealth of market data.

  Peak-and-Trough Analysis

Over a 5-month period, SPY exhibits four significant MACD indications. The first signal indicates fading velocity, whereas the second catches a directional shove that occurs immediately after the signal is turned off. The third signal seems to be a false positive, but it precisely anticipates the conclusion of the February-March purchasing surge. The fourth causes a whipsaw, which is seen when the histogram fails to cross the zero line.

Volume Indicators

On-Balance-Volume (OBV)

Image by Sabrina Jiang © Investopedia2020

Maintain volume histograms underneath your price bars to assess current levels of interest in a certain securities or market. Participation slope over time exposes new trends, frequently before pricing patterns complete breakouts or breakdowns. You may also apply a 50-day volume average over the indicator to evaluate how the current session compares to previous sessions.

To complete your transaction flow snapshot, include on-balance volume (OBV), an accumulation-distribution indication. The indicator aggregates together buying and selling activity to determine if bulls or bears are winning the price war. On OBV, you may construct trendlines and follow the series of highs and lows. It is an excellent convergence-divergence tool. Bank of America (BAC) demonstrated this between January and April when prices reached a higher high but OBV reached a lower high, signifying a bearish divergence before a severe collapse.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the appropriate technical indicators is difficult, but it is manageable if beginner traders divide the impacts into five market research categories: trend, mean reversion, relative strength, momentum, and volume. They may begin the lengthy but rewarding process of modifying inputs to meet their trading styles and risk tolerance after they’ve added useful indicators for each category.

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