Everything You Need To Know About Momentum Indicators

Unlock stock market trends with momentum indicators like RSI and MACD. Learn trading techniques, calculations, and combination use for success.

Everything You Need To Know About Momentum Indicators

What Is A Momentum Indicator?

Momentum indicators are technical analysis tools traders use to evaluate the strength and direction of price trends in the market. They identify potential buy and sell signals based on a stock's momentum or index.

Understanding momentum indicators is important for traders because it allows them to make more informed decisions about when to enter or exit a trade. By analysing a stock's or index's momentum, traders can determine if the trend is likely to continue or if a reversal is imminent.

This article will discuss the top momentum indicators used in stock trading, how to use them, and their advantages and limitations.

The Momentum indicator should be used by traders who want to invest in the stock market. Traders can use this technical analysis technique to determine bullish or bearish trends by measuring the rate of change in a security's price. Traders can decide whether to enter or quit transactions by keeping an eye on the direction of the indicator.

To get a whole picture of the market, the momentum indicator should, however, be used in conjunction with other indicators and analysis methods. Traders can make more informed decisions and eventually improve their chances of success in stock trading by combining the Momentum indicator with other tools.

Historical Background Of Momentum Indicators

The concept of momentum in trading can be traced back to the early 20th century when economist and trader Ralph Nelson Elliott developed his theory of wave analysis. Elliott believed that market trends followed a series of predictable wave patterns that could be used to predict future price movements.

Since then, momentum indicators have become a popular tool for traders, with various technical analysts and chartists developing their own unique indicators over time.

Purpose Of Momentum Indicators

The primary purpose of using momentum indicators is to identify potential buy/sell signals based on a security's price movement. These indicators can help traders determine whether a security is in an uptrend or downtrend and whether momentum is building or fading.

By using momentum indicators in conjunction with other technical analysis tools, such as support and resistance levels, traders can gain a more complete picture of the market and make more informed trading decisions.

However, it is important to remember that no indicator or tool can predict market movements with 100% accuracy, and traders should always exercise caution and manage their risk accordingly.

Momentum Indicator Formula

Momentum indicators are a popular tool in stock trading used by traders to measure the rate of change in a security's price. Calculating momentum manually is unnecessary, as it can be easily measured using various investing software programs and websites. However, it is crucial for traders and analysts to understand the calculation process and variables used to determine the trend and momentum of a financial instrument.

To calculate momentum, one can use the formula

  • Divide the current closing price by the previous closing price
  • Multiply the quotient by 100

Hence, the formula is,

MOM=(current closing price ÷ closing price of a previous period) x 100

While momentum indicators can be useful in identifying bullish trends, they should be used in conjunction with other analysis techniques to provide a more complete picture of the market.

How To Trade With Momentum Indicators

Crossover Technique

Traders use the crossover technique by buying when the momentum indicator crosses above a certain level and selling when it crosses below that level.

The Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) indicator generates buy or sell signals when the MACD line crosses the signal line from above or below. A crossover from above indicates a sell signal, while a crossover from below indicates a buy signal.

Traders often use this momentum indicator to identify changes in a stock's trend and to make informed trading decisions.


Divergence occurs when a momentum indicator and the market price of a stock move in opposite directions, indicating a potential reversal in momentum.

Bullish divergence happens when the market price and momentum move in opposite directions, suggesting a potential upward trend. In contrast, bearish divergence occurs when both suddenly move downwards after an upward trend, indicating a potential downward trend.


Real-life examples of trading with momentum indicators:

  • One example of trading with momentum indicators is buying a stock when the RSI indicator is oversold and selling when it becomes overbought.
  • Another example is using the MACD indicator to buy a stock when the MACD line crosses above the signal line and selling when it crosses below the signal line.

Types Of Momentum Indicators

Momentum indicators are used to measure the strength of a trend by comparing the current price to its historical price. Some of the most popular momentum indicators are:

  • Relative Strength Index (RSI): The Relative Strength Index (RSI) is a popular momentum indicator among traders that measures price changes and their rates. It oscillates between 0 and 100 and can help spot signals by identifying divergences and inefficient swings.

    RSI is also helpful in identifying uptrends and downtrends and can signal when to sell during overbought conditions and buy during oversold conditions.
  • Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD): Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) momentum indicator generates a buying signal when the MACD line crosses the signal line from below. Conversely, a selling signal is generated when the MACD line crosses the signal line from above.

    The MACD line is calculated by subtracting the 26-day exponential moving average from the 12-day exponential moving average, while the signal line is a 9-day exponential moving average of the MACD line. When the MACD line crosses above the signal line, it suggests that the stock's momentum is shifting to the upside, and it may be a good time to buy. Similarly, when the MACD line crosses below the signal line, it suggests that the stock's momentum is shifting to the downside, and it may be a good time to sell.
  • Average Directional Index (ADX): ADX is a widely used momentum indicator that measures the strength of a trend in both uptrends and downtrends. It consists of two lines, the Positive Directional Indicator (+DI) and the Negative Directional Indicator (-NDI), that help traders make decisions about going long or short. Its primary function is to identify the strength of a trend.
  • Rate of Change (ROC): The Rate of Change (ROC) is a popular momentum indicator that measures the percentage change in the current price of an asset compared to its price at a previous time period. Traders use ROC to identify potential overbought or oversold conditions in an asset. For example, if the ROC rises above zero, it indicates that the asset's price is increasing faster than the previous period.

    Conversely, if the ROC is falling below zero, it indicates that the asset's price is declining at a faster rate than in the previous period. ROC is a useful tool for traders to identify potential entry and exit points in the market.
  • Stochastic Oscillator: The Stochastic Oscillator is a popular momentum indicator traders use to track the momentum and speed of financial instrument prices over a specific period. It compares the current closing price of the instrument to its price range over the same period. The oscillator ranges from 0 to 100 and is used to identify overbought and oversold conditions.

    For example, a reading above 80 indicates overbought conditions, while a reading below 20 indicates oversold conditions. Traders use this information to make buy or sell decisions based on the market's momentum.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Momentum Indicators

Momentum indicators have several advantages, including their ability to show price trends and measure the strengths and weaknesses of price movements. They can also signal trading decisions, helping market participants determine when to enter and exit the markets. Additionally, momentum indicators are useful for confirming trading strategies.

However, it's important to note that momentum indicators can sometimes produce false signals when used in isolation. Therefore, analysing them alongside other technical analysis tools, such as moving averages, is advisable to accurately identify trends and price trajectories. By doing so, market participants can better understand the strength and trajectory of price movements, allowing for more confident trading decisions.


Momentum indicators are essential tools in technical analysis for stock trading. They help traders to identify trends, predict the direction of the price movement, and make informed trading decisions. Among the popular momentum indicators, RSI and MACD are considered to be the most reliable. However, it is important to understand their advantages and limitations and use them in combination with other technical indicators for better results.

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