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Leading Indicators

A leading indicator gives a buy signal before the new trend or reversal occurs.

A stochastic is an oscillator that measures overbought and oversold conditions in the market.

Stochastics tells us when the market is overbought or oversold.  Stochastics are scaled from 0 to 100.  When the stochastic lines are above 80 (the red dotted line in the chart above), then it means the market is overbought.  When the stochastic lines are below 20 (the blue dotted line), then it means that the market is oversold.  As a rule of thumb, we buy when the market is oversold, and we sell when the market is overbought.


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An oscillator is any object or data that moves back and forth between two points. In other words, it’s an item that is going to always fall somewhere between point A and point B. Think of when you hit the oscillating switch on your electric fan.

Think of our technical indicators as either being “on” or “off”. More specifically, an oscillator will usually signal “buy” or “sell”, with the only exception being instances when the oscillator is not clearly at either end of the buy/sell range. 

Some examples of leading indicators are:

  • Stochastics
  • Parabolic SAR
  • Relative Strength Index (RSI)

Each of these indicators is designed to signal a possible reversal, where the previous trend has run its course and the price is ready to change direction.

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Relative Strength Index, or RSI, is similar to stochastics in that it identifies overbought and oversold conditions in the market.  It is also scaled from 0 to 100. Typically, readings below 30 indicate oversold, while readings over 70 indicate overbought. 

RSI - Relative Strength Index

RSI is a very popular tool because it can also be used to confirm trend formations.  If you think a trend is forming, take a quick look at the RSI and look at whether it is above or below 50.  If you are looking at a possible uptrend, then make sure the RSI is above 50.  If you are looking at a possible downtrend, then make sure the RSI is below 50.

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One indicator that can help us determine where a trend might be ending is the Parabolic SAR (Stop And Reversal).

Parabolic SAR

A Parabolic SAR places dots, or points, on a chart that indicate potential reversals in price movement. From the chart above, you can see that the dots shift from being below the candles during the uptrend, to above the candles when the trend reverses into a downtrend. 

When the dots are below the candles, it is a buy signal; and when the dots are above the candles, it is a sell signal. 

This tool is best used in markets that are trending.  You DON’T want to use this tool in a choppy market where the price movement is sideways.

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