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Market momentum is a crucial concept in technical analysis. Understanding the momentum of a stock or market can provide valuable insights for traders and investors. 

One popular tool used to analyse market momentum is the Chaikin Oscillator. In this article, we will explore what the Chaikin Oscillator is, how it works, and how it can be used for technical analysis.


Understanding Market Momentum

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Before diving into the specifics of the Chaikin Oscillator, it is important to have a solid understanding of market momentum. Market momentum refers to the strength or velocity of a price movement in a particular direction. It is a measure of the market's enthusiasm and can indicate the overall sentiment of buyers or sellers.

Market momentum can be categorised into three types: bullish momentum, bearish momentum, and neutral momentum. Bullish momentum occurs when prices are rising, and buyers are in control. 

Bearish momentum, on the other hand, happens when prices are falling, and sellers dominate the market. Neutral momentum suggests a lack of conviction from either buyers or sellers, resulting in a sideways or range-bound market.


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What is the Chaikin Oscillator?


Colorful stock market chart on a dark background


The Chaikin Oscillator is a technical indicator developed by Marc Chaikin. It is used to measure the accumulation or distribution of money flow in a stock or market. The oscillator combines the concepts of volume and price to provide insights into the strength of buying or selling pressure.

The Chaikin Oscillator is calculated by subtracting a 10-day exponential moving average (EMA) of the Accumulation/Distribution Line from a 3-day EMA of the same line. The Accumulation/Distribution Line is a volume-based indicator that takes into account the close, high, low, and volume of a stock or market.


How Does the Chaikin Oscillator Work?

The Chaikin Oscillator works by comparing the current price action to the volume of the market. It uses the concept of accumulation and distribution to identify buying or selling pressure. 

When the Chaikin Oscillator is positive, it suggests that the market is experiencing accumulation, meaning that prices are rising with strong volume. Conversely, a negative Chaikin Oscillator indicates distribution, implying that prices are falling with high volume.

The Chaikin Oscillator is often displayed as a line chart with zero as the centerline. Values above zero indicate bullish momentum, while values below zero indicate bearish momentum. Traders can also look for divergences between the Chaikin Oscillator and price to identify potential reversals or trend continuations.


Interpreting Chaikin Oscillator Signals

Interpreting the signals generated from the Chaikin Oscillator is a crucial aspect of using this indicator for technical analysis. Here are some common signals and their implications:

  • Crossing the Centerline: When the Chaikin Oscillator crosses above the zero line, it suggests a shift from bearish to bullish momentum. Conversely, a cross below the zero line indicates a shift from bullish to bearish momentum.
  • Divergence: Bullish or bearish divergences occur when the price of a stock or market is moving in one direction, while the Chaikin Oscillator is moving in the opposite direction. This can indicate a potential reversal in the market trend.
  • Overbought and Oversold Conditions: Extreme values on the Chaikin Oscillator can signal overbought or oversold conditions. When the oscillator reaches extremely high levels, it suggests that the market is overbought and may be due for a pullback. Conversely, extremely low levels indicate oversold conditions and a potential bounce in prices.


Chaikin Oscillator Formula 

Money Flow Multiplier (N): This component determines the relative position of the close price within the high-low range of the day. It is calculated as:

N= (Close−Low)−(High−Close)​/ High−Low

Money Flow Volume (M): This is the product of the Money Flow Multiplier and the volume for the period. It reflects the volume weighted by the position of the close price within the day's range.

M = N * Volume(Period)

Accumulation Distribution Line (ADL): The ADL is a cumulative indicator that adds or subtracts each day's money flow volume, depending on where the close is within the day's range. The ADL for a given period is calculated by adding the current period's money flow volume to the previous period's ADL:


Chaikin Oscillator (CO): The CO is the difference between the 3-day exponential moving average (EMA) of the ADL and the 10-day EMA of the ADL. This highlights the momentum of the ADL over a short period versus a longer period.

CO=(3-day EMA of ADL)−(10-day EMA of ADL)


Calculation of Chaikin Oscillator


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To compute the Chaikin Oscillator, follow these four essential steps, starting with the calculation of the Accumulation-Distribution Line (ADL):

  1. Determine the Money Flow Multiplier (N) first.
  2. Next, the Money Flow Multiplier (N) should be multiplied by the trading volume to arrive at the Money Flow Volume (M).
  3. Accumulate the Money Flow Volume (M) over time to construct the Accumulation-Distribution Line (ADL).
  4. Finally, find the Chaikin Oscillator by taking the difference between the exponential moving averages (EMAs) over 3 periods and 10 periods.

This process involves first calculating the Money Flow Multiplier and Volume to create the ADL, followed by applying EMAs to derive the Chaikin Oscillator, which reflects market momentum.


Using the Chaikin Oscillator for Technical Analysis

The Chaikin Oscillator can be a powerful tool for technical analysis. It provides insights into the strength of buying or selling pressure and can help traders make informed decisions. Here are some ways the Chaikin Oscillator can be used in technical analysis:

  • Confirmation of Trends: The Chaikin Oscillator can be used to confirm the strength of a trend. If the oscillator is consistently positive during an uptrend or negative during a downtrend, it suggests that the trend is strong and likely to continue.
  • Identifying Reversals: Divergences between the Chaikin Oscillator and price can signal potential reversals in the market. If the price is making higher highs while the oscillator is making lower highs, it may indicate a bearish reversal. Conversely, lower lows in price with higher lows in the oscillator can suggest a bullish reversal.
  • Volume Analysis: The Chaikin Oscillator incorporates volume data, making it a useful tool for volume analysis. Traders can compare the volume patterns with the oscillator to identify periods of high buying or selling pressure.


Benefits of Using the Chaikin Oscillator

There are several benefits to using the Chaikin Oscillator in technical analysis:

  1. Clear Signals: The Chaikin Oscillator generates clear signals that can be easily interpreted by traders. The crossing of the centerline and divergences provide clear indications of shifts in market momentum.
  2. Incorporates Volume Data: Unlike many other technical indicators, the Chaikin Oscillator takes into account volume data. This provides valuable insights into the strength of buying or selling pressure.
  3. Can Be Used in Conjunction With Other Indicators: The Chaikin Oscillator can be used in combination with other technical indicators to enhance trading strategies. It can provide confirmation or divergence signals when used alongside other momentum or trend-following indicators.


Limitations and Considerations When Using the Chaikin Oscillator

While the Chaikin Oscillator can be a powerful tool, it is essential to be aware of its limitations and consider other factors when using it for technical analysis. Here are some limitations and considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Whipsaw Signals: Like many other oscillators, the Chaikin Oscillator can generate whipsaw signals during periods of choppy or sideways markets. It is important to consider the overall market context and use the oscillator in conjunction with other indicators for confirmation.
  2. Not suitable for All Market Conditions: The Chaikin Oscillator is best suited for trending markets where there is clear buying or selling pressure. In choppy or range-bound markets, the oscillator may not provide reliable signals.
  3. False Signals: The Chaikin Oscillator, like any technical indicator, is not infallible and can generate false signals. It is important to use proper risk management and consider other factors before making trading decisions based solely on the oscillator's signals.


Final Thoughts

The Chaikin Oscillator is a powerful tool for analysing market momentum. It combines volume and price data to provide insights into the strength of buying or selling pressure. By understanding how the oscillator works and interpreting its signals, traders can make informed decisions and enhance their technical analysis.

It is important to remember that the Chaikin Oscillator is just one tool in a trader's toolkit. It should be used in conjunction with other technical indicators and factors to make well-rounded trading decisions. With proper risk management and consideration of market conditions, the Chaikin Oscillator can be a valuable asset for traders and investors alike.

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“When considering “CFDs” for trading and price predictions, remember that trading CFDs involves a significant risk and could result in capital loss. Past performance is not indicative of any future results. This information is provided for informative purposes only and should not be considered investment advice.” 

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