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What is an Ichimoku cloud indicator?


The Ichimoku cloud indicator is a technical analysis method used to assess momentum and future areas of support and resistance. This unique indicator provides traders with an all-in-one charting system rather than using multiple indicators.

Learn the origins and components of the Ichimoku cloud indicator. We’ll demystify how each line is calculated and how to interpret the clouds for potential trades.


Origins of the Ichimoku Cloud Indicator

The Ichimoku cloud indicator was developed in the late 1930s by Goichi Hosoda, a Japanese journalist, and published under the pseudonym Ichimoku Sanjin. Although developed earlier, it wasn’t until the 1960s that Ichimoku gained popularity in the Western world.

Hosoda spent over 30 years perfecting this system by backtesting it on multiple markets. He wanted to create a trading method that could identify support/resistance levels and gauge market momentum in a single glance.

Unlike other indicators, Hosoda developed Ichimoku clouds based on averages rather than absolute price levels. This allows the indicator to better adapt to price fluctuations. The calculations also consider the highest high and lowest low over specific periods, allowing analysis of a security’s long-term equilibrium.

The indicator’s name is significant to “Ichimoku Kinko Hyo,” which translates to “one glance equilibrium chart” in Japanese. This accurately describes the indicator’s ability to assess market conditions quickly through a single chart overlay.

Read this article for more insights: What is a trading indicator and how it helps you as a trader


Components of the Ichimoku Cloud

The Ichimoku cloud is made up of five main components that display market momentum and forecasted support/resistance:

  1. Tenkan-Sen – The Tenkan line is the 9-period moving average of the highest high and lowest low. Also called the turning/conversion line, the Tenkan shows momentum and indicates potential trend reversals when the price crosses above or below it.
  2. Kijun-Sen – The Kijun line is the 26-period moving average of the highest high and lowest low. Also considered the standard line, the Kijun is an early sign of potential reversals when Tenkan crosses it. The closer the Kijun is to price action, the stronger the momentum as it approaches critical levels.
  3. Senkou Span A – This is the midpoint between the Tenkan and Kijun lines plotted forward 26 periods to form one edge of the Ichimoku cloud. It indicates expected support/resistance levels in the short term.
  4. Senkou Span B – This calculates the midpoint between the 52-period high and low projected 26 periods ahead to form the second cloud edge. It indicates expected support/resistance levels in the medium term.
  5. Chikou Span – The lagging line plots closing prices 26 periods in the past to gauge how the current price relates to previous momentum. When Chikou crosses the current price, it often signals potential trend changes.

Together, these components create smoothed trading bands (clouds) 26 periods in the future to visualize both short and medium-term equilibrium zones.

To get a more fundamental knowledge: What is forex trading and how can you start?


How to calculate the Ichimoku Cloud lines


What is an Ichimoku cloud indicator?


The Tenkan-Sen is the foundation of the Ichimoku indicator. We first identify the highest and lowest prices over the last nine periods to calculate it. The period here refers to nine candlesticks rather than a set timeframe.

We average those values once we locate the peak (highest high) and trough (lowest low) over nine candles. So the Tenkan-Sen equals:

(Highest High over 9 candles + Lowest Low over 9 candles) / 2

This creates a 9-period moving average midpoint that acts as the conversion line. The Tenkan-Sen is fast-moving and helps spot momentum direction and potential reversals quickly.

Next is the Kijun-Sen, which serves as the baseline for Ichimoku analysis. This is computed by identifying the highest and lowest low over 26 candlesticks. Then, we average the highest peak and deepest low over that longer 26-candle sample. The Kijun-Sen equals:

(Highest High over 26 candles + Lowest Low over 26 candles) / 2

Since it references a more comprehensive 26-period range, the Kijun-Sen moves slower than the Tenkan line. Crossovers between Tenkan and Kijun lines drive core Ichimoku trading signals.

Now that the foundation lines are set, we can calculate the Ichimoku cloud itself. Senkou Span A builds the first dynamic cloud edge. It plots the average between the Tenkan-Sen and Kijun-Sen, projected 26 periods into the future. So the Senkou A value is:

(Tenkan-Sen + Kijun-Sen) / 2, plotted 26 periods ahead

Senkou Span B calculates the second cloud boundary. This wider span averages the highest peak and lowest trough over 52 candlesticks. Like Span A, it shifts forward 26 periods. The formula is:

(Highest 52-period High + Lowest 52-period Low) / 2, plotted 26 periods ahead

Finally, the Chikou Span shows closing prices lagged back 26 periods. This helps gauge inverted momentum shifts relative to the cloud. It looks like:

Today’s closing price shifted 26 candlesticks back.

These five lines compose the full Ichimoku Kinko Hyo indicator, and painted Ichimoku clouds are shown directly on the price chart.

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How to interpret the Ichimoku Cloud


What is an Ichimoku cloud indicator?


With the individual components covered, we can now move on to interpreting Ichimoku cloud signals for potential trade ideas.

One of the most basic cloud interpretations relates to the trend. When price action stays above the cloud, it signals an uptrend. Conversely, trading below the cloud indicates a downtrend. The further away the price moves from the cloud boundaries in either direction, the stronger the ongoing trend.

The upper and lower levels of the cloud itself act as areas of future support and resistance. The cloud projects ahead, so its bands highlight where the price could meet demand or supply. Trading in alignment with the prevailing cloud levels tends to have a higher probability of success.

Crossovers between the Tenkan line and the Kijun line produce trade signals. When the Tenkan crosses over the Kijun from below, it generates a bullish signal. A bearish signal occurs when the Kijun crosses below the Tenkan. Crossovers often happen at or near cloud boundaries and indicate potential trend reversals.

The Chikou lagging span provides clues about upside/downside momentum. When the Chikou crosses above price bars, it reflects building bullish momentum. Below price crossovers signal fading momentum and impending bearish moves.


Is Ichimoku Cloud effective?

Now that you understand what the Ichimoku cloud indicator displays across its five lines let’s discuss some of the key trading benefits:

All-in-one system

Rather than cluttering your charts with numerous indicators that often conflict, the Ichimoku cloud condenses this into one overlay with integrated signals. This simplifies analysis while providing a complete visual assessment of market momentum near key zones.

Smoothed price action

By calculating midpoints between recent highest high/lowest low ranges, the Ichimoku lines create a smoothed trend environment to prevent whipsaws compared to more sensitive moving averages.

Future projections

The unique displacements ahead of the Senkou span forecast expected support and resistance zones well before the price reaches those critical levels. This gives traders ample notice to prepare trades as price dynamics shift across different timeframes.

Easy to interpret

Despite the complex calculations underneath, the actual Ichimoku cloud signals are very straightforward for analysing trades. Simply interpret directional bias based on colour, crossovers, cloud boundaries, and the lagging span. This makes it appealing to visual traders.

Works across all markets

Unlike some indicators only useful for specific assets, Ichimoku clouds adapt well across forex, stocks, commodities, and cryptocurrency markets. The dynamic calculations mean the indicator can be deployed universally across any actively trading instrument.

This article may pique your interest: Why trading psychology is important?


To wrap things up,

For active traders, having Ichimoku Cloud in your toolbox gives an edge in confirming directional bias and identifying high-probability setups. Going beyond basic support/resistance, Ichimoku projects future equilibrium zones where price often gets drawn towards when wavering too far in either direction for too long.

Understanding these self-correcting price dynamics is the key to exploiting temporary momentum surges. When the price shoots above or dips below the Cloud bands, we can anticipate the pullback coming as value traders buy low or sell high. This pattern repeats consistently across all markets, making Ichimoku universal.

So, if you aren’t already tapping into the predictive insights of Ichimoku Cloud, be sure to integrate it into your trading plan. Whether using it to confirm existing bias on pullbacks or looking for high-probability breakouts, mastering this method early will mean long-term growth for years to come.


Learn more about the Ichimoku Cloud indicator at

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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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