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The Detrended Price Oscillator (DPO) is a powerful technical analysis tool that helps traders and investors identify price cycles and trends in financial markets. 

By removing the trend component from price data, the DPO allows for a deeper understanding of market dynamics and offers valuable insights into potential turning points and reversals. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the workings of the DPO, how to interpret its signals and patterns, and its application in different trading strategies.


How Does the Detrended Price Oscillator Work?

Yes, your description of the Detrended Price Oscillator (DPO) is essentially correct. The DPO is a technical analysis tool designed to remove the trend from the price action, helping to identify cycles and, potentially, overbought or oversold conditions in a market.

The moving average used is typically a simple moving average of a specific period, such as 20 or 50 days. Subtracting the moving average from the selected price point, the DPO eliminates the long-term trend, allowing for a clearer view of short-term price cycles.

Unlike other oscillators that are based on momentum or rate of change, the DPO focuses solely on detrending the price data. This unique approach makes it particularly useful for identifying cycles and patterns that may not be apparent when using other technical indicators. 

Examining the DPO values allows traders to uncover insights into the fundamental market forces, enabling them to make better-informed trading decisions.



Understanding Price Cycles and Trends

Before delving into the intricacies of the Detrended Price Oscillator, it is essential to have a solid understanding of price cycles and trends. In financial markets, prices do not move in a straight line but instead exhibit cyclical patterns. 

These cycles can be short-term, medium-term, or long-term in nature and can be influenced by various factors such as market sentiment, economic indicators, and geopolitical events. Price cycles are characterised by alternating periods of expansion and contraction, where prices move away from and then back towards an equilibrium level. 

These cycles can be visualised as peaks and troughs on a price chart, forming recognizable patterns such as triangles, channels, and head and shoulders. Trends, on the other hand, refer to the overall direction of prices over a more extended period. 

They can be classified as uptrends, downtrends, or sideways trends, depending on whether prices are consistently moving higher, lower, or remaining relatively flat. Understanding these trends is crucial for effectively using the Detrended Price Oscillator to analyse price cycles.


Interpreting DPO Signals and Patterns


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The Detrended Price Oscillator generates signals and patterns that can provide valuable insights into potential turning points and reversals in the market. 

The most common way to interpret the DPO is by analysing its crossing points with the zero line. When the DPO crosses above the zero line, it indicates that prices are trading above the selected moving average, suggesting a potential bullish reversal or uptrend. 

Conversely, when the DPO crosses below the zero line, it implies that prices are trading below the moving average, indicating a potential bearish reversal or downtrend.

In addition to zero line crossings, traders can also look for divergences between the DPO and price action. Divergences occur when the DPO and prices are moving in opposite directions, signalling a potential change in trend. Bullish divergences occur when the DPO makes higher lows while prices make lower lows, indicating a possible bullish reversal. 

Conversely, bearish divergences occur when the DPO makes lower highs while prices make higher highs, suggesting a potential bearish reversal.

Patterns formed by the DPO can also provide valuable insights. For example, a double top or double bottom pattern on the DPO can indicate a potential trend reversal. Similarly, a series of higher highs and higher lows on the DPO can signal a strengthening uptrend, while a series of lower highs and lower lows can indicate a deepening downtrend.


Detrended Price Oscillator (DPO) Formula and Calculation


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DPO = Price from X/2+ 1 period ago - X period Simple Moving Average

X represents the chosen look-back period, determining the number of periods.

SMA stands for Simple Moving Average."


  1. Choose a lookback period, like 20 periods, to determine the number of data points you will use for calculations.
  2. Identify the closing price from x/2 + 1 period ago. If you're using a 20-period lookback, this corresponds to the price from 11 periods in the past.
  3. Calculate the Simple Moving Average (SMA) for the most recent x periods, which in this example is 20 periods.
  4. Compute the Detrended Price Oscillator (DPO) by subtracting the SMA value (from step 3) from the closing price x/2 + 1 period ago (from step 2). This calculation provides the DPO value for the chosen day.


Applying the DPO in Different Trading Strategies

The Detrended Price Oscillator can be applied in various trading strategies to enhance decision-making and improve trading outcomes. Here are a few examples of how the DPO can be used in different trading approaches:

  1. Trend Following: In a trend-following strategy, traders can use the DPO to confirm the strength and direction of a trend. Analysing the DPO values in conjunction with other trend-following indicators, such as moving averages or trendlines, traders can enter trades in the direction of the prevailing trend when the DPO confirms the trend's strength.
  2. Reversal Trading: In a reversal trading strategy, traders can use the DPO to identify potential turning points and reversals in the market. Analysing the DPO's crossing points with the zero line or looking for divergences, traders can enter trades in anticipation of a trend reversal.
  3. Range Trading: In a range trading strategy, traders can use the DPO to identify overbought and oversold conditions in a sideways market. By selling when the DPO reaches high positive values and buying when it reaches low negative values, traders can take advantage of price reversals within the range.

It is important to note that the DPO should be used in conjunction with other technical indicators, price analysis, and risk management techniques to create a robust trading strategy.


Advantages and Limitations of Using the Detrended Price Oscillator

The Detrended Price Oscillator has its advantages and limitations. Understanding these can help traders make better use of the DPO and avoid potential pitfalls. Here are a few advantages and limitations of using the DPO:


  • Focus on Price Cycles: The DPO's unique approach of detrending the price data allows traders to focus specifically on price cycles and patterns, providing valuable insights into potential turning points and reversals.
  • Simple Interpretation: The DPO's signals and patterns, such as zero line crossings and divergences, are relatively easy to interpret, making it accessible to traders of all experience levels.
  • Flexibility: Traders can customise the DPO by selecting different price points and moving average periods based on their trading strategies and preferences.


  • Lagging Indicator: Like most oscillators, the DPO is a lagging indicator, meaning it is based on past price data. While it can provide valuable insights into price cycles and trends, it may not be as effective in predicting future price movements.
  • False Signals: Like any technical indicator, the DPO can generate false signals, leading to potential losses if relied upon solely for trading decisions. Traders should use the DPO in conjunction with other indicators and analysis techniques to minimise false signals.
  • Subjectivity: The selection of price points and moving average periods for the DPO is subjective and can vary among traders. This subjectivity can lead to different interpretations and potentially conflicting signals.



The Detrended Price Oscillator (DPO) is a powerful tool for analysing price cycles and trends in financial markets. 

The Detrended Price Oscillator can be a valuable addition to a trader's toolkit, providing insights into price cycles and trends that may not be apparent when using other indicators. 

By demystifying the DPO and understanding its workings, traders can gain a comprehensive understanding of price dynamics and make more informed trading decisions. 

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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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