relative strength index definition

I have developed a series of Excel backtest models, and you can learn more about them on this site. You calculate the RSI by taking the average of the most recent gains and dividing it by the average of the most recent losses. It tells us the price has moved to a new trading range and gives us the opportunity to make big profits. A sell signal occurs when the RSI rises to an overbought level (70 or more) and then falls back below 70. The more extreme the values, the more “overbought” or “oversold” the currency pair is considered to be.

Wilder thought that “failure swings” above 50 and below 50 on the RSI are strong indications of market reversals.[6] For example, assume the RSI hits 76, pulls back to 72, then rises to 77. If it falls below 72, Wilder would consider this a “failure swing” above 70. Wilder posited[1] that when price moves up very rapidly, at some point it is considered overbought. Likewise, when price falls very rapidly, at some point it is considered oversold.

Benefits of Using RSI in Market Analysis

The relative strength index (RSI) is a technical indicator used in the analysis of financial markets. It is intended to chart the current and historical strength or weakness of a stock or market based on the closing prices of a recent trading period. Since the indicator displays momentum, it can stay overbought or oversold for a long time when an asset has significant momentum in either direction. Therefore, the RSI is most useful in an oscillating market (a trading range) where the asset price is alternating between bullish and bearish movements. The relative strength index (RSI) is a momentum indicator used in technical analysis. RSI measures the speed and magnitude of a security’s recent price changes to evaluate overvalued or undervalued conditions in the price of that security.

The remaining seven days all closed lower with an initial average loss of −0.8%. Traders can draw trendlines on the RSI chart, just as they would on price charts, to identify support and resistance levels or detect potential trend reversals. It is also frequently watched for divergence signals of possible upcoming trend changes. Traditionally, the Relative Strength Index is considered to signal overbought conditions when above 70 and oversold conditions when under 30.

Overbought/Oversold (Trend Reversal)

In the chart below, RSI is the blue line in the section below the S&P 500 price. Investors using RSI generally stick to a couple of relative strength index definition simple rules. First, low RSI levels, typically below 30 (red line), indicate oversold conditions—generating a potential buy signal.

First, stocks must be below their 200-day moving average to be in an overall downtrend. This scan reveals stocks that are in an uptrend with oversold RSI. First, stocks must be above their 200-day moving average to be in an overall uptrend. Taking the prior value plus the current value is a smoothing technique similar to calculating an exponential moving average.

Risk Management When Using RSI

Relative Strength Index (RSI) refers to an indicator derived from the price momentum of any particular asset. The main factors for the computation of the RSI are the asset’s change in price and the speed with which it happens. Those movements, especially since they can strongly shift from two extremes, are considered oscillations. Be sure not to confuse with a Stochastic RSI or Relative Strength, as these are different indicators. The RSI can be combined with other indicators like moving averages, trendlines and chart patterns to galvanize a trading system.

An RSI reading of 30 or below indicates an oversold or undervalued condition. Relative strength is a strategy used in momentum investing and in identifying value stocks. It focuses on investing in stocks or other investments that have performed well relative to the market as a whole or to a relevant benchmark. For example, a relative strength investor might select technology companies that have outperformed the Nasdaq Composite Index, or stocks that are outperforming the S&P 500 index. A variation called Cutler’s RSI is based on a simple moving average of U and D,[7] instead of the exponential average above.

Most traders then match then with the market price graph to see the overall pattern. A stock is considered to be overbought when the RSI is above 70 and oversold when the RSI is below 30. Understanding the RSI and its applications is essential for any trader or analyst seeking to excel in technical analysis. Traders must implement sound risk management practices when using RSI to develop trading strategies. While the RSI can be a powerful tool on its own, it becomes even more potent when combined with other technical indicators.

relative strength index definition

When the relative strength index is above 50, it generally means that the gains are greater than the losses. If you are making trading decisions based on the RSI Indicator you should understand how it is calculated. Firstly because you are risking your own money based on a line on a chart and you should be professional in all your actions as a trader. Professionals make money, amateurs have fun and take shortcuts. It also includes very good examples of divergences between the price of the stock and RSI values when conditions are overbought. RSI values are most often displayed on a separate chart, above or below the price chart, as in the example below showing the close for Apple stock on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.

RSI is also only really suited to markets that are quite volatile. An asset or stock in a more stable market can stay overbought or oversold for a long time. In the context of the RSI, overbought and oversold levels are typically represented by values above 70 and below 30, respectively. This can involve setting appropriate stop-loss orders, determining position sizes based on risk tolerance, and periodically reviewing and adjusting trading strategies as market conditions change. Then, the average gain is calculated by summing up all the positive differences and dividing the sum by the specified period (usually 14 days).

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