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How to Use the MACD Indicator

MACD is an acronym for Moving Average Convergence Divergence. This tool is used to identify moving averages that are indicating a new trend, whether it’s bullish or bearish. After all, our top priority in trading is being able to find a trend, because that is where the most money is made.

MACD

With an MACD chart, you will usually see three numbers that are used for its settings.

  • The first is the number of periods that is used to calculate the faster moving average.
  • The second is the number of periods that is used in the slower moving average.
  • And the third is the number of bars that is used to calculate the moving average of the difference between the faster and slower moving averages.

For example, if you were to see “12, 26, 9″ as the MACD parameters (which is usually the default setting for most charting packages), this is how you would interpret it:

  • The 12 represents the previous 12 bars of the faster moving average.
  • The 26 represents the previous 26 bars of the slower moving average.
  • The 9 represents the previous 9 bars of the difference between the two moving averages. This is plotted by vertical lines called a histogram (the green lines in the chart above).

There is a common misconception when it comes to the lines of the MACD. The two lines that are drawn are NOT moving averages of the price. Instead, they are the moving averages of the DIFFERENCE between two moving averages.

In our example above, the faster moving average is the moving average of the difference between the 12 and 26-period moving averages. The slower moving average plots the average of the previous MACD line. Once again, from our example above, this would be a 9-period moving average.

This means that we are taking the average of the last 9 periods of the faster MACD line and plotting it as our slower moving average. This smoothens out the original line even more, which gives us a more accurate line.

The histogram simply plots the difference between the fast and slow moving average. If you look at our original chart, you can see that, as the two moving averages separate, the histogram gets bigger.

This is called divergence because the faster moving average is “diverging” or moving away from the slower moving average.

As the moving averages get closer to each other, the histogram gets smaller. This is called convergence because the faster moving average is “converging” or getting closer to the slower moving average.

And that, my friend, is how you get the name, Moving Average Convergence Divergence! Whew, we need to crack our knuckles after that one!

Ok, so now you know what MACD does. Now we’ll show you what MACD can do for YOU.

How to Trade Using MACD

Because there are two moving averages with different “speeds”, the faster one will obviously be quicker to react to price movement than the slower one.

When a new trend occurs, the fast line will react first and eventually cross the slower line. When this “crossover” occurs, and the fast line starts to “diverge” or move away from the slower line, it often indicates that a new trend has formed.

MACD with fast and slow moving average

From the chart above, you can see that the fast line crossed under the slow line and correctly identified a new downtrend. Notice that when the lines crossed, the histogram temporarily disappears.

This is because the difference between the lines at the time of the cross is 0. As the downtrend begins and the fast line diverges away from the slow line, the histogram gets bigger, which is good indication of a strong trend.

Let’s take a look at an example.

 

MACD crossover example
In EUR/USD’s 1-hour chart above, the fast line crossed above the slow line while the histogram disappeared. This suggested that the brief downtrend would eventually reverse.

 

From then, EUR/USD began shooting up as it started a new uptrend. Imagine if you went long after the crossover, you would’ve gained almost 200 pips!

There is one drawback to MACD. Naturally, moving averages tend to lag behind price. After all, it’s just an average of historical prices.

Since the MACD represents moving averages of other moving averages and is smoothed out by another moving average, you can imagine that there is quite a bit of lag. However, MACD is still one of the most favored tools by many traders.

M A C D 指标

       MACD是 指数平滑异同移动平均线(Moving Average Convergence Divergence)的缩写。 这个工具是用来确认新趋势是牛市还是熊市。 毕竟,我们在交易时的首要任务就是发现趋势,因为那是拥有最多利润的地方。

       使用一个MACD的指标,你通常会看到三个可以设定的参数。
           • 第一个参数是用来设定速度较快的指数移动平均线EMA的周期。
           • 第二个字是用于设定速度较慢的指数移动平均线EMA的周期。
           • 而第三个数字是用来平均,快
线与慢线之间的差值。

       例如,如果你看到MACD的指标参数为“12,26,9”(对于大多数图表,这是默认的设置),你可以如此解释它:
          • 12 代表较快的指数移动平均线的周期参数是12。
          • 26 代表较慢的
指数移动平均线的周期参数是26。
          • 9 则代表了,对12期 和 26期的两条均线之间的差值(MACD的快线),再进行9周期的平均
(MACD的慢线)。它就是图表中的垂直线,称为直方图(上面图表中的绿线)。

       对于MACD线 普遍存在一个误解,都以为那两条线 是价格的移动平均线。其实,它们是你看不到的两条指数移动平均线,之间的相差值

       在上面的例子中,较快的 那条MACD移动平均线,是12周期 和26周期,两条指数移动平均线的差值。而较慢的 那条MACD线,其实是较快的MACD线,再进行 9周期的平均后,得到的移动平均线

       这意味着,这条9周期的线,比我们之前 用12周期 和26周期,计算出来的那条MACD线,更加的平滑,这就给了我们一条更精确的平均线。

       直方图简单地帮我们标出了,两条快与慢的MACD线之间的距离。如果你再看看刚才的那图表,你会发现,当两条MACD移动线f分开时,直方图变大了。

       这称之为发散(diverging),因为较快的移动平均线正在“发散”或 远离较慢的移动平均线。

       如果两条移动平均线互相贴近,那直方图就变小了。这称之为收敛(converging),因为较快的移动平均线真正收敛 或 越来越接近较慢的移动平均线。

       如此等等,我的朋友,你现在知道Moving Average Convergence Divergence这名字的由来了吧! 哎呀,解释完这个 我们需要剩下懒腰才行!

       好啦,所以现在你知道什么是MACD的了吧。那么我们现在将告诉你MACD指标可以为你做些什么吧。

如何使用MACD进行交易

       因为有两条不同“速度”的移动平均线,较快速度的均线对价格的反应,明显比速度较慢的均线更快。

       当新趋势发生时,较快的均线第一时间做出反应,并穿越较慢的均线。 当这种“交叉”发生时,快线开始“发散”或 远离慢线,这往往表明一个新的趋势已经形成。

       从上面的图表,你可以看出,快线在慢线之下,确定了新的跌势。 注意,当两条线交叉时,直方图暂时消失了.

       这是因为在字里行间的交叉时间差为0。 由于下跌趋势的开始和快线渐渐偏离慢线,直方图变得更大,这是一个良好的市场趋势的表现。

      让我们来看一个例子。

         在上面 欧元/美元的1小时图表,快线向上穿过慢线,同时直方图消失了。这表明着,下跌的趋势将要扭转。

         在那之后,欧元/美元 开始飞升,就像它开始了新的趋势。试想一下,如果你在交叉后 做了手多单,你应该已经赚了将近200点!

         MACD线是存在一个缺点的,从本质上进,移动平均线本来就落后于价格。毕竟,它只是对历史的价格 进行平均。

          由于MACD代表 对其他移动平均线的再平均,因此相对的更加平滑。你可以想象得到,它的滞后也相对的比较严重。不过,MACD指标仍是众投资者们青睐的工具之一。