On balance volume indicator: On-Balance Volume OBV: Definition, Formula, and Uses as Indicator

balance volume formula

This signal works in a similar way when the price chart breaks out key levels. The breakout of the OBV key level is often followed by a sharp price momentum in the direction corresponding to the breakout. In this case, it spots the pivot points or the trend continuation signals and indicates the incorrect prevailing trends. However, it doesn’t perform well in the short-term timeframes since there is not enough market data to analyze. The reason is the natural volatility that may affect the indicator signals. It entails researching the company and determining its long-term growth potential based on past and current market performance.

Second, determine if the current trend matches the trend for the underlying security. Third, look for potential support or resistance levels. Once broken, the trend for OBV will change and these breaks can be used to generate signals. Therefore, closing prices should be considered when looking for divergences or support/resistance breaks. Finally, volume spikes can sometimes throw off the indicator by causing a sharp move that will require a settling period.

The signal appears when the resistance level is broken out and the classical bullish divergence . The bitcoin OBV indicator signal is confirmed when there appears a long white candlestick . When the candlestick closes, we can exit the short trade and enter a long. To check the strength of the breakout of the support and resistance levels, you need to draw a similar line on the On Balance Volume chart. If the OBV line also breaks through the levels, the breakout is true. You should also remember that the OBV signals usually happen a few bars before the price movement.

The OBV trading tool shows the positive and negative volume of an asset like a stock price. If you see a sharp rise in the indicator line, it signals that big traders are entering the market. A strong on balance volume momentum is a trend reversal signal if it goes against the trend.

You don’t have to look for the MT4 OBV tool to download from the Internet. The On-Balance Volume indicator is among the standard technical tools to measure the total volume and is available on most trading platforms. So, there is almost an entire range of signals on how the asset’s trading volume goes. You use one of three possible calculations to get the current on-balance volume, the choice of which depends on the closing price of the traded financial asset .

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OBV can be used to confirm a price trend, upside breakout or downside break. The chart for Best Buy shows three confirming signals as well as confirmation of the price trend. OBV and BBY moved lower in December-January, higher from March to April, lower from May to August and higher from September to October. It is plotted on a price chart, but the individual quantitative value remains irrelevant. The OBV real value arbitrarily depends on the start date. Instead, analysts study the nature of OBV movements over time; the OBV slope line carries all of the analysis weight.


Volume ultimately won the day as MDT followed volume lower with a decline into the low 30s. The second chart shows Valero Energy with OBV forming a bearish divergence in April and a confirming support break in May. OBV oscillator is a good complement to both trend indicators of technical analysis and oscillators. If your strategy doesn’t take volume readings into account, this tool can be a great addition to recognizing the price trend.

The next bar closes with a down gap, which is another bear signal. The chart schematically displays a bearish divergence . The up days show a daily volume increase and the line goes up while the on-balance volumes are gradually declining.

Market momentum is a measure of overall market sentiment that can support buying and selling with and against market trends. On-balance volume and theaccumulation/distribution lineare similar in that they are both momentum indicators that use volume to predict the movement of “smart money”. In the case of on-balance volume, it is calculated by summing the volume on an up-day and subtracting the volume on a down-day. On-balance volume is a technical indicator of momentum, using volume changes to make price predictions. Granville believed that volume was the key force behind markets and designed OBV to project when major moves in the markets would occur based on volume changes.

What does the on-balance volume indicator tell you?

Fundamental analysis is involves looking at the economic, political, and macro events and analysing their impact on currencies and stocks. It is a good method that has had significant results over the years. John Murphy’s Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets covers it all with explanations that are simple and clear.

You can also exit the trade manually when the fast EMA breaks through the slow EMA in the opposite direction. I covered the divergence signals in detail in the article Divergence and Convergence in Forex. The OBV divergence works in the same way as with other technical tools for a period’s volume. An essential analysis element is a comparison of the On Balance Volume line movements and the price changes for a chosen trading period’s volume.

When the bullish trend is developing and the up days are coming, the OBV hits higher highs. The same is in the opposite situation when the volume follows the down days. Thus, the bear trend is confirmed when the previous OBV lows are lower than the current ones. Note that the chart indicates a downtrend while the on balance volume line starts rising gradually. Finally, the trend reverses, and instead of a bearish outcome, a bullish trend starts .

How to install, run, and custom the OBV indicator?

It is based on the theory that a significant price movement always follows a sharp change in the trading volume. For example, when large traders invest in securities, the trade volume, and the stock price increase. This indicator was originally designed for work in the stock market, later, it has been successfully used by Forex traders to measure buying and selling volumes of various assets. The creator of this indicator believed that the main driving force in the financial markets is volume. Compared to other momentum indicators, the OBV is efficient in trading almost all Forex instruments.

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Default settings will suit, so you do not have to change anything. To confirm the settings, press the OK button at the bottom of the chart and you are ready to measure the trading volume of any asset like currency pairs, a stock price, etc. Amid this sharp price movement, the chart breaks out the red line in the OBV window. So, in this trading range, there is another bearish signal. Along with the entire down move, starting from the very beginning of the price fall, the indicator is following the price chart, confirming the bear trend continuation. Traders can use this tool to measure any asset’s trading volume, by collecting multiple market data and providing a detailed analysis of stock charts, futures, and cryptocurrencies.

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