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The Moving Average Convergence Divergence Explained

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MACD Indicator – Talking Points:

  • What is MACD?
  • What does MACD measure?
  • How is MACD calculated?
  • Limitations of MACD

What is MACD?

The Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) is a technical indicator which simply measures the relationship of exponential moving averages (EMA).The MACD displays a MACD line (blue), signal line (red) and a histogram (green) – showing the difference between the MACD line and the signal line.

MACD indicator

The MACD line is the difference between two exponentially levelled moving averages – usually 12 and 26-periods, whilst the signal line is generally a 9-period exponentially smoothed average of the MACD line.

These MACD lines waver in and around the zero line. This gives the MACD the characteristics of an oscillator giving overbought and oversold signals above and below the zero-line respectively.

What does MACD measure?

The MACD measures momentum or trend strength by using the MACD line and zero line as reference points:

  • When the MACD line crosses ABOVE the zero line, this signals an UPTREND
  • When the MACD line crosses BELOW the zero line, this signals an DOWNTREND

In addition, the MACD signals buy or sell orders which are given when the two MACD lines cross over as outlined below:

  • When the MACD line crosses ABOVE the signal line, traders use this as a BUY indication
  • When the MACD line crosses BELOW the signal line, traders use this as a SELL indication

USD/ZAR MACD trading signals

How is MACD calculated?

Most charting platforms offer the MACD indicator, and implement this calculation using the aforementioned default periods. The formula below breaks down the varying components of the MACD to make it comfortable for traders to apply.

MACD formula calculation

As mentioned previously, the MACD histogram plots the difference between the two moving average lines. The histogram fluctuates in and around the zero designation on the MACD indicator. When the MACD line is above the signal line, then the histogram will be positive. The opposite is true when the MACD line sits below the signal, whereby the histogram will plot below the zero as a negative value. A zero value on the histogram indicates a crossing over of the two moving average lines thus marking buy/sell signals.

Limitations of MACD

The MACD indicator is considered to work best in trending markets. This limits its use for traders depending on their trading strategies. For example, range bound/consolidating markets will generally give flawed signals when using the MACD. Traders will need to truly understand the MACD as well as when to employ the indicator for optimal use. Novice traders may find this indicator difficult to use initially, which is why going through basic moving average and EMA fundamentals will benefit traders who are looking to make use of the MACD indicator.

The variations that can be implemented with the MACD indicator is almost infinite which makes it very personal to the trader. This subjective nature of the MACD will mean that results differ from trader to trader which take away any consistency. Traders will need to follow a basic outline when using the MACD:

  • Selecting EMA parameters
  • Using an appropriate time frame, as MACD may function differently across time frames

MACD Indicator: A Summary

The MACD is unique in that it serves as an oscillator as well as MACD crossover indicator. This dual purpose gives two signals in one indicator allowing for a less cluttered chart. Traders may find this useful which makes understanding the MACD worthwhile.

Become a Better Trader with Our Trading Tips

  • Learn about other oscillators and indicators to enhance your trading for both beginner and experienced traders:
  1. Relative Strength Index (RSI)
  2. Exponential Moving Average (EMA)
  3. Simple Moving Average (SMA)
  • Technical traders have different styles and forex trading strategies. Explore these thoroughly to find out if this type of analysis suits your personality
  • If you are just starting out on your trading journey it is essential to understand the basics of forex trading in our new to forex guide



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Gold Price Rally Primed For a Fed Boost, Silver Price Struggling

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Gold (XAU) Price, Silver (XAG) Price Analysis and Chart

  • Global risk sentiment remains, interest rates look set to go lower.
  • FOMC minutes on Wednesday, Fed chair Powell speaks at Jackson Hole on Friday

Q3 2019 Gold Forecast and Top Trading Opportunities

Gold Remains Underpinned and Ready to Move Higher

Gold remains bid and underpinned around current levels and is looking for the next bullish impulse to send it through its recent multi-year high. Risk sentiment, one of gold’s main drivers, remains with US-China trade talks still not confirmed, while in Hong Kong, mass protests continue, and these may well be a hot topic of discussion between the US and China. On Wednesday the latest FOMC minutes, while on Friday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will speak at the Jackson Hole Symposium and he may well give further insights into the central bank’s thinking around the next round of US interest rate cuts. Any hint of that the Fed wants to get ahead of the curve and cut rates aggressively will push gold higher.

The daily gold chart suggest further short-term consolidation as the market unwinds its recent heavily overbought bias. There are a few recent lows between $1,487/oz. and $1,503/oz. that will support gold in the case of any sell-off, while to the upside, $1,520/oz. before $1,528/oz. and $1.535/oz. If this latter level is broken and closed above, then $1,540/oz. is the next upside target.

Gold Price Daily Chart (January – August 19, 2019)

Gold Price Rally Primed For a Fed Boost, Silver Price Struggling

IG Client Sentiment data show that 62.3% of retail traders are net-long of gold, a bearish contrarian indicator. However, recent daily and weekly positional changes give us a stronger bearish contrarian trading bias.

How to Trade Gold: Top Gold Trading Strategies and Tips

Silver Price Struggling Around Multi-Month Highs

Silver is stuck in a short-term downtrend after hitting $17,51/oz. last week when the commodity space rallied. Since then, silver has made a series of lower high and lower lows and if price breaks below $17,00/oz. then the August 8 and 12 double low at $16.80/oz. will be tested. Below here, the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement at $16, 57/oz. should provide strong support. Silver has moved out of overbought territory and will likely remain in lock-step with the price of gold.

The gold/silver ratio remains stable around 88.60.

Silver Daily Price Chart (August 2018 – August 19, 2019)

Gold Price Rally Primed For a Fed Boost, Silver Price Struggling

How to Trade Silver: Top Trading Strategies

Traders may be interested in two of our trading guides – Traits of Successful Traders and Top Trading Lessons – while technical analysts are likely to be interested in our latest Elliott Wave Guide.

What is your view on Gold and Silver – bullish or bearish?? You can let us know via the form at the end of this piece or you can contact the author at nicholas.cawley@ig.comor via Twitter @nickcawley1.



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Gold, Crude Oil Prices Eyeing FOMC and ECB Minutes, Jackson Hole

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Gold, Crude Oil Prices Eyeing FOMC and ECB Minutes, Jackson Hole

Crude oil, gold price performance chart created using TradingView

GOLD & CRUDE OIL TALKING POINTS:

  • Gold price technical positioning hints at pullback brewing ahead
  • Crude oil prices idling near $55/bbl as risk trends await catalyst
  • FOMC and ECB meeting minutes, Jackson Hole in the spotlight

A risk-on mood broadly prevailed across global financial markets Friday. Cycle-sensitive crude oil prices edged higher alongside stocks. Treasury bond yields also rose as capital moved away from haven assets, undermining the appeal of non-interest-bearing alternatives and weighing on gold. The anti-risk US Dollar and Japanese Yen likewise declined.

From here, a slow start to an otherwise action-packed week might see key assets idling as traders withhold conviction before forthcoming event risk. Minutes from July’s FOMC and ECB meetings as well as the Fed’s Economic Policy Symposium due to kick off Thursday in Jackson Hole, Wyoming will probably take top billing. Political turmoil in Italy also warrants attention.

With slowing global growth top-of-mind for investors, scope for incoming monetary stimulus expansion is a critical consideration. The ECB is widely expected to ease next month, but its preferred delivery strategy is unclear. As for the Fed, the markets are priced for 75bps in additional rate cuts before year-end. Such robust hopes may be disappointed by a more reserved central bank, souring risk appetite anew.

Get our free guide to help build confidence in your gold and crude oil trading strategy!

GOLD TECHNICAL ANALYSIS

Gold prices are treading water below the monthly swing high at 1535.03. Negative RSI divergence warns of ebbing upside momentum, hinting that a pullback might be in the cards. A break below initial support at 1480.00 exposes the 1437.70-52.95 zone. Alternatively, a push above resistance aims for a weekly chart inflection level at 1563.00.

Gold, Crude Oil Prices Eyeing FOMC and ECB Minutes, Jackson Hole

Gold price chart created using TradingView

CRUDE OIL TECHNICAL ANALYSIS

Crude oil prices continue to mark time near the 54.72-56.09 congestion area. Resistance defining the near-term bearish bias is now at 58.48, with a daily close above that targeting the 60.04-84 zone next. Critical support is clustered around the $50/bbl figure. Breaking below that sets the stage for a descent to challenge three-year lows just above the $42/bbl mark.

Gold, Crude Oil Prices Eyeing FOMC and ECB Minutes, Jackson Hole

Crude oil price chart created using TradingView

COMMODITY TRADING RESOURCES

— Written by Ilya Spivak, Currency Strategist for DailyFX.com

To contact Ilya, use the comments section below or @IlyaSpivak on Twitter



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US Dollar May Rise vs Nordic FX From Trade Wars, FOMC Minutes

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NORDIC FX, NOK, SEK WEEKLY OUTLOOK

  • US Dollar may rise vs Nordic FX amid trade wars, FOMC minutes, Italian politics
  • Critical data out of the Eurozone and US may exacerbate growing recession fears
  • Commentary from officials at Jackson Hole symposium could induce risk aversion

See our free guide to learn how to use economic news in your trading strategy!

The US Dollar may extend gains vs Nordic FX if growth concerns continue to pressure cycle-sensitive currencies and redirect capital to anti-risk assets. US-China trade tensions appear to be escalating against the backdrop of growing political uncertainty in Italy. Recessionary fears may be exacerbated this week from the release of the FOMC meeting minutes and commentary from officials at the Jackson Hole symposium.

Financial Markets Brace for Deteriorating US-China Trade Relations

Early into Monday’s Asia-Pacific trading hours, US President Donald Trump held a press conference and said he was not ready to make a trade deal with China and that Huawei posed a threat to national security. Furthermore, he also said reaching a trade agreement with Beijing may be more difficult if the violence amid the protests in Hong Kong continues. Greater friction will likely continue to erode market sentiment.

FOMC Meeting Minutes: Will the Transcript Simply Re-Emphasize the Market’s Worse Fear?

As outlined in my weekly US Dollar forecast, the Greenback may rise at the expense of equity markets when the FOMC meeting minutes are released. The prospect of cheaper credit has remained a key factor buoying investor sentiment as the fundamental outlook continues to dim. What the minutes will likely show is just a more detailed message from the last meeting by Fed Chairman Powell: The Fed is not as dovish as you think.

Jackson Hole Symposium May Pressure Nordic FX if it Exacerbates Global Growth Fears

Fears about the prospect of a recession gained momentum last week after a number of recessionary signals began to sound the alarm. Commentary from officials at the symposium may exacerbate global growth fears and could pressure export-oriented currencies like the Swedish Krona and Norwegian Krone. However, amid the uncertainty and search for liquidity, the US Dollar may catch a haven bid.

G7 Summit Will be Closely Eyed by Investors Amid Rising Geopolitical Tensions

Traders will be closely monitoring the G7 Summit this week in Biarritz, France from August 22-24. Given the current state of rising geopolitical tensions around the world, looking for key developments at this conference will be crucial. Some key topics will include Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, US-China/EU trade and discussing the replacement of IMF chief after Christine Lagarde transitions to her post as ECB president.

ECB Minutes May Spook European Markets Despite Prospect of Stimulus

The publication of the European Central Bank’s meeting minutes is expected to carry dovish undertones after central bank president Mario Draghi said monetary authorities are entertaining QE and rate cuts. However, optimism about the prospect of cheap credit may be overwhelmed by gloomy undertones if the overall message of the transcript is prevailing conditions are so severe that they require stimulative policy measures.

A Chilling Outlook for European Growth

Chart Showing German PMIs

Italian Political Uncertainty May Sap Confidence, Weigh on Nordic FX

Political volatility out of Italy will likely sap confidence in European markets and pressure the sentiment-linked Krone and Krona. The Riksbank has repeatedly cited political risk out of the EU as a key source of uncertainty. Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini will attempt to consolidate power and break away from his coalition in order to end cabinet infighting and push forward his market-disrupting fiscal agenda.

Critical Data out of EU, US May Induce Risk Aversion

Traders will also be watching the release of key US and EU economic data. The more notable ones include Eurozone inflation, flash PMIs and consumer confidence, US manufacturing PMIs and new home sales reports. A poor reading from these indicators will likely only strengthen the case for central banks to adopt accommodative monetary policy measures and will likely send a chilling message to Nordic FX markets.

SWEDISH KRONA, NORWEGIAN KRONE TRADING RESOURCES

— Written by Dimitri Zabelin, Jr Currency Analyst for DailyFX.com

To contact Dimitri, use the comments section below or @ZabelinDimitrion Twitter



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