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Breadth Indicator

Breadth Indicator

What is a Breadth Indicator?

Breadth indicators are mathematical formulas that measure the number of progressing and declining stocks, as well as their volume, to compute the participation in a stock index's price movements. By assessing the number of stocks that are expanding or decreasing in price, and how much volume these stocks are trading, breadth indicators assist in affirming stock index with valuing trends, or can caution of looming price reversals.

Ascertaining Breadth Indicators

There are a number of breadth indicators, each with their own formula and method of calculation. Some breadth indicators are cumulative, with every day's value added or deducted from the prior value. Others are non-cumulative, with every day or period giving its own data point.

One of the least difficult breath indicators is the Advance/Decline Line. It's a cumulative indicator where net advances (number of propelling stocks - number of declining stocks) is added or deducted from the prior value.

What Does a Breadth Indicator Tell You?

Breadth indicators furnish traders and investors with a perspective on an overall market. The stock "market" is commonly analyzed utilizing stock indexes.

For instance, the S&P 500 index's Advance/Decline Line is a cumulative aide for whether more stocks are rising or falling over the long run. This calculation shows the overall investor sentiment in all the stocks inside the index.

Breadth indicators are principally utilized for two purposes:

  • Market Sentiment: Breadth indicators can help decide whether a market is bound to rise or fall.
  • Trend Strength: Breadth indicators can assist with deciding the strength of a bullish or bearish trend.

There are a wide range of breadth indicators that traders and investors can use in their analysis.

Some other well known breadth indicators, beside the Advance/Decline Line, include:

  • On Balance Volume which centers around adding or deducting volume in light of whether a stock or index closed above or below the prior closing price.
  • McClellan Summation Index
  • Arms Index (TRIN) which takes a gander at the ratio of progressing to declining stocks, isolated by the ratio of progressing to declining volume.
  • Chaikin Oscillator which wavers in light of both volume and price moves.
  • Up/Down Volume Ratio which is rising stock volume partitioned by falling stock volume.
  • Up/Down Volume Spread which is up volume minus down volume.

There are numerous other breadth indicators.

Traders and investors might involve different breadth indicators for various purposes. For instance, On Balance Volume takes a gander at buying and selling pressure from a volume standpoint as opposed to just taking a gander at price, while the McClellan Summation Index includes a more complex formula that creates real buy and sell signals.

Some breadth indicators, like the Chaikin Oscillator and On Balance Volume, can be applied to individual stocks or even different assets. Other breadth indicators — like the Advance/Decline Line or Arms Index — are just calculated in view of indexes.

Traders use market breadth indicators related to different forms of [technical analysis](/technicalanalysis, for example, chart examples and technical indicators, to boost the odds of achievement. For instance, if the Advance/Decline Line begins to drop while the S&P 500 is as yet rising, traders will observe closely for the S&P 500 to break below a rising trendline, break below support, or for technical indicators to turn bearish. This will assist with affirming that the price might be starting to decline, and thusly the trader can exit longs or start short positions.

Breadth Indicator Example

The accompanying chart shows two breadth indicators, On Balance Volume and the Force Index, on a chart of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY).

The Force Index (at the base) shows a strong bearish sentiment toward the beginning of February during the market drop and generally weak bullish sentiment all through the whole period. On Balance Volume shows bullish volume during the February and March recovery and moderate volume soon after. These indicators recommend that the market is moderately neutral among April and June.

The Difference Between Breadth Indicators and Technical Indicators

Breadth indicators are a subset inside the bigger field of technical indicators. While breadth indicators endeavor to measure participation and strength in a stock or index's movements, technical indicators have a far bigger purpose. Technical indicators can be utilized to examine volume or price, create trade flags, or characterize support and resistance.

Limitation of Using Breadth Indicators

Breadth indicators will not necessarily in every case caution of a reversal. Nor will they generally affirm a price move, even however the price continues to move in a similar bearing.

Most breadth indicators are inclined to some situational abnormalities. While traders regularly search for volume to increase as prices move further, this doesn't necessarily in all cases occur. Trends can last an extremely long time on decreasing volume or even decreasing stock participation, which will lead to the breadth indicators veering however not really bringing about a price reversal.

Certain breadth indicators may likewise create odd readings due to their calculation method. On Balance Volume might bounce or decline essentially, for instance, in the event that there is a gigantic volume day yet the price completes just possibly higher or lower. The price barely moved, yet the indicator could move a great deal.


  • Breadth indicators don't normally give trade signals all alone, but instead give an overall image of the wellbeing on an index.
  • At the point when the breadth indicator and a stock index separate, that might caution of a reversal. Less stocks are moving in the stock index's bearing. This means the stock index could be setting up to change course.
  • A similar concept applies to a falling breadth indicator and a falling stock index value.
  • Normally, when a breadth indicator is rising, and the stock index is rising, it shows there is strong participation in the price rise. This means the price rise is bound to support itself.