Momentum / Lagging Indicators

So how do we spot a trend? The indicators that can do so have already been identified as MACD and moving averages. These indicators will spot trends once they have been established, at the expense of delayed entry. The bright side is that there’s less chance of being wrong.

On this 1-hour chart of EUR/USD, there was a bullish crossover for MACD at 3:00 am EST on 08/03/05 and the 10 period EMA crossed over the 20 period EMA at 5:00 am. These two signals were all accurate, but if you waited for both indicators to give you a bull signal, you would have missed out on the big move. If you calculate from the start of the uptrend at 10:00 pm EST on 08/02/05 to the close of the candle at 5:00 am EST on 08/03/05, you would have watched a gain of 159 pips while sitting on the sidelines.

Let’s take a look at the same chart so you can see how these crossover signals can sometimes give false signals. We like to call them “fake-outs”. Look at how there was a bearish MACD crossover after the uptrend we just discussed.

Ten hours later, the 20 EMA crossed below the 10 EMA giving a “sell” signal. As you can see, the price didn’t drop but stayed pretty much sideways, then continued its uptrend. By the time both indicators were in agreement, you would’ve entered a short trade at the bottom and set yourself up for a loss. Bummer, dude!