Relative Strength Index RSI Indicator Explained With Formula

rsi calculation

First, select the indicator, then use the up and down arrow keys to adjust the RSI period up or down by 1. To adjust the smoothing period, hold down the shift-key while hitting the up and down arrows. To adjust the momentum period, hold down the Ctrl key while hitting the up and down arrow keys. The level of the RSI is a measure of the stock’s recent trading strength.

  • First, stocks must be below their 200-day moving average to be in an overall downtrend.
  • Wilder posited that when price moves up very rapidly, at some point it is considered overbought.
  • Many analysts draw support and resistance lines based on the RSI in the same manner as they would draw trendlines on a chart.

True calculating rsi signals are rare and can be difficult to separate from false alarms. A false positive, for example, would be a bullish crossover followed by a sudden decline in a stock. A false negative would be a situation where there is a bearish crossover, yet the stock suddenly accelerated upward. However, they measure different factors, so they sometimes give contradictory indications.

RSI Trading Strategy – Swing Rejections

They are trendlines, pennants, flags, head and shoulders, double tops and bottoms, and triangles. Support and resistance zones often show up clearly on the RSI before becoming clear on the bar chart. Many analysts draw support and resistance lines based on the RSI in the same manner as they would draw trendlines on a chart. The MFI is a momentum indicator that measures the flow of money into and out of a security over a specified period of time. If underlying prices make a new high or low that isn’t confirmed by the RSI, this divergence can signal a price reversal. If the RSI makes a lower high and then follows with a downside move below a previous low, a Top Swing Failure has occurred.

calculate the average

Divergences can confirm other signals and indicate when a trend may be ending. Alternatively, you may want to buy on a breakout when positive momentum is accelerating, and sell on a breakdown when negative momentum is accelerating. The RSI will provide enough information to determine if the price of an asset is experiencing negative or positive momentum and whether that momentum is accelerating or decelerating. The signals produced by both indicators are similar although not exactly the same.

How to use the relative strength index

After the RSI is calculated, the RSI indicator can be plotted beneath an asset’s price chart, as shown below. The RSI will rise as the number and size of up days increase. This scenario could provide many types of trading opportunities. For example, in the Apple chart, the purple arrow shows a situation where prices hit a new lower low but the RSI does not make a lower low. Prices are still on the decline, but negative momentum has decelerated. The reverse could also occur, where prices are breaking out, but the RSI fails to make fresh highs.

The chart below shows an example of divergence between price and the Relative Strength Index. However, the RSI does not follow suit and make a corresponding new low. Instead, it has already begun to turn to the upside near the beginning of June.

The bullish divergence formed with eBay moving to new lows in March and RSI holding above its prior low. RSI reflected less downside momentum during the February-March decline. Divergences tend to be more robust when they form after an overbought or oversold reading.

Traditionally, RSI readings greater than the 70 level are considered to be in overbought territory, and RSI readings lower than the 30 level are considered to be in oversold territory. In between the 30 and 70 level is considered neutral, with the 50 level a sign of no trend. By comparison, RSI is a measure of the strength of a stock’s momentum, either in the upward or the downward direction, and it identifies either overbought or oversold conditions.

If you’re just starting out, you might not be able to meet these minimums. A good alternative for new investors is a robo-advisor, an automated service that chooses investments based on your goals and keeps your portfolio properly balanced. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. Do you have questions about RSI or other investing principles?

Conversely, a low RSI, below 30, implies an oversold market or dying bear market. Additionally, the value of 50, can serve the same purpose as the zero line in other oscillators. The slowing down of a current trend or a trend reversal may be signaled by crossing above or below 50. RS, or Relative Strength, is the average of upward price changes in a chosen n periods, divided by the average of downward price changes over those n periods.


A bullish failure swing forms when RSI moves below 30 , bounces above 30, pulls back, holds above 30 and then breaks its prior high. It is basically a move to oversold levels and then ETC a higher low above oversold levels. Chart 7 shows Research in Motion with 10-day RSI forming a bullish failure swing. As a momentum indicator, the relative strength index compares a security’s strength on days when prices go up to its strength on days when prices go down. Relating the result of this comparison to price action can give traders an idea of how a security may perform. The RSI, used in conjunction with other technical indicators, can help traders make better-informed trading decisions.

RSI Period -The period used to compute the average price gains and losses in equation above. Divergence Another popular method of analyzing the RSI is to look for a divergence. If the instrument is making a new high, but the RSI is failing to exceed its previous high, this ” divergence” is an indication of an coming reversal. When the RSI then turns down and falls below its most recent trough, it is said to have completed a “failure swing” and therefore confirmed the coming reversal. A popular method of analyzing the RSI is to look for a divergence. If the instrument is making a new high, but the RSI is failing to exceed its previous high, this “divergence” is an indication of an coming reversal.

The subsequent breakdown in mid-October confirmed weakening momentum. Wilder’s formula normalizes RS and turns it into an oscillator that fluctuates between zero and 100. In fact, a plot of RS looks exactly the same as a plot of RSI. The normalization step makes it easier to identify extremes because RSI is range-bound.

What does 14-day RSI mean?

So an RSI of 0 means that the stock price has fallen in all of the 14 trading days. Similarly, an RSI of 100 means that the stock price has risen in all of the 14 trading days. In technical analysis, an RSI of above 70 is considered an overbought area while an RSI of less than 30 is considered as an oversold area.

It provides important information that can use prior to entering a position. An RSI divergence signals that what price is showing you, is usually not supported by the underlying price dynamics. The third area includes 6 bullish candles, and 8 bearish candles, resulting in an RSI around 50 which signals moderate bullish strength as the balance is equal. All thee periods involved in the RSI indicator can be adjusted directly from they keyboard without opening up the preference window.

It is intended to chart the current and historical strength or weakness of a stock or market based on the closing prices of a recent trading period. For example, let’s say that the price has been closing higher than the previous days but the gain is not as substantial as compared to the average gain of the period. Then, the RSI will close lower than the previous day’s value.

The average gain or loss used in this calculation is the average percentage gain or loss during a look-back period. Periods with price losses are counted as zero in the calculations of average gain. Periods with price increases are counted as zero in the calculations of average loss.

The RSI of this period was 78 which is a relatively strong bullish move because the bulls were in control here. Calculation of the RSI, to be done thoroughly, requires a great deal of highly technical and complex explanations. To fully understand how the calculation is accomplished, traders and analysts should read Wilder’s own explanation. It is presented in his 1978 book, New Concepts in Technical Trading Systems. Wilder posited that when price moves up very rapidly, at some point it is considered overbought. Likewise, when price falls very rapidly, at some point it is considered oversold.

The stock ultimately bottomed around 46 a few weeks later ; the final bottom did not coincide with the initial oversold reading. The RSI was developed by J Welles Wilder Jr as a momentum oscillator to measure the rate of change of price movements over a specific period. The default period used to calculate the RSI is 14 days, but weeks, months and intraday data can also be used. Traders interested in day trading and swing trading can consider shorter periods to calculate the RSI. While similar in nature, the mathematical formula used to create each indicator differs.

On the other hand, the S&P 500 ETF indicates an RSI value of 36.6. Comparing these two readings, an investor may consider an RSI value of 29.6 as a buying signal resulting from the increase in the strong selling. This scan reveals stocks that are in an uptrend with oversold RSI. First, stocks must be above their 200-day moving average to be in an overall uptrend. The relative strength index measures the price momentum of a stock or other security. The basic idea behind the RSI is to measure how quickly traders are bidding the price of the security up or down.

A rudimentary calculating rsi strategy would signal purchasing Apple shares when the RSI is in oversold territory and short selling Apple shares when the RSI is in overbought territory. One can enhance this strategy with the RSI or use another indicator such as a moving average. The RSI can be used across a range of asset classes, such as currency pairs, indices, commodities and shares. It can also be used across daily and forward contracts for spread bets and contracts for difference . Traditionally, the Relative Strength Index is considered to signal overbought conditions when above 70 and oversold conditions when under 30. The levels can be adjusted, however, to better fit the price movement of a specific security a trader is watching.

Andrew Cardwell, Brown’s RSI mentor, introduced positive and negative reversals for RSI and, additionally, turned the notion of divergence, literally and figuratively, on its head. Dynamic momentum index is technical indicator that determines if a security is overbought or oversold and can be used to generate trading signals. Last but certainly not least, RSI helps traders determine and confirm general trends.

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The slope of the RSI is directly proportional to the velocity of a change in the trend. The distance traveled by the RSI is proportional to the magnitude of the move. Welles Wilder and published in a 1978 book, New Concepts in Technical Trading Systems, and in Commodities magazine in the June 1978 issue. On the price chart, highs move higher identified by an upward sloping line connecting the highs. Overbought assets may be ready for a correction or a trend reversal.

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