Forex Trading

Comparison between Average True Range ATR, Average Day Range ADR, and Intraday Range IR

change in volatility
price action

Calculating an investment’s ATR is relatively straightforward, only requiring you to use price data for the period you’re investigating. The ATR is a much easier approach to understanding volatility, and the results are pretty straightforward. It is also helpful in validating the outcome of other charting tools and can be used in intraday trading. The average true range is a volatility indicator that gives you a sense of how much a stock’s price could be expected to move. A day trader can use this in combination with other indicators and strategies to plan trade entry and exit points.

Essentially, when the market exceeds 2 times ATR value, there’s a chance it could reverse from it. Instead, combine it with Support & Resistance and you’ll find yourself identifying market reversals ahead of anyone else. You went long at support and you’re not sure where to take profits. And to make your life easier, there’s a useful indicator called “Chandelier stops” which performs this function. Then go watch this training video below where I’ll explain how to use the ATR indicator to set a proper stop loss – so you don’t get stopped out “too early”.


As you can see from the above stock average true range example of Apple, the average true range moves lockstep with the price action shifts from highs to lows. If that’s going to be the case, then it’s time to bail out of the marketplace. Beyond that, the ATR reading was relatively low until the last couple of weeks. This is crucial information for short-term traders, and they will certainly use this daily chart as a bit of a guideline for day trading the NZD/CHF pair.

Who invented the Average True Range (ATR) indicator?

Then you’d add them together and divide by 1/n, where n is the number of periods. This will give you the previous ATR, which you need for the calculation below. The ATR can also give a trader an indication of what size trade to use in the derivatives markets.

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For instance, traders can add a 20-period simple moving average over the ATR and watch out for crosses. When prices are trending higher, an ATR cross above the signal line will confirm an uptrend and traders could place aggressive buy orders in the market. Similarly, when prices are drifting lower, an ATR cross below the signal line will confirm a downtrend and traders could place aggressive sell orders in the market. The ATR is simply a smoothed average of an asset’s true range values. The range of an asset in any particular time period is simply the difference between the high and closing prices. First, just like with Exponential Moving Averages , ATR values depend on how far back you begin your calculations.

You Need More Than Just the ATR

A stop loss is an order you place with your broker to sell a stock or asset at a specified price point. The information in this site does not contain investment advice or an investment recommendation, or an offer of or solicitation for transaction in any financial instrument. A common method of using ATR in stop placement involves using multiples of ATR, perhaps twice the current ATR level (known as ‘2ATR’). This means that the possibility of a trade being stopped out by a sudden volatile move is reduced, since it is rare to see the price move by twice the ATR. Schwab does not recommend the use of technical analysis as a sole means of investment research.

  • Only if a valid sell signal occurs, based on your particular strategy, would the ATR help confirm the trade.
  • Nonetheless, most traders don’t trade like that so the higher the ATR reading, the typically more attractive the pair will be.
  • In the screenshot below, the price broke above the resistance zone first.

A big issue a lot of new traders struggle with is getting stopped out too soon. Then minutes later, they watch in agony as the stock grinds back into action. The ATR can also help in identifying where to set stops and price targets. Of course, that has to be within your trading plan and overall strategy. Since Bollinger Bands are a pure price indicator, you might want to consider combining them with volume indicators for even more depth and insight.

Moreover, an investor should also review historical readings of average true range to examine the current price movements. The value of the average true range changes and generally falls during the day. Nonetheless, it provides a satisfactory approximation of the price variations and the time that will take for the movements.

ATR Formula

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On the other hand, the range is only $5 ($60 – $55), and this figure clearly underestimates the volatility. Therefore, the range is not appropriate when the intraday prices are above or below the previous closing price. Volatility is the rate at which the price changes relative to the average, whereas momentum refers to trend strength in a particular direction.

What Is Average True Range Used For?

Before we get to how they can do that, let’s talk about what they are and what they look like. A Bollinger Band consists of a middle band and an upper and lower band. These upper and lower bands are set above and below the moving average by a certain number of standard deviations of price, thus incorporating volatility. The general principle is that by comparing a stock’s position relative to the bands, a trader may be able to determine if a stock’s price is relatively low or relatively high. Further, the width of the band can be an indicator of its volatility . In order to calculate the average true range, you take the average of each true range value over a fixed period of time.

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The ATR indicator is most commonly used as a stop loss tool. When the ATR is high, traders are prepared for greater volatility and wider price fluctuations. Therefore, they would set their stop loss orders further away to avoid being kicked out of the trade prematurely. Vice versa, when the ATR indicates lower volatility, traders may use a closer stop loss. Although Wilder’s technical indicators were developed even before the digital age, they have withstood the time test and keep their extreme popularity among traders.

If you’ve been watching the markets in 2020, you know just how volatile they’ve been. The average true range won’t tell you when to go long or short in trades … It doesn’t even care what your bias in the market is. A higher ATR reading suggests greater intraday volatility, and thus stops should be wider in order to avoid having a position stopped out on a sudden swing. With wider stops, of course, it follows that position sizes will be smaller, if traders are following the rule that no trade risks more than 2% of your account size.

period of time

Content intended for educational/informational purposes only. Not investment advice, or a recommendation of any security, strategy, or account type. If you want to find stocks that move a lot , on average most days, then look for stocks that have AIR% of 5% or more.

You can see clearly that the had initially used it as support, but then found it to be rather resistive. Join thousands of traders who choose a mobile-first broker. If you find yourself in an uptrend that has already moved 290 pips, then you know it’s very unlikely that we will continue further, all things being equal.

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A market will usually keep the direction of the initial price move, though this is certainly not a rule. During periods of little volatility, the ATR decreases in value. High volatility describes a market with ongoing price fluctuation, whereas low volatility is used to label a market with little price activity.

Flexible and visually intuitive to many traders, Bollinger Bands® can be a helpful technical analysis tool. Invented in 1983 by John Bollinger, they’re designed to help traders evaluate price action and a stock’s volatility. The example above reveals an intraday trading scenario for stocks. However, a trader with a longer time horizon can configure the price chart to a few days.

These are volatility indicators, which look at how much price moves, whether up or down. For trend-following traders, the ATR can provide useful information about the market structure. Changes in volatility often also may foreshadow changes in trending behavior. Furthermore, trend-following traders may also be able to optimize their target placement by using the ATR-based Keltner channel. Targeting price levels at, or close to, the ATR bands may improve target placement for trend-following traders. Instruments with a higher average range may provide trading opportunities that may lead to capturing larger winning trades.

Although the ATR is not a trend-following tool, changes in volatility can point to changes in market behavior. Because unlike other trading indicators that measure momentum, trend direction, overbought levels, and etc. The ATR was intended to provide a qualitative approach that would assign a numerical figure to the underlying volatility of an asset. The ATR measures how much the market’s price moves on average. It is usually worked out through one of 3 methods of defining the True Range values, depending on how the candles are formed.

In TradingView, hover over the indicator name, and click the three dots. Choose “Add Indicator” and add a moving average to see an average of the data. A moving average can be applied to the indicator to get the Average Intraday Range . Average True Range is one of the most commonly used indicators for determining how much an asset moves.

The ATR is even more effective when combined with other indicators. There are over 150 indicators available at AvaTrade that you can combine with the ATR as you wish. CFI is the official provider of the Commercial Banking & Credit Analyst ™ certification program, designed to transform anyone into a world-class financial analyst. When a market becomes increasingly volatile, the ATR tends to peak rising in value. From basic trading terms to trading jargon, you can find the explanation for a long list of trading terms here. Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work.

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