Mastering Bollinger Bands Can Be Highly Profitable!

Published: 25th March 2010
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How do you measure the volatility in the market? Price volatility in the market is mostly measured with the standard deviation. Bollinger bands are technical indicators that plot the standard deviation of the price action. Two bands are plotted. One above and the other below the moving average. The period of the moving average is 20 mostly as this time period effectively represents the intermediate trend.

Bollinger bands may be applied to any market or security. Any timeframes from daily, weekly, monthly to intraday can be used. Primary advantage of using these bands is to check if the prices are relatively low or high

Bands will be narrow when the volatility in the market is low. These bands expand when the volatility in the market increases. This information can be especially useful to options traders as options prices are heavily influenced by the swings in volatility.

When prices move above the upper band this is a sign of great strength and when they move below the lower band, a sign of great weakness. When prices move outside the bands, trend continuation is often a valid assumption.

When the bands happen to tighten as they do when the volatility in the market decreases, rapid and substantial price moves often take place after the band tightens. This is something an experienced trader always keeps in mind. Now, Bollinger Bands are mostly used in conjunction with other technical indicators like the Commodity Channel Index (CCI), Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD), Relative Strength Index (RSI) and others.

The bands that are plotted above and below this moving average are the moving standard deviations. These bands vary in distance from the average as a function of market volatility. Two standard deviations above and below the average is the recommended settings for these bands.

However, if the number of periods in the moving average is increased to 50 for longer term trends, the recommended setting for the bands should be increased to two and half standard deviations. Similarly, if the moving average period is lowered to 10, the standard deviation should be decreased to one and a half.

Trading these bands is one of the most powerful concepts that is available to any trader whethet stocks, futures, forex, options or commodities. As said before, these bands are traded in conjunction with other technical indicators. In case of the stock market, a period of 20 for the moving average is okay.

However, when prices touch these bands, it should never be taken as an absolute signal. It should only be taken on a relative basis and the price action needs to be confirmed with other technical indicators before trading on these signals.


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