Top Trend Strength Indicators

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Contributor, Benzinga
July 7, 2023

Pinpointing the right moment to apply your trading strategy is critical to forex trading. Trends help you accurately read the market's directional movements so you can jump on a trade at the right time. 

This post reviews the top trend strength indicators, which measure the strength or momentum of a market trend. Learn about five of the most powerful technical analysis tools, how they work and how to use them to locate trade entry and exit points precisely.

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What is a Trend?

A trend is the prevailing direction in which a market or an asset's price moves over time. In forex trading, trends can be upward, downward or sideways. They are formed by a series of higher highs and higher lows (uptrend) or lower highs and lower lows (downtrend). Identifying and understanding trends is crucial for your trading success as it allows you to capitalize on these price movements to boost profitability.

What is a Trend Strength Indicator?

Trend strength indicators are technical analysis tools used by forex traders to measure the strength of a trend and identify possible entry and exit points. These indicators help traders distinguish between strong and weak trends and determine the likelihood of a trend continuing or pulling back. With the aid of trend strength indicators, you can make smarter decisions when entering or exiting trades and boost your chances of trading success in the FX market.

5 Top Trend Strength Indicators for Forex Trading

Now that you understand forex market trends and their significance, here are the top five trend strength indicators that can help you confidently navigate the market.

Average Directional Index (ADX)

The average directional index (ADX) is a widely used trend strength indicator for measuring the strength of a trend without taking its direction into account. 

Two other indicators, namely the positive directional indicator (+DI) and the negative directional indicator (-DI), are used to calculate the ADX. These indicators quantify the upward and downward directional movements, respectively. When the ADX value surpasses 25, it signifies a strong trend, and a value below 20 indicates a weak or non trending market.

True Strength Index (TSI)

The true strength index (TSI) measures the momentum of a trend by analyzing the difference between the average price gains and losses over a specified period. The TSI oscillates around a zero line, with positive values indicating a bullish trend and negative values suggesting a bearish trend. Traders often use the TSI indicator with other technical indicators and chart patterns to assess trend direction and strength, identify overbought/oversold conditions and confirm trade setups.

Rate of Change (ROC)

The rate of change (ROC) is a momentum-based strength indicator that measures the percentage change in price over a specific period. It helps traders identify the momentum of a trend and potential market turning points by analyzing the speed at which prices change.

The ROC is calculated by comparing the current closing price to a previous one at a specified period. 

A rising ROC indicates the trend is gaining momentum, while a falling ROC suggests a weakening trend. Traders can use the ROC to spot potential trend reversals and confirm existing trends.

McGinley Dynamic (MD)

The McGinley Dynamic (MD) is a smoothing indicator that adjusts itself based on market speed, effectively reducing price gaps and false signals. It aims to minimize lag and noise, providing a more accurate representation of the price action. 

The MD line effectively determines trend direction, with prices above the line indicating an uptrend and prices below the line suggesting a downtrend. Traders can also use the MD line as a dynamic support and resistance level to identify potential entry and exit points.

Ichimoku Kinko Hyo

The Ichimoku Kinko Hyo, or Ichimoku cloud, is a comprehensive trend strength indicator that provides information on trend direction, momentum, support and resistance levels. 

Highly valued for its ability to offer a complete market overview at a glance, this versatile indicator consists of five main components that form a "cloud" on a price chart, with each serving a specific purpose: 

  1. Tenkan-sen (conversion line): The average of the highest high and the lowest low over a specific period, usually nine periods.
  2. Kijun-sen (baseline): The average of the highest high and the lowest low over a different period, typically 26 periods.
  3. Senkou Span A (leading span A): The average of the Tenkan-sen and Kijun-sen, plotted ahead of the current price by a specified number of periods, usually 26.
  4. Senkou Span B (leading span B): The average of the highest high and the lowest low over a longer period, generally 52 periods, plotted ahead of the current price by the same number of periods as Senkou Span A.
  5. Chikou Span (lagging span): The current closing price plotted behind the price action, typically by 26 periods.

A price above the cloud indicates an uptrend, while a price below the cloud suggests a downtrend. Traders can use the various components of the Ichimoku system to spot potential trading opportunities and confirm trend strength.

Trend strength indicators play a vital role in forex trading by helping traders identify trends, momentum, potential reversals and overbought or oversold market conditions. Each of these top indicators offers unique insights into market behavior and can be combined with other technical analysis tools to confirm trade setups, manage risk and optimize overall trading performance. 

Frequently Asked Questions


What is an example of a trend indicator?


An example of a trend indicator is the moving average indicator, which smooths out price action by filtering out the noise from random price fluctuation.


How do you know whether a trend is strong or weak?


Trend strength indicators, such as the average directional index or the rate of change, can help traders determine whether a trend is strong or weak.


Which indicator is best for beginners?


The average directional index is a beginner-friendly indicator that provides valuable information on trend strength without considering its direction, making it easier for new traders to understand and interpret.