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Thomas Bulkowski’s successful investment activities allowed him to retire at age 36. He is an internationally known author and trader with 30+ years of stock market experience and widely regarded as a leading expert on chart patterns. He may be reached at

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Bulkowski's Divergence

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Written by and copyright © 2005-2017 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information.

My book, Trading BasicsTrading Basics: Evolution of a Trader book., discusses divergence in the section titled, "Is Indicator Divergence a Dud?" starting on page 86.

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Divergence occurs when an indicator trends in one direction and price trends in another direction. Specifically, an indicator will make lower highs while price makes higher peaks, or the indicator will make higher valleys even as price tumbles to new lows.

Divergence is a reliable trading signal, but it's not timely, meaning that price usually follows the direction of the indicator, but it make take months before it does.

 

Bearish Divergence

Bearish divergence.

Bearish divergence (see adjacent chart) occurs when price makes a higher high but the indicator forms lower highs. The two data streams diverge in direction. Price will eventually, usually, follow the indicator lower.

 

 

 

Identification Guidelines

CharacteristicDiscussion
Price trendUpward forming higher peaks.
Indicator trendLower peaks.
One monthI found that the best divergence signals in the RSI and CCI indicators are when the peaks are spaced less than 2 months apart – 1 month apart is best (daily charts only).
TrendsDraw a trendline along the price peaks and it should slope upward. A trendline drawn along the indicator peaks should trend downward. Don't draw trendlines along the valleys when looking for bearish divergence.
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Trading Tips

If the price trend is up, then look for divergence among the peaks, not the valleys. When you spot divergence, recognize that the price trend may change. This doesn't mean an immediate sale, but you should be ready to flee.

 

Bullish Divergence

Bullish divergence shows

Bullish divergence (see adjacent chart) occurs when price makes a lower low but the indicator forms higher lows. The two data streams diverge in direction. Price will eventually, usually, follow the indicator higher.

 

 

 

 

Identification Guidelines

CharacteristicDiscussion
Price trendDownward forming lower valleys.
Indicator trendHigher valleys.
One monthI found that the best divergence signals in the RSI and CCI indicators are when the valleys are spaced less than 2 months apart – 1 month apart is best (daily charts only).
TrendsDraw a trendline along the price valleys and the trendline should slope downward. A trendline drawn along the indicator valleys must slope upward. Don't draw trendlines along the peaks looking for bullish divergence.

Trading Tips

If the price trend is down, then look for divergence among the valleys, not the peaks. When you spot divergence, recognize that the price trend may change. This doesn't mean an immediate buy, but consider taking a position soon, especially if you receive other confirming signals.

-- Thomas Bulkowski

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Other Divergence Examples

See Also

Written by and copyright © 2005-2017 by Thomas N. Bulkowski. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: You alone are responsible for your investment decisions. See Privacy/Disclaimer for more information. Some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them.