In the chart below, we see that a fade-trader using Bollinger Band® ”bands” will be able to quickly diagnose the first hint of trend weakness. Having seen prices fall out of the trend channel, the fader may decide to make classic use of Bollinger Bands® by shorting the next tag of the upper Bollinger Band®. Bollinger Band® ”bands” can also be a valuable tool for traders who like to exploit trend exhaustion by helping to identify the turn in price. Note, however, that counter-trend trading requires far larger margins of error, as trends will often make several attempts at continuation before reversing. To help remedy this, a trader can look at the overall direction of price and then only take trade signals that align the trader with the trend.

A Bollinger Band overlay can be set at (50,2.1) for a longer timeframe or at (10,1.9) for a shorter timeframe. Bollinger Bands® are a type of chart indicator for technical analysis and have become widely used by traders in many markets, including stocks, futures, and currencies. Created by John Bollinger in the 1980s, the bands offer unique insights into price and volatility.

  1. A small standard deviation means that the candle’s size was close to the average candle size.
  2. For a given data set, the standard deviation measures how far numbers are from an average value.
  3. The middle band is a simple moving average that is usually set at 20 periods.
  4. Yarilet Perez is an experienced multimedia journalist and fact-checker with a Master of Science in Journalism.

When you hear someone say ”95% confidence interval,” it means they’re pretty certain (95% sure, to be exact) that the average price candle will fall within the range of the Bollinger Bands ®. If you’re 95% sure the price will stay within the Bollinger Bands ®, you can be confident about the price prediction. We do not want to get too technical in this article, but understanding the basic premise of the indicator will help us use the indicator more effectively. If you are not interested in the underlying principles of the Bollinger Bands® indicator, you can skip ahead to the next section where we cover some common use cases. This scan finds stocks that have just moved below their lower Bollinger Band line. This scan finds stocks that have just moved above their upper Bollinger Band line.

In a classic M top, the first high either touches or is outside of the upper band, the price reacts by dropping close to the middle band (the moving average), and the second high touches inside the upper band. The fact that the second high is within the upper band suggests that it is a lower high on a relative basis. In the chart below, Bollinger Bands® bracket the 20-day SMA of the stock with an upper and lower band along with the daily movements of the stock’s price.

Again, I do not want to get too technical, but a small excursion is important to understand the approach of the Bollinger Bands® indicator and why it is so powerful. In this article, we show you how to use the Bollinger Bands ® indicator to improve your chart reading skills and how to identify high-probability trade entries. Another strategy to use with Bollinger Bands® is called a squeeze strategy. A squeeze occurs when the price has been moving aggressively then starts moving sideways in a tight consolidation.

In a couple of instances, the price action cut through the centerline (March to May and again in July and August), but for many traders, this was certainly not a buy signal as the trend wasn’t broken. Since Bollinger Bands® are set two use +/- two standard deviations around an SMA, we should expect that approximately 95% of the time, the observed price action will fall within these bands. The Bollinger Bands ® indicator is a multi-purpose trading tool that can be used in many ways as we have learned throughout the article.

These parameters can be adjusted to meet your technical analysis needs. In the 1980s, John Bollinger, a long-time technician of the markets, developed the technique of using a moving average with two trading bands above and below it. Unlike a percentage calculation from a normal moving average, Bollinger Bands® simply add and subtract a standard deviation calculation.

The information provided by, Inc. is not investment advice. Narrow bands indicate a squeeze, which means that volatility is low. But remember, since volatility is mean-reverting, the bands will probably expand, signaling a potential for an explosive move. A simple way to spot a squeeze is to identify when the bands are the narrowest they have been for the last six months. Bollinger Bands® was developed by technical trader John Bollinger and designed to give investors a higher probability of identifying when an asset is oversold or overbought. In a different example, Yahoo broke the lower band on December 20, 2006.

As the name implies, Bollinger Bands® are price channels (bands) that are plotted above and below the price action. Note how, in the following chart, the trader is able to stay with the move for most of the uptrend, exiting only when price starts to consolidate at the top of the new range. W-Bottoms were part of Arthur Merrill’s work that identified 16 patterns with a basic W shape. Bollinger uses these various W patterns with Bollinger Bands to identify W-Bottoms, which form in a downtrends and contain two reaction lows. In particular, Bollinger looks for W-Bottoms where the second low is lower than the first but holds above the lower band.

The bands are composed of different lines that are plotted on a chart, including the moving average, an upper band, and a lower band. Most technicians will use Bollinger Bands® in conjunction with other indicators, but we wanted to take a look at a simple strategy that uses only the bands to make trading decisions. It has been found that buying the breaks of the lower Bollinger Band® is a way to take advantage of oversold conditions. Usually, once a lower band has been broken due to heavy selling, the price of the stock will revert back above the lower band and head toward the middle band. This is the exact scenario this strategy attempts to profit from.

Bollinger Bands®

Bollinger Bands® is not a standalone trading system but just one indicator designed to provide traders with information regarding price volatility. John Bollinger suggests using them with two or three other non-correlated indicators that provide more direct market signals and indicators based on different types of data. Some of his favored technical techniques are moving average divergence/convergence (MACD), on-balance volume, and relative strength index (RSI).

Understanding Bollinger Bands®

There are multiple uses for Bollinger Bands®, including using them for overbought and oversold trade signals. Traders can also add multiple bands, which helps highlight the strength of price moves. Another way to use the bands is to look for volatility contractions.

Example of Bollinger Bands®

Such a quick rejection move can be seen as a rejection of the bullish buying attempt. If such a rejection is followed by a strong bearish candle, this sequence may foreshadow more selling to come. The center how to withdraw on coinbase of the Bollinger Bands ® is the 20-period moving average and the perfect addition to the volatility-based outer bands, especially when we start using Bollinger Bands ® for trend-following trading.

Riding the Band Downward

Adam received his master’s in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. We have been trading for over 15 years and during that time, tested hundreds of resources and trading tools.

A Bollinger Band® is a technical analysis tool defined by a set of trendlines. They are plotted as two standard deviations, both positively and negatively, away from a simple moving average (SMA) of a security’s price and can be adjusted to user preferences. The Bollinger Bands® indicator is among the most reliable and powerful trading indicators traders can choose from. Bollinger Bands® can be used to read the trend strength, to time trade entries, ride trending markets, and find potential market tops for reversal trading. The Bollinger Band® indicator is not a lagging indicator because it adjusts to price action in real-time and the indicator uses the price volatility to adjust to the current price behavior.