Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD), Technical Indicator for Forex CFD Trading

    The Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) is a trend-following momentum indicator that reveals the relationship between two moving averages of an asset’s price. It’s particularly useful for spotting shifts in the strength, direction, momentum, and duration of a trend. Here’s a closer look:


    Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD)

    MACD consists of the MACD line, the signal line, and the histogram. The MACD line represents the difference between a short-term and a long-term moving average, typically the 12-day and 26-day exponential moving averages (EMAs). The signal line is the 9-day EMA of the MACD line. The histogram illustrates the distance between the MACD line and the signal line.

    How Do You Calculate MACD?

    The MACD is calculated by subtracting the 26-period Exponential Moving Average (EMA) from the 12-period EMA. Additionally, a nine-day EMA of the MACD itself is plotted alongside the MACD value—acting as a signal line to identify turns in the indicator.

    Here the are the computational steps:

    1. Compute the 12-period EMA of the price.
    2. Compute the 26-period EMA of the price.
    3. Subtract the 26-period EMA from the 12-period EMA, which results in the MACD line.
    4. Calculate the 9-period EMA of the MACD line to get the Signal line.
    5. The MACD Histogram is the difference between the MACD line and the Signal line.
    Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) - CHART EXAMPLE - TECHNICAL ANALYSIS - Baxia Markets


    MACD Line: (12-period EMA) − (26-period EMA)

    Signal Line: 9-period EMA of the MACD 

    MACD Histogram: MACD LineSignal Line

    Traders often look for signal line crossovers (where the MACD crosses above or below the Signal line), centerline crossovers (where the MACD moves above or below zero), and divergences to identify potential buy or sell signals.



    • Signal Line Crossovers:

    The most common MACD signals derive from crossovers. When the MACD line crosses above the signal line, it can be a bullish sign. Conversely, if the MACD line crosses below the signal line, it might be a bearish signal.

    • Histogram:

    The MACD histogram can provide a visual representation of the distance between the MACD and its signal line. A growing histogram can signal a strengthening trend, while a shrinking histogram may indicate a weakening trend.

    • Divergence:

    If the price of an asset is making new highs/lows, but the MACD isn't, it can indicate a potential price reversal. For instance, if an asset price makes a new high but the MACD doesn't, this bearish divergence could suggest a future downturn.

    • Overbought/Oversold:

    Although not its primary use, the MACD can be interpreted as overbought or oversold. If the MACD moves away from the zero line, it can suggest overextension and potential for a reversal to the mean.

    Considerations and Limitations:

    • Lagging Nature:

    The MACD is based on moving averages, and thus, it's inherently a lagging indicator. It might not always be the best tool for early signals.

    • False Signals:

    Particularly in choppy or sideways markets, the MACD can produce false signals, suggesting trends that don't sustain.

    • Requires Confirmation:

    Due to its potential for false signals, many traders seek confirmation from other indicators or techniques before acting on MACD signals.

    Historical Overview:

    Developed by Gerald Appel in the late 1970s, the MACD is now one of the most popular and widely used technical indicators, esteemed for its simplicity and versatility in identifying trends and momentum.


    The Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) is a powerful tool in a trader’s arsenal, especially for those seeking to understand trend strength and momentum in Forex CFD trading. However, as with all indicators, it’s vital to use it in conjunction with other tools and to be aware of its limitations. Proper interpretation combined with risk management can enhance its efficacy in a trading strategy.

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