This strategy may help establish profit targets or stop-loss orders. The average true range (ATR) is a volatility indicator that gives you a sense of how much a stock’s price could be expected to move. A day trader can use this in combination with other indicators and strategies to plan trade entry and exit points. The average true range is an indicator of the price volatility of an asset. It is best used to determine how much an investment’s price has been moving in the period being evaluated rather than an indication of a trend. Calculating an investment’s ATR is relatively straightforward, only requiring you to use price data for the period you’re investigating.

The ATR may be beneficial for trend-following trading, improve your understanding of market behavior, and may even help to optimize target placement to improve a trader´s winrate. The Average True Range (ATR) is a technical indicator that measures the volatility of an asset’s price. Once you figure out the highest value, you’ll use that in your calculation. If you were looking at a 14-day period, you’d look at which 14 days of data had the highest numbers. Then you’d add them together and divide by 1/n, where n is the number of periods. This will give you the previous ATR, which you need for the calculation below.

## What period is used for the ATR indicator?

Although the ATR is not a trend-following tool, changes in volatility can point to changes in market behavior. Interestingly, different markets may provide different characteristics when it comes to the manifestation of volatility during trending markets. Traders often mistakenly believe that volatility equals trend momentum. However, volatility does not say anything about the trend strength or the trend direction. Volatility shows how much the price fluctuates back and forth. Of course, this is a very simplistic way of looking at the ATR, and math-wise, there is a little more that goes into the calculation of the ATR.

- This guide will first explain the idea behind the ATR indicator and then explore the different use cases.
- This will give you the previous ATR, which you need for the calculation below.
- The ATR is designed to purely measure volatility and the indicator neither indicates trend direction nor momentum.
- The ATR is a valuable technical tool for finding entry and exit points, particularly because it’s relatively straightforward to calculate and only requires historical price data.

However, traders can use shorter or longer timeframes based on their trading preferences. For example, if you need to measure recent levels of volatility, use a lower number, which indicates a shorter period. Long-term investors, on the other hand, may prefer a larger number to take a more comprehensive measurement. As a volatility indicator, the ATR gives traders a sense of how much an asset’s price could be expected to move. Used in tandem with other technical indicators and strategies, it helps traders spot entry and exit locations. Now, let’s imagine that stock X is up $3 on the day, i.e., the trading range (high minus low) is $3.

## How to Use ATR in Trading

As with most of his indicators, Wilder designed ATR with commodities and daily prices in mind. They were are often subject to gaps and limit moves, which occur when a commodity opens up or down its maximum allowed move for the session. A volatility formula based only on the high-low range would fail to capture volatility from gap or limit moves. Wilder created Average True Range to capture this “missing” volatility. It is important to remember that ATR does not provide an indication of price direction, just volatility.

- If you want to place greater emphasis on recent levels of volatility, then you can use a lower number, which indicates a shorter period of time.
- The oscillations in the ATR indicator throughout the day don’t provide much information except for how much the price is moving on average each minute.
- The ATR is typically set to 14 periods which means that the ATR looks at the range of candlestick size over the last 14 candlesticks.
- Large or increasing ranges typically demonstrate traders are prepared to continue to bid up or sell short a stock throughout the day.

Trading signals occur relatively infrequently but usually indicate significant breakout points. The logic behind these signals is that whenever a price closes more than an ATR above the most recent close, a change in volatility has occurred. Volatility is the rate at which the price changes relative to the average, whereas momentum refers to trend strength in a particular direction. Based on this, volatile markets have wide price ranges, while less volatile markets have narrow price ranges. But the ATR can also provide general information about the underlying level of volatility of a market or the average price range for a specific period. If you’re going long and the price moves favorably, you can continue to move the stop-loss to twice the ATR below the price.

## Related guides

Listed as “Average True Range,” ATR is on the Indicators drop-down menu. The “parameters” box to the right of the indicator contains the default value, 14, for the number of periods used to smooth the data. To adjust the period setting, highlight the default value and enter a new setting. SharpCharts also allows users to position the indicator above, below or behind the price plot.

Average True Range (ATR) is the average of true ranges over the specified period. ATR measures volatility, taking into account any gaps in the price movement. Typically, the ATR calculation is based on 14 periods, which can be intraday, daily, weekly, or monthly. To measure recent volatility, use a shorter average, such as 2 to 10 periods.

## Absolute ATR

Second, ATR only measures volatility and not the direction of an asset’s price. This can sometimes result in mixed signals, particularly when markets are experiencing pivots or when trends are at turning points. An average true range value is the average price range of an investment over a period. So if the ATR for an asset is $1.18, its price has an average range of movement of $1.18 per trading day.