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The 5 Best Trend Indicators That Work


The 5 Best Trend Indicators That Work

Certainly, let's dive into understanding how to identify the direction of the forex trend, which is a common question among traders.

It's important to note that determining the trend isn't always straightforward, even when using trend indicators. Trends can vary across different timeframes, and it's crucial to have a clear approach. In this post, you'll learn:

  • The critical factor you need before identifying the trend's direction.
  • How to utilize price action to identify the trend's direction.
  • How to discern the trend's direction without relying on candlestick charts.
  • Using Moving Averages to gauge the strength of a trend.
  • Utilizing Trendlines effectively.
  • Leveraging Channels to improve entry and exit timing.
  • My method for identifying and trading with the trend.

Sounds like a plan? Let's get started.

Certainly, let's get started.

The most crucial aspect to understand before identifying the direction of a forex trend

forex trend is that the concept of a trend can be illusory. The trend can be influenced and interpreted in various ways, depending on a key factor, not an indicator: the timeframe.

Let's delve into this concept:

A trend's interpretation highly depends on the timeframe you choose to examine.

In other words, a trend lacks significance if you don't specify your timeframe.

Consider this scenario:

Two traders are observing the same market. One insists it's an uptrend, while the other claims it's a downtrend. Their differing perspectives arise from the fact that they are examining different timeframes.

For instance,

let's examine a daily chart...

daily chart

15minutes chart:

15minutes chart

I understand your point.

So, before you embark on identifying the direction of the forex trend, it's paramount to determine your timeframe. Trends can vary significantly depending on the timeframe you choose to analyze.

You might be wondering:

"Rayner, which timeframe should I select?"

The choice of timeframe should align with your trading approach. Here's a general guideline:

  • Day traders often use the 30-minute timeframe and lower.
  • Swing traders prefer the 1 to 4-hour timeframe.
  • Position traders typically operate on the 4-hour timeframe and above.

Once you've defined your timeframe, stay laser-focused on it, as other timeframes can introduce "noise" into your trading analysis.

Now, let's explore five effective trend indicators...

Trend Indicator 1: Utilizing Price Action to Identify the Trend Direction

Price action involves examining market structure, momentum, and sentiment to pinpoint trading opportunities. It's a crucial skill because it provides valuable insights into the market you're trading, which may not be evident through traditional trend indicators.

For instance:

  • Where are losing traders likely to exit their positions?
  • Where have traders set their stop-loss orders?
  • Where will new traders likely enter the market?

If you'd like to delve deeper into this topic, read The Price Action Trading Strategy Guide.

Now that you understand the significance of price action let's explore how to read it and determine the trend's direction. Here are three key takeaways:

  • Higher highs and higher lows characterize an uptrend.
  • Lower highs and lower lows mark a downtrend.
  • A range-bound market remains confined between specific highs and lows.

To illustrate these concepts,

let's examine an uptrend...






I understand that identifying the trend can be challenging at times, especially when candlesticks exhibit significant wicks and erratic price movements.

In the next section, you'll discover how to determine the trend's direction without relying on candlestick charts. Let's dive in...

Trend Indicator 2: Discerning the Trend Direction with Line Charts

Candlestick charts can become cluttered, particularly when lengthy wicks create confusion, making it challenging to identify the trend—especially for novice traders.

A straightforward solution is to use a line chart.

You might be wondering:

"What exactly is a line chart?"

A line chart represents price movement by connecting closing prices sequentially, forming a continuous line on your chart. This simplified visual representation makes it easier to identify the trend.

To illustrate the difference, let's compare a candlestick chart with a line chart...

candlestick chart

Line chart:

Line chart

Do you see the distinction?

Now, let's discuss how to interpret line charts:

  • If the line is ascending, it indicates an uptrend.
  • If the line is descending, it suggests a downtrend.
  • If the line remains flat, it signals a ranging market.

It's straightforward.

However, it's essential to note that line charts only consider closing prices. Therefore, they lack information about the high and low points of the candles, which can limit your trading decisions.

Line charts are valuable for trend direction identification. However, for precise entries, exits, and trade management, it's advisable to rely on candlesticks or bar charts.

Trend Indicator 3: Utilizing Moving Averages to Determine Trend Direction and Strength

The moving average is a trend indicator that summarizes historical prices and is depicted as a line on your chart. While it is a lagging indicator, it can provide valuable insights into the trend direction and strength.

Here's a simple method that works:

  • If the price is above the 200-period Moving Average (200MA), it signifies a long-term uptrend.
  • If the price resides below the 200MA, it indicates a long-term downtrend.

Let's take a look at an example...

long-term downtrend

Certainly, let's continue.

In addition to using the 200-period Moving Average (200MA) to determine trend direction, you can also leverage shorter-term moving averages to gauge the strength of a trend. Here's how it works:

  • The price typically remains above the 20-period Moving Average (20MA) in a robust trend.
  • The price stays above the 50-period Moving Average (50MA) in a healthy trend.

Let's examine a few examples to illustrate this concept...

20-period Moving Average
50-period Moving Average

Indeed, moving averages are most effective in trending markets, regardless of whether the trend is strong, healthy, or weak. However, their significance diminishes in range-bound markets, and it's advisable to disregard them during such conditions.

If you're interested in exploring my "secret" moving average trading strategy that you can apply, you can watch this video...


let's delve into trend indicator 4: Trendlines.

Trendlines are valuable tools that you can draw on your charts to help identify the direction and strength of a trend. However, learning how to draw trendlines correctly for effective analysis is essential.

Here's my three-step technique to draw trendlines like a professional:

  • Identify at least two swing points, which could be a higher low or a lower high.
  • Connect these swing points using a trendline.
  • Aim to obtain as many "touches" as possible on the Trendline.

Let me illustrate this technique with an example...

draw trendlines

It's straightforward.

Now, let's discuss

how to interpret a trend and assess its strength using trendlines:

  • If the Trendline is sloping upwards, it indicates an uptrend.
  • If the Trendline is sloping downwards, it signifies a downtrend.

However, to gauge the strength of a trend, pay close attention to the angle of the Trendline. As a general guideline:

  • The steeper the Trendline, the stronger the trend.
  • Conversely, the flatter the Trendline, the weaker the trend.

Let me illustrate this concept for better clarity...

steeper the Trendline

Perfect, I'm glad it makes sense to you.

You've now learned how to use trendlines to identify and assess the strength of a trend.

If you want to delve deeper into my trendline trading strategy, where I share proven effective techniques, you can watch this video...


let's continue

trend indicators 5: Trading with Channels to pinpoint the "sweet spot" for your entries and exits.

In case you're curious:

"What exactly is a Channel?"

A Channel is a trend indicator that's a variation of the Trendline. The process of drawing and interpreting it is similar to that of a Trendline. However, Channels have an additional line that runs parallel to the Trendline.

Here's an example to illustrate this concept...


Indeed, the channel helps you pinpoint areas where opposing pressure might arise. This enables you to secure your profits in advance, ensuring you exit trades before the price is likely to reverse.

Now, let's discuss a little-known technique that can provide clarity, especially when uncertain about the trend.

Here's the thing:

You may miss the vast ocean if you focus solely on the water.

If you concentrate solely on the trees, you may overlook the entire forest.

And if you fixate solely on the current price, you may miss the long-term trend.

So, what's the key takeaway here?

Don't get caught up in the minute-to-minute market fluctuations.

Instead, take a step back and zoom out your charts.

Yes, that's right.

Zoom out your charts to gain a broader perspective.

Here's what I mean:

Zoomed-in view:

Zoomed-in view

Zoom out view:

Zoomed-in view

I hope you can see how much of a difference it makes when you zoom out and look at the big picture. It enhances your effectiveness in using forex and trend indicators.

As wisely noted by Jack Schwager, many traders make the mistake of getting too caught up in trying to capture minor market swings and missing out on significant price moves.

I want to share my method for identifying and trading with the trend.

As I mentioned earlier...

There are various ways to identify the trend, and there's no one-size-fits-all or best approach. However, when it comes to identifying the trend, I ask myself two key questions:

1. What's the long-term trend?

  • I use the 200-period MA to determine the long-term trend.
  • If the price is above the 200-period MA, it suggests the market is likely in a long-term uptrend, and I favor long trades.
  • If the price is below the 200-period MA, it suggests the market may be in a long-term downtrend, and I prefer short trades.


2. What type of trend is it? Here's the deal:

  • Not all trends are created equal.
  • After many years of trading experience, I've come to realize that most trends fall into one of three categories:
  • Strong trend
  • Healthy trend
  • Weak trend

Let's break them down:

  • Strong Trend

A strong trend occurs when the price experiences little to no pullback and remains consistently above the 20MA.

In such scenarios, pullbacks may not materialize as the price surges. Therefore, breakout trades are often the most favorable in strong trending markets.

Here's an example:

Strong Trend
  • Healthy Trend

A healthy trend occurs when the market experiences a controlled pullback but stays above the 50MA.

In these market conditions, trading the pullback becomes a viable option. You can target the 50MA, or previous Resistance levels turned Support (in an uptrend).

Here's a visual representation:

Healthy Trend
  • Weak Trend

A weak trend occurs when the market experiences sharp pullbacks but stays above the 200MA.

In these market conditions, you can consider trading from the 200MA or identifying areas of Support (in an uptrend).

Here's an example:

Weak Trend

If you're eager to understand forex trend indicators, I recommend checking out "The Trend Trading Strategy Guide."


1. Which timeframe should you consider when pinpointing the trend?

The timeframe you choose should align with your trading style:
1. If you're a day trader, focus on shorter timeframes like the 1-hour or 30-minute charts.
2. Keep your eyes on the daily or weekly charts for swing or position traders.

2. Do you need to adjust the moving average settings for different timeframes?

The best settings for moving averages vary based on the prevailing market conditions. Here's a guideline:
1. the market typically respects the 20 MA during a strong trend.
2. You'll often see respect for the 50 MA in a healthy trend.
3. In a weaker trend, traders prioritize the 200 MA.
In my approach, I adapt by using the moving average that aligns most with the market's behavior for my trading timeframe.If you want to delve deeper into moving averages, explore "The Moving Average Trading Strategy Guide."

In summary,

here's what you've gained from today's insights:

  • The significance of considering the timeframe when assessing a trend.
  • How to leverage price action to discern the trend's direction.
  • Identifying a trend without solely relying on candlestick charts.
  • The effectiveness of forex trend indicators, particularly Moving Averages.
  • Drawing Trendlines to gauge the trend's strength.
  • Use channels to optimize your entry and exit points.
  • A glimpse into my method for identifying and trading with the trend.

Now, I'd like to hear from you:

How do you go about determining the direction of the trend? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Written by Sauravsingh

Techpreneur and adept trader, Sauravsingh Tomar seamlessly blends the worlds of technology and finance. With rich experience in Forex and Stock markets, he's not only a trading maven but also a pioneer in innovative digital solutions. Beyond charts and code, Sauravsingh is a passionate mentor, guiding many towards financial and technological success. In his downtime, he's often found exploring new places or immersed in a compelling read.

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