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Measuring volatility utilizing Common True Vary indicator


  • Volatility is the measurement of worth variations over a specified time period.
  • To measure volatility, the Common True Vary (ATR) and Volatility Pro indicators are used.

Technical Evaluation can carry a big quantity of worth to a dealer.

Whereas no indicator or set of indicators will completely predict the long run, merchants can use historic worth actions to get an thought for what could occur sooner or later.

On this article, we’re going to take the dialogue of technical evaluation a step additional by specializing in one of many major components of significance in figuring out market circumstances: Volatility.


The attract of high-volatility circumstances may be apparent: Increased ranges of volatility imply bigger worth actions, and bigger worth actions imply extra potential alternative but in addition extra attainable threat.

Merchants have to see the total spectrum of this state of affairs: Increased ranges of volatility additionally imply that worth actions are even much less predictable. Reversals may be extra aggressive, and if a dealer finds themselves on the improper aspect of the transfer, the potential loss may be even larger in a high-volatility surroundings because the elevated exercise can entail bigger worth actions towards the dealer in addition to of their favor.


The Common True Vary indicator stands above most others in the case of the measurement of volatility. ATR was created by J. Welles Wilder (the identical gents that created RSI, Parabolic SAR, and the ADX indicator), and is designed to measure the True Vary over a specified time period.

True Vary is specified because the better of:

  • Excessive of the present interval much less the low of the present interval
  • The excessive of the present interval much less the earlier interval’s closing worth
  • The low of the present interval much less the earlier interval’s closing worth

As a result of we’re attempting to measure volatility, absolute values are used within the above computations to find out the ‘true vary.’ So the most important of the above three numbers is the ‘true vary,’ no matter whether or not the worth was damaging or not.

As soon as these values are computed, they are often averaged over a time period to clean out the near-term fluctuations (14 intervals is frequent). The result’s Common True Vary.

Within the chart under, we’ve added ATR as an example how the indicator will register bigger values because the vary of worth actions will increase:



After traders have learned to measure volatility, they can then look to integrate the ATR indicator into their approaches in one of two ways.

  • As a volatility filter to determine which strategy or approach to employ
  • To measure risk outlay, or possible stop distance when initiating trading positions


Traders can approach low-volatility environments with one of two different approaches.

Simply, traders can look for the low-volatility environment to continue, or they can look for it to change. Meaning, traders can approach low-volatility by trading the range (continuation of low-volatility), or they can look to trade the breakout (increase in volatility).

The difference between the two conditions is huge; as range-traders are looking to sell resistance and buy support while breakout traders are looking to do the exact opposite.

Further, range-traders usually have the luxury of well-defined support and resistance for stop placement; while breakout traders do not. And while breakouts can potentially lead to huge moves, the probability of success is significantly lower. This means that false breakouts can be abundant, and trading the breakout often requires more aggressive risk-reward ratios (to offset the lower probability of success).


One of the primary struggles for new traders is learning where to place the protective stop when initiating new positions. ATR can help with this goal.

Because ATR is based on price movements in the market, the indicator will grow along with volatility. This enables the trader to use wider stops in more volatile markets, or tighter stops in lower-volatility environments.

The ATR indicator is displayed in the same price format as the currency pair. So, a value of ‘.00458’ on EUR/USD would denote 45.8 pips. Alternatively, a reading of ‘.455’ on USDJPY would denote 45.5 pips. As volatility increases or decreases, these statistics will increase or decrease as well.

Traders can use this to their advantage by placing stops based on the value of ATR; whether that be a factor of the indicator (such as 50% of ATR) or the direct indicator read itself. The key here is that the indicator read would be responsive to recent market conditions, allowing for an element of adaptation by the trader employing the indicator in their approach.

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