Chaikin Volatility

The Chaikin Volatility indicator measures market volatility and helps traders identify potential breakouts and trend reversals; traders can use this information to manage risk by setting appropriate stop losses

7 minutes


The Chaikin Volatility serves as a technical analysis indicator for measuring the volatility of an asset or security. Created by Marc Chaikin, a well-known trader and analyst, in the 1980s, this indicator helps traders make informed decisions regarding asset price volatility. Chaikin has also developed other technical analysis tools like the Chaikin Money Flow indicator for measuring an asset’s buying and selling pressure, leading to his recognition as a respected figure in the trading and analysis field.

The indicator’s calculation involves finding the difference between the high and low prices of an asset over a defined time, usually 10 or 14 days, and then taking the simple moving average of the absolute value of the daily price range for the period.

The indicator aims to help traders identify high or low volatility periods in an asset’s price, providing crucial information for making trading decisions. High volatility often suggests an imminent price move, whereas low volatility indicates price stability.

To identify potential trading opportunities, traders can combine the Chaikin Volatility with other technical analysis indicators. For example, they can look for a high Chaikin Volatility reading along with a bullish signal from a moving average crossover or other indicators to confirm a buy signal.

The Chaikin Volatility is an excellent tool for traders who want to understand an asset’s price volatility and utilize that knowledge to make informed trading decisions.

Computing the Chaikin Volatility Indicator

To calculate the Chaikin Volatility, use this formula:

SMA(10)[(High - Low) / ((High + Low) / 2) * 100]

The Chaikin Volatility is a simple moving average of the daily price range over a specific period. The period for the SMA used in this formula is usually 10 or 14 days, but it can vary depending on the trading strategy.

The formula’s “SMA” stands for simple moving average, which involves adding up the values over a given period and dividing by the number of periods. “High” and “Low” represent the highest and lowest prices of the asset over the period, while ((High + Low) / 2) represents the average price over the same period.

The formula’s output is a percentage, indicating the asset’s price volatility over the specified period. Higher percentages signify greater volatility, while lower percentages indicate lower volatility.

Understanding the Chaikin Volatility Indicator in technical analysis

Traders use the Chaikin Volatility indicator in technical analysis to gain insight into the volatility of an asset’s price. The Chaikin Volatility can help traders in a number of ways:

Measuring volatility

The Chaikin Volatility provides information about an asset’s volatility over a specified period of time, which can help traders identify periods of high or low volatility to make trading decisions.

Confirming trends

An increase in the Chaikin Volatility can signal a strengthening trend, while a decrease can suggest that a trend is losing momentum. This information can confirm or challenge a trader’s existing position.

Indicating potential price movements

High Chaikin Volatility readings may indicate an imminent price move, while low readings suggest price stability. Traders can use this information to identify potential entry or exit points for a trade.

Managing risk

When the Chaikin Volatility is high, traders may consider reducing position size or using stop-loss orders to limit losses.

Overall, the Chaikin Volatility is a valuable tool for traders in technical analysis. By incorporating the Chaikin Volatility into their analysis, traders can better understand an asset’s price movements, manage risk, and identify potential trading opportunities.

Marc Chaikin’s suggestions on how to use the Chaikin Volatility Indicator

Chaikin Volatility plotted along with Standard Deviation Channel, MA(21) and the SuperTrend indicator

Marc Chaikin, a renowned expert in trading, has shared several insights on how traders can utilize the Chaikin Volatility indicator to their advantage. Here are some of his key recommendations:

Identify the trend

Before using the Chaikin Volatility indicator, traders should determine the underlying trend in the market using other technical indicators such as moving averages or trendlines.

Use the Chaikin Volatility as a confirmation tool

Traders should not rely solely on the Chaikin Volatility for trading decisions. Instead, they should use it as a confirmation tool in conjunction with other technical analysis indicators.

Confirm price breakouts

The Chaikin Volatility can confirm genuine price breakouts when the price breaks out of a trading range while the Chaikin Volatility is high.

Look for divergences

Traders should also look for divergences between the Chaikin Volatility and the asset’s price to determine the momentum of the price trend.

Combine long-term and short-term indicators

Using a combination of long-term and short-term indicators with the Chaikin Volatility can help traders identify short-term and long-term volatility trends.

Use multiple timeframes

Traders should analyze the Chaikin Volatility across multiple timeframes to identify potential short-term and long-term breakouts or trend reversals.

Watch for volatility spikes

Traders should pay attention to spikes in the Chaikin Volatility as they can signal a significant price move. Using trailing stop-loss orders can help limit potential losses.

Consider the overall market environment

Traders should consider the overall market environment when interpreting the Chaikin Volatility to understand its significance.

Use the Chaikin Volatility with other indicators

Chaikin recommends using the Chaikin Volatility with other technical analysis indicators such as moving averages or momentum oscillators.

Practice risk management

Finally, Chaikin emphasizes the importance of risk management when using the Chaikin Volatility in trading. Traders should use stop-loss orders and position sizing to manage risk and protect their capital.

Also see: Stop Loss . . . and its importance in tradingSome ways of setting up stop loss levels

In conclusion, by incorporating the Chaikin Volatility indicator with other technical analysis tools and adjusting it based on their trading strategy and timeframe, traders can effectively use it to identify potential trading opportunities and manage risk.

Advantages & Limitations of the Chaikin Volatility Indicator

The Chaikin Volatility indicator has its advantages and limitations when used in trading. Here are some of them:


  • Identifying market volatility: This indicator measures the level of volatility in the market, helping traders identify potentially profitable opportunities.
  • Spotting trend reversals: The Chaikin Volatility can help traders identify when a trend is about to change direction, which is useful for trend-following strategies.
  • Customizable parameters: The indicator’s input parameters can be customized to different market conditions and trading styles.


  • No directional bias: The Chaikin Volatility indicator does not provide a directional bias, so traders may need to use other indicators or analysis techniques to determine the direction of the trend.
  • Historical data: The indicator is based on historical price data, which may not always predict future market movements.
  • False signals: The Chaikin Volatility may produce false signals in markets with low volatility or periods of consolidation. Traders should use other indicators to confirm signals.

The Chaikin Volatility indicator is a valuable tool for traders seeking to spot possible trend reversals and breakouts in the market. It calculates market volatility, providing a window into market conditions, and empowers traders to make knowledgeable trading choices. The indicator can be customized, and it can be used with a range of technical and fundamental analysis techniques to further boost trading performance.

Although the Chaikin Volatility indicator can assist traders in making informed trading decisions, it is important to note that it is not infallible in predicting future market movements. As with all technical indicators, it relies on historical price data and may generate false signals or prove ineffective in certain market conditions. To minimize the risk of potential losses, traders should use the indicator in conjunction with other analysis techniques and manage risk appropriately.

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