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The stochastic indicator is a technical analysis tool that helps traders identify potential reversals in price direction. It gauges momentum, which can signal when an asset might be overbought or oversold, suggesting possible entry points for buying or selling.

Understanding the Two Lines of the Stochastic Indicator

The indicator consists of two lines:

  • %K (Stochastic Line): This line reflects the current price relative to the price range over a set period.

  • %D (Moving Average Line): This line smooths out fluctuations in the %K line by calculating its moving average.

Interpreting the Stochastic Oscillator's Values

The stochastic oscillator readings range from 0 to 100. Generally:

  • Below 20: Indicates an oversold condition, potentially suggesting a buying opportunity.

  • Above 80: Indicates an overbought condition, potentially suggesting a selling opportunity.

Trading with Stochastics

An overbought condition suggests the possibility of an upcoming pause in a market rally, as buying pressure runs out of steam. So there is a greater potential for a reversal in price direction. Awareness of this situation can help us time a good selling opportunity.

Conversely, an oversold condition suggests the possibility of an upcoming pause in a market decline as selling pressure runs out of steam and makes a reversal to the upside more likely. Awareness of this situation can help us time a good buying opportunity.


Bullish and bearish divergence signals between price action and the stochastic oscillator are also helpful signals when anticipating market pauses and changes in price direction. A bearish divergence forms when a price records a higher high, but the stochastic oscillator forms a lower high. This shows less upside price momentum that could eventually lead to a downturn in prices.

On the other hand, a bullish divergence forms when a price records a lower low, but the stochastic indicator forms a higher low. This shows less downside price momentum that could signal a reversal.

Below we have an example of bullish divergence. Prices are falling but the stochastic is rising. Consequently, prices soon halt the downtrend and rise back up.

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