Tension Indicator

Motivated by an article on Bollinger Bands, the Tension Indicator was developed in 1998 as an alternative trend indicator. An 8 period weighted moving average of the Tension Indicator – a ‘signal’ line – is then plotted on top of the Tension Indicator, acting as a generator for buy and sell signals.

There are several methods to interpret the Tension Indicator:

As a Simple Visual Confirmation of the Trend

  • A rising Tension Indicator suggests a rising/bullish trend
  • A falling Tension Indicator suggests a falling/bearish trend
  • A flat Tension Indicator suggests a consolidating/neutral trend


The Tension Indicator has been rising steadily since May, indicating a bullish trend.


As a Trading System

  • When the Tension Indicator crosses above the signal line, it highlights the possible start of a bullish trend, and generates a buy signal.
  • When the Tension Indicator crosses below the signal line, it highlights the possible start of a bearish trend, and generates a sell signal.


A buy signal was generated at 21.39 on 15 May. This has developed into a significant rally, with prices now trading over 100 points higher.


As a Signal of a Trend Change

  • When the Tension Indicator diverges from the security price, it signals the possible end of the current trend.


Prices made new highs in May-July 2013, but the Tension Indicator failed to follow suit. This negative divergence is an indication of a trend change which, in this particular case, was followed by a significant fall for the next 4 months.


Time Frames

  • The Tension Indicator works equally well on all time frames – from intraday tick charts through to multi-month charts.


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