Average True Range MT5 Indicator

Average True Range MT5 Indicator

Imagine navigating a choppy ocean – one minute you’re cruising on calm waters, and the next you’re battling towering waves. That’s the essence of market volatility, the constant ebb and flow of prices. Now, for some traders, volatility might seem like a foe, a source of uncertainty and risk.

But for savvy market participants, volatility becomes a valuable friend, a key indicator of potential opportunities. This is where the Average True Range (ATR) indicator steps in, acting as a compass in this ever-changing financial landscape. Used extensively on the MetaTrader 5 (MT5) platform, the ATR empowers traders to gauge market volatility and make informed trading decisions.

Developed by the legendary technical analyst Welles Wilder, the ATR is a volatility measurement tool. It calculates the average range of price movements over a specific period, providing a numerical representation of market turbulence. In simpler terms, the ATR tells you how “big” price movements tend to be on average.

Demystifying the ATR Calculation in MT5

Understanding the ATR calculation might seem intimidating at first, but fret not! Let’s break it down into manageable steps:

True Range (TR): This is the foundation of the ATR. MT5 considers three factors to determine the TR for each period:

  • The difference between the current high and the current low price.
  • The absolute difference between the previous close and the current high.
  • The absolute difference between the previous close and the current low.

Average True Range: MT5 takes the average of the True Range (TR) values over a user-defined period (typically 14 days). This average represents the ATR, offering a clearer picture of overall market volatility.

Interpreting the ATR Readings

The beauty of the ATR lies in its interpretability. Here’s how ATR readings can guide your trading decisions:

  • High ATR: A rising ATR indicates a volatile market. This could be a sign of increased trading activity or heightened uncertainty. While volatility presents the potential for bigger profits, it also comes with amplified risks.
  • Low ATR: A declining ATR suggests a period of consolidation, where price movements are relatively subdued. This might be a good time to refine your entry and exit strategies, focusing on tighter stop-loss placements.
  • Using ATR for Entry and Exit Strategies: The ATR can be a valuable tool for both entry and exit strategies. For instance, during periods of high volatility (high ATR), some traders might use the ATR value to establish wider stop-loss orders, accounting for the increased price swings. Conversely, in low volatility periods (low ATR), tighter stop-loss orders might be appropriate.

Advanced Applications of ATR

The ATR’s versatility extends beyond basic volatility assessment. Here are some advanced applications:

  1. Combining ATR with Other Technical Indicators: The ATR can be effectively combined with other technical indicators, like moving averages or relative strength index (RSI), to create a more comprehensive trading strategy. For example, a rising ATR alongside a bullish moving average crossover might signal a potential breakout opportunity in a volatile market.
  2. Utilizing ATR for Stop-Loss Placement: As discussed earlier, the ATR can be a helpful guide for setting stop-loss orders. By multiplying the ATR by a specific factor (e.g., 1.5 or 2), traders can establish a buffer zone to account for normal market fluctuations.
  3. Identifying Potential Trend Reversals: While not a definitive indicator, sudden drops in the ATR after a prolonged uptrend could suggest a potential loss of momentum and a possible trend reversal. Conversely, a surge in ATR following a downtrend might hint at a developing uptrend.

ATR is a Powerful Tool in Your Trading Arsenal

ATR is a Powerful Tool in Your Trading Arsenal

The ATR, when used effectively, can be a powerful tool in any trader’s arsenal. It empowers you to:

  1. Gauge market volatility: By understanding market turbulence, you can adjust your trading strategies accordingly.
  2. Refine entry and exit strategies: The ATR’s insights into volatility can help you determine appropriate entry and exit points, potentially improving your risk management.
  3. Identify potential trading opportunities: By recognizing periods of high or low volatility, you can potentially spot opportunities that align with your trading style.

Here are some additional points to consider:

  • Overbought and Oversold Conditions: The ATR can be used in conjunction with indicators like RSI to identify potentially overbought or oversold conditions. During periods of high volatility (high ATR), traditional overbought/oversold readings might need to be adjusted to account for the increased price swings.
  • False Signals: No indicator is perfect, and the ATR is no exception. Be aware of the possibility of false signals, especially when interpreting short-term volatility using a shorter ATR period.
  • Backtesting and Paper Trading: Before deploying the ATR in live trading, consider backtesting your strategies on historical data to assess their effectiveness. Additionally, practice using the ATR in a paper trading account to gain confidence before risking real capital.

How to Trade With Average True Range Indicator

Buy Entry

  • Identify a support level on the chart.
  • Wait for the price to break decisively above the support level with a strong bullish candle (e.g., hammer, engulfing bar).
  • Use the current ATR value as a buffer and place your buy-stop order slightly above the breakout point.
  • Stop-Loss: Place your stop-loss order below the support level by a distance equal to 1-2 times the ATR value.
  • Take-Profit: This depends on your risk tolerance and market conditions. A common approach is to target a profit equal to 2-3 times your stop-loss distance.

Sell Entry

  • Identify a resistance level on the chart.
  • Wait for the price to break decisively below the resistance level with a strong bearish candle (e.g., shooting star, bearish engulfing bar).
  • Use the current ATR value as a buffer and place your sell-stop order slightly below the breakdown point.
  • Stop-Loss: Place your stop-loss order above the resistance level by a distance equal to 1-2 times the ATR value.
  • Take-Profit: Similar to buy entries, target a profit equal to 2-3 times your stop-loss distance.

Average True Range Indicator Settings

Average True Range Indicator Settings


The financial markets are inherently volatile, and the ATR can be your trusted partner in navigating this dynamic landscape. By understanding how to interpret ATR readings and integrate them into your trading strategy, you can gain a valuable edge in making informed decisions. Remember, the ATR is a tool, and like any tool, its effectiveness depends on your skill and experience.

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