A Brief Guide to the Parabolic SAR Indicator

Parabolic SAR

Unlike the previously discussed Stochastic and MACD oscillators, it is designed to accurately determine trend direction and the point of reversal with an accuracy of one bar. The Parabolic SAR indicator is one of the most efficient technical trading systems and it is used by most inventors to analyze the price action and the trend direction. The benefit of using a Parabolic SAR is that it helps to determine the direction of price action. In a strong trending environment, the indicator produces good results. Also, when there is a move against the trend, the indicator gives an exit signal when a price reversal could occur.

Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. The Maximum Acceleration works the same in a way, but to a much lesser degree. The MA caps how quickly the indicator can accelerate during a strong price move.

Learn to Trade

This trading system is designed to trade currency pairs, indices, metals, and commodities in a five-minute chart (intraday). Eventually, one of the stop orders is triggered (red circle in the chart above). A reverse of the indicator has formed in the chart indicating the end of the upward movement (green circle). The difference between the uptrend and downtrend formula is whether the second part of the formula is added or subtracted. It’s important to note, without properly identifying the direction of the current trend, your PSAR calculations will be moving in the wrong direction.

  • A. If in an uptrend, never move the current SAR above the previous day’s low or the day before that.
  • For example, the chart above shows the weekly and daily PSAR for BTCUSD price movements.
  • Due to the lack of a trend, the indicator will move back and forth around the price bar, and this produces misleading signals.
  • The blue circle in the price chart marks the first PSAR low after the gap.
  • A reversal signal will be generated at some point, even if the price hasn’t dropped.
  • For example, Wilder’s Average Directional Index can be used to estimate the trend’s strength before considering signals.

For me, I like to hyper-focus on one timeframe once in a position. You can also use Parabolic SAR to help you determine whether you should close your trade or not. One indicator that can help us determine where a trend might be ending is the Parabolic SAR (Stop And Reversal). Asktraders is a free website that is supported by our advertising partners. As such we may earn a commision when you make a purchase after following a link from our website.

Increase the Timeframe or Reduce the Accelerator

A lower step moves SAR further from price, which makes a reversal less likely. Similarly, SAR sensitivity can be increased by increasing the step. A higher step moves SAR closer to the price action, which makes a reversal more likely. The indicator will reverse too often if the step is set too high. SAR follows price and can be considered a trend-following indicator.

You can choose a financial product to trade along the left side of the platform, within the commodities, currencies, indices, shares, and treasuries markets. Its chart will appear on the right, and along the bottom of the chart, there is a tab for “Technicals”. Let’s assume, for example, that the trend is up and the price is making overall upward progress. Once the parabolic SAR flips on top of the price, this means it is now moving down, entering a pullback. You could consider placing a stop-loss order​ below the swing low that formed prior to the entry signal in order to avoid losses. The formulas used are different if the SAR is rising on an uptrend (below price) versus falling on a downtrend (above price).

How to use the parabolic SAR indicator

Lastly, because the indicator doesn’t consider the trading volume, it doesn’t give much information about the strength of a trend. Although big market movements cause the gap between each dot to widen, that should not be taken as indicative of a strong trend. Some traders also use the Parabolic SAR indicator to determine dynamic stop-loss prices, so that their stops move along with the market trend. Such a technique is often referred to as trailing stop-loss.