Buying Pressure and its relationship to the True Range forms the base for the Ultimate Oscillator. Williams believes that the best way to measure Buying Pressure is simply subtracting the Close from the Low or the Prior Close, whichever of the two is the lowest. This will reflect the true magnitude of the advance, and hence, buying pressure. The Ultimate Oscillator rises when Buying Pressure is strong and falls when Buying Pressure is weak.
The Ultimate Oscillator measures momentum for three distinct timeframes. Notice that the second timeframe is double that of the first, and the third timeframe is double that of the second. Even though the shortest timeframe carries the most weight, the longest timeframe is not ignored, which should reduce the number of false divergences. This is important because the basic buy signal is based on a bullish divergence and the basic sell signal is based on a bearish divergence.
There are three steps to a buy signal. First, a bullish divergence forms between the indicator and security price. This means the Ultimate Oscillator forms a higher low as price forges a lower low. The higher low in the oscillator shows less downside momentum. Second, the low of the bullish divergence should be below 30. This is to ensure that prices are somewhat oversold or at a relative extremity. Third, the oscillator rises above the high of the bullish divergence.
There are three steps to a sell signal. First, a bearish divergence forms between the indicator and security price. This means the Ultimate Oscillator forms a lower high as price forges a higher high. The lower high in the oscillator shows less upside momentum. Second, the high of the bearish divergence should be above 70. This is to ensure that prices are somewhat overbought or at a relative extremity. Third, the oscillator falls below the low of the bearish divergence to confirm a reversal.
The Ultimate Oscillator is a momentum oscillator that incorporates three different timeframes. Traditional signals are derived from bullish and bearish divergence, but chartists can also look at actual levels for a trading bias. This usually works better with longer parameters and longer trends. For example, the Ultimate Oscillator (20,40,80) and price trend favors the bulls when above 50 and the bears when below 50. As with all indicators, the Ultimate Oscillator should not be used alone. Complementary indicators, chart patterns and other analysis tools should be employed to confirm signals.
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