Divergence Trading Strategies


Divergence trading is a cornerstone concept in the realm of technical analysis, offering traders a unique perspective on potential market reversals. By comparing asset prices with momentum indicators, traders can discern subtle shifts in market dynamics. This article delves into the intricacies of divergence trading, featuring strategies using the RSI, MACD, and Stochastic indicators.

What Is a Divergence?

In trading, divergence is when the price of an asset, like a stock or currency pair, and a technical tool or indicator head in different directions. It can serve as a powerful signal, suggesting a potential end to the current trend or a forthcoming reversal. When the asset's price reaches a new high, but the indicator does not follow (or vice versa), traders see this discrepancy as an indication that the underlying momentum of the asset might be weakening or changing direction.

If you’d like to practise the divergence trading strategies outlined in this article, head over to FXOpen’s free TickTrader platform to access all of the tools listed here.

RSI Divergence

The Relative Strength Index (RSI) is a momentum oscillator that gauges the velocity and change of price movements. RSI oscillates between zero and 100, with values above 70 generally indicating an overbought condition and values below 30 suggesting an oversold condition. The RSI is a common element in many of the most popular divergence trading strategies.

Entry/Exit Criteria


  • Bullish Divergence: When the asset's price forms a new low, but the RSI makes a higher low. This suggests underlying strength and a potential upward price move. Traders often consider entering a long position.
  • Bearish Divergence: If the asset's price charts a new high while the RSI forms a lower high, it hints at an underlying weakness. This could signal a forthcoming downward price move, and traders might consider opening a short position.

Stop Losses

  • For long entries after a bullish divergence, one might consider placing the stop loss just below the recent low in the asset's price.
  • For short entries following a bearish divergence, the stop loss could be set slightly above the asset's recent high.

Take Profits

  • For bullish entries, one may consider taking profits when the RSI approaches the overbought territory (around 70) or when it shows signs of a downturn.
  • For bearish entries, profits might be taken when the RSI nears the oversold region (around 30) or shows signs of an upward reversal.

MACD Divergence

The Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) is a momentum-based trend indicator that displays the connection between two moving averages of an asset's value. The MACD consists of the MACD line, signal line, and histogram. Divergence with the MACD line and the price action is a strong indicator of potential trend reversals.

Entry/Exit Criteria


  • Bullish Divergence: If the asset's price charts a lower low while the MACD’s histogram forms a higher low, it hints at an underlying buying momentum. Traders often consider going long in such scenarios.
  • Bearish Divergence: When the asset's price makes a higher high but the MACD’s histogram registers a lower high, it indicates potential selling pressure. In this case, traders might contemplate opening a short position.

Stop Losses

  • For long positions initiated after spotting a bullish divergence, it's advisable to set the stop loss just below the most recent price low.
  • For short positions taken after noticing a bearish divergence, traders could consider placing the stop loss slightly above the most recent price high.

Take Profits

  • On bullish entries, one might think about taking profits when the MACD line crosses below the signal line, indicating a potential slowdown in the buying momentum.
  • For bearish entries, profits could be considered when the MACD line crosses above the signal line, indicating a possible decrease in the selling pressure.

Stochastic Divergence

The Stochastic Oscillator measures momentum by comparing an asset's closing price to its prices over a set time span. The Oscillator moves between 0 and 100 and is typically used to identify overbought and oversold conditions. When the Stochastic Oscillator diverges from the price action, it can provide significant clues about potential price reversals.

Entry/Exit Criteria


  • Bullish Divergence: When an asset's price marks a new low while the Stochastic Oscillator indicates a higher low, it suggests a potential rise in momentum. Traders often consider this as an opportunity to go long.
  • Bearish Divergence: If the price makes a higher peak and the Stochastic Oscillator produces a lower peak, the market may move down soon. Traders might view this as a cue to initiate a short position.

Stop Losses

  • For long entries following a bullish divergence, traders might think of setting the stop loss just below the recent price low.
  • For short entries resulting from a bearish divergence, a stop loss could be set just above the recent price high.

Take Profits

  • After observing a bullish divergence, you may consider taking profits when the Stochastic Oscillator moves above the 80 mark (overbought) or starts to decline.
  • For bearish divergences, one might take profits when the Stochastic Oscillator dips below the 20 mark (oversold) or begins to ascend.

How to Trade Divergences

Trading divergences, while insightful, can be challenging due to the nuances of financial markets. We’ve listed a few steps that may help you on your journey:

  • Confirmation is Key: Divergences alone can sometimes give false signals. It's beneficial to wait for other confirmations, like a breakout or support/resistance breach, before making a trading decision.
  • Use Multiple Timeframes: Analyse divergences on different timeframes for a more holistic view. A divergence on a daily chart can be more significant than on an hourly one.
  • Stay Updated: Macro events, earnings, and other market news can influence asset prices significantly. Being informed helps anticipate sudden market moves that could invalidate a divergence.
  • Risk Management: Always determine your risk tolerance and set stop losses accordingly. This ensures you have a predefined exit strategy should the market move against your expectations.
  • Practice: Before applying divergence strategies on live trades, consider paper trading or using demo accounts. This practice helps refine skills without risking real capital.

Remember, while divergences provide valuable insights, no strategy is foolproof. Continuous learning and adaptation are essential for trading success.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, understanding the principles of divergence strategy trading can significantly enhance a trader's decision-making process. By combining high-probability divergence trading strategies with thorough research and disciplined risk management, traders can develop an edge in the market. Want to begin applying these insights in real-time trading? You can open an FXOpen account to kickstart your trading journey.

This article represents the opinion of the Companies operating under the FXOpen brand only. It is not to be construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation with respect to products and services provided by the Companies operating under the FXOpen brand, nor is it to be considered financial advice.

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