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What is the Advance/Decline Divergence Oscillator?

The world of finance and trading is packed with a multitude of tools and oscillators, each serving a unique function. One of these tools, which has gained prominence in recent years, is the Advance/Decline Divergence Oscillator, also known as the McClellan Oscillator. In this article, we will delve deep into its definition, functionality, and significance in the trading landscape.

Understanding the Advance/Decline Divergence Oscillator

The Advance/Decline Divergence Oscillator is a market breadth indicator, tracking the rate of change in the Advance-Decline (AD) line. The AD line represents the proportion of stocks advancing (increasing in price) versus those declining at each market close, with the magnitude of this difference termed as the 'daily breadth'. This oscillator can be applied to any collection of stocks or exchange, providing valuable insights into market behavior.

The McClellan Oscillator: An Interplay of Trends

Named after its creators, the McClellan Oscillator operates by utilizing two Exponential Moving Averages (EMA) from the AD line. The distinction between a 10% Smoothing Constant and a 5% Smoothing Constant for each day – referred to as the 10% Trend and the 5% Trend respectively – is calculated. These trends determine the weightage given to recent data versus equal weighting without any regard for the date.

The quantitative discrepancy between these two trends creates the McClellan Oscillator. A positive AD line indicates more advances than declines, zero when advances and declines balance out, and a negative reading when declines outnumber advances.

The McClellan Summation Index: A Long-Term Viewpoint

Supplementing the McClellan Oscillator is the McClellan Summation Index, essentially a moving average of the Oscillator. This index is a cumulative measure handy in identifying overbought and oversold conditions for traders and is particularly beneficial for analyzing long-term trends. In contrast, the McClellan Oscillator is a more suitable tool for short-term analysis.

The Significance of Market Breadth

Market breadth is a fundamental concept in numerous technical analysis techniques, providing traders with a broader view of market movements. By juxtaposing the quantity of advancing stocks to the number of declining stocks or new highs and lows, traders can observe the market from a perspective not solely based on the figures from major stock market indexes.

The aim of the Advance/Decline Divergence Oscillator, in essence, is to read market-wide momentum. By observing variations in these figures over a sustained period, a breadth line or advance/decline line is formed, indicating market trends.

The Power of Supplemental Tools and Artificial Intelligence

While analyzing market breadth and employing the McClellan Oscillator are widely adopted trading techniques, the value of additional confirmation cannot be overstated. Artificial intelligence tools, like those offered by Tickeron, are designed to complement these techniques by providing trade ideas, analyzing signals for advantageous trades, and assisting traders in making rational, unemotional, and effective trading decisions.

The Advance/Decline Divergence Oscillator, or McClellan Oscillator, is a powerful tool in a trader's arsenal. By understanding and effectively utilizing this tool, traders can gain an in-depth view of market trends, contributing to more informed and strategic trading decisions.


The advance/decline divergence oscillator (also called the McClellan Oscillator after its creators) tracks the rate of change in the advance-decline line (net advances). The AD line is formed from the Net Advances/Declines calculated daily at market close; this represents the proportion of stocks which advanced (increased) in price that day versus those which declined – the size of the difference is called the daily breadth. The advance/decline divergence oscillator can be applied to any group of stocks or exchange.

The McClellan Oscillator uses two Exponential Moving Averages (EMA) from the AD line and finds the difference between a 10% Smoothing Constant and a 5% Smoothing Constant for each day. These are called the 10% Trend and the 5% Trend, and they determine how much weight is given to more recent data as opposed to equal weighting regardless of date.

The numerical difference between these two lines becomes the McClellan Oscillator. The AD line is positive when there were more advances than declines, at zero when advances and declines were even, and in negative territory when there were more declines than advances.

The McClellan Summation Index – basically a moving average of the Oscillator – is another helpful tool for spotting overbought and oversold conditions for traders. The McClellan Summation Index is a cumulative measure that is useful for examining longer-term trends, while the McClellan oscillator functions better for short term analysis.

Market breadth is used in a slew of technical analysis techniques because it gives traders an idea of how an entire market is moving: by comparing the number of advancing issues to the number of declining issues, or new highs and new lows, traders see a bigger picture (and from a different viewpoint than just the numbers from the major stock market indexes).

Momentum is a large part of what advance/decline divergence and breadth are attempting to read, but on a market-wide scale instead of searching for trends in individual securities. Differences in these numbers over many days form a breadth line or advance/decline line.

Examining market breadth and using a McClellan Oscillator are popular trading techniques, but additional confirmation is always useful. Artificial intelligence tools from Tickeron are designed to assist traders with trade ideas, help analyze signals to execute advantageous trades, and aid traders in making rational, emotionless, and effective trading decisions in concert with other technical analysis techniques.

Disclaimers and Limitations

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