One of the most popular tools in technical analysis that is used to predict a shift in a stock's momentum is known as the relative strength index (RSI). This indicator's primary purpose is to determine when a given rally is becoming overbought or oversold. Generally speaking, readings below 30 suggest that the stock has been pushed to an unjustifiably low level, causing most bullish traders to start looking for a strategic entry position. On the other hand, readings above 70 are often used to suggest that the rally is getting exhausted and that the bears may be getting ready to send the stock lower.

Calculation



The Basics
The indicator is plotted between a range of zero to 100 where 100 is the highest overbought condition and zero is the highest oversold condition. The RSI helps to measure the strength of a security's recent up moves compared to the strength of its recent down moves. This helps to indicate whether a security has seen more buying or selling pressure over the trading period.

The standard calculation uses 14 trading periods as the basis for the calculation which can be adjusted to meet the needs of the user. If the trading periods used is lowered then the RSI will be more volatile and is used for shorter term trades. (For more, see Ride The RSI Rollercoaster)

How It Is Used
As mentioned above, the most common method of applying the RSI is to use overbought and sold lines to generate buy-and-sell signals. In the RSI, the overbought line is typically set at 70 and when the RSI is above this level the security is considered to be overbought. The security is seen as oversold when the RSI is below 30. These values can be adjusted to either increase or decrease the amount of signals that are formed by the RSI. Let's take a look at a few stocks that have recently entered overbought territory because these could be candidates for a pullback if the broad market selling pressure continues.




Company Name
RSI Value

Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS)
74.65

CenterPoint Energy (NYSE:CNP)
70.77

Electronic Arts Inc. (Nasdaq:ERTS)
71.05

Expedia Inc. (Nasdaq:EXPE)
77.71

Zale Corp. (NYSE:ZLC)
83.02

Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq:NFLX)
72.29

Bottom Line

The RSI is a standard component on any basic technical chart and is a great method of filtering stocks that could be setting up for a short-term pullback. In most cases, traders will want to confirm any buy or sell signal by using other technical indicators or chart patterns to increase the probability that a predicted move will actually occur. (For more, see Relative Strength Index Helps Make The Right Decisions)

Related Articles
  1. Investing

    How to Ballast a Portfolio with Bonds

    If January and early February performance is any guide, there’s a new normal in financial markets today: Heightened volatility.
  2. Stock Analysis

    Performance Review: Emerging Markets Equities in 2015

    Find out why emerging markets struggled in 2015 and why a half-decade long trend of poor returns is proving optimistic growth investors wrong.
  3. Investing News

    Today's Sell-off: Are We in a Margin Liquidation?

    If we're in market liquidation, is it good news or bad news? That party depends on your timeframe.
  4. Investing News

    Bank Stocks: Time to Buy or Avoid? (WFC, JPM, C)

    Bank stocks have been pounded. Is this the right time to buy or should they be avoided?
  5. Stock Analysis

    Why the Bullish Are Turning Bearish

    Banks are reducing their targets for the S&P 500 for 2016. Here's why.
  6. Stock Analysis

    How to Find Quality Stocks Amid the Wreckage

    Finding companies with good earnings and hitting on all cylinders in this environment, although possible, is not easy.
  7. Investing News

    What You Can Learn from Carl Icahn's Mistakes

    Carl Icahn has been a stellar performer in the investment world for decades, but following his lead these days could be dangerous.
  8. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Altria's Return on Equity (ROE) (MO)

    Learn about Altria Group's return on equity (ROE) and analyze net profit margin, asset turnover and financial leverage to determine what is causing its high ROE.
  9. Investing News

    Icahn's Bet on Cheniere Energy: Should You Follow?

    Investing legend Carl Icahn continues to lose money on Cheniere Energy, but he's increasing his stake. Should you follow his lead?
  10. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Google's Return on Equity (ROE) (GOOGL)

    Learn about Alphabet's return on equity. How has its ROE changed over time, how does it compare to its peers and what factors are driving ROE for the company?
RELATED FAQS
  1. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does additional paid in capital affect retained earnings?

    Both additional paid-in capital and retained earnings are entries under the shareholders' equity section of a company's balance ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What types of capital are not considered share capital?

    The money a business uses to fund operations or growth is called capital, and there are a number of capital sources available. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between issued share capital and subscribed share capital?

    The difference between subscribed share capital and issued share capital is the former relates to the amount of stock for ... Read Full Answer >>
COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Trading Center