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Oscillators > ZEROBASED.RSI

Article/Author: Omega Research Inc., 1996


File Includes: Indicator - ZEROBASED.RSI

Category: Indicator > Oscillators


The RSI indicator calculates a value based on the cumulative strength and weakness of price, specified in the input Price, over the period specified in the input Length. For that number of bars, RSI accumulates the points gained on bars with higher closes and the points lost on bars with lower closes. These two sums are indexed, with the index plotted on the chart. The RSI plots as an oscillator with a value from 0 to 100. The direction of RSI should confirm price movement. For example, a rising RSI confirms rising prices.

This version plots an oscillator based on zero line in place of plotting with 0 - 100 value.


A popular method of analyzing the RSI is to look for a divergence in which the security is making a new high, but the RSI is failing to surpass its previous high. This divergence is an indication of an impending reversal. When the RSI then turns down and falls below its most recent trough, it is said to have completed a "failure swing." The failure swing is considered a confirmation of the impending reversal.

In Mr. Wilder's book, he discusses five uses of the RSI in analyzing commodity charts. These methods can be applied to other security types as well.

Tops and Bottoms: The RSI usually tops above 70 and bottoms below 30. It usually forms these tops and bottoms before the underlying price chart.

Chart Formations: The RSI often forms chart patterns such as head and shoulders (page 215) or triangles (page 216) that may or may not be visible on the price chart.

Failure Swings: (also known as support or resistance penetrations or breakouts). This is where the RSI surpasses a previous high (peak) or falls below a recent low (trough).

Support and Resistance: The RSI shows, sometimes more clearly than price themselves, levels of support and resistance.

Divergences: As discussed above, divergences occur when the price makes a new high (or low) that is not confirmed by a new high (or low) in the RSI. Prices usually correct and move in the direction of the RSI.


Length - number of bars used to calculate RSI

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