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Average Directional Index (ADX)


The Average Directional Index (ADX) is a financial technical indicator that measures the strength of a market trend, regardless of its direction. It ranges from 0 to 100, where a value below 20 indicates a weak trend and above 40 signifies a strong trend. The ADX doesn’t indicate the trend direction, but only the trend’s intensity.


The phonetics for the keyword “Average Directional Index (ADX)” would be:”Av – er – ij Di – rek – shuh – nul In – deks (A – D – X)”

Key Takeaways

  1. Measures Trend Strength: The Average Directional Index (ADX) is useful in determining the strength of a trend in a specific financial market. It doesn’t predict the direction of the trend, but measures the strength on a scale of 0 to 100, with a greater value indicating a stronger trend.
  2. Values Interpretation: Typically in an ADX, values above 25 suggest a strong trend strength, whilst values below 20 suggest a weak trend or market that is moving sideways. A very strong trend is indicated by values above 50. It’s important to know that the ADX doesn’t indicate the direction (bullish or bearish), just the strength of the trend.
  3. Part of the Directional Movement System: The ADX is part of the Directional Movement System developed by J. Welles Wilder, which also includes two other indicators – Positive Directional Indicator (+DI) and Negative Directional Indicator (-DI). These two indicators can be used in conjunction with the ADX to determine the direction of the trend.


The Average Directional Index (ADX) is an important instrument in finance because it helps traders discern the strength of a trend rather than its direction. Generally used in conjunction with other trading strategies and tools, ADX offers valuable insights on whether the market is stagnant or is witnessing a strong uptrend or downturn. It’s vital to traders seeking to maximize profitability by jumping on strong trends early and minimizing risk by steering clear of range-bound, non-trending markets. Therefore, the ADX allows for more informed decision-making in finance by providing an objective measure of trend strength which increases the likelihood of the accurate prediction of market movement.


The Average Directional Index (ADX) is a technical analysis tool used by finance and business professionals, particularly those engaged in trading activities and market analytics. The primary purpose of this tool is to measure the strength of a current market trend, be it upward or downward, in a particular financial instrument such as stocks, bonds, or commodities. By providing an indication of trend strength, the ADX enables traders to identify periods of high or low market volatility, thereby assisting in the prediction of potential price movements in the market.In practice, the ADX assists traders in developing trading strategies and making investment decisions. For instance, a rising ADX typically indicates an increasing market trend strength. This insight could be used to adopt a trend-following approach, where traders invest in a direction that follows the current trend. Conversely, a falling ADX suggests that the trend is weakening or becoming less decisive and therefore may counsel against making major new investments. Ultimately, the Average Directional Index provides valuable information about market dynamics, supporting traders in interpreting market volatility and capitalizing on evolving trends.


1. Stock Trading: The ADX is widely used by stock traders to determine the strength of a trend in a particular stock’s price. For instance, if a trader is studying the stock of Apple Inc, they would use the ADX to identify whether the stock has a strong upward or downward trend or if it is simply moving sideways. An ADX value above 25 usually indicates a strong trend, while a value below 20 suggests that the stock is moving sideways.2. Foreign Exchange Market: ADX is also used in foreign exchange markets to assess the strength of currency trends. For example, a forex trader trading the EUR/USD pair can use the ADX to determine if there is a strong trend or if the currency pair is just bouncing around. Depending upon the ADX value, the trader can decide to enter a long or short trade.3. Cryptocurrency Market: In recent years, the ADX has found its usage in the volatile cryptocurrency market as well. For example, if a cryptocurrency investor is looking at the trends of Bitcoin, they would use the ADX as part of their technical analysis toolkit. A high value of ADX might encourage an investor to buy or sell, depending upon the direction of the trend, while a low value might encourage holding or avoiding the cryptocurrency.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Average Directional Index (ADX)?

The Average Directional Index, or ADX, is a technical indicator used to determine the strength of a market trend, irrespective of whether it is up or down. ADX is used in technical analysis to help traders identify the overall trend direction as well as its strength.

How is the ADX calculated?

The ADX calculation involves several steps. First, it calculates directional movement indicators (+DI and -DI), then it calculates the Directional Movement Index (DX), and finally an average of this value over a specific period to get the ADX.

What do different ADX values imply?

An ADX value below 20 typically indicates a weak trend or sideways movement in the asset price, whereas an ADX value higher than 25 is considered to signify a strong trend. The higher the ADX, the stronger the trend.

Can the ADX indicate whether it’s a bullish or bearish trend?

No, the ADX does not indicate the direction of the trend – whether it’s up (bullish) or down (bearish). It only represents how strong the existing trend is.

Is ADX used alone in trading decisions?

While the ADX can be a standalone indicator, it is often used in combination with other technical analysis tools to confirm trade signals.

What is a good ADX period setting?

The standard period setting for ADX in many charting applications is 14 bars, though this can be adjusted based on the trader’s particular strategy and the security being traded.

When should one buy/sell when using ADX as an indicator?

While the ADX alone doesn’t provide buy or sell signals, if combined with +/- DI, it can help. Generally, a buy signal is present when +DI crosses above -DI and the ADX is above 25. Conversely, a sell signal occurs when the -DI crosses above the +DI and the ADX is above 25. Please note, these are not absolute rules, as market conditions can affect reliability.

Related Finance Terms

  • Directional Movement System (DMS): A system developed by Welles Wilder for identifying price trends.
  • Positive Directional Indicator (+DI): A component of the ADX which measures upward price momentum.
  • Negative Directional Indicator (-DI): It’s part of the ADX and measures downward price momentum.
  • Technical Analysis: A trading discipline used to evaluate investments and identify trading opportunities in price trends and patterns seen on charts.
  • Trend Strength: This term refers to the power of a trend over a given period, with the ADX used as a key indicator of this strength.

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