Search

# Divergence

## Definition

In financial terms, divergence refers to the discrepancy between the price movement of an asset and a related indicator or other related asset. This often serves as a potential indicator of upcoming market changes, such as reversals or shifts in momentum. It is commonly used in technical analysis to predict future price movements.

### Phonetic

The phonetic spelling of the word “Divergence” is /daɪˈvɜːr.dʒəns/.

## Key Takeaways

1. Definition: Divergence is a mathematical operator that determines the measure of the vector field’s source strength. It helps in determining how much and in what direction the vector quantity ‘flows’ out of a certain point in a field.
2. Usage in Physics: Divergence has significant implications in various fields, especially in physics. In electromagnetism, divergence is used to calculate the amount of electric field leaving a point, contributing to Gauss’s law. In fluid dynamics, the divergence helps to identify the areas of compression and rarefaction in a fluid.
3. Mathematical Representation: Divergence of a three dimensional vector field is represented as the dot product of the del operator and the vector field. In Cartesian coordinates, the divergence of vector F = Fi + Fj + Fk is given as ∇•F = (∂F/∂x)i + (∂F/∂y)j + (∂F/∂z)k.

## Importance

Divergence is an important concept in business and finance because it signals the probability of a shift in the current trend of a particular security or market. This can help investors and traders spot opportunities and potentially predict what’s likely to happen next. Divergence occurs when the price of an asset and a related indicator or other relevant data point move in opposite directions. For instance, if a stock’s price is rising but related indicators such as trading volumes or momentum are falling, this is seen as a bearish divergence that could indicate that the upward trend is losing strength and a price reversal may be imminent. By accurately identifying and understanding divergences, investors can make informed decisions and manage their risks more effectively.

## Explanation

In the world of finance and business, divergence is a concept that is widely used in technical analysis to identify potential market trends and reversals. Its primary purpose is to provide an indication of the potential changes in the price direction of a security, whether stocks, commodities, or currencies. Divergence shows the difference in action between the price of a security and a related indicator such as MACD, RSI, or momentum, which can often precede a price reversal.

For investors and traders alike, divergence is a valuable tool that aids them in forecasting potential market turning points. It enables them to review and recognize discrepancies between an indicator and market price, which can signify possibilities of investment or divestment. For instance, if the price of a stock reaches a new high, but the relevant indicator fails to reach a corresponding high, this inconsistency – known as bearish divergence – might suggest a downward price reversal. Conversely, a bullish divergence occurs when the price hits a new low, while the indicator doesn’t, indicating a potential upward shift in price. It’s these types of observations that contribute to effective and strategic decision-making in financial trading.

## Examples

1. Investment Portfolio Divergence: Suppose an investor has a diverse portfolio consisting of stocks, commodities, cryptocurrencies, etc. Over a particular period, the investor notices that while the stocks and commodities are performing well and increasing in value, the cryptocurrencies are decreasing in value. This is an example of divergence in the portfolio, highlighting the non-correlated behavior of different asset classes.

2. Manufacturing and Sales Divergence: Consider the case of a manufacturing company that begins to notice that its production levels are consistently heading upwards, but sales are starting to decrease. This is a divergent trend which could indicate several issues such as overproduction, declining demand, market saturation or pricing problems.

3. Economic Indicators Divergence: Central banks often use economic indicators like unemployment rates and inflation to determine their monetary policies. Suppose, for instance, the economy is showing low unemployment which usually suggests strong economic health. However, at the same time, inflation rates are steadily increasing which suggests the economy might be overheating. This divergence can pose a difficult challenge for policy makers as addressing one issue might exacerbate the other.

What does Divergence mean in finance and business?

Divergence in finance refers to when the price of an asset and a related indicator move in opposite directions. Typically, a divergence may signify a price change is approaching.

How is Divergence used in finance?

Divergence is used as a market indicator. For instance, when price trends upward and the related indicator trends downward, it may show an overbought market that could lead to price drop. Conversely, a downward price trend with an upward indicator trend could suggest an oversold market and result in price rise.

When should I consider divergence as a trading strategy?

Divergence can be a strong signal for a price reversal. However, it should always be used in conjunction with additional validation tools and indicators because divergence alone could be deceptive.

What types of divergence are there?

There are mainly two types of divergence – ‘bullish’ and ‘bearish’. Bullish divergence is when the price records a lower low, but the indicator forms a higher low. This could indicate an upward trend. On the other hand, bearish divergence is when the price makes a higher high, but the indicator hits a lower high, signaling a potential downward trend.

Can I use divergence on all types of financial assets?

Yes, divergence analysis can be applied to various financial assets including stocks, commodities, forex, and indices. It is used as an effective tool by traders and investors to understand possible price reversals and trend strengths.

Is Divergence reliable in all market conditions?

Divergence is a useful tool, but it may not always be accurate. It can sometimes give false signals and hence, it’s essential to use it in combination with other trading tools and indicators.

What is ‘hidden divergence’?

‘Hidden divergence’ is a term used when the indicator makes a higher low during a bullish trend or a lower high during a bearish trend, even though the price does not. It suggests that the current trend is strong and likely to continue. This is usually used to confirm trend continuation rather than signal reversals.

## Related Finance Terms

• Stock Divergence
• Price Divergence
• Positive Divergence
• Negative Divergence
• Momentum Divergence

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

View our editorial process

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board