Close this search box.

Table of Contents

McClellan Oscillator


The McClellan Oscillator is a financial market breadth indicator derived from the number of advancing and declining stocks in a particular market. It determines the momentum of the market by subtracting the 39-day exponential moving average from the 19-day exponential moving average of the difference between advancing and declining issues. In simple terms, it indicates overbought or oversold conditions in the market.


The phonetics of the keyword “McClellan Oscillator” is: mə-ˈkle-lən ˌä-sə-ˈlā-tər

Key Takeaways

Sure, here it is:

  1. The McClellan Oscillator is a breadth indicator developed by Sherman and Marian McClellan, based on the smoothed difference between advancing and declining issues on the New York Stock Exchange. It is primarily used to identify overbought and oversold conditions.
  2. The McClellan Oscillator offers many types of structures for interpretation, but it mainly revolves around the premise that each market wave (or swing) communicates valuable information about the market’s health. Patterns of the Oscillator, such as divergence, are reliable signals of market changes.
  3. When the McClellan Oscillator reaches extreme negatively high levels, this can signify a market bottom, and when it reaches positively extreme high levels, this may suggest a market top. It can provide an early warning of market tops and bottoms, but as with all indicators, it should be used in conjunction with other tools and analysis.


The McClellan Oscillator is an important term in business and finance as it is a technical analysis indicator for predicting market trends. It is derived from a complex calculation involving a large number of securities, typically based on the difference between the number of advancing and declining issues in a particular stock exchange. The Oscillator’s value helps traders gauge the breadth and momentum of the market, thus giving early warning signals of potential market tops and bottoms. Understanding these patterns, therefore, aids market participants in making educated investment decisions to maximize profits and minimize losses.


The McClellan Oscillator is a technical analysis tool used extensively in the finance industry to evaluate the flow of money in and out of the stock market. It is a breadth indicator, signifying the breadth or the extent of participation in a market trend by comparing the number of advances and declines in a specified trading period. By quantifying the market momentum and trend strength, it assists traders and investors in predicting potential shifts in the market and identifying overbought or oversold conditions. By deciphering the difference between the number of advancing and declining issues in the market, the McClellan Oscillator goes beyond just merely calculating a simple net value. It computes the difference between the 39-day and 19-day exponentially weighted moving averages of advancing – declining issues to identify market breadth. This dynamic analysis can signal when there is a high degree of buying or selling pressure, meaning a major market reversal might be upcoming. Investors and analysts use this oscillator to form a broader understanding of the market temperament and therefore make more informed investment decisions.


The McClellan Oscillator is a market breadth indicator in finance that is used to evaluate the momentum of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It’s often used to identify overbought or oversold conditions in the market. 1. Market Downturn Prediction: In 2008, the McClellan Oscillator signaled upcoming problems in the stock market due to the growing imbalance between declining and advancing stocks on the NYSE. It fell to extremely low negative readings, indicating a bearish oversold market condition which consequently led to a market crash.2. Tech Stock Analysis: During the 2000 dotcom bubble, oscillating behavior of the McClellan Oscillator predicted future peaks or drops in tech stocks. A persistently high positive value indicated an overbought situation and a potential price fall, which was exactly what happened during the subsequent dot com crash.3. NYSE Composite Trend Analysis: In 2015, the McClellan Oscillator showed a negative divergence for the NYSE Composite. The Composite was advancing and setting new highs, but the McClellan Oscillator was making lower highs. This suggested that market breadth was weakening even as the Composite advanced, which correctly indicated fewer stocks supporting the uptrend leading to a price correction.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the McClellan Oscillator?

The McClellan Oscillator is a market breadth indicator that is derived from the amount of advancing and declining issues on the New York Stock Exchange. It was developed by Sherman and Marian McClellan, and it serves as a tool to assess the movement and the strength of the stock market.

How is the McClellan Oscillator calculated?

The Oscillator is calculated by subtracting the 39-day exponential moving average (EMA) of NYSE advances minus declines from the 19-day EMA of NYSE advances minus declines.

What does a positive McClellan Oscillator indicate?

A positive McClellan Oscillator indicates a bullish or upward trend for the market, signifying that more stocks are advancing than declining.

What does a negative McClellan Oscillator value signify?

A negative McClellan Oscillator value implies a bearish or declining market trend, indicating that more stocks are declining than advancing.

How can investors or traders interpret the McClellan Oscillator?

The McClellan Oscillator can provide cues about overbought or oversold market conditions. Values above +70 are often interpreted to suggest overbought market conditions, while values below -70 might suggest an oversold market.

Is the McClellan Oscillator used alone for making trading decisions?

While the McClellan Oscillator is a valuable tool, it’s best used in conjunction with other indicators and market analysis techniques to make trading decisions. No single tool should be used in isolation.

Can the McClellan Oscillator be used for all types of markets?

The McClellan Oscillator is primarily used for the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It can be calculated for other markets, but it may not be as accurate because of the difference in the number of tradable issues.

Related Finance Terms

Sources for More Information

About Our Editorial Process

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.

We also host a financial glossary of over 7000 money/investing terms to help you learn more about how to take control of your finances.

View our editorial process

About Our Journalists

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

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More