Advance Decline Indicator (Formula, Usage, and Strategy)

Advance Decline Line 1

The Advance/Decline (A/D) line is a market breadth indicator which is mainly shows the degree of participation of individual stocks in a markets rise or fall. This indicator does so by subtracting the number of declining stocks from the number of advancing stocks. The Advance/Decline indicator basically accumulates these differences, also called net advances, and over a certain period by adding the difference between the number of declining and advancing stocks to the previous indicator value. This indicator can be used to confirm the strength of a trend, because the more stocks that participate, the stronger the overall trend and vice versa. The traders are mainly look for divergence to spot potential trend reversals. This indicator is best used in combination with other analysis techniques.

What is the Advance/Decline Line (A/D)?

The advance/decline (A/D) line is a technical indicator which is plots the difference between the number of advancing and declining stocks on a daily basis. The indicator is cumulative, with a positive number being added to the prior number, or if the number is negative it is subtracted from the prior number. This advance/decline (A/D) line is used to show market sentiment, as it tells traders whether there are more stocks rising or falling. This line is used to confirm price trends in major indexes, and can also warn of reversals when divergence occurs.

Usage of the Advance/Decline Indicator :

The traders can find the Advance/Decline indicator In the Zerodha Kite platform, under the STUDIES section. Zerodha has two chart set up, one is tradingview and the other is chartIQ The Period is 10 and if you can change this value then you can change it. The traders can check how they attached the indicator in Reliance Industries shares price chart. The traders can attach the Advance/Decline indicator on to any charts likes daily, weekly, monthly or intraday.

advance decline indicator


  • In this advance/decline line (A/D) is a breadth indicator which is used to show how many stocks are participating in a stock market rally or decline.
  • When major indexes are rallying, a rising advance/decline line (A/D) confirms the uptrend showing strong participation.
  • If major indexes are rallying and the advance/decline line (A/D) is falling, it shows that fewer stocks are participating in the rally which means the index could be nearing the end of its rally.
  • When major indexes are declining, a falling advance/decline line (A/D) confirms the downtrend.
  • If major indexes are declining and the A/D line is rising, fewer stocks are declining over time, which means the index may be near the end of its decline.

The Formula For Advance/Decline Line (A/D) is

Advance/Decline line (A/D) = Net Advances + { Previous Advances, if Previous Advances value exist or 0, if no Previous Advances value

where :
Previous Advances = Prior indicator reading. Net Advances = Net Advances is the difference between number of daily ascending and declining stocks.

advance decline line

How to Calculate the Advance/Decline Line (A/D)

Subtract the number of stocks that finished lower on the day from the number of stocks that finished higher on the day. This will give you the Net Advances.
If this is the first time calculating the average, the Net Advances will be the first value used for the indicator.
On the next day, calculate the Net Advances for that day. Add to the total from the prior day if positive or subtract if negative.
Repeat steps one and three daily.

Limitations of Using the Advance/Decline Line (A/D) :

The advance/decline line (A/D) won’t always provide accurate readings in regards to NASDAQ stocks. This is because the NASDAQ stocks which is frequently lists small speculative companies, many of which eventually fail or get delisted. While the stocks get delisted on the exchange, they remain in the prior calculated values of the A/D line. This then affects future calculations which are added to the cumulative prior value. Because of this, the A/D line will sometimes fall for extended periods of time, even while NASDAQ-related indexes are rising.

Another thing to be aware of is that some indexes are market capitalization weighted. This means that bigger the company the more impact they have on the index’s movement. The advance/decline line (A/D) gives equal weight to all stocks. Therefore, it is a better gauge of the average small to mid-cap stock, and not the fewer in number large or mega-cap stocks.


The advance/decline line (A/D) measures the degree of participation in an advance or a decline. An advance/decline line (A/D) that rises and records new highs along with the underlying index shows strong participation that is bullish. An
advance/decline line (A/D) that fails to keep pace with the underlying index and confirm new highs shows narrowing participation. Market strength is undermined when fewer stocks participate in an advance of this advance/decline line (A/D). This indicator’s narrowing participation is often identified with a bearish divergence between the advance/decline line (A/D) and the underlying index. On the downside of this indicator, the market is considered weak when the advance/decline line (A/D) moves to new lows along with the underlying index. This reflects broad participation in the decline. A bullish divergence forms when the advance/decline line (A/D) fails to record a lower low along with the index. This means fewer stocks are declining and the decline in the index may be nearing an end of this advance/decline indicator.


The advance/decline line (A/D) is a breadth indicator that reflects participation. A broad-based advance shows underlying strength that lifts most boats of this indicator and then this is bullish. Also advance/decline indicator’s a narrow advance shows a relatively mixed market that is selective. Narrowness participation in an advance (or decline) sets up the divergence signals of this indicator. An advance with narrow participation is unlikely to keep up with the underlying index and a bearish divergence will form this advance/decline indicator. As the same way, a decline with few stocks participating is unlikely to keep up with the index and a bullish divergence will form. These divergences can help chartists identify potential reversals in the underlying index of this indicator.


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Author: Ankita Chakraborty

Ankita has done her Diploma Engineering in Computer Science & Technology. She is pursuing her degree in Engineering and also well experienced in the equity market and real estate related content writing. She is the one who has developed the technical indicators section of our site.

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