Monday, December 31, 2007

Bullish TRIN as Year Winds Down

One indicator that I have yet to comment on in 2007 is the TRIN, also known as the Arms Index, after its inventor, Dick Arms.

The TRIN is calculated by first dividing the number of stocks that advanced in price by the number of stocks that declined in price to determine the Advance/Decline Ratio. Next, the volume of advancing stocks is divided by the volume of declining stocks to determine the Upside/Downside Ratio. Finally, the Advance/Decline Ratio is divided by the Upside/Downside Ratio. In mathematical terms, the TRIN looks like:

(Advancing Issues / Declining Issues)


(Advancing Volume / Declining Volume)

Like the VIX and put to call ratios, the TRIN is a contrarian sentiment indicator. Generally, a rising TRIN indicates increasing bearish sentiment and a falling TRIN reflects increasing bullish sentiment. I have included the traditional 1.2 and 0.8 thresholds as indicative of sentiment extremes. These are levels at which the probability of a market reversal increases.

Depending on their trading time frame, practitioners use different bars for the TRIN. In the chart below, I chose to use 60 minute bars over the course of a two month period to generate swing signals of the short to intermediate-term variety. For comparison purposes, day traders frequently use 5 or 10 minute bars. It is important to note that different length bars give very different signals and also usually require a rethinking of where one should place the threshold levels for market turns.

At the moment, the TRIN is generating a fairly bullish signal – certainly the most bullish signal since Thanksgiving, when the markets began a strong rally that surprised many who were not watching the TRIN closely.

I will have more on the TRIN in 2008.


contrary canary said...

Good to hear some bullishness on the technical indicator side. Let's see some big gains in the new year!

Luis said...

I've never heard of this, and would like to add it to my library of indicators for a while. Bill, does your broker offer this, or do you have a refreshing formula on an excel spreadsheet?

Bill Luby said...

Hi Luis,

I generally get my TRIN numbers and charts from The free charts are as follows:

Real-time streaming quotes for the TRIN are available from some brokers, but not others. I get the streaming TRIN data from thinkorswim (ticker $TRIN)

I believe's livecharts still has TRIN charts in real-time, but it has been ages since I used them: TRIN at

For some longer-term free TRIN charts, there are some interesting ones at Market Harmonics (including the links at the bottom): TRIN at Market Harmonics

I hope this helps.



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