Ichimoku Clouds

Jan 24, 2020

The Ichimoku Cloud, also known as Ichimoku Kinko Hyo, is a versatile indicator that defines support and resistance, identifies trend direction, gauges momentum and provides trading signals. Ichimoku Kinko Hyo translates into “one look equilibrium chart”. With one look, chartists can identify the trend and look for potential signals within that trend.

The cloud (Kumo) is the most prominent feature of the Ichimoku Cloud plots. The Leading Span A (green) and Leading Span B (red) form the cloud. The Leading Span A is the average of the Conversion Line and the Base Line. Because the Conversion Line and Base Line are calculated with 9 and 26 periods, respectively, the green cloud boundary moves faster than the red cloud boundary, which is the average of the 52-day high and the 52-day low. It is the same principle with moving averages. Shorter moving averages are more sensitive and faster than longer moving averages.

There are two ways to identify the overall trend using the cloud. First, the trend is up when prices are above the cloud, down when prices are below the cloud and flat when prices are in the cloud. Second, the uptrend is strengthened when the Leading Span A (green cloud line) is rising and above the Leading Span B (red cloud line). This situation produces a green cloud. Conversely, a downtrend is reinforced when the Leading Span A (green cloud line) is falling and below the Leading Span B (red cloud line). This situation produces a red cloud. Because the cloud is shifted forward 26 days, it also provides a glimpse of future support or resistance.

Trend and Signals Price, the Conversion Line and the Base Line are used to identify faster and more frequent signals. It is important to remember that bullish signals are reinforced when prices are above the cloud and the cloud is green. Bearish signals are reinforced when prices are below the cloud and the cloud is red. In other words, bullish signals are preferred when the bigger trend is up (prices above green cloud), while bearish signals are preferred when the bigger trend is down (prices are below red cloud). This is the essence of trading in the direction of the bigger trend. Signals that are counter to the existing trend are deemed weaker, such as short-term bullish signals within a long-term downtrend or short-term bearish signals within a long-term uptrend.