• Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

How Traders Use CCI (Commodity Channel Index) to Trade Stock Trends

What is the Commodity Channel Index (CCI)?

The CCI, or Commodity Channel Index, was developed by Donald Lambert, a technical analyst who originally published the indicator in Commodities magazine (now Futures) in 1980. Despite its name, the CCI can be used in any market and is not just for commodities.

The CCI was originally developed to spot long-term trend changes but has been adapted by traders for use on all markets or timeframes. Trading with multiple timeframes provides more buy or sell signals for active traders. Traders often use the CCI on the longer-term chart to establish the dominant trend and on the shorter-term chart to isolate pullbacks and generate trade signals.

The strategies and indicators are not without pitfalls, and adjusting strategy criteria and the indicator period may provide better performance. Although all systems are susceptible to losing trades, implementing a stop-loss strategy can help cap risk, and testing the CCI strategy for profitability on your market and timeframe is a worthy first step before initiating trades.

Key Takeaways

  • The CCI is a market indicator used to track market movements that may indicate buying or selling.
  • The CCI compares current price to average price over a specific time period.
  • Different strategies can use the CCI in different ways, including using it across multiple timeframes to establish dominant trends, pullbacks, or trend entry and exits.
  • Some trading strategies based on CCI can produce multiple false signals or losing trades when conditions turn choppy.

How the CCI Can Signal a New Emerging Trend

Due to the versatility of the oscillator known as the CCI, it is commonly used to identify reversals and divergences in the market.

The CCI typically oscillates between +100 and -100. Values above +100 indicate an overbought condition, suggesting a potential downward reversal. Conversely, values below -100 indicate an oversold condition, suggesting a potential upward reversal.

Zero line crossovers can also be used to determine emerging trends. When the CCI crosses above the zero line, it is often considered a bullish signal, and when it crosses below zero, it is considered bearish.

Another determination of a new emerging trend with the CCI is divergence. If the price of the asset is making new highs but the CCI is failing to surpass its previous highs, it indicates a bearish divergence. Similarly, if the price is making new lows but the CCI is failing to make new lows, it indicates a bullish divergence.

In some cases, traders draw trendlines on the CCI chart. A break of the trendline often precedes a break of the trendline on the price chart, providing an early signal of a trend change.

Also, using CCI on multiple timeframes can provide more robust signals. For example, a bullish signal on a daily chart backed by a bullish signal on a weekly chart can provide greater confidence in the trade.

Moreover, combining CCI signals with price action patterns like candlestick formations can offer more reliable entry and exit signals.

Using the CCI to Spot Overbought or Oversold Conditions

The CCI can be used to identify overbought or oversold conditions in a trading instrument.

Identifying Overbought Conditions

There are several ways to identify overbought conditions. They are as follows:

  • +100 Threshold: When the CCI moves above the +100, it is generally considered that the asset is overbought. This suggests that the price may be too high relative to its average and could be due for a pullback or reversal.
  • Extreme Levels: Some traders consider even higher levels, like +200 or +300, as extremely overbought, indicating a stronger likelihood of a price decline.
  • Divergence: If the asset’s price is making new highs but the CCI fails to make new highs, this bearish divergence can indicate an impending price reversal.

Identifying Oversold Conditions

There are several ways to identify oversold conditions. They are as follows:

  • -100 Threshold: When the CCI moves below -100, it is generally considered that the asset is oversold. This suggests that the price may be too low relative to its average and could be due for a bounce or reversal.
  • Extreme Levels: Some traders consider even lower levels, like -200 or -300, as extremely oversold, indicating a stronger likelihood of a price increase.
  • Divergence: if the asset’s price is making new lows but the CCI fails to make new lows, this bullish divergence can indicate an impending price reversal.

Additional Considerations

Some additional considerations in spotting overbought or oversold conditions are duration, confirmation and market context. The length of the time of the CCI (duration) remains in overbought or oversold territories can also provide clues. A quick in-and-out might not be as significant as a condition that persists.

Another consideration is confirmation. It is often wise to seek confirmation from other indicators or chart patterns before making a trading decision based on the CCI alone.

Finally, the effectiveness of the CCI can vary depending on the market conditions. It tends to be more effective in trending markets than in sideways or rangebound markets.

Using the CCI to Find Bullish and Bearish Divergence

The CCI can be used to spot bullish and bearish divergences. As it pertains to the bullish divergence, first the trader would observe when the asset’s price is making lower lows. Concurrently, the CCI should be making higher lows. The bullish divergence would be confirmed when the CCI turns upwards and crosses above the zero line or a specific threshold, generally -100.

As it pertains to bearish divergences, the trader would first look for instance, where the asset’s price is making higher highs. At the same time, the CCI should be making lower highs. A bearish divergence is confirmed when the CCI turns downwards and crosses below the zero line or a specific threshold, often +100.

Divergences could be powerful signals when used correctly, but they should not be used in isolation. Traders should consider the broader market context and seek confirmation from other indicators or methods to validate the signals.

Advantages of Using the CCI to Help Make Trading Decisions

Some advantages of using the CCI to help make trading decisions include:

  • Overbought and Oversold Level Identification: The CCI measures the current price level relative to an average price level over a given period. Readings above +100 indicate overbought conditions while readings below -100 indicate oversold conditions.
  • Trend Identification: CCI could be used for various financial instruments to identify trends. It oscillates around a zero line, and crossing this line can serve as a confirmation to buy or sell said instrument.
  • Divergence Detection: The CCI can be used to spot divergences between the indicator and price action, which can signal potential trend reversals.
  • Versatility: The CCI can be adapted to various timeframes. For day trading, the 20-period CCI is quite common, while for longer timeframes, 50 or 100 periods are typically used.
  • Multiple Trading Strategies: The CCI is generally used in combination with other indicators and price action for more robust trading strategies.
  • Formula Based: The CCI calculation is easy to implement in automated trading systems.

Disadvantages of Using the CCI to Help Make Trading Decisions

There are several disadvantages to using the CCI to help make trading decisions. These include:

  • False Signals: The CCI often generates false signals. Traders may interpret sideways or rangebound movement as buy or sell signals, leading to incorrect trading decisions.
  • Lagging Indicator: The CCI is a lagging indicator, meaning it tends to confirm a price move after the fact. This could result in delayed entry or exit points, potentially reducing profitability.
  • Complexity in Interpretation: The CCI formula involves multiple variables, including the highest, lowest, and closing prices over a specific period. This complexity could make it difficult for novice traders to interpret signals accurately.
  • Sensitivity to Market Tools: The CCI is sensitive to short term fluctuations, often referred to as market noise. This could result in frequent changes in the CCI value, making it challenges to discern a clear trend.
  • Limited Information: While the CCI could indicate overbought or oversold conditions, it does not directly provide information on the duration or potential reversal points of a trend.

Calculating the CCI

The CCI is calculated using the following formula:

C C I = ( T P S M A ( T P , N ) / ( 0.015 D ) CCI = (TP – SMA (TP,N)/(0.015*D)


  • TP = Typical Price, calculated as the average of the high price, low price and close price.
  • SMA(TP,N) = Simple Moving Average of the Typical Price over N periods.
  • D = Mean Deviation, calculated as the average of the absolute differences between each Typical Price and the SMA(TP,N) over N periods.

The numerator of the formula of the CCI is the difference between the Typical Price and its Simple Moving Average over the N periods. The denominator is the Mean Deviation multiplied by 1.5%, which is used to scale the CCI.

The CCI measures how far the Typical Price has deviated from its average over a specific period. The scaling factor of 1.5% ensures that about 70% to 80% of CCI values would fall between -100 and +100, making it easier for traders to identify overbought and oversold conditions.

Understanding the CCI

The CCI technical analysis indicator helps traders to identify overbought or oversold conditions, as well as the strength and direction of a trend. It measures the deviation of an asset’s price from its statistical mean, usually over using an input period of 20.

The CCI oscillates around the zero line, with values typically ranging between -100 and +100, although it can exceed these bounds.

General Example of Using the CCI

In this example, the CCI serves as useful oscillator, demonstrated through its application to Apple Inc. (AAPL) on a daily chart. On July 28, 2023, AAPL’s CCI moved past the +100 threshold, signaling an overbought condition. The indicator remained above this level for several trading days before retracing back below +100 on August 2, 2023. This reversal was a precursor to a 5.33% decline in AAPL’s stock price.

The CCI then dipped below the -100 mark, indicating an oversold state. It lingered in this zone for approximately six trading days until August 15, 2023, when it rebounded above the -100 level. This upward shift in the CCI coincided with a 5.76% increase in AAPL’s stock price over the
same period. This simple example illustrates the CCI’s efficacy in identifying potential reversals in market conditions, thereby serving as a valuable tool for traders to gauge entry and exit points.

AAPL and CCI on Daily Chart.


Stock Chart with CCI Indicator.
Image by Sabrina Jiang © Investopedia 2020

CCI as a Basic Momentum Strategy

The Commodity Channel Index (CCI) could be employed as a momentum-based trading strategy. In a straightforward long/short approach, traders could initiate a long position when the CCI crosses above the zero line and switch to a short position when it crosses below zero.

Using the CCI Over Multiple Timeframes

Utilizing the CCCI across multiple timeframes can offer traders a more nuanced understand of market conditions. Some advantages include higher probability trades. When traders align their transactions with the broader market trend, the likelihood of success could be increased.

Also, using two timeframes or multiple timeframes can help filter out false signals, thereby reducing the risk of entering an unprofitable trade. Moreover there is some flexibility. The multiple timeframe strategy can be adapted to various asset classes and could also be utilized in conjunction with other technical or fundamental indicators for more robust trading signals.

Are There any other Technical Analysis Indicators Similar to the CCI?

Several technical analysis indicators similar to the CCI include the Stochastic CCI, the Relative Strength Index (RSI), the Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD), the Rate of Change (ROC), the Momentum Oscillator and the Williams Percentage R.

When is the Best Timeframe to Use the CCI?

The CCI is a versatile technical indicator that could be applied across various timeframes. The choice of timeframe is largely dependent on the trader’s strategy and objectives. It is essential that traders properly backtest their strategies on different timeframes to find the one that aligns best with their trading goals.

What are the Best Assets to Trade Using the CCI.

Initially, the CCI was designed for commodity markets but is now widely used across various asset classes including stocks, ETFs, futures and forex.

What Fundamentals can be Blended with the CCI to Make it More Effective?

By combining fundamental tools such as economic indicators, earnings reports, and market news with technical analysis signals provided by the CCI and other technical indicators, traders could make more informed decisions.

How can Using the CCI be Made More Reliable?

Traders can incorporate volume indicators to confirm the strength of trends signaled by the CCI. Also, before applying the CCI in live trading, the strategy should be backtested on historical data to analyze past performance.

The Bottom Line

The CCI is a multifaceted technical indicator that aids traders in various aspects of stock trading, from identifying emerging trends to spotting overbought or oversold conditions. It is particularly useful for detecting bullish and bearish divergences, which can indicate potential price reversals. The CCI’s versatility allows it to be applied across different timeframes and asset classes, making it a flexible tool for traders. However, it is not without its drawbacks, such as the risk of generating false signals.

To mitigate these limitations and enhance its reliability, traders often use the CCI in conjunction with other technical indicators. Incorporating fundamental analysis and employing risk management techniques like setting stop loss and take profit levels can also add layers of robustness to a CCI-based trading strategy. Overall, when used wisely and in combination with other analytical tools, the CCI can be a powerful tool in making informed and potentially profitable trading decisions.


By admin