Standard Deviation Indicator in Trading

The Standard Deviation Indicator is a tool to assess the volatility and potential price movements of a financial instrument.


1/4/20242 min read

standard deviation
standard deviation

What is the Standard Deviation Indicator?

The Standard Deviation Indicator is a statistical measure that quantifies the amount of variation or dispersion in a set of data points. In trading, it is used to assess the volatility of a financial instrument, and to identify potential price movements.

Why is Standard Deviation Important in Trading?

Understanding the standard deviation of a financial instrument is important for several reasons:

  • Volatility Assessment: By calculating the standard deviation, traders can assess the volatility of a financial instrument. Higher standard deviation indicates higher volatility, while lower standard deviation indicates lower volatility.

  • Price Range Identification: The standard deviation can help traders identify the potential price range within which a financial instrument is likely to move.

  • Entry and Exit Points: Traders can use the standard deviation to determine optimal entry and exit points for their trades. For example, if the standard deviation is high, it may indicate a good opportunity to enter a trade, while a low standard deviation may suggest a potential exit point.

Standard Deviation Formula

The formula for calculating the standard deviation is as follows:

Standard Deviation = √(Σ(x - μ)² / N)


  • x: Each individual data point

  • μ: Mean or average of the data points

  • N: Total number of data points

The standard deviation formula calculates the average distance between each data point and the mean, and then takes the square root of the sum of the squared distances to give the standard deviation.

Using a Standard Deviation Calculator

Calculating the standard deviation manually can be time-consuming, especially when dealing with large data sets. Fortunately, there are many online calculators available that can quickly and accurately calculate the standard deviation for you.

To use a standard deviation calculator, simply input the data points into the provided fields, and the calculator will automatically calculate the standard deviation for you. These calculators are widely available and can be found with a simple internet search.

Interpreting the Standard Deviation Indicator

Once the standard deviation has been calculated, it is important to interpret the results correctly in order to make informed trading decisions.

A high standard deviation indicates that the prices of the financial instrument have been highly volatile, with large price swings. This may suggest that the instrument is experiencing increased market activity and could present trading opportunities.

Conversely, a low standard deviation suggests that the prices of the financial instrument have been relatively stable, with smaller price movements. This may indicate a period of low market activity and potentially limited trading opportunities.

Using the Standard Deviation Indicator in Trading Strategies

The Standard Deviation Indicator can be used in various trading strategies. Here are a few common ways it is applied:

  • Bollinger Bands: Bollinger Bands are a popular technical analysis tool that utilizes the standard deviation to create upper and lower bands around a moving average. Traders use these bands to identify potential entry and exit points.

  • Volatility Breakout: Traders may look for periods of high standard deviation as an indication of increased volatility. They can then use this information to enter trades in the direction of the breakout.

  • Mean Reversion: Some traders use the standard deviation to identify overbought or oversold conditions. When the standard deviation is high, it may suggest that the price has deviated significantly from its mean, indicating a potential reversal.