parabolic sar

Parabolic SAR: Definition, Key Features, Calculations, Trading, And Advantages

Indicators used in technical analysis provide traders with insights into market conditions and help them to perform their trading activities more easily. Parabolic SAR is an important indicator that provides traders with optimal entry and exit points and provides information on trend movements. We have prepared this comprehensive guide for you with Eurotrader quality, where you can learn all kinds of details about Parabolic SAR, from its definitions, how it can be calculated, how it can be used in trading, to its advantages and disadvantages!

What Is A Parabolic SAR?

The Parabolic SAR indicator was first introduced in 1978 by J. Welles Wilder, the creator of the Relative Strength Index (RSI) and Average True Range (ATR), in his book New Concepts in Technical Trading Systems, to identify trend direction and potential trend reversals. The SAR in the indicator’s name stands for stop and reverse and reflects its effectiveness in determining the optimal entry and exit points for trades. While the indicator is expressed by various points on the chart, the relationship of the price with these points is analyzed in the trading decisions to be made.

How Does A Parabolic SAR Work?

Parabolic SAR is an indicator that identifies high and low points in past price movements, expressed in dots. Although Parabolic SAR cannot make precise judgments about future price movements due to the formulas used in its calculations, it supports traders in confirming price and trend changes, allowing them to better manage their risk management in their next moves. In the interpretation of the points expressed on the indicator, the correlation between price and indicator data is examined. 

What Is The Formula Of A Parabolic SAR?

The formula used in parabolic SAR calculations is expressed as follows:

RPSAR = Previous PSAR + [ Previous AF (Previous EP-Previous PSAR) ]

FPSAR = Previous PSAR – [ Previous AF (Previous PSAR-Previous EP) ]


FPSAR: Declining PSAR

AF: Acceleration Factor (starts at 0.02 and increases by 0.02 each time the endpoint reaches a new low (falling SAR) or high (rising SAR), up to a maximum of 0.2).

EP: Extreme Point, the lowest low in the current downtrend (falling SAR) or the highest peak in the current uptrend (rising SAR)

How To Calculate A Parabolic SAR?

Parabolic SAR calculations have several different stages:

  1. The high and low (EP) levels of the price are recorded for the specified period. The higher the recorded price range, the more accurate the result will be. It is recommended to record at least 5 different high and low price levels.
  2. If the price is rising, the formula uses the lowest of these five periods as the previous PSAR value, while if the price is falling, the highest of these periods is used as the first previous PSAR value.
  3. An AF of 0.02 is used initially and increased by 0.02 for each new extreme high (rising) or low (falling). The maximum AF value is 0.2.

What Are The Advantages Of Parabolic SAR?

Simplicity: The absence of complex formulas in Parabolic SAR’s calculations and the ease with which traders can adapt to it make it a highly preferred indicator for all levels of traders. The interpretation of the Parabolic SAR, which provides insights on a wide range of topics such as overbought and oversold, is also suitable for traders of all levels given its simple operation.

Usability: One of the most important advantages of Parabolic SAR is that it can be used across a wide range of financial assets, such as cryptocurrencies, indices, or stock markets. Whatever instrument traders are interested in, they can benefit from Parabolic SAR’s insights and integrate it into their trading strategies.

Risk Management: One of the most important advantages of Parabolic SAR is the risk management feature offered to traders. The values expressed as dots on the indicator provide traders with optimal entry and exit points as well as possible stop-loss points in the appropriate zones.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Parabolic SAR?

Lagging: The calculations made on the Parabolic SAR provide information about the current trend. Due to the difficulty in adapting to major trend changes or trend starts, the results obtained through Parabolic SAR may be delayed. For this reason, it is more accurate for traders to use this indicator to obtain confirmation of trend changes rather than to predict potential trend changes.

Volatility: Volatility is one of the key elements of financial assets and is affected by many different factors. Parabolic SAR may not be able to react quickly enough to rising volatility due to various external factors such as geopolitical changes and economic developments. In such a volatile environment, it is important not to rely solely on the Parabolic SAR but also to seek confirmation from other indicators.

Limited Customization: During parabolic SAR calculations, no personal adjustments can be made on elements other than the acceleration factor, maximum SAR step, and starting SAR value. In this context, traders are not able to make a customization compatible with their trading strategies and the Parabolic SAR values used may not always be aligned with traders’ trading strategies.

How Is Parabolic SAR Used In Technical Analysis?

Although the Parabolic SAR used in technical analysis can be interpreted in many different ways, the correlation of the points on the indicator with the price is of great importance.

Trend Confirmation: Traders who make use of Parabolic SAR in their trading strategies can easily confirm trend confirmations. When the indicator data is below the current price, it is regarded as a confirmation of an uptrend, while when the Parabolic SAR dots are above the price, it is interpreted as a confirmation of a downtrend. On the other hand, when the dots do not show any significant upward or downward movement and remain stable, this indicates a continuation of the current trend.

Determine Entry & Exit Points: Another important element that traders can obtain through Parabolic SAR is the optimal entry and exit points for trades. In an ongoing uptrend, a break below the price is considered a favorable opportunity to enter a long position, while a break above the price in a downtrend is considered optimal for a short position.

Track Momentum: The Parabolic SAR uses an Acceleration Factor (AF) that adjusts based on the trend’s strength. A higher AF value indicates stronger momentum, as the dots will move closer to the price, suggesting that the trend is gaining speed. Conversely, a lower AF value suggests weaker momentum.

Although the Parabolic SAR can provide traders with comprehensive insights into the current trend and price movements, it’s always a good idea not to rely on just one indicator, but to use other indicators to get more accurate results.

How Can Parabolic SAR Be Used With Other Indicators?

The data expressed in the Parabolic SAR is expressed as dots on the indicator and these dots are used as a basis for trading. For example, dots that are above the price and moving downward may signal a downtrend. In this context, using other indicators is of great importance when trading. In cases where a sell signal is present, as shown in the example, looking for similar sell signals on other indicators such as MACD or RSI increases the possibility that the insights made through Parabolic SAR will be correct, increasing functionality.

In indicator-specific terms, Parabolic SAR used in conjunction with moving averages can be used to confirm trend direction, while its use in conjunction with RSI allows for inferences regarding overbought and oversold areas.

What Is The Success Rate Of Parabolic SAR?

As with any indicator, there is no absolute success rate for Parabolic SAR. The use of the Parabolic SAR with time frames compatible with the preferred investment strategies and the support of its inferences by other indicators are of great importance in achieving more accurate and successful results in trading activities.

Is The Parabolic SAR Accurate?

Each indicator is subject to favorable conditions to provide more accurate results, and no single indicator can provide a definitive judgment on its own. For example, the Parabolic SAR is more accurate when used in an uptrend or downtrend than in a sideways trend. Combining it with other indicators and using it on timeframes that are compatible with traders’ trading strategies are other factors that may allow the indicator to provide more accurate results.



How can I add the Parabolic SAR to the charts?

The Parabolic SAR is available in the indicators section of many trading platforms. If Parabolic SAR is selected as an indicator to be displayed, it will automatically appear on the chart.


Can the Parabolic SAR be used on any timeframe?

Yes, the Parabolic SAR can be used on all timeframes, depending on traders’ strategies.


Can the Parabolic SAR be applied to all financial instruments?

Yes, the Parabolic SAR can be used for all financial instruments.


Is the Parabolic SAR suitable for all traders?

Parabolic SAR is an indicator suitable for traders of all levels, as it does not involve complex formulas and is easy to understand.


Under which trend conditions does the Parabolic SAR provide the most accurate results?

Downward or upward trend movements rather than sideways trends are more suitable for Parabolic SARs.



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