Rate Of Change (ROC): What Is It, How It Works, Calculation and Trading

Rate Of Change (ROC): What Is It, How It Works, Calculation and Trading

The inherently volatile price movements of financial assets sometimes confuse investors and cause them to make wrong investment decisions. Whether long-term or short-term investors, early detection of trend direction, momentum, and trend reversals plays an important role in the financial world. Rate of Change, which sheds light on the momentum behind all these price changes, has become a favorite of investors in this sense. As Eurotrader, we have prepared a comprehensive guide for you on the definition of Rate of Change, its importance, how it works, calculation methods, and how it can be used in trading!

What Is The Rate Of Change (ROC)?

Rate of Change (ROC) is defined as the rate at which a variable changes its price after a certain period. In simpler terms, the Rate of Change is an indicator that shows how fast the price of a particular financial asset falls or rises over a predetermined period. ROC stands out as one of the first momentum oscillators designed for technical analysis. The result of the calculations is usually expressed as the percentage of price change between the current price and the past price.

Whether the ROC value obtained as a result of the calculations is positive or negative can provide investors with various insights into the momentum of the relevant financial asset. In this context, a positive ROC indicates that bullish momentum is more prominent, while a negative ROC indicates that bearish momentum is more dominant.

Who Invented ROC Indicator?

Today, a definitive judgment as to who invented the ROC indicator is not possible. It is known through different sources that different names have made various developments for the ROC.

One of the most prominent names when it comes to ROC is Morton Baratz, an American technical analyst who pioneered the use of momentum oscillators as technical analysis indicators in the late 1940s. Baratz’s proportional calculation of price changes gave all investors and short-term traders an objective view of trend momentum.

Despite being unknown as the creator of ROC, Tushar Change, known for his work on momentum oscillators and contributed to the development of the Aroon oscillator and the Stochastic RSI, also contributed to using ROC as a technical analysis tool.

How Does The Rate Of Change (ROC) Indicator Work?

The Rate of Change is determined by looking at how fast a financial asset moves its price movements. In this context, there is a line called “Zero Line” on the technical indicator that points to the zero point. The movements of the ROC data, shaped by price movements, above the zero point, are of great importance to investors.

While the ROC indicator above the zero line indicates that the uptrend may exhibit a stronger momentum, an indicator below the zero line may mean that the bearish momentum may be more dominant. When interpreting the ROC indicator, one should not only look at whether the data is above or below zero but also the range in which it is bullish. An extremely bullish ROC may indicate that the price has moved into overbought territory, while an extremely bearish ROC may indicate that the price has moved into oversold territory, helping traders determine their trading strategy.

How Is the Rate Of Change (ROC) Used In Technical Analysis?

Although technical analysis has many components, price is the most important element for anyone trading in the financial markets. As an indicator based directly on price changes, Rate of Change allows traders to draw various inferences about the current trend and price movements.

The momentum of the trend can be detected through Rate of Change. Through ROC, which provides direct insight into price momentum, traders can view whether prices have bullish or bearish momentum.

In addition, the effects of Rate of Change can be seen in several other issues, such as divergences, which can be used in technical analysis and provide traders with advanced information about potential trend reversals. A bullish divergence is when the ROC is rising while prices are falling in the opposite direction, while a falling ROC at the same time that prices are rising may indicate a bearish divergence.

In addition, volatility is expected to increase during periods when the Rate of Change value shows very sudden and sharp ups and downs. In highly volatile financial environments, investors may want to adjust their risk thresholds or reallocate their portfolio allocations.

How Does The Rate Of Change (ROC) Indicator Used In Trading?

Having a direct relationship with price movements, Rate of Change is one of the favorite indicators used by traders in trading strategies and short-term trading activities.

With a Rate of Change, traders can observe potential overbought and oversold areas, react early to price-indicator mismatches, change their trading strategies due to crossovers above the zero line, and provide confirmation of the current trend.

What Is The Purpose Of The Rate Of Change Indicator?

No single indicator alone can provide traders with a definitive judgment of price movements. In such cases, other indicators are of great importance in confirming the current trend direction. Rate of Change is frequently used for its ability to detect potential trend reversals, indicate overbought and oversold areas, and provide traders with insight into the momentum of the price continuing in the current trend.

What Is The Formula For The Rate Of Change (ROC)?

The formula used in Rate of Change calculation is expressed as follows:

In the above formula, <“Current Price” is the last closing price of the financial asset, while “Price n periods ago” is the closing price of the relevant financial asset “n” periods ago.

How Is The Rate Of Change (ROC) Calculated?

A time frame must be determined in advance when performing Rate of Change calculations. The letter “n” in the formula is the period that the investor or trader who wants to perform the calculation should indicate in the form of days, weeks, months, etc. according to the investment strategies or periods desired to trade.

After determining the time frame in which the calculation is to be performed, the absolute change in the price over time is revealed by subtracting the closing price n periods ago from the current closing price

In the next step, the result is divided again by the closing price n periods ago.

In the last step, the result is multiplied by 100 to express the Rate of Change value, which is shown as a percentage value. A higher ROC value indicates that there are larger changes in the price, while a lower ROC indicates that the price change is not at a low level.

When To Use The Rate Of Change (ROC) In Trading?

Since Rate of Change is a technical analysis tool that can both serve as a confirmation for other indicators and generate various signals on its own, it would not be wrong to claim that it can be used at all times.

Traders can determine at what levels the divergences detected in the trend or price correlation obtained through other different indicators such as RSI are effective by making comparisons with Rate of Change values.

In addition, crossovers that may occur on the Rate of Change can generate trading signals for investors when combined with strong momentum. Another factor that investors who want to add ROCs to their trading strategies consider is overbought and oversold areas that may indicate potential trend reversals.

How Does The Rate Of Change Differ From Other Indicators?

ROC vs Stochastics:

The Stochastic oscillator calculates momentum based on the closing price of the relevant financial asset and the channel through which price movements occur during the specified time interval. On the Stochastic oscillator, a number above 80 indicates overbought and a value below 20 indicates oversold. On the ROC, on the other hand, the scale ranges from 0-100 and no fixed value is set as overbought or oversold.


While the Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) indicator compares two moving averages by measuring their convergence or divergence, the ROC measures the percentage change in a single timeframe, leading to more reliable results, especially on short timeframes, without requiring the crossover of two separate data sets.

What Are The Limitations Of Using The Rate Of Change Indicator?

False Signals:

Rate of Change analysis, especially on short-term timeframes, can lead to false signals due to the high volatility of financial markets.


The fact that Rate of Change values are based on past price movements may cause current data to be based more on past price movements rather than real-time.

Flexible Key Levels:

The overbought and oversold zones detected by Rate of Change are not fixed, as is the case with the RSI indicator. To determine whether a price is in overbought or oversold areas, traders are advised to look at the levels reached by the Rate of Change in the past price movements of the relevant financial asset.

Requires Manual Intervention:

When calculating the Rate of Change, investors should find the optimal number of days on which to base their Rate of Change calculations. Using too short timeframes may mislead traders by generating an excessive amount of signals, while using too long timeframes may lead to missing trend reversals in the short and medium term.


How do I know the results from the Rate of Change are correct?

By comparing the results from the Rate of Change with other technical indicators such as moving averages or RSI, you can confirm existing trends and minimize your risks.

Can the Rate of Change be used in all types of trading?

Yes. Rate of Change can be used on any financial asset such as stocks, cryptocurrencies, indices, and commodities.

Can short-term traders also benefit from the Rate of Change?

Yes. The most commonly used timeframes for Rate of Change calculations are short timeframes of 5-10 days. In these time frames, day traders use the Rate of Change indicator to determine the momentum of price movements.

Does volume in financial assets have an impact on the Rate of Change?

Yes, with volume confirmation, traders and investors can get an insight into whether the breakouts detected on Rate of Change are fake or not.

Can trend reversals be detected through Rate of Change?

Yes, Rate of Change allows many inferences about the trend. In this sense, divergence indicators can show traders that there may be changes in the trend.

Eurotrader doesn’t represent that the material provided here is accurate, current, or complete, and therefore shouldn’t be relied upon as such. The information provided here, whether from a third party or not, isn’t to be considered as a recommendation; or an offer to buy or sell; or the solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any security, financial product, or instrument; or to participate in any particular trading strategy. We advise any readers of this content to seek their advice.

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