Lagging and Leading Indicators for Currency Trading at Olymp Trade

Lagging and leading indicators on Olymp Trade
Lagging and leading indicators at Olymp Trade

The indicators’ role on the trading platforms is to help in finding the best entry and exit points for one’s transactions. The variety of available indicators at Olymp Trade is wide and we can divide them into two categories. The lagging and leading indicators. Both use past price data. So what’s the difference and which one to choose? This article will answer these questions.

Key Takeaways🔑

Both lagging and leading indicators play crucial roles in determining optimal entry and exit points in trading.
The choice between lagging and leading indicators largely depends on individual trading styles and risk tolerance.
Practicing with a demo account is an effective way to determine which indicators are most suited to your trading strategy.


The distinction between lagging and leading indicators

Lagging indicators

In this group, we will find among others Simple Moving Average, Moving Average Convergence Divergence, Relative Strength Index, and Stochastic Oscillator.

They all are calculated on the average past price. They give information with a small delay, thus a name. You may observe a favorable situation on the price chart at a particular moment, but the lagging indicator will confirm it in a bit. Some argue that this is an unnecessary loss of a good opportunity. Others believe such a lag is important to get a confirmation that this is a good time to open a transaction.

SMA is probably the most popular lagging indicator
The SMA is probably the most popular lagging indicator

Leading indicators

The most popular leading indicators are support and resistance levels, Fibonacci retracements, Client Sentiment, and Donchian channels.

These indicators are also based on the past price, but they give the signals for future moves. So the traders can open a position thanks to the signals given by leading indicators at the exact moment of the anticipated market change. A danger lies in this anticipation. While the signals may be accurate and bring profit, they can also show false reversals or breakouts. Because the traders enter transactions according to the predictions, not confirmations.

Support and resistance levels are leading indicators widely used by price action traders
The support and resistance levels are leading indicators widely used by price action traders

The advantages and disadvantages of lagging and leading indicators


Lagging indicators are reliable because they show the situation after it actually happened.

Trading with lagging indicators carries a lower risk of false reversals and breakouts and thus, unsuccessful transactions.

Leading indicators indicate entry points for the future, which means there is no delay and you can open a trade just at the right time.

Leading indicators detect key levels and therefore help the traders in targeting higher probability positions.


Lagging indicators work with a delay. Because of the necessity of waiting, the traders are losing some pips.

The traders should remember that there is no key levels’ identification with lagging indicators.

The signals from leading indicators do not guarantee success because the situation in the market can rapidly change.

Leading indicators are often used in more advanced analysis and therefore beginners may find them a little bit discouraging.

Leading indicators like Fibonacci Retracements are use to predict movement rather than confirming it
Leading indicators like Fibonacci Retracements are used to predict movement rather than confirming it

Choosing the right indicator

All the indicators have their pros and cons. One is no better than the other. This is why it is an individual decision which one to choose.

The lagging indicators provide a higher security level as they produce a signal after a given situation has occurred. This is a choice of traders who prefer opening long-lasting trades.

The leading technical indicators are chosen by traders who want signals fast and at the very beginning of the movement. It would be a good idea to apply stop loss in case the market will go in the wrong way.

Pros and Cons of Using Lagging and Leading Indicators😊🙁


  • Lagging Indicators: They provide reliable signals as they reflect confirmed market conditions.
  • Leading Indicators: They help in anticipating market changes, allowing traders to react in real-time.


  • Lagging Indicators: They work with a delay, potentially leading to missed opportunities.
  • Leading Indicators: They can give false signals as market conditions can change rapidly.

Lagging vs Leading Indicators📈📉

Indicator Type Characteristics
Lagging Indicators They provide confirmation of trends and patterns after they have occurred, helping to minimize risks of false signals.
Leading Indicators They anticipate future price movements, allowing for potential early entry into trades but carrying a higher risk of false signals.


You should know your choices and consider both types of indicators. You may be tempted by the leading ones as many traders do not want to waste precious time on delay signals. Be careful though, as they are riskier as well. You should have some experience and trade according to your own judgment and careful market analysis.

Do not forget you may combine a few indicators to receive the confirmation you require. For instance, you can use the MA21 with the MA55 or with the Fibonacci levels.

Take your time and train as long as you need on the Olymp Trade demo account. This is a perfect place to try different kinds of indicators and find out your personal preferences. On the demo account, you open risk-free transactions because you trade with virtual money.

Head onto the real account once you made your mind about the most useful indicators. However, be mindful of your trades in the real account. This strategy is not risk-free, nothing is. Always keep in mind that you might incur some losses. If you’re not prepared to deal with losses yet, then continue learning with virtual resources.

Share your thoughts and choices with us in the comments section below.

We wish you enjoy trading!

Quick Q&A Section🔍

  • Q: What are lagging and leading indicators?
    A: They are tools that traders use to identify potential entry and exit points. Lagging indicators provide confirmation after a trend has occurred, while leading indicators anticipate future price movements.
  • Q: How can these indicators be used effectively?
    A: Traders often use a combination of both types of indicators to balance the strengths and weaknesses of each.
  • Q: Can these indicators guarantee successful trades?
    A: No, these indicators are tools that can aid in decision-making but cannot eliminate the inherent risks in trading.
  • Q: What is the primary risk with leading indicators?
    A: The primary risk is that they can provide false signals, as they are trying to predict future price movements.
  • Q: How can I decide which indicators to use?
    A: The choice largely depends on your individual trading strategy and risk tolerance. It’s recommended to practice with a demo account to determine which indicators work best for you.

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Bart Bregman

Full time day trading, and helping out with Olymp Trade wiki in my spare time to create an awesome platform for beginners. I'm a digital nomad that travels the world while working from everywhere!

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