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What Are Donchian Channels And How To Use It For Trading

11 Oct 2023


Donchian channels are the technical indicators to check bullish and bearish extremes. This indicator is used by traders to determine the support and resistance level of any stock or to find emerging new trends. 

Donchian channel indicator uses moving averages to identify the high, low, and median price levels of a stock over a period. Let's get a detailed overview of Donchian channels and its usage.

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What is the Donchian channel strategy? 

The Donchian channel strategy was introduced by Richard Donchian (known as the Father of trend-following trading) in the 1960s.

  • Stock market traders popularly use the Donchian channel strategy to decide whether to take long or short positions, and it helps them predict the emerging trends of the stocks. 

  • This strategy best suits intraday traders, as it provides a graphical representation of stocks' price variations over a specific period. 

How to calculate Donchian channels? 

To calculate Donchian channels, you must understand that it has three different channels: upper, middle, and lower channels. 

  • Upper Channel - Highest price point of stock among all the highs in the last N period. 

  • Middle Channel - Average of the highest and lowest price points in the last N period. 

  • Middle or median channel formula = (Upper channel + lower channel)/2 

  • Lower Channel - Lowest price point of stock among all the lows in the last N period. 

  • Where N period can be measured in hours, days, weeks or even months. 

What are the different ways to use Donchian channels in stock trading? 

The Donchian channel strategy determines the volatility of stocks, trade forex, or future & options. 

Here are the following ways by which it can be used in trading. 

Breakout indicator 

  • This indicator allows traders to take long or short positions while trading. 

  • When a stock value trades more than the upper channel, traders book profits using long positions. 

  • And when trading stock value is below the lower band, traders benefit from short positions. 

Trading with the Middle

  • The middle channel serves as an essential indicator for traders to choose long or short positions while trading. 

  • When stock value trades above the median channel, the trader benefits from long positions. 

  • And if the stock value trades below the middle channel, traders will use short positions and gain profits. 


Traders use the Donchian channel strategy to map the market momentum based on which they decide whether to take long or short positions in trading. Donchian channel displays the stocks' volatility, breakouts, breakdowns, price reversals, and emerging trends. 

However, it does not reflect the current market conditions, as generating false signals can affect trading and investment performance negatively. 


Related Articles: What Are Thinly Traded Securities | What is Price Discovery | Difference Between Variance and Covariance | What Happens When a Company Buys Back Stocks


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