expand/collapse risk warning

Trading financial products on margin carries a high risk and is not suitable for all investors. Ensure you fully understand the risks and take appropriate care to manage your risk.

Trading financial products on margin carries a high degree of risk and is not suitable for all investors. Please ensure you fully understand the risks and take appropriate care to manage your risk.

Your capital is at risk.

Trading Terms

Standard deviation: learn how to navigate market uncertainty

Learn how to use standard deviation in trading. Discover what it is, how it works, and explore examples. Get answers to FAQs.

There are two types of traders in the financial market: those who rely on instinct to make decisions and those who use statistical analysis to predict market trends. The latter is where standard deviation comes in. If you're serious about trading, understanding standard deviation is crucial, however, it's important to combine it with other technical indicators, fundamental analysis, and market knowledge for a more informed trading strategy. Keep reading to learn how you can use it to improve your trading strategies.

What is standard deviation in trading?

In trading, standard deviation is a statistical measure that helps assess the volatility or risk associated with an investment. It calculates the dispersion of prices or returns from the average, providing insights into potential price movements.

Traders usually use it to analyse market fluctuations, determine risk levels, and make informed decisions about portfolio management and risk management strategies.

But how does it work?

How does standard deviation work in trading?

For example, in the crypto market, let's say we have a cryptocurrency that has been experiencing high price volatility. By calculating the standard deviation of its price movements over a specific period, such as 30 days, we can gauge the extent of price fluctuations. A higher standard deviation indicates greater volatility and potentially higher risk.

Similarly, in Forex trading, standard deviation can be used to analyse currency pairs' price movements. Traders can calculate the standard deviation of exchange rates to determine the level of volatility in a particular currency pair. This information could help them make informed decisions about trade entry and exit points, position sizing, and risk management strategies.

To calculate standard deviation, you can follow these steps:

  1. Determine the time period for which you want to calculate the standard deviation (e.g. 30 days).
  2. Collect the closing prices or returns for the chosen time period.
  3. Calculate the average (mean) of the closing prices or returns.
  4. Subtract the average from each individual closing price or return, square the result, and sum up all the squared values.
  5. Divide the sum by the number of data points minus one (for a sample) or the total number of data points (for a population).
  6. Take the square root of the result obtained in step 5 to get the standard deviation.

Let's consider an example in crypto trading. Suppose you have collected the daily closing prices of a cryptocurrency for the past 30 days. You want to calculate the standard deviation to assess its volatility.

  • Collect the closing prices of the cryptocurrency over the 30-day period.
  • Calculate the average of the closing prices.
  • Subtract the average from each closing price, square the results, and sum them up.
  • Divide the sum by 29 (30 - 1) to calculate the sample variance.
  • Take the square root of the sample variance to obtain the standard deviation.

The calculated standard deviation can then be used to analyse the volatility of the cryptocurrency. A higher standard deviation indicates greater price volatility, while a lower standard deviation suggests relatively stable price movements.

Similarly, in Forex trading, you can calculate the standard deviation using the same steps mentioned above. Instead of closing prices, you would use daily exchange rate returns for the chosen currency pair.

If you enjoyed reading this, why not visit our blog today to learn more trading strategies to improve your trades?

FAQs

What is standard deviation in trading?

It is a statistical measure that quantifies the dispersion of prices or returns from their average value. It helps traders assess the volatility or risk associated with an investment.

Why is standard deviation important in trading?

It is important because it provides insights into the volatility of an investment. By understanding it, traders could assess the risk levels, identify periods of increased or decreased volatility, and make informed decisions regarding trade entry, position sizing, and risk management strategies.

Can standard deviation be used to predict future price movements?

Standard deviation alone cannot predict future price movements. However, it can provide insights into historical volatility, which traders could consider when making trading decisions. It's important to combine it with other technical indicators, fundamental analysis, and market knowledge for a more comprehensive approach to trading.

How do I interpret standard deviation on a chart?

On a chart, standard deviation is often visualised through Bollinger Bands. When the price moves closer to the upper band, it suggests high volatility or potential overbought conditions. Conversely, when the price approaches the lower band, it indicates low volatility or potential oversold conditions. Traders could then use these signals to assess market conditions and make trading decisions.

Is a higher standard deviation better in trading?

A higher standard deviation indicates greater price volatility and potential risk. It may be preferred by traders who seek more significant price fluctuations and opportunities for gains. However, higher volatility also entails higher risk. Traders should consider their risk tolerance and trading strategy before making decisions based on standard deviation.

Can I use standard deviation to determine position sizing?

It can be a useful tool in determining position sizing. A larger standard deviation implies greater potential price fluctuations, which may affect the amount of capital allocated to a trade. Traders might consider adjusting their position size based on the standard deviation to manage risk effectively.

Ready to embark on your CFD trading journey?

Don't wait, explore our in-depth guide today!

Explore more

Past performance does not guarantee or predict future performance. This article is offered for general information and does not constitute investment advice. Please be informed that currently, Skilling is only offering CFDs.

Thank you for considering Skilling!

You are about to visit: https://skilling.com/row/ which is operated by Skilling (Seychelles) Ltd, under the Financial Services Authority Seychelles License No: SD042. Before opening an account, please read the terms & conditions and contact our customer support for any questions.

Thank you for considering Skilling!

You are about to visit: https://skilling.com/row/ which is operated by Skilling (Seychelles) Ltd, under the Financial Services Authority Seychelles License No: SD042. Before opening an account, please read the terms & conditions and contact our customer support for any questions.

Continue