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What is Williams Percent Range?

The Williams Percent Range, or ‘%R’ indicator is a popular oscillator. Larry Williams created the %R indicator along the same lines as the Stochastics indicator, but without the ‘smoothing’ component and with a reversed scale. Traders use the indicator to spot overbought and oversold conditions and turning points in market trends.

The Williams Percentage Range indicator is classified as an oscillator as the values fluctuate between zero and -100. The indicator chart typically has lines drawn at both the -20 and -80 values as warning areas. Values between -80 and -100 indicates oversold conditions and between -20 and 0 indicates overbought conditions.

The formula:

Highest High – Closing Price / Highest High – Lowest Low x -100.

Williams %R measures the level of the close relative to the high-low range over a given period of time. In this case, the highest high and the lowest low applies to the specified period of time that is chosen, by default is 14.

In addition traders can use the %R to identify longer trends in the market - for instance a 125-day %R would cover around six months. Prices are above their 6-month average when %R is above -50, which is consistent with an uptrend. Readings below -50 are consistent with a downtrend.

Like all technical indicators, it is important to use this indicator together with other technical tools. Volume chart patterns and breakouts can be used to confirm or refute signals produced by Williams %R.


Skilling Summary

Williams Percentage Range is another oscillator from Larry Williams. Whilst popular it doesn’t appear as often as ones like the Relative Strength Index (RSI). So, if you are a keen fan of oscillators we recommend testing it out, as the fact that it isn’t used as much as some of the others out there might give you an edge!