We're all set for a new experience. To visit the old Ventura website, click here.
Ventura Wealth Clients
3 min Read

In the fast-paced world of trading, technical indicators are like trusty compasses, guiding you through the ever-changing market landscape. Among them, the Accelerator Oscillator (AC) stands out as a valuable tool for gauging momentum and identifying potential turning points. This blog delves into the inner workings of the AC, equipping you to interpret its signals and refine your trading strategies.

What is the Accelerator Oscillator?

Developed by the legendary technical analyst Bill Williams, the AC is a momentum oscillator based on the concept of acceleration and deceleration. It doesn't directly measure price but rather the rate of change of the Awesome Oscillator (AO), another Williams creation. The AO reflects the difference between a short-term and a long-term moving average, offering insights into price momentum.

How does the AC work?

The AC is calculated by subtracting a short-term moving average (typically 5 periods) from the AO value. The result is plotted as a histogram, with green bars representing positive values (acceleration) and red bars for negative values (deceleration). Here's a breakdown of the interpretation:

  • Green Bars: If the AC displays green bars, it suggests that the momentum behind the price movement is increasing. This could indicate a continuation of the current trend (uptrend or downtrend) or a potential acceleration towards a breakout.
  • Red Bars: Conversely, red bars on the AC signify weakening momentum. This might foreshadow a trend reversal or a period of consolidation before the next directional move.

Advanced interpretations

While the colour interpretation is a good starting point, seasoned traders delve deeper to extract more nuanced signals from the AC for their options trading:

  • AC Divergence: When the AC diverges from the price movement, it can be a powerful signal. For instance, if the price keeps making new highs but the AC forms lower highs (bearish divergence), it could suggest a weakening uptrend and a potential reversal.
  • Zero Line Crossovers: The AC oscillating around the zero line often indicates a period of indecision or consolidation in the market. A breakout above the zero line with increasing green bars strengthens a bullish signal, while a breakdown below zero with growing red bars reinforces a bearish outlook.
  • Confirmation with Other Indicators: The AC is most effective when used in conjunction with other technical analysis tools. Combining it with support/resistance levels, moving averages or volume analysis can provide stronger confirmation of trading signals.

How to trade with an accelerator oscillator?

Here are some practical ways to incorporate the AC into your trading strategies:

  • Identifying Trend Continuation: A series of green bars on the AC alongside a rising or falling price suggests a potential continuation of the current trend.
  • Spotting Potential Reversals: Divergence between the AC and price, or a series of red bars following a strong trend, could indicate an upcoming trend reversal.
  • Gauging Momentum Strength: The length and intensity of the green or red bars on the AC provide insights into the strength of the underlying momentum.

Remember: The AC is a valuable tool, but it's not a crystal ball. False signals can occur, and market conditions can be unpredictable. Here are some additional points to consider:

  • The AC is more effective in trending markets compared to choppy or range-bound markets.
  • The chosen timeframe for the AC can impact its sensitivity. Shorter timeframes tend to be more volatile, while longer timeframes offer a smoother picture.
  • Always practise proper risk management and never invest more than you can afford to lose.


The Accelerator Oscillator empowers you to gauge momentum and identify potential turning points in the market. By understanding its core principles, limitations, and how to use it effectively with other tools, you can gain valuable insights to inform your trading decisions. Remember, successful trading is a combination of technical analysis, fundamental analysis, and sound risk management practices. So, equip yourself with knowledge, utilise the right tools like the AC, and embark on your trading journey with a strategic approach.