How to Calculate Pivot Points
There are several different methods for calculating pivot points, the most common of which is the five-point system. This system uses the previous day's high, low and close, along with two support levels and two resistance levels (totaling five price points) to derive a pivot point. The equations are as follows:
R2 = P + (H - L) = P + (R1 - S1)
R1 = (P x 2) - L
P = (H + L + C) / 3
S1 = (P x 2) - H
S2 = P - (H - L) = P - (R1 - S1)
Here, "S" represents the support levels, "R" the resistance levels and "P" the pivot point. High, low and close are represented by the "H", "L" and "C" respectively.
How To use pivot points
Pivot points, floor levels, S/R values. Various labels for the same tools: a calculated formula for what should be "fair value" in a market to follow. Before the days of palm pilots, cell phones and the general wireless world, floor traders and market makers relied on hand-scribbled price points of where buyers / sellers should cluster their stops. The information age has arrived, but these valuable price points still retain their power over market action hence.
Interpreting and Using Pivot Points
When calculating pivot points, the pivot point itself is the primary support/resistance. This means that the largest price movement is expected to occur at this price. The other support and resistance levels are less influential, but may still generate significant price movements.
Pivot points can be used in two ways. The first way is for determining overall market trend: if the pivot point price is broken in an upward movement, then the market is bullish, and vice versa. Keep in mind, however, that pivot points are short-term trend indicators, useful for only one day until they need to be recalculated. The second method is to use pivot point price levels to enter and exit the markets. For example, a trader might put in a limit order to buy 100 shares if the price breaks a resistance level. Alternatively, a trader might set a stop-loss for his active trade if a support level is broken.
Pivot points are yet another useful tool that can be added to any trader's toolbox. It enables anyone to quickly calculate levels that are likely to cause price movement. The success of a pivot-point system, however, lies squarely on the shoulders of the trader, and on his or her ability to effectively use the pivot-point systems in conjunction with other forms of technical analysis. These other technical indicators can be anything from MACD crossovers to candlestick patterns - the greater the number of positive indications, the greater the chances for success.