What is a Choppy Market & How to Trade A Ranging Market?

Trading concepts

Choppy & Ranging Market

What is a Choppy Market?

This is a market lacking any clear trend. Orderly markets trend upward and downward, providing traders with the chance to place their bets. There is no noticeable pattern to the movement that occurs in a choppy market.

The adjustment happens too rapidly and suddenly for traders to respond in a thoughtful way. In several scenarios, it leads to a loss on virtually all trades, due to the fact that the movement happens so quickly.

The definition of a choppy market is different from a sideways market. There is a small or no movement at all in a sideways market. A choppy market basically is the absence of a trend as opposed to sharp switches between highs and lows.

The techniques that function in a sideways market are very different from those in a choppy market. It mustn’t be used except the necessary criteria is present. Having the knowledge to trade a choppy market is paramount so as to keep your portfolio intact in the case of uncertainty.

How Do You Identify a Choppy Market?

A choppy market can be determined by the rectangular formation that develops on price charts from a visual angle. Highs and lows appear in the stated period, but they remain between the same height and valley prices.

These are usually regarded as support and resistance level. They are the horizontal lines that show the topmost price at which traders will purchase and the least price at which they will sell. When linked together by vertical lines forming the important time period, these horizontal lines make up a rectangle.

What causes a Choppy Market?

There exist primarily three causes of a choppy market:

  1. Firstly, when balance occurs between the purchasers and seller, with none having a lasting effect on prices. Hence, making prices to bounce around with every trade, which leads to a choppy market.
  2. Secondly, uncertainty can produce a choppy market. This is usually observed when there are new of a serious event but information is inadequate or traders translate the situation differently. The choppiness basically get solved immediately there are additional information.
  3. Lastly, choppiness can occur due to complete absence of news. Rather than a sideways market, prices go up and down as traders exercise patience for a catalyst to cause regular movement.

How to Trade a Choppy Market?

The most enticing means of trading a choppy market refers to the foundations: buy low, sell high. In our case, it means purchasing as soon as the price falls to the support line and selling when it hits the resistance line.

Although to make gain with this approach is achievable, it is riskier than it seems. Choppy markets will unavoidably get sorted and settle into a trend, and what will take place or what the trend will form is completely unpredictable.

Each time you trade in trending markets, you will take smaller positions and allow the market to work for you. But with choppy markets, the inverse is the case. You will have to place numerous potions and trade high low ranges.

In order to profit in a choppy market, there exist two strategies that can be adopted:

  1. Buy at support or sell at Resistance: after you have successfully determined the choppy market, the volume present in the market is vital. The supply and demand required to push prices outside the critical high and low points won’t be adequate. The aim of an investor is to make purchase at the support line or sell at the resistance level. In return, acquire profits with the price changes within that range. When you realize that volume begins to change, it is an indication to move of the choppy market positions. Look to open breakout positions.
  2. Utilize Oscillating Indicators: the usage of indicators like the RSI (Relative Strength Index), Average Directional Index (ADI), and slow stochastics have been displayed to function really nicely when markets are choppy. The RSI remains one of the most popular indicators and it calculates how the performance of a stock does against itself. The RSI performs a comparism between the up days and down days. It possess a range from 0 and 100. A bull market occurs when the RSI reading is 70 or above. A bear market has a reading of 30 or below

Which Indicator is suitable For Ranging Charts?

Whenever you are in a choppy market, you are trading within a range. And so, applying the RSI is possibly the most suitable range indicator you can adopt to affirm. Based on the location of the RSI, you will be aware of whether you are in a bullish, bearish, or ranging market.

And with that, you will be knowledgeable on the kind of trade to place. Options are the perfect method for range markets. Spreads are as well excellent for choppy markets.

Example of a Choppy Market

First, we should be considering assets with good volume, high float (if it’s stock), and good liquidity. The ability to get in and out fast must be present. The underlying asset will be able to show accurate movements and avoid market makers who are capable of taking advantage of you and your stop-loss marks.

When should you Be Trading Choppy Markets?

The choppy market is best traded between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST for day traders. This is due to the fact that larger moves mostly occur either in the morning or near the close of the trading day when volume basically becomes higher. Trading at a time like this and possessing proper stop loss points will reduce your possibilities of whipsaw.

Whipsaw is when a current buy suddenly goes in the inverse direction of the trade leading into a colossal loss.


Trading a Choppy market is not meant for the fainthearted. Never forget to place stop loss so as not to lose all that you have amassed. If a stock possesses a high beta, it is overly volatile to trade in a choppy market, and your signals won’t be very strong.

If your interest lies in the options strategies for a choppy market, you can delve into short strangle. But this is, however, for the advanced traders only and is quite risky. As with every other trader, only place at risk what you can bear to lose.

By mapping out the high point and low of the current market. By that, you will obtain the range you’re looking at. Then as the price moves around that range, you are in a choppy area. You would want the market to break out of that range of the high and low. And after then, would you have either a bullish or a bearish.

After an elongated bull or bear market, there can exist a choppy market and are most prevalent outside of earnings reports and announcements. To determine a choppy market, you would have to first identify the top and low present in several sessions.

Your range will be created by these two points. You will have to wait and see your asset act in the range. If it pushes against any support/resistance and forces itself through before losing volume and returning after close to the high or low point, you’re likely in a choppy market.

Russell Crane

Russell Crane

Russell is an Algorithmic & Technical Analyst Trader @ PatternsWizard.
His passion is to share his knowledge about TA, patterns & more. Why hope for your trading to work when you can precisely know the performance stat of every pattern?

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