Percentage Price Oscillator (PPO)

The Percentage Price Oscillator (PPO) is a momentum oscillator that measures the difference between two moving averages as a percentage of the larger moving average. As with its cousin, MACD, the Percentage Price Oscillator is shown with a signal line, a histogram and a centerline. Signals are generated with signal line crossovers, centerline crossovers, and divergences. First, PPO readings are not subject to the price level of the security. Second, PPO readings for different securities can be compared, even when there are large differences in the price.

Calculations
PPO: {(12-day EMA - 26-day EMA)/26-day EMA} x 100
Signal Line: 9-day EMA of PPO
PPO Histogram: PPO - Signal Line

While MACD measures the absolute difference between two moving averages, PPO makes this a relative value by dividing the difference by the slower moving average (26-day EMA). PPO is simply the MACD value divided by the longer moving average. The result is multiplied by 100 to move the decimal place two spots.

Interpretation
As with MACD, the PPO reflects the convergence and divergence of two moving averages. PPO is positive when the shorter moving average is above the longer moving average. The indicator moves further into positive territory as the shorter moving average distances itself from the longer moving average. This reflects strong upside momentum. The PPO is negative when the shorter moving average is below the longer moving average. Negative readings grow when the shorter moving average distances itself from the longer moving average (goes further negative). This reflects strong downside momentum. The histogram represents the difference between PPO and its 9-day EMA, the signal line. The histogram is positive when PPO is above its 9-day EMA and negative when PPO is below its 9-day EMA. The PPO-Histogram can be used to anticipate signal line crossovers in the PPO.

MACD, PPO and Price
MACD levels are affected by the price of a security. A high-priced security will have higher or lower MACD values than a low-priced security, even if volatility is basically equal. This is because MACD is based on the absolute difference in the two moving averages. Because MACD is based on absolute levels, large price changes can affect MACD levels over an extended period of time. If a stock advances from 20 to 100, its MACD levels will be considerably smaller around 20 than around 100. The PPO solves this problem by showing MACD values in percentage terms.

Conclusions
The Percentage Price Oscillator (PPO) generates the same signals as the MACD, but provides an added dimension as a percentage version of MACD. The PPO levels of the Dow Industrials (price > 20K) can be compared against the PPO levels of IBM (price < 200) because the PPO “levels” the playing field. In addition, PPO levels in one security can be compared over extended periods of time, even if the price has doubled or tripled. This is not the case for the MACD.

Limitations
Despite its advantages, the PPO is still not the best oscillator to identify overbought or oversold conditions because movements are unlimited (in theory). Levels for RSI and the Stochastic Oscillator are limited and this makes them better suited to identify overbought and oversold levels.

Source: Stockcharts

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