How to Use Stock Market Internals: $ADD, $TICK

Stock market internals are crucial tools for understanding the underlying strength or weakness of the broader market. Two important internals commonly used by professional traders are $ADD and $TICK. These indicators provide insights beyond typical price movements and volumes, offering traders a deeper understanding of market sentiment.

$ADD (Advance-Decline Line)

The Advance-Decline Line (AD Line or $ADD) measures the difference between the number of advancing and declining stocks within a particular market index, such as the NYSE or the NASDAQ. The calculation for $ADD is straightforward:

\[ \text{Current $ADD} = \text{Previous $ADD} + (\text{Number of Advancing Stocks} – \text{Number of Declining Stocks}) \]

Interpretation and Application:

  1. Trend Confirmation: A rising $ADD line indicates that more stocks are advancing than declining, which can confirm an uptrend in the market index. Conversely, a declining $ADD line suggests a potential downtrend.
  2. Divergence: If the market index is making new highs while $ADD fails to confirm this movement, it may signal an underlying weakness. This divergence could be a precursor to a market correction.
  3. Breadth Analysis: By examining long-term trends in $ADD, traders can assess the overall market breadth. Strong market rallies typically involve broad participation, reflected in a robust $ADD line.
  4. Short-term Indicators: Day traders may use $ADD to gauge intraday market sentiment, making decisions on the fly based on how the line moves during the day.

Example Application:

Suppose the S&P 500 is trading within a narrow range, but the $ADD line shows a consistent upward trend. This divergence may indicate that, despite the range-bound behavior of the index, the broader market participation is on the rise, suggesting potential bullish momentum.


$TICK measures the difference between the number of stocks trading on an uptick and those on a downtick on the NYSE at any given moment. The result oscillates around zero, with positive readings indicating more upticks and negative readings indicating more downticks.

Interpretation and Application:

  1. Extreme Values: Tick values that exceed +1000 or fall below -1000 can signal overbought or oversold conditions, respectively. These extremes often coincide with short-term market reversals.
  2. Momentum Analysis: Consistent positive $TICK readings suggest sustained buying pressure, while negative readings indicate selling pressure. Traders often use these signals to gauge market momentum.
  3. Support and Resistance: Monitoring $TICK can help identify intraday support and resistance levels. Repeated spikes in $TICK at certain price points might indicate strong buying or selling zones.
  4. Riding the Trend: During strong trending days, traders look for clusters of high $TICK values (positive during uptrends, negative during downtrends) to align their trades with the prevailing market direction.

Example Application:

Imagine you’re day trading on a particularly volatile day. If $TICK values continually hit the +800 to +1000 range, this indicates persistent buying pressure. You might decide to enter long trades in alignment with the positive sentiment, placing tight stop-loss orders to protect against sudden reversals.

Combining $ADD and $TICK

Using $ADD and $TICK together provides a comprehensive view of market internals, enabling traders to make more informed decisions.

Integration Strategies:

  1. Correlation Verification: Confirmation of market moves can be validated when both $ADD and $TICK show agreement. For example, an uptrend accompanied by a rising $ADD line and positive $TICK values suggests robust market strength.
  2. Divergence Analysis: If $TICK shows strong buying interest, but $ADD is stagnant or declining, it may hint at a lack of broad participation in the movement, signaling caution.
  3. Entry and Exit Points: By combining signals from both internals, traders can identify precise entry and exit points. For instance, an oversold $TICK reading during a positive trend in $ADD might present an excellent buying opportunity.
  4. Time Frame Consideration: While $ADD is more useful for capturing the broader market trend, $TICK is beneficial for intraday decisions. Combining them allows for multi-time frame analysis.

Practical Example:

Consider you are executing trades on the NASDAQ. Over a few days, the $ADD for the NASDAQ shows a steady upward trend, indicating broad market support. In addition, intraday $TICK readings frequently hit +600 and beyond, signifying consistent buying. This alignment suggests a strong bullish environment, leading you to favor long trades and to use any pullbacks (as indicated by temporary drops in $TICK) as buying opportunities.

Advanced Techniques and Alerts

Leveraging modern technology, traders can set up alerts and automated systems to monitor $ADD and $TICK values.

Alert Mechanisms:

  1. Threshold Crossing: Set alerts for when $TICK surpasses specific thresholds such as +1000 or -1000, prompting potential reversal trades.
  2. Trend Change Detection: Alerts can notify traders about significant changes in the $ADD line direction, helping detect early shifts in market sentiment.


Algorithmic trading systems can incorporate $ADD and $TICK values to execute orders automatically, ensuring timely responses to market conditions without constant manual oversight.

Example Setup:

Imagine you have a trading system where $TICK exceeding +800 triggers a buy alert, while values dropping below -800 trigger a sell alert. Simultaneously, the algorithm monitors the $ADD line; if it remains upward-sloping, the trades are executed based on positive $TICK readings, and vice versa for downward trends. This combined approach fuses real-time sentiment analysis with broader market trends, aiming for optimized trade execution.


Mastering stock market internals like $ADD and $TICK equips traders with essential tools for understanding market dynamics beyond surface-level price action. By effectively interpreting these indicators, integrating them into trading strategies, and leveraging technology for alerts and automation, traders can significantly enhance their decision-making process and potentially improve their trading outcomes. As with any strategy, consistent review and adaptation to evolving market conditions are key to sustained success. So, it is important for traders to continually hone their skills and adapt their approach as the market evolves. With a comprehensive understanding of internals like $ADD and $TICK, traders can navigate the stock market with confidence and make more informed decisions. Happy trading! Keep learning and stay ahead in this dynamic world of finance!

Suggestions for Further Reading:

  • “Mastering Market Internals” by John F. Carter
  • “Trading In The Zone” by Mark Douglas
  • “Market Indicators: The Best Kept Secret to More Effective Trading and Investing” by Richard Sipley
  • Investopedia’s articles on market internals and technical analysis. These resources can provide further insights and practical applications of $ADD and $TICK in trading strategies.
  • Practice using simulated or paper trading platforms to test different approaches incorporating $ADD and $TICK into your trades before implementing them with real money. This can help refine your skills and gain confidence in your strategies without risking capital.
  • Attend seminars, workshops, or webinars hosted by experienced traders to learn from their experiences and gain new perspectives on utilizing market internals in trading strategies.