Accumulation/Distribution Line (ADL) Indicator

Accumulation/Distribution Line (ADL) Indicator

The Accumulation/Distribution Line (ADL) is a volume-based indicator used in technical analysis to help traders determine the flow of money into or out of a security. It was developed by Marc Chaikin and aims to measure the cumulative flow of money, thereby helping to identify buying or selling pressure in a stock, which can signal potential reversals or confirm trends.

Marc Chaikin is a well-known stock market analyst and the developer of several widely used technical analysis indicators. Among his contributions to the field are the Chaikin Oscillator and the Accumulation/Distribution Line (ADL), both of which are intended to improve the decision-making process for investors by incorporating volume and price data to assess the strength of a stock's movement.

How It Works:

The ADL is calculated by looking at the closing price relative to the range (high to low) of the trading period, along with the volume for that period. Here’s the basic formula:

  1. Money Flow Multiplier (MFM):
    MFM = ((Close - Low) - (High - Close)) / (High - Low)
    This multiplier ranges between -1 and 1 and indicates where the close is relative to the high-low range.
  2. Money Flow Volume (MFV):
    MFV = MFM * Volume
    This shows the volume weighted by the MFM.
  3. Accumulation/Distribution Line:
    ADL = Previous ADL + MFV
    The ADL is a running total of MFVs.

Usage in Trading:

  • Trend Confirmation: A rising ADL suggests that buying pressure (accumulation) is prevailing, supporting a potential uptrend in price. Conversely, a falling ADL indicates selling pressure (distribution), which might suggest a downtrend.
  • Divergences: If the ADL is moving opposite to the price, it indicates a divergence. For example, if the price is making new highs but the ADL is not, this could signal a weak upward move and potential reversal to the downside.


  • Sensitive to Spikes: Large spikes in volume, whether from news events or other anomalies, can skew the ADL, making it less reliable during those periods.
  • No Price Direction: The ADL does not provide insight into the direction of price movements but rather the strength of movements based on volume.

Traders often use the ADL in conjunction with other indicators to get a more comprehensive view of the market’s behavior and to make more informed trading decisions.

Accumulation/Distribution Line (ADL) Calculation Example

This example illustrates how the Accumulation/Distribution Line (ADL) is calculated using hypothetical stock price and volume data for a single trading day.

Data for the Trading Day:

  • High: $10.00
  • Low: $8.00
  • Close: $9.50
  • Volume: 2,000 shares

Step 1: Calculate the Money Flow Multiplier (MFM)

The Money Flow Multiplier (MFM) is calculated using the formula:

MFM = ((Close - Low) - (High - Close)) / (High - Low)

Using the provided data:

MFM = ((9.50 - 8.00) - (10.00 - 9.50)) / (10.00 - 8.00) = (1.50 - 0.50) / 2.00 = 1.00 / 2.00 = 0.5

Step 2: Calculate the Money Flow Volume (MFV)

Money Flow Volume (MFV) is calculated by multiplying the MFM by the volume:

MFV = MFM * Volume = 0.5 * 2000 = 1000

Step 3: Update the Accumulation/Distribution Line (ADL)

Assuming the previous ADL is zero, the new ADL value would be:

ADL = Previous ADL + MFV = 0 + 1000 = 1000

Thus, the ADL after this day's trading is 1000, indicating buying pressure (accumulation).