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Quick Guide SAR Indicator

What is Parabolic Search and Rescue?

J. J. Wilder, technical analyst, developed parabolic S upwards to in the y R indicator everse in the late 1970s. This indicator was included in Wells Wilder’s book “New Concepts of Technical Trading Systems”.

Wilder actually called this approach the parabolic price/time system and presented the SAR concept as follows:

SAR stands for Stop and Reverse. This is when a long trade closes and a shorter trade opens, or vice versa.

Wilder, JW Jr. (1978). New concepts for technical trading systems (p. 8).

This system is often referred to today as the Parabolic SA indicator. It is used to identify market trends as well as potential pivot points. Wilder created many technical analysis (TA), indicators manually. However, they are now part most digital trading and charting systems. These methods are no longer required to do manual calculations and can be used in a relatively simple manner.

What is the secret to it?

Parabolic SAR indicators are small dots placed either above or below market prices. Each point is a single SAR value. The parabola is created by the placement of points.

The points are plotted below and above the price in an uptrend, respectively. They can also be displayed during periods when the market is in consolidation. In this instance, however, the points will shift from one side to another more frequently. The Parabolic SAR indicator, in other words is less useful for non-trend markets.


Parabolic SAR provides insight into market trends and potential pivot points. It can help investors find good opportunities to buy or sell.

Parabolic SAR is also used by traders to calculate dynamic stop loss prices. This allows them to move with the market. This is commonly known as a sliding stop loss.

This allows traders to lock-in profits that they have already made since their positions are closed as soon as the trend changes. It can prevent traders from entering profitable trades or closing profitable positions in certain situations.


Parabolic SAR, as mentioned above, is especially useful in trending markets but not particularly during periods of consolidation. The indicator can give false signals if there is no clear trend. This can cause significant losses.

An achoppymarket, which moves too quickly, can also provide misleading signals. Parabolic SAR is best used when prices move more slowly.

Also, consider the sensitivity of your indicator. This can be manually adjusted. The greater the sensitivity, higher the chance of false signals.

False signals may cause traders to sell assets with the potential to earn money too soon to close winning trades. Fake breakouts can also give investors false optimism and prompt them to purchase too quickly.

The indicator doesn’t take into account trading volume so it doesn’t provide much information on the strength of the trend. Large market movements can cause a gap to widen between points, but this should not be taken as a sign that there is a strong trend.

Regardless of how much information investors and traders have, there will always be risk in the financial markets. Many of these strategies combine Parabolic SA with other indicators or strategies to reduce risks and compensate for limitations.

Wilder suggested using the parabolic SAR and the mid-directionality indicator to assess the strength of trends. Before entering a position, it is possible to include moving averages and the RSI indicator in your analysis.

Parabolic SAR Calculation

Computer programs can perform calculations today automatically. For those who are curious, the following section explains how to calculate Parabolic SAR.

SAR scores are calculated using market data. To calculate today’s market data, we use yesterday’s SAR. To calculate tomorrow’s value we use today’s current SAR.

The SAR value of an uptrend is calculated using previous highs. In a downtrend, the SAR value is calculated based on previous highs. Wilder called the extreme points (EPs) the highest and lowest points of a trend. But, uptrends and declines are not the same thing.


SAR = Previous SAR + AF x (Previous SAR preceding EP)

For downtrends:

SAR = Previous SA AF x (Previous EP, Previous SAR)

The acceleration factor is referred to as AF. It begins at 0.02 and goes up by 0.02 when the price reaches a new high or low in an uptrend. If the limit of 0.20 has been reached, the value will be retained for the duration of the trade (until the trend reverses).

Some specialists adjust the autofocus manually to alter the sensitivity of the indicators. A higher AF (or more reversal signals) will lead to increased sensitivity. A lower AF of 0.2 will do the opposite. Wilder, however, stated in his book, that an increase of 0.02 is the best.

The calculation is quite simple, but traders often ask Wilder how to calculate first SAR. This is because the equation requires prior values. He said that the first SAR can only be calculated based on the EP prior to the market trend’s reversal.

Wilder suggested that traders look at their charts and find a clear reversal. Then, use that EP value as the first SAR. Once the market prices have been reached, the next SAR value can be calculated.

A trader might go back several days or even weeks to find a previous correction if the market is in an uptrend. The local bottom (EP), which is the correction for the current uptrend, can be found and used as the first SAR.

Last Thoughts

Parabolic SAR was developed in the 1970s. Parabolic SAR can be applied to many investment options today, including stock, commodity, and cryptocurrency markets.

However, no market analytics tool is perfect. Parabolic SAR, or any other market analytics tool, should be used only by investors who are familiar with financial markets and technical analysis. To mitigate the inevitable risks, they must have a proper trading and risk management strategy.

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