The Force Index can be used in conjunction with a trend following indicator to identify short-term corrections within that trend. A pullback from overbought levels represents a short-term correction within an uptrend. An oversold bounce represents a short-term correction within a downtrend. Yes, corrections can be up or down, depending on the direction of the bigger trend. Alexander Elder recommends using a 22-day EMA for trend identification and a 2-day Force Index to identify corrections. The trend is up when the 22-day EMA is moving higher, which means the 2-day Force Index would be used to identify short-term pullbacks for buying. The trend is down when the 22-day EMA is moving lower, which means the 2-day Force Index would be used to identify short-term bounces for selling. This is an aggressive strategy best suited for active traders. The timeframe can be adjusted by using a longer moving average and timeframe for the Force Index. For example, medium-term traders might experiment with a 100-day EMA and 10-day Force Index.
There are two schools of thought regarding the correction play. Traders can either act as soon as the correction is evident or act when there is evidence the correction has ended. Let's look at an example with the 22-day EMA and 2-day Force Index. Keep in mind that this is designed to identify very short corrections within a bigger trend. The chart below shows Texas Instruments (TXN) with the 22-day EMA turning up in mid-September.
With the 22-day EMA rising, traders are looking for very short-term pullbacks when the 2-day Force Index turns negative. Traders can act when the Force Index turns negative or wait for it to move back into positive territory. Acting when negative may improve the reward-to-risk ratio, but the correction could extend a few more days. Waiting for the Force Index to turn positive again shows some strength that could signal the correction has ended. The green dotted lines show when the 2-day Force Index turns negative.
The Force Index uses both price and volume to measure buying and selling pressure. The price portion covers the trend, while the volume portion determines the intensity. At its most basic, chartists can use a long-term Force Index to confirm the underlying trend. The bulls have the edge when the 100-day Force Index is positive. The bears have the edge when the 100-day Force Index is negative. Armed with this information, traders can then look for short-term setups in harmony with the larger trend, such as bullish setups in a larger uptrend or bearish setups within a larger downtrend. As with all indicators, traders should use the Force Index in conjunction with other indicators and analysis techniques.