Tick Index

Tick Index Chart

I wanted to discuss one of the market indicators known as the Tick index or the $tick index. This gives us market sentiment. This indicator will help you trade the markets because sentiment is a big driving force. We use chart indicators and studies to analyze a stock. Market indicators analyze an entire INDEX for potential weakness, money flow, and other important criteria. 

The TICK index looks at the number of rising stocks versus the number of stocks falling on the NYSE. The index measures stocks making an up-tick and subtracts stocks making a down-tick.

We are going to focus on the TICK Index. These Market Indicators are called Breadth Indicators because they analyze the “Breadth and Scope” of an entire Index.

The Five (5) major market indexes in the US are the New York Stock Exchange, the Russel 2000, the S & P, the DOW Jones, and the NASDAQ. Their respective ticker symbols are the NYSE: $TICK, the RUSSEL 2000: $TIKRL, the S & P: $TIKSP, the DOW Jones: $TIKI, and the NASDAQ: $TICK/Q.

In the past, most traders only monitored the $TICK (the New York Stock Exchange) due to the need for immediate information and data gathering. However, with the advancement in technology and data sharing, the ability to monitor all the major indexes at once is not only possible but also recommended. Now, you have another tool to maintain overall market trend analysis.

As a result, we, as a trading service, have focused on adding it to our trading rooms. We want our community to see its action as we look for market sentiment daily.

Tick Four Chart

A Picture of the Four Major Indexes $TICK values represented in Bar Charts.

$Tick Index at a Glance

These two pictures show how the data of a $TICK chart is presented in the TOS platform. I do not find this user-friendly at all. A trader needs to have data presented in a relevant and useful way, especially the TICK index. But we can deal with it the way it is.

Tick Index Chart

How to Use the Tick Index to Trade

Let’s step back and look at the big picture. Why does this matter? How is this relevant to me as a day trader? Why do I need to pay attention to something I am not trading? Because MARKET SENTIMENT and MARKET BREADTH are the wind beneath that stock, you want to trade’s wings!!

The TICK index records an entire index’s buying and selling action. This tells us how many stocks are selling “at or below” the asking price and how many stocks are being bought “at or above the asking price.”

How aggressive are buyers overall “at this moment in time”? Is this behavior only happening on one market index? Or is this aggressive buying happening on all market indexes at once?

If all major markets suddenly have aggressive sellers, I would want to know this and not take a position until I find out why. If all the markets suddenly have aggressive buyers, then a highly liquid ETF like $SPY will be in play for a quick scalping play. This sudden buyers’ market creates momentum.

Now that we know why it is important, how can we use this information to trade? Understanding the TICK index offers traders a short-term perspective of the overall market SENTIMENT.

The ratio of stocks on an up-tick versus the number of stocks on a down-tick presents a short-term actionable data point. How can we day trade with these indicators, especially low-float stocks?

Tick Index on ThinkorSwim

Below are examples of different TICK Studies modified in the ThinkorSwim platform.

An Accumulative $TICK Meter for the ThinkorSwim Platform, check out this thinkorswim script link to see for yourself: http://tos.mx/t5p4Pt


A more simple TICK Meter for the ThinkorSwim Platform: http://tos.mx/dJKsjX

Simpler Tick

A simple $TICK Meter with $TRIN and labels for the ThinkorSwim Platform: http://tos.mx/rmw535

Neutral Market

Another Option

The TOS platform allows us to create studies to present data in more user-friendly and condensed ways. In the case of the TICK Index, see above.

Now, what about overall markets? Instead of only watching one major index, why not watch four (4) major indexes? With a custom study, we can. What are the criteria?

We want to monitor the major indexes all at the same time. That means having the data in a lower study (a lower indicator). We want to know when there is a market agreement.

Here is the TICK Graph Indicator link for the ThinkorSwim Platform: http://tos.mx/SiFLFR.

Graph Indicator

Tick Index Market Sentiment

The picture above shows four indexes displayed using their TICK data. At a glance, we can immediately see what kind of day we had in the market.

The Accumulation / Distribution Line is the “ZERO LINE” of the market. A TICK above this line represents a day of positive market, and a TICK below this line represents a day of negative market.

We can also see immediately that the strong surge throughout the morning lost strength. As a result, two markets turned around and had more selling pressure than buying pressure.

Across the top of the study is the signal line showing when there is positive market sync with a green dot, negative market sync with a red dot, and no market sync with a white dot.

Tick Accumulation/Distribution

In the picture below, the overall market sent was bearish for most of the day, although there was a nice rally for a short time.


We have reviewed the TICK Graph and have discussed the signals it gives and how to analyze the readings provided by the graph. Let’s discuss how to use this in our trades throughout the day.

When attempting to enter a momentum trade, the ideal signal would be market sync in your trend direction. When the market is trending in sync, there is more strength in the overall market direction. This effectively trades ETFs (a collection of stocks bundled into a single ticker symbol).

Final Thoughts: Tick Index

The TICK Index offers traders the advantage of observing immediate market sentiment for a short period of time. This gives a small window into an opportunity for a trade. It also gives an opportunity to NOT take a trade.

Breadth Indicators such as TICK are proven tools that are used by traders of every style. The $Tick Graph is a indicator that shows the $TICK index for four major markets and signals when those four markets are trending in the same direction. As a result, we receive market sentiment.

If you need more help take our online trading courses.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you interpret a tick index? The value between +200 and -300 indicates a neutral market sentiment, which should give a trader pause. Bullish is when values become higher than +200, and bearish is lower than -300. It is very bullish when its value is higher than +500 and very bearish when it is lower than -500. When TICK is higher than +1000 or lower than -1000, then a reversal of the market will likely happen soon.

The ticker symbol for the NYSE Tick Index is $TICK.

The Tick Index Indicator displays the number of securities that are trading on an uptick minus the number of securities that are trading on a downtick.

Related Articles

Harmonic Patterns

Harmonic Patterns

Have you heard of Harmonic patterns? Technical analysis can be a polarizing subject in the world of investing. Some traders swear by it, while others

Read More »


If you’ve looked for trading education elsewhere then you’ll notice that it can be very costly.

We are opposed to charging ridiculous amounts to access experience and quality information. 

That being said, our website is a great resource for traders or investors of all levels to learn about day trading stocks, futures, and options. Swing trading too! 

On our site, you will find thousands of dollars worth of free online trading courses, tutorials, and reviews.

We put all of the tools available to traders to the test and give you first-hand experience in stock trading you won’t find elsewhere.

Our content is packed with the essential knowledge that’s needed to help you to become a successful trader.

It’s important to treat day trading stocks, options, futures, and swing trading like you would with getting a professional degree, a new trade, or starting any new career.

Invest the proper time into your Trading Education and don’t try to run before you learn to crawl. Trading stocks is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s not gambling either, though there are people who treat it this way. Don’t be that person! 


The Bullish Bears team focuses on keeping things as simple as possible in our online trading courses and chat rooms. We provide our members with courses of all different trading levels and topics.

If you’re a beginner, intermediate level, or looking for expert trading knowledge…we’ve got you covered. 

We have a basic stock trading course, swing trading course, 2 day trading courses, 2 options courses, 2 candlesticks courses, and broker courses to help you get started. Free.

Just choose the course level that you’re most interested in and get started on the right path now. Become a leader, not a follower. When you’re ready you can join our chat rooms and access our Next Level training library. No rush. We’re here to help.

Click Here to take our free courses.