What Is the VWAP Trading Strategy Indicator and How Is It Used?

  • February 23, 2018

Watch our video on how to use the vwap trading strategy and and how to master the vwap indicator for your trading.

What Is the VWAP Indicator? A Day Trading Strategy Explained

  1. The VWAP trading strategy (meaning: volume weighted average price) is an important intraday indicator that traders use to manage entries and exits. It averages the closing prices of a security intraday and is used as a guide for support and resistance levels. Putting it in plain English its the average price of the stock throughout the entire trading day. It's great for intraday trading on 5 min and 1 min charts.

So what's with all the hype about VWAP? If you've been checking out any message boards o trading sessions in our live trading room, you've probably heard it mentioned. Seems like everyone who day trades is always talking about it right? Well, in today's post we'll talk about the VWAP trading strategy and answer that pesky question of what is vwap. In the end, you'll understand why you should use it to be a more proficient trader.

This indicator is a popular tool traders use to help manage entries and exits. I use it a lot for day trading and will show our traders how price reacts with it in real time.

Most traders use it for short term trading, meaning you'll rarely see people using it on hourly and above time frame charts - however, before people BUY using a longer time frame chart, they will still often REFERENCE vwap on a intraday chart (like 1,5,15 minute for example). Longer term retail traders anchor VWAP to a key level of support on longer time frame charts, (like hourly or daily) and use this level as a key support for swing trading. 

AMD anchored VWAP

Anchored VWAP on TrendSpider targets the highest volume days.

Vwap trading is highly efficient and simple method when trading because there really isn't much to it and its easy to learn this strategy.

Vwap Iddicator

This is the most common way I use the VWAP indicator. VWAP is dashed green, and upper and lower VWAP are displayed. I look at these levels as overbought and oversold and watch for entries at VWAP, and profit taking from overbought or oversold levels. Volume helps confirm my trades on whether I enter or exit, or stay out of a trade.

How Is Vwap Used in Trading?

  1. Traders use it as support and resistance in a short time frame. Personally, 5 minute and 1 minute charts help the most, especially when trading penny stocks. You use it to assess the direction or trend of the stock. On the technical side of things, VWAP is calculated by adding up the dollar amount traded for every trade transaction (price multiplied by number of shares traded) and then dividing by the total shares traded for the day. If you're a member of our trade room, you'll hear us reference VWAP often on the live streams.

Volume Weighted Average Price is commonly applied by day traders on the 1 minute and 5 minute charts. Those time frames are used when day trading because price action moves quickly. Traders like volatility as it brings quick profits and lots of opportunity to long or short.

If you’re going to be getting in and out of a stock quickly, you need to have an indicator that is going to show you a trend in place and help you make trading decisions. That's what fast trading indicators are all about. Vwap in stocks is no different.

Vwap Trading Strategy

You got this. And if you're stuggling, we have a Yoda on staff who can help you.

1. Price Action And The VWAP Trading Strategy

The VWAP indicator starts at the price a stock opens at and moves up or down based on the volume and price action throughout the day.

It’s more sensitive to the movement of the market at the opening but as the day progresses, the VWAP slows down.

You'll see it stabilize and thus, you'll find a good entry based on its movement (register for our free stock market courses and we'll teach you how to read the stock market).

The reason it slows down at the end of the day is because it takes in so much data that price movement at the end of the trading day doesn’t affect its movement.

Keeping this in mind, you’ll find that the VWAP indicator is used as a helpful guide. And it feels good to know other traders are looking at VWAP too, making it a self fulfilling prophecy type of indicator. 

2. Liquidiy Is Always A Plus!

Most importantly it identifies the liquidity of the market. The more liquid the market is, the more price moves and the more VWAP moves around too.

The bottom line is VWAP is an indicator that traders are aware of if they are looking to taking a large position in any given stock. It's not a foolproof indicator by any means. Patterns and indicators are never foolproof, but it's a very important one to keep track of.


You can see on the chart above I have VWAP as a green dashed indicator and I show upper and lower VWAP in pink and yellow. These act as overbought and oversold levels. Notice how price behaves near oversold VWAP? we eventually get a bullish engulfing candle, and a push over the 9EMA. Price then moves to VWAP, consolidates, and then moves higher, only to pull BACK TO VWAP and retest it, and move higher. 

The VWAP indicator shows the stock’s equilibrium and a stock will always come back it if it moves too far away from it in either direction. 

It's like a rubber band, it wants to snap back.Traders eyeball VWAP's location and are prepared for price to inevitably return to it.

Ideally you're looking at the stocks volume, candle sticks, and maybe some moving averages Looking to learn stock trading? Make sure to take our day trading course to help you get started.

What Is a VWAP Strategy Anyway?

  • The VWAP intraday strategy for trading is used to tell a short term trader whether or not a stock is bearish or bullish. If a stock touches VWAP and falls below it, this lets you know it’s in a bearish trend. This is when you’d short the stock. It can help provide intraday price targets for buying and selling. VWAP would then become resistance if price falls below.

Shorting is when you borrow shares from your broker and sell them. You return those shares to your broker and your profit is the difference.

Without the VWAP indicator, shorting would be more difficult. Why? Because you benefit from this indicator as a show of critical support and resistance.

If a price is trading below VWAP and then breaks and begins to trade above it, you would be in a bullish trend. If this happens, then you’d take a long position.

When you long a stock you expect the price to rise after your entry. Using overbought VWAP to exit is a good strategy if you're scalping and looking for a signal to exit a long or enter a short.


Check out the setup of $ROKu which offered some pretty good entries and exits for shorting.

As we all know, as the price goes up, the more profit you make. Provided you get the right entry. Knowing the direction a stock is moving when you’re watching a chart for an entry is going to give you the confidence you’re making a smart trade.

If you want to access our stock alerts with real time entries and exits, come check out our stock alert page.

vwap trading strategy

Here we see the VWAP Trading Strategy at work. Bullish candles off of the oversold line send it back to VWAP resistance. Resistance was not broken and a sell signal formed.

1. Support and Resistance

Volume weighted average price shows you both support and resistance. Support and resistance are so important because that can be the difference between a win and a loss. There are many different ways to find support and resistance.

Candlesticks, moving averages and the volume weighted average price are all different the ways you can find it and they’re all equally important. They each show you the little nuances that are happening as a stock moves.

The VWAP trading strategy can help to quiet the fireworks that are the moving averages. When a stock is moving quickly and you want in it can provide a stable entry. Volume weighted average price is both support and resistance depending on which direction you’re wanting to trade.

Also, when you see a price hitting the volume weighted average price and it’s support, you’re going to want that support level to hold if you want to get in. 

2. The Importance Of VWAP 

When it breaks support at VWAP, then the volume weighted average price becomes the new resistance. Also, making sure a support or resistance level holds is what’s going to decide the trend the stock will take.

Pay close attention to it as it breaks the support level of the volume weighted average price and trades under if for the rest of the trading day. Hence, it’s in a bearish trend.

Just like the opposite is true for a bullish trend. You want to see price break and stay above the volume weighted average price. You'll notice that price action and vwap go hand and hand. 

Volume Weighted Average Price

Here we see VWAP on a 5 minute chart of the Nasdaq stock $QQQ. VWAP comes accompanied with two bands serving as overbought and oversold indicator levels. The Upper band (overbought level) is plotted a specified number of standard deviations above the VWAP, and the Lower band (oversold level) is plotted inversely below the VWAP (shown as dotted green). Standard deviations are based upon the difference between the price and VWAP.

3. Master the Force aka VWAP Trading Strategy

Above all, the VWAP trading strategy is such an important tool when you’re day trading. It's actually quite easy to master. If you’re in our trade room you’ll constantly hear someone telling you to watch and see if the price breaks the volume weighted average price.

That’s because it’s such an important indicator. There isn’t an exact science to predicting what a stock will do. But having, knowing and using the tools provided to you will help you to make the most informed decision possible.

However, it doesn’t mean the stock will go the way you want it to go. You can minimize your risk when you trade smart and use your indicators! Take our free online trading courses if you need more help trading.

Vwap Dip Buy

If you know where VWAP is, you have a better picture of the overall market you are trading. You got this.

Join Our Community

We are a group of diverse traders so you'll see how it works in relation to both small caps and large cap stocks. Traders pay very close attention to volume weighted average price and you'll catch the action watching us trade and teach live each day.

If you can't catch our streams live, don't worry! We have replays available of all of our streams. That way you can go back and back test later.

VWAP indicator is available on most, if not all platforms. ThinkorSwim and many other brokerage firms have OnDemand features which allow you to practice simulated trades after the market has closed.

This is a great way to get the necessary practice that's needed as a trader. We hope we answered what is vwap for you and that you'll incorporate the vwap trading strategy in your trading! 

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