What Is Momentum Trading – How It Works?

Momentum trading revolves around the idea that assets that are currently exhibiting significant price or volume movements are likely to continue in the same direction.

Momentum trading is a popular investment strategy employed by traders in India. It involves buying assets that have exhibited significant price or volume movements, with the expectation that these trends will continue in the short term.

In India, momentum trading strategy is prevalent in various financial markets, including stocks, commodities, and currencies. Traders who follow this strategy analyse price charts and utilise technical indicators to identify assets that are experiencing upward or downward momentum. These indicators also known as momentum stock screeners help traders measure the strength and speed of price movements, allowing them to make informed trading decisions.

Momentum Trading-Ways to Trade On The Momentum

Momentum trading involves capitalising on the theory that strong stocks will continue to rise in price while weak stocks will continue to decline. There are two primary ways to trade based on momentum:

  1. Short-term momentum trading:

    This strategy focuses on identifying short-term price trends, which can range from a few minutes to hours or days. Short-term momentum traders, often called day traders, actively monitor the market and aim to capitalise on quick price movements. They analyse charts and technical indicators to identify stocks that are exhibiting strong upward momentum or stocks that are experiencing a downward trend. Short-term momentum traders typically close out all their positions by the end of the trading day to avoid overnight risks and market fluctuations.

  2. Longer-term momentum trading:

    Long-term momentum traders take a more extended outlook, using daily, weekly, and monthly charts to identify longer-term uptrends or downtrends in the market and individual securities. By utilising more extended time frames, these traders aim to filter out the noise and volatility commonly associated with shorter time frames. They focus on capturing sustained price movements over a more extended period, which can range from weeks to months. Longer-term momentum traders often combine technical analysis with fundamental analysis to identify stocks with strong underlying fundamentals and favourable market conditions.

Both short-term and longer-term momentum trading strategies have their advantages and considerations. A short-term momentum trading strategy provides more frequent trading opportunities but requires active monitoring and quick decision-making. On the other hand, a longer-term momentum trading strategy offers a more relaxed trading approach with reduced noise but requires patience and a more comprehensive understanding of market trends.

How Does Momentum Trading Work?

Momentum trading is a strategy that focuses on capitalising on the continuation of existing trends in the market. It involves entering a stock when its price has just started moving up and exiting the position as soon as it shows signs of declining. The underlying idea is that stocks often take some time to reflect their true value, and they tend to move in one direction for extended periods.

The key principle behind momentum trading is to identify stocks that are exhibiting strong momentum in the prevailing trend. Traders look for stocks that are experiencing significant price movements and volume surges, indicating a strong and sustained trend in either an upward or downward direction. They aim to ride the wave of the ongoing trend and take advantage of its potential profit opportunities.

When employing momentum trading, traders typically employ technical analysis techniques to identify stocks with strong momentum. They analyse price charts, utilise indicators such as moving averages, relative strength index (RSI), or stochastic oscillators, and look for patterns and signals that suggest a continued trend.

Once a promising stock with strong momentum is identified, the trader enters a position, either buying or selling, depending on the direction of the trend. The goal is to participate in the price movement and capture profits as long as the trend remains intact. However, it’s important to closely monitor the position and be ready to exit when signs of a reversal or weakening momentum start to emerge.

Explain Momentum Trading -The Process

To engage in momentum trading, the first step is to identify the trend of the asset you are analysing. This can be achieved by plotting support and resistance levels on your chart or utilising technical indicators like moving averages or Fibonacci retracement levels.

If you determine that there is an upward trend, you will place your buy orders slightly above the current market price. By doing so, you provide the asset with an opportunity to reach your desired entry point before it potentially starts to reverse its direction. On the other hand, your sell order (or limit order) will be set at a predetermined level above the current price. When this level is reached, your position will be automatically closed, allowing you to secure a profit.

Conversely, if you identify a downward trend, you would enter your trade slightly below the current market price. This positioning gives the asset room to decline further before potentially bouncing back. Your sell order (or limit order) would be placed below the current price, triggering your exit from the position when the price begins to rise. 

The underlying principle behind momentum trading is the “momentum effect.” This effect suggests that assets with high returns (or low returns) are likely to be followed by additional high returns (or low returns) in the future. Therefore, an asset’s momentum is an indicator of its acceleration in price. Positive momentum indicates that a stock is rising at a faster rate than usual, while negative momentum suggests that it is falling more rapidly than normal.

By leveraging momentum trading, traders aim to capture the potential profits associated with these price accelerations. They closely monitor the momentum of the asset and execute trades accordingly, seeking to ride the trend until signs of reversal or weakening momentum appear.

It’s important to note that momentum trading, like any investment strategy, carries risks. Trends can reverse suddenly, leading to potential losses. Risk management techniques, such as the use of stop-loss orders, are crucial to protect against adverse market movements and ensure controlled trading.


What are the key benefits of momentum trading?

Momentum trading in India offers several potential benefits. Firstly, it allows traders to take advantage of solid price trends and capture significant profit potential. Secondly, momentum trading can provide opportunities for quick trades and generate short-term gains. Additionally, it can be applied to various financial markets in India, including stocks, commodities, and currencies, offering diversification options.

Are there any risks associated with momentum trading?

Yes, momentum trading carries inherent risks. One of the primary risks is the potential for sudden trend reversals, which can lead to losses if positions are not managed appropriately. There can be increased volatility during market fluctuations and trades executed based on momentum indicators may result in false signals.

What are some commonly used indicators for momentum trading in India?

Traders in India often use a variety of indicators to measure momentum in the markets. Some commonly used indicators include Relative Strength Index (RSI), Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD), Stochastic Oscillator, and Average Directional Index (ADX). These indicators help identify overbought or oversold conditions, confirm trends, and provide signals for potential entry or exit points.

Can momentum trading be applied to different timeframes in India?

Yes, momentum trading can be applied to different time frames depending on the trader’s preference and trading style. Short-term momentum trading focuses on quick price movements and may involve trades executed within minutes, hours, or days. On the other hand, longer-term momentum trading considers daily, weekly, or monthly charts to identify sustained trends and may involve holding positions for weeks to months.