Top 3 Indicators for Trading Futures

If you could only use one indicator, which one would you choose?

Let’s assume you have a trade ladder and standard price chart and have the option of adding one indicator to your screen (I use the term indicator loosely as this can range from market breadth ratio, to a moving average, to a stochastic).

My favorite indicators are…

  • A Heikin Ashi Candlestick Chart
  • The NYSE Tick
  • A 20-period EMA

There are countless indicators to choose from…

What indicator would you choose?

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About Tim Racette

Tim is a full-time trader in the futures and stock markets and founder of He is also a Chicago-land native, competitive mountain biker, adventurer, and ASU Sun Devil.

44 Responses to “Top 3 Indicators for Trading Futures”

  1. Hi Tim,

    I find useful the volume based MACD (not price based as usual).

    Greetings from Spain.

  2. Most definitely the The NYSE Tick in my case.

  3. Hey Tim,
    Ive read Steve Nison’s book on Candlestick charting and understand the advantages to that kind of analysis but what is the difference between a regular candlestick chart and a Heikin Ashi Candlestick Chart. I think I’ve heard you mention this in one of your videos.


  4. Awesome, thanks Tim.

  5. vwap and either rsi or slow stoch for divergences

  6. Tim,

    I watch the ES on the 512 tick chart and have looked at the Heikin Ashi Candlesticks. What period have you found to work the best for you with that indicator?

    • I really like using the Heikin Ashi study on the 512tick chart and then a regular candlestick study on the 15-min chart. When you pair that with the NYSE tick I’ve found my entry’s to be extremely precise.

  7. I use four now, on 5m candles:


    If I had to choose one, I would take the ZB.

    • can i ask?? how do u use ZB as an indicator????

      • I use ZB as a confirming indicator.

        Money rarely flows into both the Bond Market and the Equities Market in large quantities at the same time.

        Normally, if stocks are rising, the bonds are dropping and vice versa.

        So, I watch the 5m candles of the ZB along with my 5m ES and several other internals.

        Here’s a typical situation:

        The ES will break out of a long consolidation period to the upside and look fairly convincing (this time). However it can and does often produce false breakouts (as we are all well aware)..

        During this alleged-breakout, I look at the ZB and if it’s rolling over convincingly, this gives me the needed confidence that the ES may really be breaking consolidation this time.

        If ZB is flat or still rising, this ES breakout may not be real.

        I can also use this on reversals and any other entry methods I’m using that day.

        That kinda thing…

        Check it out.

        • kjetil solberg