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Understanding death cross pattern: A crucial indicator in technical analysis

The death cross pattern is crucial to identify trend reversals in the stock and index movements. It explains the correlation between negative conversion of moving averages and an upward price trend. This pattern is a long-term financial indicator and is crucial to understand. In this article, we will look at the death cross pattern and how it works. 

What is death cross? 

Before understanding the death cross pattern, it is important to understand the moving average. It is an indicator over a specific time frame made with keeping in mind the closing prices of an asset. 

The calculation of the moving average is done by adding all prices in a set and dividing it by the total number of elements. It gives an insight into the asset’s price movement over some time without having to depend solely on its day-to-day price. 

Now, a death cross pattern occurs when the short-term moving average (the average of recent closing prices) falls below the long-term moving average. 

How does the death cross work? 

The two most commonly used moving averages to identify the death cross pattern are the 50-day moving average and the 200-day moving average. When this occurs, it indicates a bearish turn in the market for all traders and investors. They are alerted to make an informed decision as it suggests a prolonged period of declining prices. 

The death cross pattern is identified when the 50-day Simple Moving Average (SMA) crosses below the 200-day SMA. The death cross pattern is identified in different ways by different traders and investors. 

Some analysts identify it when the 100-day moving average and 30-day moving average intersect. While others recognize the crossover when the 50-day moving average crosses below or above the 200-day moving average. 

The difference between the two identifications is based on the individual training strategies, market conditions, and specific context. Regardless of the type of identification method used, the death cross provides valuable insight into the market conditions and the long-term trends and opportunities. 

Strength of the death cross pattern 

To look at the pattern’s predictive power, the death cross predicted all the major bear markets in the past like 1929, 1938, 1974 and 2008. However, the death cross indicator proves more beneficial in cases when its predictions are combined with those of other indicators. 

For example, trading volume is a useful indicator when analyzing long-term trend change. The bearish prediction of the death cross is more reliable when it is combined with high trading volumes. 

Additionally, you can also use the momentum indicators such as MACD to confirm the analysis of a bearish market. This indicator works because the momentum of a long-term trend often dies right before the market turns. 

Limitations of the death cross pattern

Certain analysts do not depend on the death cross pattern predictions because it is a lagging indicator. The downside moving average crossover might occur a long time after the trade moves from bullish to bearish. As a result, the security price might have already fallen short before the cross-death signal occurred.

This is a common occurrence and to overcome this limitation, the analysts often use a variation of this pattern. Under this variation, the death cross is taken at the point where the security price falls below the 200-day moving average instead of the short-term moving average. This event occurs before the 50-day moving average crossover. 

How does the death cross differ from the golden cross? 

Both the death cross and the golden cross are valuable indicators that help analyze the market conditions and opportunities but they vary. The golden cross stock is the opposite of the death cross and is observed when the short-term average surpasses the long-term average of an index. While the death cross is bearish, the golden cross is bullish. 

The death cross hints at a negative crossover of the moving averages, and the golden cross shows a positive reversal. In the golden cross, the moving averages converge upwards to show a positive price momentum, which indicates higher prices in the upcoming trading sessions. 


The death cross is a cautionary indicator that throws light on the negative shift in the market sentiment. The trend has preceded major bear markets and the investors and traders must keep it in mind. However, like any other indicator, the death cross pattern might have false predictions. As a result, it is integral to consider different indicators at once to make an informed decision. To learn more about patterns and indicators, stay tuned to StockGro!


What are death crossover stocks? 

Death crossover is a trading and investing indicator that indicates the bearish market in the period to follow. It alerts the investors and traders of the upcoming market trend change from bullish to bearish. 

How does the death cross measure? 

The death cross measure is when the short-term moving average falls below the long-term moving average. 

Are the death cross and golden cross different? 

Yes, the death cross portrays a future bearish condition of the market while the golden cross indicates the opposite and implies and bullish market trend change. 

Can I completely rely on the death share market indication? 

No stock market indicator is free of false indications and death cross is no different. It is recommended to analyze other indicators as well before taking action. 

Which other indicators can be combined to assess the death crossover stocks? 

A death cross indicator can be combined with trading volume and momentum indicators to verify the market trends and act accordingly. 

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