The VWAP indicator is another of our suite of volume indicators and one which was first referred to in 1988 when it appeared in an article entitled “The Total Cost Of Transactions On The NYSE” in the March edition of the Journal Of Finance from that year, which went on to explain its importance, particularly from an institutional perspective, which underpins its significance in appreciating the power and importance of this indicator.
In many ways, it is akin to the volume price analysis methodology itself, as we are merely attempting to follow the footprints in the sand left by their passage and described by volume. The same is true here, but in this case, we are following the institutions in much the same way.
Originally, the VWAP indicator was developed as a benchmark to measure whether an institutional customer received a fair execution of their order by the broker buying and selling on their behalf. The difference between the reported price and the VWAP gave the customer a benchmark against which to judge whether they had received a fair price or not. A portfolio manager for example, wants to know how the price they paid compared to the average price of the stock during the time it took to fill the order. If an order is filled at a worse price than the VWAP, it raises questions as to the ability of the broker. If the broker purchased a million shares at $40.50 and the VWAP during this time was at $40.70, the customer is likely to be happy since they paid 20 cents less than ‘fair value’. Equally, if the stock were purchased above, at, say $40.90 per share, the customer would consider this a poor trade, paying well above the fair value price at the VWAP.
The simplicity of this easy-to-understand benchmark, which creates this fair value price concept, has led to its wholehearted adoption amongst the institutions, and moreover, why algorithmic VWAP orders now dominate institutional market activity. A huge percentage of institutional orders are executed as VWAP orders, which raises two key questions. First of all, why, and second, how can we benefit from using the indicator?
If we start with the why, according to reports from the leading market makers, almost 40% of orders are now executed on this basis as they attempt to obtain a buy or sell price close to or better than the VWAP during the time it takes to complete the buy or sell order. These orders, therefore, help to hugely reinforce the importance of the VWAP since it is the guiding principle on which these orders are based. Even Warren Buffet uses VWAP, as evidenced when he sold his entire position in Southwest Airlines over two days, holding 2.3 million shares.
This highlights the key issues for any large institutional investor involving the price. If executed in a single order, an order to buy a large block of shares would almost certainly swamp the market, raising the price exponentially and, in addition, overwhelm the average volume traded in the day.
It is this issue of putting the price up against their own buying or conversely seeing the price fall as a result of their own selling that leads to the parent and child order scenario where significant block orders are broken into a multitude of smaller orders, which are duly executed over days, weeks or months. It is this aspect of institutional order execution that makes the VWAP such a potent indicator.
However, at Quantum Trading, we don’t just build a single indicator and leave it at that! We always take them to another level, and here we have done the same, bundling together a total of five indicators into one amazing value package so you can select your favorite from those on offer. The reason for this is we recognize the different ways the volume-weighted average price VWAP is used, which is why we offer a total of FIVE variants to choose from, and these are as follows:
- VWAP – Volume Weighted Average Price
- MVWAP – Moving Volume Weighted Average Price
- AVWAP – Anchored Volume Weighted Average Price
- TWAP – Time Weighted Average Price
- Interday Volume Weighted Average Price
All five variants include the option to display upper and lower bands that act as envelopes above and below the VWAP based on standard deviation, which you can adjust and set yourself. These price envelopes become essential dynamic support and resistance levels, which can help predict the extremes of price action as it oscillates around the VWAP from the fastest to the slowest timeframes and everything in between.
All five indicators are packaged into one powerful indicator, which we have named the Quantum VWAP Pro indicator for obvious reasons, and as you would expect, it works in all markets and instruments, whether stocks, futures, ETFs, forex or cryptocurrencies.
Finally, as with all our indicators, we recommend you use it in multiple timeframes.