Ulcer Index indicator for long-term investors. Is it just a forgotten tool from the 1980s?

Ulcer Index on IQ OptionA technical tool known as the Ulcer Index indicator was designed by Peter Martin and Byron McCann in the late 80s. It measures volatility by focusing on downside risk.

Key TakeawaysπŸ”‘

β†’The Ulcer Index indicator measures downside risk and is particularly useful for long-term investors.
β†’This indicator is not used to generate trading signals, but rather to assess risk in combination with other tools.
β†’The Ulcer Index is best applied on daily or weekly price charts for effective risk analysis.

The Ulcer Index indicator

The Ulcer Index indicator is, of course, available for IQ Option traders. It can be found in the “Other” group of indicators.

How to insert Ulcer Index indicator on IQ Option platform
How to insert the Ulcer Index indicator on the IQ Option platform

Once you add the Ulcer Index to the chart, you will see that its default setting is 14 periods. So it takes 14 past days to its calculations. It compares whether the closing prices are higher or lower. In the case of higher closing prices, the index is zero because there is no downside risk.

Ulcer Index (14) on EURUSD daily chart
Ulcer Index (14) on the EURUSD daily chart

The value of the indicator will rise when the downside risk grows and the price cannot recover to the previous highs. The index will fall in value when the price creates new highs.

The Ulcer Index focuses only on the downside movements and these are the most stressful for traders. They may cause stomach ulcers, thus the name of this tool.

How to calculate the Ulcer Index indicator?

The Ulcer Index is measured by the Square Root of Squared Average. A Squared Average is 14 period Sum of Percentage Drawdown Squared divided by 14. And Percentage Drawdown is calculated by dividing the difference between the Close and 14-period High Close by 14 period High Close and then multiplying it by 100.

Usage of the Ulcer Index

The Ulcer Index is an indicator used primarily by long-term investors. Using it at low intervals is not popular. We also recommend using this indicator on daily charts and higher.

It should also be clearly noted that it is not a technical analysis indicator that generates trading signals. Its role is limited only to the multidimensional analysis of a given asset. You can’t use it alone to create an Ulcer Index strategy. Thus, it is a complement to the information provided by other tools.

Within the framework of the analysis with the Ulcer Index, it is worth paying attention to two elements. The indicator reaches its local maximums most often when the price chart reaches the bottom.

Peaks on the Ulcer Index
Peaks on the Ulcer Index usually appears on the price bottoms

The second valuable regularity is that the market rises when the UI falls and vice versa. This fact alone can be used to decide whether to exit an open position. It is also worth looking at the peaks on the Ulcer Index. If the average peaks on the indicator are broken it is likely that the price will continue to fall.

Ulcer Index
When the price falls, the Ulcer Index rises and when the price rises, the Ulcer Index indicator usually falls

Pros and Cons of the Ulcer Index Indicator 🎯

  • Pros:
  • πŸ‘ Focuses on downside risk, which is crucial for long-term investors.
  • πŸ‘ Can help investors decide when to exit positions to minimize losses.
  • πŸ‘ Works well when used with other technical analysis tools for comprehensive risk assessment.
  • Cons:
  • πŸ‘Ž Not suitable for short-term traders or low interval charts.
  • πŸ‘Ž Does not generate tradingUser
    continue with “
  • πŸ‘Ž Does not generate trading””
    signals, so it cannot be used as a standalone strategy.
  • πŸ‘Ž Requires a solid understanding of other technical analysis tools to be effective.

Ulcer Index Applications Ulcer Index Limitations
Useful for long-term investors to manage downside risk. Not suitable for short-term traders or low interval charts.
Can help determine when to exit positions to minimize losses. Does not provide trading signals or a standalone strategy.
Works well with other technical analysis tools for comprehensive risk assessment. Requires a solid understanding of other technical analysis tools to be effective.


The indicator we have described today is a good choice for long-term investors. It measures the downside risk. Its calculations are near zero when the price form higher highs. When the price decreases, the Ulcer Index grows.

This is not the type of indicator to use separately in order to obtain trading signals. Use it to measure downside risk and risk-adjusted returns at the same time.

The inventors of the Ulcer Index propose to use it on the daily and weekly price charts.

The Ulcer Index is the volatility indicator. Observing it may provide information about excessive downside risk, and the investors may want to exit long positions to avoid losing when the price falls.

Go to the IQ Option demo account to check what you can read from the Ulcer Index indicator. This account is offered for free for IQ Option users. Furthermore, it is supplied with virtual cash that can be replenished any time you need more funds to trade.

Have fun and good luck!

Q&A on Ulcer Index Indicator πŸ’‘

  • Q1: What is the Ulcer Index indicator primarily used for?
  • A1: The Ulcer Index indicator is primarily used to measure downside risk in investments, making it particularly useful for long-term investors.
  • Q2: Can the Ulcer Index indicator be used to generate trading signals?
  • A2: No, the Ulcer Index indicator is not used to generate trading signals. Instead, it is used in conjunction with other technical analysis tools to assess risk.
    • Q3: On which timeframes is the Ulcer Index most effective?
    • A3: The Ulcer Index is most effective on daily and weekly price charts, as it is primarily designed for long-term investors to assess downside risk.
  • Q4: How does the Ulcer Index help investors minimize losses?
  • A4: By focusing on downside risk, the Ulcer Index can help investors identify periods of excessive downside risk, which may prompt them to exit long positions and avoid potential losses.
  • Q5: What other technical analysis tools can be used in conjunction with the Ulcer Index?
  • A5: The Ulcer Index can be used with various other technical analysis tools, such as moving averages, RSI, and MACD, to provide a comprehensive risk assessment for long-term investments.


The financial products offered by the company carry a high level of risk and can result in the loss of all your funds. You should never invest money that you cannot afford to lose.
Kindly note that this article does not provide any investment advice. The information presented regarding past events or potential future developments is solely an opinion and cannot be guaranteed as factual, including the provided examples. We caution readers accordingly.

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Bart Bregman

Author / IQ Option expert: "My name is Bart Bregman, I have 9 years of full-time professional trading experience. I've been trading with IQ Option for more than 7 years, mainly on the shorter time frames doing technical analyses, and have many experience with Binary Options, CFDs, Options, and Crypto trading. There is no such thing as a bad trade! As a digital nomad trader, I'm mostly traveling all over the world. Follow my journey on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/bart_bregman/. "

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