Understanding Colors in Stock Charts – Green and Red Candlesticks Explained

Stock charts are a useful way of viewing the historical price movement of a security. The visual ups and downs of the line in the chart convey meaning in a way that a table full of numbers can not. One quick glance at a chart can give you meaningful perspective on the stock’s past performance and serve as a useful data point in your analysis.

A typical line stock chart in StockMarketEye looks like this:

Stock Chart - Standard Line

The upper portion of the chart is called the Price chart. In the example above, the blue line shows the closing values of the stock. Moving the mouse over the chart will display the chart cursor. The details of the day under the cursor are shown in the top line of the chart area.

The lower portion of the chart is the trading Volume chart. The taller the bar, the more volume there was on that day.

The colors in the Volume chart also have meaning. A green volume bar means that the stock closed higher on that day verses the previous day’s close. A red volume bar means that the stock closed lower on that day compared to the previous day’s close. A black volume bar means either that the stock closed at the same price that day as it did the day before, or that the chart does not have the previous day’s closing price to compare with (such as in the first volume bar in the chart).

Stock charts - red and green volume bars explained

Red and Green in the Price Chart

In the Price chart, both the Candlestick and Open-High-Low-Close (OHLC) chart styles convey extra meaning when compared to a simple line chart. Instead of a single point (i.e. the closing price), the day’s activity is shown as a symbol, in which the day’s 4 data points (i.e. the open, high, low and closing prices) are drawn.

The red and green versions of the Candlestick and OHLC chart styles convey extra meaning through the colors. This same meaning is also visible in the monochrome version of these chart styles, but some investors find the green and red versions help them to interpret the meaning faster.

The next chart shows the “Candlestick Green/Red” stock chart type in action. A green candlestick means that the opening price on that day was lower than the closing price that day (i.e. the price moved up during the day); a red candlestick means that the opening price was higher than the closing price that day (i.e. the price moved down during the day).

Green and Red Candlesticks - what do they mean?

Compare that with the monochrome version of the same chart. A green candlestick is equivalent to an open candle of the monochrome “Candlestick” chart type; a red candlestick is equivalent to a filled candle.

Monochrome Candlesticks - how do they work?

When the Colors differ between the Price Chart and the Volume Chart

Although both the Price chart and Volume chart can use green and red to convey meaning, the meaning of the colors is slightly different in each of these chart types. Sometimes the candlestick or OHLC’s color will be different from the volume bar’s color.

For example, if the stock finished higher than the previous day, the volume bar will be green. But on the same day, if the stock moved lower from the opening price, the candlestick would be colored red.

How and why the colors can differ for Candlestick and Volume bars

This situation is not that uncommon. For example, if there was a gap up at the open (because of positive company news, analyst recommendation, etc), but the stock moved lower from that point throughout the day, yet staying above the previous day’s closing price, the candlestick would be colored red, but the volume bar would be green.

Colors can be useful to help convey extra meaning in stock charts. Knowing how each color is used in the different parts of the stock chart will help you interpret their meaning faster and get more out of the chart.

StockMarketEye has a wide range of chart styles and technical indicators to choose from. Download your free copy of StockMarketEye today and start keeping your eye on the markets!

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