The Triple True Strength Index (TSI) Indicator

John Townsend
updated | Author's Website

This weekend I was musing through my litany of programming experiments that include numerous indicators and all sorts of concoctions and I came across this one – the Triple True Strength Index (TSI) indicator – and as I had forgotten how well it appears to work I thought we could look at it today.

First off, and I have said this many times previously, there is no indicator that is the panacea for getting rich. At least, none of my indicators, anyway. ☺ I do, however, think that indicators can be helpful at putting the odds in one’s favor and from that point, risk management is what ultimately separates the winners on Wall Street from the losers.

Anyway, my favored TSI magnification is TSI (7,4). But for a successful trend trading outcome it plays a pretty fast game of tennis. The TSI (25,13) is much better suited for trading trends, but with the caveat that it will give the BUY/SELL signals a bit late. The middle ground, of course, would be the TSI (13,7). And for several years I would have all three of these TSI magnifications separately displayed below price in three separate indicator panels, as I attempted to understand how each worked in relation to each other and with respect to price momentum movement.

More recently, as I have developed my programming skills using the Think or Swim platform, I got the bright idea ☼ of a way to combine all three TSI settings into one indicator. 

And this is how it works: when all three TSI magnifications are rising – simultaneously – the indicator displays a blue ball. When all three are falling – simultaneously – the indicator displays a red ball. And when the three different TSI settings are not moving in the same direction a cyan colored ball is displayed. To add a little contour to the indicator’s movement I threw a 7 period moving average on the triple TSI indicator. And that’s it.

So let’s see what this looks like. I arbitrarily chose a ticker symbol that I have been watching lately – Direxion’s Gold Miner Bull 3X ETF (NUGT) – and made four charts. This first chart is of daily NUGT price movement over the past 10 months.


The indicator seems to work really well for the slower paced swing trader – someone who likes to make a single swing trade every month or so.

Click on any chart to ENLARGE


The next time frame to test the Triple TSI is the 4 hour.

This seems to work well, also. 

The novice TSI user would likely have been confused on the indicator’s movement in the latter half of December – mistaking the crossover of the moving average and the indicator’s rise as a BUY signal. But it would not have fooled me. HA! That is because I understand that when the TSI is below ZERO, it does not necessarily rise because price is rising. In fact, it rises because the downward momentum is being dissipated as price consolidates sideways. The positive divergence – below ZERO and just after Christmas  - THAT was the signal to pay attention to.

OK – let’s look at a 60 minute chart now.


Again, understanding how the TSI works is really important. And I have reviewed the basic “rules” on the chart itself. 


Just for grins, how about we see what the Triple TSI can do with a 1 minute chart. 

For starters, it’s obvious that NUGT is not the most liquid ETF on the NYSE. That price action looks like a girl’s frizzy hair that has not been brushed for a week. Yowzer!

But seriously, the Triple TSI does a good job for the guy with a fast finger on the trigger. There were somewhat sustained periods where the TSI was above ZERO (red horizontal line). At these times a guy would BUY when the indicator began to rise and SELL when it peaked. And there were other somewhat sustained periods where the TSI was below ZERO. The strategy in this case was to short (or BUY DUST)  as the indicator fell and cover the trade when the indicator began to rebound. 

So there you have it. Another of my many TSI Trader programming concoctions in the never ending pursuit of making sense of the senseless and irrational price movement of stocks. I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it.

And good luck trading this week!

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