Money Flow

Updated on January 30, 2024
Article bySusmita Pathak
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is Money Flow?

Money flow (MF) refers to a mathematical function used to analyze changes in the value of a security by multiplying its typical price by daily trading volume. The typical price is the average of high, low, and closing prices for a trading day. It indicates price fluctuations over several days, enabling traders to understand the current market situation.

The difference in results obtained for previous and current trading days lets traders determine if the market is positive or negative at the moment. While positive money movement shows a price increase, negative money direction tells the opposite. Technically, this inward or outward flow allows traders to understand the difference in trading volumesTrading VolumesThe volume of trade is the overall measure of the number of securities, shares or contracts traded during a particular trading day. read more by constructing uptick and downtick indicators.

Money Flow Imp

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Key Takeaways

  • Money flow (MF) is a mathematical function used to calculate changes in the value of an asset by multiplying its typical price, which is the average of high, low, and closing prices for a given day, by daily trading volume.
  • It is not a technical indicator but a method to construct uptick and downtick indicators to assist traders in understanding market fluctuations over several days.
  • Demographics, liquidity cycle, and market fluctuations are the factors that influence money flow in an economy.
  • When prices are higher for the current date than the previous day, the market is positive and buyer-motivated and vice versa.

Understanding Money Flow?

Money flow, often regarded as a technical indicatorTechnical IndicatorTechnical indicators refer to technical analysis tools used by investors to make investment decisions based on future price movements derived primarily from historical prices. read more of security price movements, is not truly an indicator. Instead, it leads to the construction of indicators for the difference in uptick and downtick trading volumes. It, thus, assists traders in interpreting market movements in terms of price and volume for any financial instrumentFinancial InstrumentFinancial instruments are certain contracts or documents that act as financial assets such as debentures and bonds, receivables, cash deposits, bank balances, swaps, cap, futures, shares, bills of exchange, forwards, FRA or forward rate agreement, etc. to one organization and as a liability to another organization and are solely taken into use for trading purposes.read more. Furthermore, they can identify potential trading opportunities.

Money Flow Working

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One can quickly calculate MF for a trading day by simply knowing the typical price and trading volume. Traders can compare the results from previous and current days to determine the change in the value. This function is also helpful in understanding the risks and rewards of investing in global equities.

If prices are more for the present day than the previous day, it constructs an uptick indicator. It indicates a positive and buyer-motivated market. On the other hand, if prices are less for the current day than the previous day, it builds a downtick indicator. It denotes negative price movement and a seller-motivated market. However, no change in prices for both days implies a no-money flow market situation.

Similar to prices, trade volumes can help determine MF by multiplying them by transaction prices. Its rise signifies an uptick and a positive market, while its fall suggests a downtick and a negative trade. The formula used to calculate money flow (MF) is:

MF = Typical Price x Volume


Typical Price = (High + Low + Close)/3


MF = {(High + Low + Close)/3} x Volume

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Factors Affecting Money Flow

#1 – Demographics

The type of population in a country highly influences the investment decisions they make. For example, while youngsters like to spend more, pensioners seek to save as much as possible to secure their future. Thus, the frequency of investments and trade activities directly or indirectly affect MF in a nation.

Money Flow Factors

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#2 – Liquidity Cycle

The way central banks in a nation participate in the movement of assets plays a crucial role in determining MF. Investors try to keep a tab of the involvement of central banks in assessing asset performances at varied liquidity cycles. If banks are active enough, investors and traders feel more confident in their investments.

#3 – Market Fluctuations

The fluctuation in asset prices in the market is something to monitor daily. It helps traders determine if an economy is stable or it is moving downward. It is one of the most significant factors that traders take into account while estimating foreign direct investmentsForeign Direct InvestmentsA foreign direct investment (FDI) is made by an individual or an organization, into a business located in a foreign country. The host nation receives job creation prospects, advanced technology, a higher standard of living, infrastructural development, and overall economic growth.read more.

Calculate Money Flow

As stated already, trading at higher prices suggests positive money flow and vice versa. Let us calculate the results for two days:

Previous Day

  • High Price = $58
  • Low Price = $55
  • Closing Price = $56.5
  • Volume of Shares = 200,000

MF = Typical Price x Volume

      = {(High + Low + Close)/3} x Volume = {(58 + 55 + 56.5)/3} x 200,000

      = 56.5 x 200,000 = $11,300,000

Current Day

  • High Price = $60
  • Low Price = $65
  • Closing Price = $62
  • Volume of Shares = 300,000

MF = Typical Price x Volume

      = {(High + Low + Close) /3} x Volume = {(60 + 65 + 62)/3} x 300,000

      = 62.3 x 300,000 = $ 18,700,000

The example above indicates a positive money flow between the two days. Hence, it shows a buyer-motivated market scenario.

Money Flow Indicator

#1 – Money Flow Index 

The Money Flow Index (MFI) is one of the technical oscillators or momentum indicators used in trading decisions. It helps traders determine MF in and out of an asset over a certain period by calculating trading price and volume. This data lets traders understand the possibilities of overbuying (typical price increase) and overselling (typical price decrease) at a particular period.

These trading pressure levels fluctuate between 0 and 100. A reading above 80 implies overbuying, while a reading below 20 signifies overselling. The accumulated data, thus, helps calculate an MF ratio, also known as a money ratio.

This money flow indicator is similar to the Relative Strength Index (RSI). While the former considers price and volume-related information to construct reliable indicators, the latter analyzes price only. Traders can also use it to detect divergences, which signal a price trend change.


The calculation of MFI considers the money ratio derived from dividing positive money flow by the negative one.

Money Flow Index Formula = 100 x {Positive MF/(Positive MF + Negative MF)}


MFI = 100 – {100/(1 + Money Ratio)}


Money Ratio = (Positive MF)/(Negative MF)

Here, the MF formula can help obtain positive and negative results.

#2 – Chaikin Money Flow

The Chaikin Money Flow (CMF) oscillator, developed by stock analyst Marc Chaikin, indicates real market situations. Investors and traders use it to make an informed stock purchase or sale decision by determining buying and selling pressures. Also, it shares similarities with another momentum indicator, i.e., Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD), for using two exponential moving averages to estimate momentum.

Chaikin Money Flow Formula

Step #1

MF Multiplier = {(Close – Low) – (High – Close)/(High – Low)}

Step #2

MF Volume = MF Multiplier x Volume for the Period

Step #3

CMF = 21-Period Sum of MF Volume/21-Period Sum of Volume

Here, 21 is the volume-weighted closing performance of a stock over one month. The default number of trading days in each month is usually 21 or 22.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does money flow mean?

Money flow (MF) is the outcome of multiplying the typical trading price of an asset by daily volume. It indicates the fluctuation in security prices so that traders can understand the market scenario and make informed investment decisions.

How does money flow work?

Traders can calculate the MF of the previous day and the current date. They then compare the results to determine if the market is positive or negative at the moment. If the prices are more for the current date than the last day, it indicates a positive price change and buyer-motivated market. And if it is the case otherwise, it signals a negative price movement and seller-motivated scenario.

Is MFI a good indicator?

Yes, the money flow index indicator assesses the buying and selling pressure on the market at a given point in time. This oscillator moves on a 0 to 100 scale, with a reading above 80 implying overbuying scenarios, while a reading below 20 signifies overselling situations.

This has been a guide to Money Flow and its definition. Here we discuss how the money flow index work, along with formula, calculation, and indicators. You may learn more from the following articles – 

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