Define: On-Balance Volume

UK Accounting Glossary

Definition: On-Balance Volume

What is the dictionary definition of On-Balance Volume?

Dictionary Definition

The On-Balance Volume (OBV) indicator provides a running total of volume and shows whether the volume is flowing into or out of a given security. This indicator was developed by Joe Granville.


Full Definition of On-Balance Volume

The on-balance volume (OBV) is an indicator that calculates a running total of the trading volume of a market or individual security. If the price close today is higher than yesterday, the total trading volume is ‘up volume’. If the price decreased, it is ‘down volume’. You compute the on-balance volume by adding ‘up volume’ to the previous day’s on-balance volume and subtracting ‘down volume’ to find the current on-balance volume. The theory is that you can see money moving into or out of a security by tracking on-balance volume. The assumption is that changes in on-balance volume precede significant price changes and price trend. On-balance volume is a forecasting, not a trend-confirming indicator. On-balance volume does not consider the amount of price change, only the amount of volume of the price movement. If on-balance volume begins to rise while the stock price remains relatively flat, a technical analyst would view this as a sign of increasing demand and expect the stock price to rise.

On-Balance Volume (OBV) Calculation

On up days:  the trading volume is added to the previous day’s OBV.
On down days:  the trading volume is subtracted from the previous day’s OBV.

Buy (long) signals are recommended when there is a bullish divergence between the price and the On-Balance-Volume indicator. Sell (short) signals are recommended when there is a bearish divergence between the price and OBV.


Synonyms For On-Balance Volume


Cite Term

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Modern Language Association (MLA):
On-Balance Volume. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. April 02, 2020
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
On-Balance Volume. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: April 02, 2020).
American Psychological Association (APA):
On-Balance Volume. Retrieved April 02, 2020, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for On-Balance Volume are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 7th February 2020.