Unlocking the Potential of Market Profile and Value Area in Trading

Feb 15


Larry Levin

Larry Levin

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Understanding the intricacies of Market Profile (MP) and Value Area (VA) can significantly enhance a trader's ability to navigate the markets. These concepts, rooted in the analysis of price, volume, and time, offer a structured approach to identifying areas of fair value and potential price movements. By examining the Market Profile and Value Area, traders can gain insights into where the majority of trading activity occurs and how to position themselves for upcoming sessions.

What is Market Profile?

Market Profile is a statistical tool that organizes price and time information to reveal the market's dynamics. It is represented on a chart that displays price on the vertical axis and time on the horizontal axis,Unlocking the Potential of Market Profile and Value Area in Trading Articles creating a visual representation of how the market has behaved during a specific period. This method was developed by J. Peter Steidlmayer and has been used since the 1980s, primarily by futures traders.

Key Components of Market Profile

  • Market Profile (MP): MP charts arrange data into 30-minute intervals, each marked with a letter of the alphabet, starting at the session's opening time. This creates a histogram or bell curve that shows the distribution of trading activity across different price levels.
  • Value Area (VA): The VA represents the range of prices where approximately 70% of the trading volume occurred, signifying where the majority of market participants found value.
  • Value Area High (VAH): The upper boundary of the Value Area.
  • Value Area Low (VAL): The lower boundary of the Value Area.
  • Point of Control (POC): The price level within the Market Profile with the highest trading volume, indicating the most agreed-upon value during the session.

The Significance of Responsive Buying and Selling

Responsive buying and selling occur when prices move away from the Value Area extremes. If the market perceives prices as too high or too low compared to the established value, it attracts counter-movement, either selling at the VAH or buying at the VAL. This behavior is a cornerstone of Market Profile theory and can indicate potential reversals or continuations in price trends.

The Daily Value of the Value Area

The previous day's Value Area is a critical reference for the next trading session. The opening price relative to the VA can provide clues about market sentiment and potential price movements. For instance, an opening price outside the VA may suggest a breakout or a pullback into the VA, each with different trading implications.

POC's Daily Implications

The POC from the previous day serves as a significant level for day traders. It often acts as support or resistance, depending on the market's direction. A failure to maintain these levels could signal a breakout, which may not be the right time to trade against the trend.

VA and POC Insights for Longer Time Frames

Longer-term VA and POC analysis can offer valuable insights for day traders and other time frame traders. Overlaying VA charts over 5, 10, and 20-day periods can help identify low-risk trade setups and reasonable price targets.

Advanced Market Profile Strategies

Traders can enhance their decision-making by combining Market Profile analysis with other tools, such as Market Delta's "footprint" charts. These charts provide a granular view of volume at each price level, which can be instrumental in resolving the fade/breakout dilemma.


Market Profile and Value Area analysis are powerful tools for traders seeking to understand market structure and dynamics. By focusing on areas where the market has established value, traders can make more informed decisions and potentially improve their trading performance.


It's important to note that past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Trading involves risk, and it's crucial to understand these risks before participating in the markets.

For further reading on Market Profile and trading strategies, consider exploring resources such as "Markets in Profile" by James Dalton, or visit the CME Group for educational materials on futures trading. Additionally, CNBC and Fox Business News often feature expert discussions on market analysis that can complement your understanding of these concepts.