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How to Interpret Histograms and Extract Meaningful Information From Them

Last updated 04/30/2024 by

SuperMoney Team

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Summary:
Histograms are useful in visualizing data and identifying patterns, such as whether the data is skewed or symmetric and whether it has outliers or is concentrated within a narrow range of values. MACD histogram is a technical analysis tool used by traders to identify trend changes and potential buy or sell signals in financial markets.

What is Histograms?

It is a graphical representation of a frequency distribution of data. It is commonly used to represent data that is continuous and numerical in nature, such as measurements or counts.
The histogram consists of a set of rectangles or bars, each representing a specific range or class of values, and the height of each bar shows the frequency or count of data points within that range or class. In a histogram, the horizontal axis depicts the range of values divided into equally sized intervals, known as bins or classes.
The vertical axis depicts the frequency of occurrence or count of data points within each bin or class. The bars of the histogram are placed adjacent to each other, with no gaps between them, to represent the continuous nature of the data.
Histograms are useful for visualizing the distribution of data and identifying patterns, such as whether the data is skewed or symmetric and whether it has outliers or is concentrated within a narrow range of values. They are commonly used in fields such as statistics, data analysis, and scientific research.

How histograms works

Histograms work by grouping data into intervals or bins and then counting the number of data points that fall within each bin. This count is then represented by the height of a bar on the vertical axis of the histogram, with each bar corresponding to a specific bin or interval on the horizontal axis.
The process of creating a histogram typically involves the following steps:
  1. Choose the number of bins or intervals that will be used to group the data. What you take as bin size can affect the appearance of the histogram and the insights that can be gained from it.
  2. Determine the range of values that the data falls within, and divide this range into equally sized intervals or bins.
  3. Count the number of data points that fall within each bin or interval.
  4. Represent each count by the height of a bar on the vertical axis of the histogram, with each bar corresponding to a specific bin or interval on the horizontal axis.
  5. Interpret the histogram to gain insights into the distribution of the data, such as whether it is skewed or symmetric and whether it has outliers or is concentrated within a narrow range of values.
Histograms are useful for visualizing the distribution of data and can help to identify patterns and relationships that may not be apparent from raw data. They are commonly used in fields such as statistics, data analysis, and scientific research.

Histograms vs. Bar Charts

Histograms and bar charts are both types of graphs used to display data, but they differ in their purpose, the type of data they represent, and the way that they are constructed.
It is used to represent the distribution of continuous numerical data, such as measurements or counts. They display the frequency of data points falling within specific intervals or bins, with the height of each bar indicating the frequency of data points within that bin.
Histograms are typically used to understand the shape of the distribution, to identify patterns such as skewness or bimodality, and to identify outliers.
Histograms have no gaps between the bars, and the bars are ordered from left to right in increasing order of the variable being plotted.
Bar charts, on the other hand, are used to represent categorical or discrete data. They display the frequency of data points falling within specific categories or groups, with the height of each bar indicating the frequency of data points within that category.
Bar charts are typically used to compare the frequency or proportion of different categories or groups. Bar charts have gaps between the bars and the order of the categories can be rearranged based on the desired visualization.
In summary, histograms are used to display the distribution of continuous numerical data, while bar charts are used to display the frequency or proportion of categorical or discrete data.

Trading with the MACD histogram

Trading professionals use the Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) histogram as a technical analysis tool to spot changes in trends and probable buy or sell signals in the financial markets.
The MACD histogram is derived from the MACD indicator, which is calculated by subtracting a longer-term exponential moving average (EMA) from a shorter-term EMA.
The difference between the MACD line and the signal line is represented by the MACD histogram. A bullish signal is produced when the MACD line emerges and passes above the signal line, indicating that the price may be about to increase.
A bearish signal is produced when the MACD line crosses below the signal line, suggesting that the price may be about to decrease.
The size of the MACD histogram bars also indicates the strength of the trend.
Traders can use the MACD histogram in a number of ways to inform their trading decisions. Some possible strategies include:
  1. Identifying trend changes: Traders can use the MACD histogram to identify trend changes in the market. A bullish crossover of the MACD line above the signal line and a corresponding increase in the size of the histogram bars may indicate that an uptrend is beginning. Conversely, a bearish crossover of the MACD line below the signal line and a corresponding decrease in the size of the histogram bars may indicate that a downtrend is beginning.
  2. Confirming trends: Traders can use the MACD histogram to confirm the strength of an existing trend. If the histogram bars are increasing in size during an uptrend, this may indicate that the trend is gaining strength. If the histogram bars are decreasing in size during an uptrend, this may indicate that the trend is weakening.
  3. Identifying overbought or oversold conditions: Traders can use the MACD histogram to identify overbought or oversold conditions in the market. If the histogram bars are increasing in size and then suddenly decrease in size, this may indicate that the market is overbought and due for a correction. Conversely, if the histogram bars are decreasing in size and then suddenly increase in size, this may indicate that the market is oversold and due for a bounce.
It is important to note that no trading strategy is foolproof, and traders should always use other indicators and risk management techniques in conjunction with the MACD histogram to make informed trading decisions.

Benefits of using histogram

There are several benefits of using histograms:
  • Provides a visual representation of data: Histograms provide a clear and easy-to-read visual representation of data that allows for quick identification of patterns, trends, and outliers. This makes it easier to draw insights from the data and communicate findings to others.
  • Helps to understand the distribution of data: Histograms provide information about the shape and spread of the data distribution, such as whether it is skewed or symmetrical, bimodal or unimodal, or has outliers. This can help to identify potential issues or opportunities and guide decision-making.
  • Facilitates comparison of multiple datasets: Histograms can be used to compare the distribution of multiple datasets, allowing for the identification of similarities, differences, and patterns across different groups or time periods.
  • Enables data-driven decision-making: Histograms provide a quantitative and objective way of analyzing data, which can help to guide data-driven decision-making in various fields, including business, healthcare, and research.
  • Provides a basis for statistical analysis: Histograms provide important information that can be used as a basis for further statistical analysis, such as calculating the mean, median, standard deviation, and other summary statistics.
  • Overall, histograms are a valuable tool for analyzing and interpreting data, and their benefits extend across many fields and applications.

Conclusion

Histograms are a powerful tool for displaying and analyzing data. By grouping data into intervals or bins and representing the frequency of observations within each bin as a bar, histograms allow us to quickly and easily understand the distribution of a dataset, identify patterns and outliers, and make data-driven decisions.
Whether used in business, healthcare, research, or other fields, histograms provide a clear and objective way of visualizing and analyzing data that is essential for making informed decisions and drawing meaningful insights.

Key takeaways

  • A histogram is an image of data that resembles a bar graph and groups several categories into columns along the horizontal x-axis.
  • The vertical y-axis shows the numerical count or percentage of occurrences for each column in the data.
  • To see how data distribution patterns look, utilize columns.
  • Technical analysts in trading utilize the MACD histogram to show variations in momentum.
  • Compared to the corresponding MACD and signal lines, the MACD histogram columns may provide buy and sell signals early.

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