Symmetrical Distribution: What It Is, How to Analyze, and Practical Applications


Symmetrical distribution, a key concept in technical trading, reveals a balanced pattern where values mirror each other. This article explores its applications in finance, the impact on trading decisions, and compares it to asymmetrical distributions. Discover how symmetrical distributions influence market analysis and trading strategies.

What is symmetrical distribution?

A symmetrical distribution, characterized by regular frequencies of variable values, indicates that the mean, median, and mode align at a central point. Graphically, it often resembles a normal distribution or bell curve, crucial in technical trading. Symmetrical distributions stand in contrast to asymmetrical ones, displaying skewness or irregularities.

What does a symmetrical distribution tell you?

Traders use symmetrical distributions to establish the value area for assets within specific time frames. Applying a bell curve to price points helps identify undervalued or overvalued assets. The assumption is that prices will revert to the mean over time, guiding trading decisions based on deviations from the value area.

Example of how symmetrical distribution is used

Symmetrical distribution aids in contextualizing price action, assisting traders in identifying potential trades based on deviations from the mean. However, on larger time scales, the risk of missing entry and exit points increases.

The normal distribution

Image by Julie Bang © Investopedia 2019

Symmetrical distributions vs. asymmetrical distributions

Symmetrical distributions contrast with asymmetrical ones, which exhibit skewness. Skewness, a crucial factor in analyzing investment returns, indicates whether deviations from the mean are concentrated on the left or right side of the curve.

Limitations of using symmetrical distributions

While symmetrical distribution serves as a general guideline, traders must acknowledge periods of asymmetry. Relying solely on the value area can be risky without confirmation from other technical indicators.

What is the relationship between mean, median, and mode in a symmetrical distribution?

In symmetrical distributions like the normal or uniform distributions, the mean, median, and mode tend to align. In rare instances, a symmetrical distribution may have two modes, forming a unique pattern.

Is the median symmetric?

In symmetrical distributions, the median serves as the midpoint, creating a mirror image. This differs in asymmetric distributions where the median’s position varies.

What is the shape of a frequency distribution?

The shape of a frequency distribution, represented graphically, helps analysts quickly identify if the data is symmetrical or not.

What is symmetric vs. asymmetric data?

Symmetric data exhibits regular intervals around the mean, while asymmetric data shows irregular intervals or skewness.

Weigh the risks and benefits

Here is a list of the benefits and the drawbacks to consider.

  • Assists in identifying undervalued and overvalued assets.
  • Guides trading decisions based on deviations from the mean.
  • Useful for contextualizing price action and potential trades.
  • Risk of missing entry and exit points on larger time scales.
  • Periods of asymmetry may establish a new mean, impacting analysis.
  • Relying solely on the value area can be risky without confirmation.

Frequently asked questions

Is symmetrical distribution common in financial markets?

Yes, symmetrical distribution is frequently observed in financial markets, especially in technical trading.

How does symmetrical distribution impact trading decisions?

Symmetrical distribution helps traders identify value areas, guiding decisions based on deviations from the mean.

Are there alternatives to symmetrical distribution for market analysis?

Yes, traders often use a combination of technical indicators alongside symmetrical distribution to confirm trading decisions.

Key takeaways

  • Symmetrical distributions create mirror images when data is split down the middle.
  • Used in finance to establish value areas and guide trading decisions.
  • Traders must be cautious of relying solely on symmetrical distribution for analysis.
  • Periods of asymmetry may impact the accuracy of symmetrical distribution analysis.
View article sources
  1. Shapes of Distributions – The University of Iowa
  2. Uniform Symmetric (Mean and Standard Deviation) – Los Angeles Mission College
  3. Histogram Interpretation: Symmetric with Outlier – National Institute of Standards and Technology
  4. The Skewness Index: Using Statistical Tools to Measure – SuperMoney
  5. Probability Density Functions (PDFs) – SuperMoney