VWAP Boulevard Indicator: The Ultimate Guide [#vwapboulevard]

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VWAP Boulevard has become all the rage in the fintwit community lately. Discovered, named, and taken mainstream by Twitter phenom @team3dstocks, thousands of day traders are now implementing this strategy to trade momentum stocks. In this post, we’ll uncover the long and short of the strategy, plus offer a few helpful real-life vwap boulevard trading examples.

If you’re unfamiliar with the basics of vwap, you might start with our Ultimate Guide to VWAP first. Also be sure to check out our complimentary articles on the Kill Candle and 1-3pm Bloodbath.

As a primer to the content below, watch this quick YouTube tutorial where we use our VWAP Boulevard drawing tool in TradingSim to practice this strategy!


The Mysterious Man Behind VWAP Boulevard

With any good strategy, an edge in the market starts with backtesting. You can either pay for the data and analyze it, or you can spend years collecting your own data as you trade.

Fintwit personality @team3dstocks, who goes by AllDayFaders, is the man who discovered the vwap boulevard strategy through years of collecting his own datasets.

Reading his Twitter posts are lot like getting a noogie from the uncle whose standards you know you can’t live up to. It hurts, the delivery’s a little crass, but you know it’s all true.

Other times, he’s like the older brother or dad you want to imitate. The successful one, giving you the advice you know you need to hear.

Ultimately, he’s very active and benevolent in the daytrading world, doling out his nuggets of wisdom only at the expense of your ego. So be sure to frame your questions wisely, he’s backed up 6 months in responding to his DMs.

In truth, a lot of his posts, especially the #beartipoftheday, can be very helpful and encouraging to anyone striving to be a consistent trader:

How It Got Started

When asked how he finally stumbled upon the strategy, he says “each time a low float ticker had the audacity to hit the scanners, I would add it to my database, then pick it apart after hours.”

“Like a mad scientist,” he goes on to say.

Excel spreadsheets galore. He’d break everything down that he possibly could, “analyze EVERYTHING” about the tickers he saw on the screen.

What is EVERYTHING, you’re wondering?

“The chart, the price action, the SEC filings, the fundamentals, the volume, etc.”

@team3dstocks discovered the vwap boulevard strategy
@team3dstocks talking about the work it takes to find an edge in the market

After years of analysis, it eventually led him to the highest volume days on small cap stocks. These securities that had been selling off or consolidating for a period of weeks or months after huge runs, would often gap again in the premarket many weeks or months down the road.

AllDayFaders (ADF) had discovered a pattern.

How to Find the Boulevard

These “penny stocks” as they are known to some, have a tendency to make huge intraday runs from time to time, sometimes doubling, tripling, or more in a single day, only to fade off and close lower the very same day.

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VCNX runs into resistance at vwap boulevard after a 100%+ intraday run
VCNX runs into resistance at #vwapboulevard after a 100%+ intraday run

Similar in concept to Volume at Price or Anchored VWAP, but slightly different, ADF found that the low floaters hitting his scanners in the morning all had something in common.

They were running into an area of prior volume-weighted price resistance from previous high-volume days.

If he tracked backwards on the daily chart until he ran across a prior high volume run, he could use that day’s intraday vwap as a guide for the current day’s trading levels.

The Result

According to ADF, the probability is around 75-80% accuracy that the stock will run into serious resistance at these levels. And the reaction to the levels will dictate the action he needs to take — going long or short.

Along those lines, ADF has found that 70-80% of the “best faders” die in the premarket.1. This might be a limiting factor for who can trade these type of securities. But for experienced day traders with the right tools, it can provide a great opportunity to profit before the market opens.

Outside of the premarket hours, ADF admits that the second best time to short extended stocks is “by 10am.” But only if the volume is climactic.

Those are some pretty decent odds for trading. And anyone who trades low float stocks knows how difficult they can be to trade. The temptation is there for quick and massive profits. But the risk of heavy losses looms large.

Knowing that, the #vwapboulevard strategy can be a good tool to increase your odds of success and mitigate risk. Let’s dig a bit deeper into it.

What is the VWAP Boulevard Formula

It’s quite simple actually.

Note that ADF uses and recommends ThinkorSwim for his calculation, so he references TOS a lot. Nonetheless, it can be found on just about any charting platform.

Without further ado:

That’s it.

Essentially identify the intraday vwap level for the prior highest volume days that the stock ran. Draw your line there, then wait for the current premarket or intraday action to reach and react to that level.

A simple formula right? In principle, yes. But that is definitely the simplified version.

GAP Percentage

As a rule of thumb, ADF also recommends only trading extreme gaps of 50% or more.

ADF explaining the gap percentage
ADF explaining the gap percentage

Years of price action trading experience will likely help as well. After all, you will need to know how to interpret the security’s reaction to these levels and have the discipline to put on a successful trade.

Not to mention being able to handle extreme volatility.

Along these lines, in order to help qualify the trade better, ADF employs a volume forecasting indicator.

What Is a Volume Forecasting Indicator

A volume forecast is essentially a way to predict the “end of day” volume earlier in the trading session, and at different time intervals.

Niv Goren has done a fantastic job of explaining this unique indicator and how to create your own version on his site inthemoneyadds.com. Like others, his inspiration came from AllDayFaders’ influential Twitter posts.

Volume Forecast Indicator from inthemoneyadds.com
Volume Forecast Indicator from inthemoneyadds.com

In his blog, Niv describes the step-by-step process of collecting data on prior high-volume, low-float runners, then choosing a predictive model with which to run the calculation. The results are then correlated “between different ratios and end of day results,” he says.

Interpreting Data

Understandably, running calculations like this for different time intervals, collecting the data, and analyzing it all may seem daunting. For that, Niv has created his own indicator that he sells through his site with tips on how to interpret it.

The goal with the indicator, however, is not necessarily to “know” the end-of-day volume. The goal is to understand how quickly the ratio is expanding between current volume and the end of day forecasted volume. Especially at the start of the session.

ADF coaching on how to use Volume Forecast
ADF coaching on how to use Volume Forecast

We then need to ask what this can tell us in relation to vwap boulevard and other factors. How quickly the forecast expands might tell us whether or not the stock may continue squeezing.

Predicting Tops

To understand the timing of his trades better, Niv has plotted a histogram to determine the time frame in which the majority of small cap stocks reach their intraday peak.

Interestingly enough, his findings are in line with AllDayFaders’ “by 10:00am” statistic.

Niv Goren’s histogram for timing the end of a small cap stock’s upward momentum2

Niv’s site includes a lot of varied and useful data, i.e. where you should cover your short, some special considerations, etc. Click the chart above, it’s worth a read if you have the time.

The last thing worth noting with the volume forecast indicator is how it might forecast float rotation.

Float Rotation

Serious small cap traders pay close attention to float data.

Professional day trader Nate Michaud of InvestorsUnderground.com coined the term after suffering a few losses earlier in his career. Nate describes it as

“the term we use referring to names with tightly held float when it begins to trade two, three, ten times and beyond the listed float causing shorts to ‘add add add’ in disbelief only to send it higher.”

Nate Michaud

So, what exactly does this mean and why is float rotation important?

Essentially, the available shares are being churned rapidly throughout the day. Contextually, if the stock is finding support at vwap boulevard and building sound bases on the way up, this could spell trouble for shorts who are, like Nate says, “add add adding” on the way up.

We’ll see an example of this in a moment.

Suffice it to say, that averaging up or down can be a very dangerous and fast way to lose money.

This goes back to ADF’s warning:

@team3dstocks tweet on getting squeezed
AllDayFaders warning on getting squeezed

Let’s take some examples from recent months to see how the pattern actually plays out.

VWAP Boulevard Long Examples

In order to visualize this and trade with the correct “boulevard lines,” we’ll take a few examples of longs and shorts at these levels and examine them.

Long Example 1 – SPI

First, let’s jump back in time to the morning of September 23, 2020. We run our premarket scan which includes floats lower than 100m, or small cap stocks. We notice that SPI hits our %gainer list with a 200% gap in the premarket.

Here is a look at SPI’s premarket chart:

 SPI intraday chart 9/23/2020
SPI intraday chart 9/23/2020

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The question now is what happens at the open, right?

Sure, we could likely place a trade with the information from this 1-minute premarket chart. There are some key levels in the premarket and so forth.

But why are they significant? Is there more to the story that could help us? There is.

Let’s now zoom out to the daily chart, and try to find our highest volume days.

Daily High Volume Bars

SPI daily chart highest volume days
SPI daily chart highest volume days

As we can see from prior months, there are a number of really high volume spikes associated with big advances. These are the clues we’re looking for.

As part of your premarket routine, when a stock that fits your criteria hits the scanners, you’ll want to locate these days on the chart.

Now comes the fun part.

You should be able to overlay a vwap indicator and find the intraday vwap levels for each of these days. Most charting platforms will have this. AllDayFaders prefers TOS charts and finds them more accurate.

Adding VWAP Boulevard Lines

If you need to get a little more granular, you can go down to the hourly or 4-hour chart to find the intraday vwap levels for the prior high volume days.

We’ll do this now using the 4-hour chart below.

SPI 4-hour chart with vwap indicator
SPI 4-hour chart with vwap indicator

In the image above, VWAP is the red line. What we’ve done is drawn horizontal lines at these vwap levels that occur during the highest volume days on the chart, typically near the closing vwap price.

As you can see, we have significant volume at $1.70s on the low end, $3.30s, and the $4 area.

!!!Be sure to superimpose the horizontal lines on the smaller time frames you’ll be trading on!!!

Now that our #vwapboulevard lines are drawn, let’s get back to that 1-minute chart and see if these lines come into play with SPI’s premarket price action.

SPI intraday 1-minute with vwap boulevard lines
SPI intraday 1-minute with vwap boulevard lines

Sure enough, these lines end up being significant. Before the open, we have a test and fail at the upper vwap boulevard at $4, as well as some significant support and resistance with the $3.30 line.

Timeliness

Now, as ADF has stated, “if volume doesn’t fall off a cliff by 10am,” we want to either get out or look for a long setup. If the top line of $4 is our upper vwap boulevard, then we need to see lower prices soon if we are taking this short.

By 9:30am, we are on the “frontside” of the trade. In other words, we are making higher highs and higher lows.

Fast-forwarding to 10am, we see the action getting hotter as volume continues to persist. We put in a double bottom at one of our #vwapboulevard key support areas of $3.35 then retest the red vwap intraday line.

SPI 10am vwap test
SPI 10am vwap test

At this point, volume isn’t really breaking down yet, which should give us pause for concern if we are short from the top. At the very least, we’ve identified our stop loss areas depending on our short entries earlier.

Volume Forecast

Likewise, if we have employed the help of the volume forecasting tool, it might be a good time to check in and see what our percentage is, or how quickly we have or have not rotated the float.

On the flip side, bulls may be looking at this for an opportunity here, risking against the key $3.30s line and intraday vwap for a long entry.

Continuing forward in time, let’s see what happens by 10:30am:

SPI intraday at 10:30am 9/23/20
SPI intraday at 10:30am 9/23/20

In the wise words of Scooby-doo, “ruh roh!”

It was supposed to fail wasn’t it? Volume is increasing. The stock is now up 342% percent. If you’re short, what do you do?

This is the purpose and benefit of the vwap boulevard strategy. Not all the key levels had broken down. Our guides were there giving us information to either cancel our short, or go long.

Who Is Trapped

In light of this, you should step back, look at the big picture now, and ask yourself, “who is trapped?

AllDayFaders explaining trapped shorts and trapped longs
AllDayFaders explaining trapped shorts and trapped longs

That’s the beauty of vwap boulevard, according to ADF. It presents us with another layer of the market in order to hypothesize on this question.

In other words, what is the meta trade? Or, the trade behind the trade. What’s going on in the big scheme of things with buyers and sellers that can give us confidence going long or short.

@team3dstocks explains supply/demand
@team3dstocks explains supply/demand

Using this thought process, whoever was averaged in short at the levels on the chart above are now in deep water.

At this point in the day, SPI has traded 82.1 million shares. It only has 16 million shares in the float. That means it has churned through the available shares over 5x since the day began.

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That’s a lot.

Float Rotation

Let’s revisit why this is significant.

As Nate Michaud points out, a float rotation is like a “refresh of shareholders.” As this happens, “the stock’s trading behavior changes.”

In a great blog post on this subject, he gives the example that at each successive level you find new short sellers who replace the ones who’ve blown out at the prior levels.

ADF describes it this way:

Therefore, if longs are in control from below with a better average and a better foothold on the available shares, short sellers are really at their mercy. They are all scrambling for liquidity to cover their shorts.

This adds fuel to the fire as they average up, only to cover higher while the price continues to rise on lower supply. In the meantime, new shorts come in to sell the stock at higher prices believing it is too overbought, yet they are eventually squeezed, too.

The Carnage

Why does ADF recommend getting out of the way if you’re short when this happens near vwap boulevard?

See for yourself:

SPI 9/23/2020 massive short squeeze
SPI 9/23/2020 massive short squeeze

At $40 those shorts near the $4 vwap boulevard are probably wishing they’d gone long instead. Or at least covered. Wouldn’t you say?

VWAP Boulevard Long Example 2 – EYES

The stock symbol EYES from March 5, 2020 gave us another great example of how important vwap boulevard can be. For the sake of time, I’ve identified the vwap level for the three highest volume bars on the daily below.

EYES daily chart with vwap boulevard lines
EYES daily chart with vwap boulevard lines

These levels occur at $1.70, $2.56, and $3.46, give or take a few cents. Again, this is what you do after you’ve seen EYES hit your small cap scanner in the premarket on considerable volume and %gain.

If you’re going to trade this strategy and don’t have a built-in indicator, you’ll need to draw these lines. At the time of publication, there are a few free vwap boulevard indicators available now, from scriptstotrade.com and thevwap.com.

The Premarket

Now, let’s look at the premarket:

EYES intraday premarket with #vwapboulevard lines
EYES intraday premarket with #vwapboulevard lines

Notably, EYES hit resistance at the $2.50s level and gets rejected in the premarket. But like our SPI example above, it isn’t putting in lower lows yet.

ADF makes a note of this rejection on his Twitter feed on this day, calling out the exact levels we’ve drawn above:

ADF callout of VWAP Boulevard on EYES 3/5
ADF callout of VWAP Boulevard on EYES 3/5

Later that week, a follower of ADF notes the other level of $3.45 that we also identified above. It was a lower volume day, which ADF claims would likely have been less significant.

For this reason, we should assume that the $2.56 level was the key for our long or short thesis, but could still expect some turbulence at the $3.45 level if it got there.

Obviously this is Long Example 2, so there is no spoiler that the stock went higher. Let’s check out the move it made.

 EYES intraday at 10:10am March 5 2020
EYES intraday at 10:10am March 5 2020

Before we see the whole day, let’s pause here at 10:10am.

The Crossing

Like SPI, VWAP Boulevard couldn’t stop the bulls from crossing — no pun intended. And as we know that most of these should fail by this hour of the morning session, it was time to cover and walk away if you were short.

To that end, ADF tweeted at 10:10am with this exact warning: “Stop out immediately.”

https://twitter.com/team3dstocks/status/1367855008214048768?s=20

Wise words from the master himself, as EYES ripped higher throughout the day, all the way to $10 before noon.

Outlier Moves

We call these outlier moves. They happen from time to time. Nate Michaud does a great job explaining the thesis and fundamentals behind these moves in a great YouTube video.

For all intents and purposes, at 500% in a single day, EYES was definitely an outlier move.

EYES full intraday swing after crossing vwap boulevard
EYES full intraday swing after crossing vwap boulevard

Before we move on to shorts, take another look at the last line we have drawn at the $3.46 level for EYES (the upper black line). As mentioned above, this area was a bit of a last resort for shorts from a prior day’s vwap.

It offered one more opportunity to trap shorts and then simply grinded higher.

And there you have the long side of the story.

Disclaimer

The above examples are outlier examples of what CAN happen. Not all low float stocks will make huge moves like this.

Keep that in mind and trade at your own risk.

Long Recap

  • Identify gappers in the premarket (ideally 50%+)
  • Filter by float size (smaller caps)
  • Target stocks with enough liquidity (volume)
  • Zoom out on the daily or hourly to find high volume days
  • Draw horizontal lines on the highest volume day’s vwap
  • Go long if vwap boulevard becomes support


VWAP Boulevard Short Examples

VWAP Boulevard wouldn’t be what it is without his namesake, AllDayFaders. After all, the larger percentage of these stocks fade hard after reaching their peak in the premarket, or by 10am.

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With that in mind, let’s glean what we can from two real-life examples.

Short Example 1 – VCNX

Fading all day was certainly the case with VCNX on February 19, 2021.

Since we have already discussed how to find and set lines for vwap boulevard, we’ll just show the daily chart with them already plotted to get started.

VCNX 2/19/2021 VWAP Boulevaard
VCNX 2/19/2021 VWAP Boulevaard

The Premarket

As can be seen in the next image, VCNX was gapping nicely in the premarket on heavy volume. By 9:30am EST, it was up over 100%.

However, it had not yet reached vwap boulevard:

VCNX intraday #vwapboulevard
VCNX intraday #vwapboulevard

This doesn’t mean that it is guaranteed to run into vwap boulevard. Obviously, there are no guarantees in the market.

Nonetheless, if this stock is on your radar from the premarket scan, you want to be aware of the key levels it could run to. If you’re watching multiple stocks or positions, price alerts can give you a heads up if it decides to rip higher without your eyes on it.

With levels set, if we get an exhaustive move into this prior resistance level, it could signal a short.

Replay

Let’s watch the quick replay:

VCNX vwap boulevard replay

With the help of bulls that morning, VCNX arrived right on time at our VWAP Boulevard level. 10am literally marked the top.

In the replay, at vwap boulevard you see a huge exchange of shares on the levell II. As noted in many of our other posts, this is a classic example of effort vs. result, and exhaustion.

@team3dstocks explaining bag holders
@team3dstocks explaining bag holders

Long chasers were literally handing there shares over to short sellers who were absorbing the upward momentum. After one last push above vwap boulevard, the trend changed.

We get a red “kill candle” as bulls walk away and bears go looking for “blood,” as ADF would say.

The rest is history.

VCNX vwap boulevard rejection
VCNX vwap boulevard rejection

Float Rotation

As a side note, VCNX had a float of around 15 million. By 10am that morning, it had already surpassed 100 million shares traded.

From the image above, it is quite clear that the majority of the shares traded occurred during the initial bull run to vwap boulevard. As ADF notes, the ideal “all day fader” will trail off considerably after 10am.

At that point, the momentum is lost, giving bears the confidence to ride it down.

Do yourself a favor: save your spot here and scroll up to compare the volume after 10am on the VCNX chart with the volume post 10am on the EYES chart above.

When To Cover

Returning for a moment to our discussion of Niv Goren and his analysis, we can find more data regarding the low of the day. This should help us with predicting a time to cover our short position.

According to Goren, a majority of these small cap / low float securities that fail according to plan will put in their ultimate lows in the last 30 minutes of the trading day.

Niv Goren's data on small cap stock low of trading day correlated with time. Taken from inthemoneyadds.com
Niv Goren’s data on small cap stock low of trading day correlated with time. Taken from inthemoneyadds.com

Niv’s article is worth a read as it outlines several key points that line up with ADF’s predictions, along with a few special circumstances that Goren backtested.

Generally speaking, this data makes sense of ADF’s strategy for holding these particular securities for the entire day as they are statistically more likely to make new lows by the end of the session.

VWAP Boulevard Short Example 2 – XSPA

For our last security, we’ll pick a premarket #vwapboulevard example. As ADF notes, stocks that reach this level and fail in the premarket are usually the most reliable all day faders.

XSPA did just that on March 8, 2021.

Per our premarket routine: once the security hits our premarket scanner, we pull up the daily chart and identify the prior highest volume days.

In this instance, using the January 28 intraday vwap level, we draw our line at $2.71

XSPA daily vwap boulevard levels
XSPA daily vwap boulevard levels

Once the lines are drawn, we head back to the premarket to plan our trade and see how it reacts to the levels.

With uncanny accuracy, the level proves worthy to short as bears reject the upward momentum and defend their boulevard. The stock never recovered and proceeded to sell off the entire day.

XSPA intraday #vwapboulevard rejection
XSPA intraday #vwapboulevard rejection

And that is the short side of it.

Disclaimer

The above examples are typical examples of what CAN happen on the short side. Not all low float stocks will fade all day. There may be times when stocks squeeze end of day.

Keep that in mind and trade at your own risk.

Short Recap

  • Identify gappers in the premarket (ideally 50%+)
  • Filter by float size (smaller caps)
  • Target stocks with enough liquidity (volume)
  • Zoom out on the daily or hourly to find high volume days
  • Draw horizontal lines on the highest volume day’s vwap
  • Go short if vwap boulevard becomes resistance and trend reverses
  • Look for heavy volume before 10am and volume to fade off afterward

Scanning for Candidates

How do you find good candidates for VWAP Boulevard?

This will depend a lot on your trading platform and tools. Most charting and trading platforms have built in scanners. So the look and feel of your scanners will vary greatly.

We’ll save an in depth look at scanning for another day, but essentially, what you are looking to do is narrow your results by a few things:

  1. Floats less than 100 million, ideally less than 50 million
  2. Gap percentage over 50%
  3. Outlier Volume (RVOL 100% or more ideally)

Your premarket %gain scanner is great way to narrow these results. Then once you have a few good candidates, narrow them down by float. After that work is done, it is up to you to set the VWAP Boulevard lines.

However, if you’re looking to practice this strategy in a simulator, we have done a lot of the work for you. Our scanner can scan for premarket gainers with data going back 3 years. You can also narrow by float size, premarket gap %, and volume.

Here’s a quick look:

Scanner for low floats in TradingSim
Scanner for low floats in TradingSim

Once you’ve saved your scan. Simply head back to the chart view and you’ll find your list narrowed to the top performing candidates for that day.

Low Float scan results in TradingSim

All that’s left to do is set your vwap boulevard lines with the drawing tool, and you’re set!

Be sure to re-watch the video at the start of this tutorial for more guidance on how to do that.

Considerations

There is a lot to consider with this unique strategy. Hopefully this guide has united a lot of the data for you and how it all comes together. It is certainly a more advanced day trading strategy for those comfortable with the nature of small cap securities and the volatility associated with them.

That being said, there are few points worth considering when shorting this type of strategy:

  1. Not all of these securities will be easy to borrow for shorting.
    1. Access to borrowing shares may be limited to certain brokers.
    2. Locating shares to short will have a cost associated.
  2. Trading the premarket can be risky without the right tools.
    1. The ability to use hotkeys for faster buy and sell orders may help.
    2. Liquidity issues can create highly volatile price movements.
    3. Lack of liquidity can create issues with large order fills.
    4. Stock offerings and other news releases can happen anytime.
  3. Stock halts happen frequently with volatile, low-float stocks.
    1. Depending on the halt criteria and opening price, this could result in substantial losses.

How To Find More Information

@team3dstocks has a wealth of knowledge in his tweets. He is often asked questions, but recommends simply doing a search for his tweets using Twitter search tools. Rest assured you’ll likely find an answer this way.

For example, a simple search of #vwapboulevard or #beartipoftheday will turn up a myriad of tweets on the subject. On that token, he is usually good about tagging his tweets for the very purpose of finding specific information — even for specific ticker symbols.

Here is an example of results for a quick search using #vwapboulevard:

AllDayFaders search results for #vwapboulevard
AllDayFaders search results for #vwapboulevard

Regardless of all the information, it takes practice and time to become acquainted with the strategy and nuances of trading it with real money.

How To Practice #vwapboulevard

As always, we are big proponents of putting strategies to work in a realistic environment without the risk. Once you have a solid dataset of successful simulation trades, you can try your hand with real money.

Just know that emotions will affect your performance more often than not. It is for that reason that simulator training can be a great tool to increase your learning curve on what to expect before employing actual cash.

Here’s to good fills. And remember, look both ways when crossing the #vwapboulevard!

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John McDowell Administrator
  1. https://twitter.com/team3dstocks/status/1372869249308491776?s=20.
  2. https://inthemoneyadds.com/its-all-about-timing-everything-i-know-about-small-caps-times-of-day-backed-by-data/.