Have you thought about if a method exists to predict when a stock will significantly rise or fall?

The Williams Alligator indicator aims to do just that. This tool is for technical analysis. Its purpose is to identify patterns, remove unnecessary market details and indicate possible times when prices might suddenly change.

Taking inspiration from an alligator’s hunting strategy, the Alligator indicator employs three moving averages symbolizing the market’s “jaws”, “teeth,” and “lips.” It observes how these lines come together to spot a potential new trend beginning, similar to when an alligator awakens with appetite.

In this article, we will explain the function of the Williams Alligator indicator, understand its messages and learn ways to identify possible trading chances.

Unveiling the Williams Alligator Indicator

The Williams Alligator indicator is centered around three smoothed moving averages, which represent the alligator’s jaw, teeth and lips. These are carefully created to reflect how the market acts, ranging from times of inactivity to moments when it shows strong activity because of hunger. Every part of the Alligator indicator has a different function in showing how the market behaves, helping those who trade to see and predict the directions of the market more clearly.

The Jaw of the Alligator, which is the Blue Line, comes from a 13-period Simple Moving Average that gets smoothed when you shift it by eight bars into future values. This line shows us the longer trend of the alligator or what we can call the basic direction of how things are moving in the market. The line moves very slow, like how an alligator naturally waits a long time for the chance to eat.

The Alligator’s Teeth, which is the Red Line, are shown as an eight-period Simple Moving Average that gets smoother over five more bars. This line in the middle shows us the basic idea of short-term movement in the market and gives signs when there might be a change in trend like when an alligator gets ready to bite its food.

The line called the Alligator’s Lips, which appears as green on charts, uses a five-period Simple Moving Average. This average is made smoother by taking three more bars into account after it. The purpose of this line is to show very recent market movements, reacting quickly to changes in price. It can be compared to how ready an alligator is when about to attack; it helps indicate where the market might go next and suggests good moments for traders to enter or leave the market.

When the lines come together, people say that the market is in a quiet phase, like an alligator waiting quietly. But when the lines move apart from each other, it shows that the alligator is “waking up” and there might be a time where trends are strong because the market starts to move more clearly and with purpose. When traders look at how these three smooth moving averages work together and line up, they can understand the condition of the market; if it is quiet, getting ready to move or already busy in transactions. Based on this, they decide their trading strategies.

Mechanics Behind the Williams Alligator Indicator

The Williams Alligator indicator is centered around three smoothed moving averages. These are cleverly created to reflect the market’s movements using an alligator’s life stages as comparison. The averages match up with parts of the alligator such as its jaw, teeth, and lips, each showing various aspects of how the market moves and where it might go next. Knowing the way these parts work together is important for being good at using the Alligator indicator to follow market movements.

The Alligator’s Jaw, which we see as the blue line, is a simple moving average of 13 periods that has been shifted forward by 8 bars. This stands for the more extended trend and serves as the reference point to evaluate where the market might be heading next. The Alligator’s Teeth, which is the red line and an 8-period Simple Moving Average moved forward by 5 bars, shows us the trend of medium length. It connects what happens in the long term with what is happening right now on the market. The Alligator’s Lips are represented by a green line; this one is a 5-period Simple Moving Average that we shift ahead by 3 bars to point out trends that do not last long and quickly react to any changes in price.

The Alligator indicator works by detecting when the market is waking up, eating or sleeping. It does this by looking at how these SMAs come together or move apart. When the Sleeping Phase happens, you see the lines very close to each other because there’s no clear trend in the market — it’s like the alligator is asleep. When the lines begin to part, and the green line representing lips moves above both red and blue lines that stand for teeth and jaw respectively, it suggests that market activity is increasing as if an alligator is opening its mouth. This means a new trend might be beginning. In what’s called the Eating Phase, these lines move farther apart from each other which shows that this trend is getting stronger; it’s like saying the alligator continues to eat. At last, when the lines come together once more, it shows that the market is going into a quiet period (the alligator shuts its mouth), which means the trend might be finishing and one should be careful.

By watching these stages, traders are able to measure how strong the market’s movement is and make smart choices about when to enter or leave trades by using the power of the Alligator indicator to foresee and respond well to changes in the market.

Deciphering the Alligator’s Messages

Understanding how the moving averages in the Alligator indicator are positioned gives us subtle signals about what is happening with market movement and trend direction. Every different setup of its jaw, teeth, and lips can tell us if the market looks ready for an upward climb, a downward turn or if it’s undecided.

When the Alligator indicator shows that the green line, which is like its lips, goes over both the red and blue lines, representing teeth and jaw respectively, it means that there might be a strong upward trend starting in market. This pattern shows that more people are interested in buying as if an alligator opens wide to eat. The bigger the gap between the lines, it means there is more positive energy for buying. This could be a good chance to make profit by purchasing. People trading should watch out for this pattern as an indicator to maybe start buying more with hopes that this upward direction will keep going.

Bearish Signals: On the other hand, when the lips move below the teeth and jaw, it shows a bearish signal. This means that markets are starting to go down. The crossing looks like an alligator getting ready to eat in a market where prices are falling, showing that there is more pressure to sell. A notable distance between the moving averages in this setup highlights how strong the bearish movement is, further reinforced by patterns like the descending triangle. This indicates that it might be the right moment to close long positions or think about starting short sales as the trend goes down.

When the Alligator’s moving average lines come together or stay near each other, people think that the market is in a resting phase. It shows there isn’t a strong trend or movement right now. During this time, it means the market is consolidating and starting new trades could be riskier because unexpected changes can happen when the market starts to move again.

Grasping these signs helps people who trade to make sense of what the Alligator is trying to tell them, which gives them a better position for guessing where the market will go next. When they match their trades with the direction suggested by momentum, traders find it easier to move through the markets and use signals about rising and falling prices to improve how they decide on their trades.

Calculating the Beast: The Alligator’s Math

The Williams Alligator indicator uses smooth moving averages to help understand market trends and where prices might go. It has three parts called the jaw, teeth, and lips; each is made with its own special calculation. This shows the clever math that makes this trading tool work well.

The Jaw of the Alligator (which is called Blue Line): It means a moving average that is smooth over 13 periods and also we move it forward by 8 periods. How we calculate this jaw, the formula goes like:

  • JAW = SMMA (Close, 13, 8)

Here, SMMA is the average that moves smoothly across 13 periods and we plot this result forward by 8 periods to predict what will happen in the market later on.

The Alligator’s Teeth, which is the Red Line, uses an 8-period Smoothed Moving Average that we move forward by 5 periods. To calculate the teeth, you do it like this:

  • TEETH = SMMA (Close, 8,5)

The teeth react quicker to price changes than the jaw, giving a view on market trends for the middle term.

The Lips of Alligator (Green Line): This part is very sensitive. It uses a 5-period SMMA and we move it forward by 3 periods. The way to calculate the lips goes like this:

  • LIPS = SMMA (Close, 5, 3)

The lips move fast and with little change, responding quickly to changes in prices, giving information about the market’s short-term activity.

The SMMA is worked out with a formula that makes price data more steady, giving a clearer picture of market movements than the basic moving averages. When traders look at how these three SMAs interact, they can understand what the market is doing, seeing times when it’s quiet or active through coming together and moving apart of Alligator’s jaw, teeth, and lips.

Grasping the math that forms the basis of the Alligator indicator helps those who trade to see the subtle meanings in its alerts, leading to better choices in trading by considering the ongoing tendencies and energy present in financial markets.

Navigating Markets with the Williams Alligator

The Williams Alligator indicator is a flexible instrument which, if used correctly, can greatly improve a trader’s skill in following market movements and making thoughtful choices. Traders who add the Alligator indicator to their trading methods can spot strong times to enter or leave trades, verify that a trend is really happening, and avoid incorrect indicators.

To know when to enter the market using the Alligator indicator, you should look for a moment where it becomes active. This is seen as the green line moving away from both the red and blue lines. When this green line goes above them, it shows that there might be an upward trend starting because it’s like the alligator opening its mouth ready to eat. On the other hand, a sign to sell comes when the lips line goes under both teeth and jaw lines. This suggests prices might go down soon. It’s best for traders to start deals that follow this new trend direction to be successful.

Understanding when to leave a trade: It is very important for keeping your earnings safe and reducing money loss. A good plan for exiting using the Alligator indicator means you close your trade when its lines begin coming together or crossing differently from the way you traded. The coming together suggests the alligator could be “full” and that the present pattern may become weaker or stop, giving a sign to leave the trade.

To make the Alligator indicator more reliable, traders can combine it with different tools like MACD or RSI to confirm trends. Also, watching when the Alligator’s lines are mixed together – its sleeping phase – is useful for avoiding false signals. In this stage, it is better to wait and not get involved until the trend becomes more obvious. Looking at how much of something is traded can help too when you use the Alligator tool because if there’s more trading while confirming a trend, it likely means that this trend is strong.

By following these strategic ideas, traders can successfully move through the markets with the Williams Alligator indicator and make decisions that match with current market movement and patterns.

In Practice: Williams Alligator Indicator Examples

In the fast-changing area of technology stocks, Palantir Technologies (PLTR) is an interesting example for using the Williams Alligator indicator. This indicator is good at spotting market directions and when to possibly start or stop trading. We will look into how this tool might have helped traders with PLTR’s changes in the last year.

Early Bull Run: The Awakening of the Alligator

PLTR’s shares started climbing from the $7-8 level to more than $22 in one year, and the Williams Alligator indicator was like a guide. At first, when shares soared after there was a big increase in revenue because of its artificial intelligence projects around February 06, 2024, the mouth of this Alligator (which is shown by three smooth moving averages) opened wide. The growing distance showed that the stock price was going up quickly because it went higher than all three Alligator lines, which meant a strong signal to buy for traders who were taking advantage of the rising prices.

Mid-Year Sideways Movement: The Alligator Sleeps

After the increase in revenue, the company’s stock began to stabilize and showed a time of little change. It is similar to when an Alligator “sleeps,” with lines coming together and crossing over each other, showing no obvious trend in the market. This consolidation phase can also be reflected in technical indicators like the death cross, where short-term and long-term moving averages converge.  This can be a sign for traders to be careful and potentially reduce trading activity until the direction becomes clearer.

Recent Developments and Potential Exit: The Closing of the Jaws

The CEO of Palantir talked about how they’re losing employees because of the company’s position on world politics, and this made their stock price go down past what they call Alligator lines. It looks like the trend for increasing stock value might be slowing down. But then, there was an announcement in early April that they have a new agreement with Oracle to work together on cloud software, which could make people interested again.

Here’s PLTR’s price graph with the Williams Alligator overlayed: 

PLTR's one-year price chart with the Williams Alligator indicator overlay, highlighting major trends and trading signals.

A Year of Growth for PLTR: Navigating with the Williams Alligator

For those trading and thinking about when to sell because of these unclear signs, the Alligator indicator can be very helpful. If prices keep going back into the Alligator’s mouth and its lines start coming together, it might mean that it is a good moment to secure your earnings and get ready for possible changes in how people feel about the market.

Wrap-Up: Navigating Uncertain Waters

Palantir moves through complicated market situations and political concerns around the world, and for traders, the Williams Alligator indicator is very important. It helps to point out when a strong upward trend begins, notice times when prices are stable without much change or give a sign about when is good to sell. The Alligator makes understanding how markets move easier. With this understanding, traders can prepare a strategy for PLTR’s future that is knowledgeable and flexible.

Pros and Cons

The Williams Alligator indicator, which has a special way of analyzing the market, gives traders multiple clear benefits but also comes with some restrictions. Knowing these pros and cons can assist traders in using this instrument well as part of their trading collection.


  • The Alligator indicator is very good at showing when trends start and which way they are going in the market. It looks at how its three parts – called the jaw, teeth, and lips – work together so that people who trade can understand how strong the market movement is and where it might go next.
  • The Alligator indicator is quite adaptable and useful for diverse market situations. It works with various time periods and types of assets, such as shares, foreign exchange currencies, goods or index markets. This tool provides important information that can help when making choices about trades.
  • Early Trend Alert: This tool is made to make traders aware of starting trends. Its build helps find market changes soon, giving traders a chance to start trades close to when the trend starts, which might increase their profits.


  • The Alligator indicator, because it uses moving averages for calculation, naturally comes after the current price movement. This can lead to missing chances or entering and leaving trades too late, especially in markets that change quickly.
  • Understanding the Alligator with its many lines and different stages may be difficult for people who have just started trading. If they read the signals wrong, it could cause them to make mistakes in their trades.
  • When the market is stable or without a strong direction, Alligator indicator might give incorrect signals. It’s important to use more tools or indicators for confirming these signals before making trade decisions.

Incorporating the Williams Alligator indicator into trading strategies provides a nuanced understanding of market trends and momentum. However, successful application requires an awareness of its limitations. Combining the Alligator with other analytical tools such as real-time investment signals, or indicators can enhance its effectiveness, leading to more informed and strategic trading decisions.


When we explore the complex area of market study, the Williams Alligator indicator is a very interesting tool for people who trade. It uses a special way to understand how markets move by comparing it to how an alligator acts, and this gives us a clear picture of what’s happening in the markets. This signal helps not just to spot when new trends begin but also to notice times when the market is stable, giving those who trade important information about good moments for starting and finishing trades.

The real strength of the Alligator indicator is when you use it together with a full trading plan. It gives good benefits for following trends and making early predictions, but people who trade need to deal with its weaknesses too, like how it can be slow to show changes or give incorrect messages in markets that don’t have a clear direction up or down. By adding more tools of technical analysis to the Alligator like the double moving average (dema), traders can reduce these difficulties and improve their capacity for making decisions based on information.

To end, the Williams Alligator indicator is a very important tool for people who want to become experts in the movements of financial markets. Using it well needs a mix of knowledge, waiting time and planning ahead. Traders keep looking deeply into market analysis, and the Alligator acts like a helper and also makes them remember how complex it is to try for great success in trading.

Williams Alligator Indicator: FAQs

How Do Traders Set the Optimal Parameters for the Williams Alligator Indicator?

The best settings for the Williams Alligator tool—13 time segments for Jaw, 8 for Teeth, and 5 for Lips that all move ahead in time—were set by its maker Bill Williams. These adjustments are made to find a good middle between how quick it reacts and how correct it is at spotting trends. Yet, traders could change these settings depending on their way of trading and the particular traits of the market they study. It is important to test any changes retrospectively to confirm that they make your use of the indicator more effective for how you trade.

Can the Alligator Indicator Be Used across All Time Frames?

Sure, you can use the Alligator indicator for many time frames. It is good for different ways of trading like day trading, swing trading or keeping investments for a long time. You should know that if you look at shorter times, there might be more signals but also more false ones. But looking at longer times gives less signals which could be stronger and more trustworthy.

How Does the Alligator Indicator Compare to Traditional Moving Averages?

The Alligator indicator improves on the idea of moving averages. It does this by adding a smoothed moving average that is moved forward in time. There are three different lengths to show how the market acts. This is not like normal moving averages that follow price as time goes on—the special setup of the Alligator, which shows its jaw, teeth and lips—gives us a better picture of where the market might be going, telling us if trends may start or change direction.

What are the Best Complementary Indicators to Use with the Williams Alligator?

Other indicators that pair nicely with the Alligator are the Fractals indicator, created by Bill Williams too, which is useful for spotting market peaks and troughs. Indicators for measuring momentum such as the Relative Strength Index (RSI) or the MACD are good to validate how strong a trend is when you find it using the Alligator. Moreover, volume markers help confirm the market’s dedication to a fresh trend path that the Alligator points out.

How Can a Trader Distinguish between a Sleeping and an Awakening Alligator?

A “sleeping” Alligator happens when its moving averages — the jaw, teeth, and lips lines— come together or are almost touching. This shows that there is no clear market trend or direction. When an “awakening” Alligator occurs, it means the moving averages start to spread out. First with the lips (short-term MA) distancing from the teeth (medium-term MA) and then from the jaw (long-term MA), which indicates a new trend might be starting because of increasing market energy.