There are three steps to calculating the Accumulation Distribution Line (ADL). First, calculate the Money Flow Multiplier. Second, multiply this value by volume to find the Money Flow Volume. Third, create a running total of Money Flow Volume to form the Accumulation Distribution Line (ADL).
The Money Flow Multiplier fluctuates between +1 and -1. As such, it holds the key to the Money Flow Volume and the Accumulation Distribution Line. The multiplier is positive when the close is in the upper half of the high-low range and negative when in the lower half. This makes sense, as buying pressure is stronger than selling pressure when prices close in the upper half of the period’s range (and vice versa). The Accumulation Distribution Line rises when the multiplier is positive and falls when the multiplier is negative.
The multiplier adjusts the amount of volume that ends up in the Money Flow Volume. Volume is in effect reduced unless the Money Flow Multiplier is at its extremes (+1 or -1). The multiplier is +1 when the close is on the high and -1 when the close is on the low. All volume is positive when +1 and all volume is negative when -1. At .50, only half of the volume translates into the period’s Money Flow Volume. The table below shows the Money Flow Multipliers, Money Flow Volume and Accumulation Distribution Line for Research-in-Motion (RIMM). Notice how the multiplier is between .50 and 1 when the close is strong and between -.50 and -1 when the close is weak.