Moving average indicator is an important indicator in technical analysis. Traders may use moving averages as a signal to take their trading signals or identify the prevailing trend in the stock markets whether it is an uptrend or downtrend.
Moving averages are quite popular technical indicator. Most of the traders use them for their trading decisions. The reason is that they are so simple to use.
Using moving averages in your trading system ensures that you are with the majority of the stock traders and in the direction of capital flow in the stock market. This can be very helpful to you for profitable trading strategies.
You can use moving average for any time period depending upon your trading or investing requirement. For example, long term investors use 200 day simple moving average to see the trend and bullishness in a stock. Likewise, short term traders may use 5 day, 20 day or 50 day or any time period moving average for their trading purposes.
By definition, the moving averages are the mathematical average of a number of values, the number is the time period for which you want to calculate moving average.
For 20 day period, it is the average of prices of a stock for the last 20 days. It is the closing price of a trading session for a stock that is chosen to calculate moving averages.
Closing price represents the trader’s psychology better than opening price or highs and lows of the stock on that trading day.
The moving averages are called as moving because everyday we include the last trading session’s closing price for calculations while leaving the last trading session price.
Suppose, we want 10 day moving average for a stock on April 11, we take closing prices from April 1 to April 10 of that stock. If we want 10 day moving average on April 12,we use values from April 2 to April 11. April 1 value gets excluded. So the average keeps on moving.
We don’t need to actually calculate the moving averages by ourselves. Trading software do it automatically, you just enter the time period for which you want the moving average.
The major drawback of moving average indicator is that this is a lagging indicator.
A lagging indicator is one which generates buy or sell signal after the up or down move in a stock or stock market has started. So, it is likely that you miss the initial move in the stock prices.
This is in contrast to leading indicators which generate buy and sell signals before the move starts in the stocks. This enables you to catch all the move which is about to happen in that stock.
Types of Moving Averages
Depending upon the method of calculation used, moving averages are of two types – Simple and Exponential
Simple Moving Average (SMA)
The Simple Moving Average (SMA) is the simple arithmetic mean of the values. It gives equal weight-age to every value while calculating the moving average. That was the reason for its criticism among a section of traders.
Those people believe that more weightage should be given to the more recent closing prices of stocks because they are more relevant.
Exponential Moving Average (EMA)
To deal with the criticism of Simple Moving Average, Exponential Moving Average (EMA) was devised. It is the logarithmic average of the values.
It gives more weight-age to the most recent closing prices while calculating the moving averages. Exponential moving average gives more smooth results than simple moving average.
Using Moving Average Indicator For Trading
Moving average are the technical indicators. There are traders who use moving average method to find buy or sell signals for initiating a trade. Reliability of moving averages depends upon the time period selected for calculating the moving average.
Short period moving average indicator generates quick signals but the probability of going these signals wrong is more.
Long period moving averages take time to generate trading signals but they are likely to be more accurate.
A 5 day moving average generates quick signals as compared to 20 day moving average but the reliability of later is more.
When the prices move and close below a specific period moving average, a sell signal is generated. When the prices move above the moving average, buy signal is generated.
To get more reliable buy or sell signals, we may use Moving Averages Crossovers. These crossovers are created by drawing moving averages for 2 or 3 time periods for a stock. Most popular crossovers are for 5 day and 20 day period moving average crossovers and 10 day with 50 day period moving average crossovers.
A buy signal is generated when shorter period moving average crosses above the longer period moving average. For a 5 and 20 day moving averages crossover when 5 day moving average crosses above the 20 day moving average, a buy signal is created.
A sell signal is generated when shorter period moving average crosses below the longer period moving average.
In the above image, you can see how the stock prices move in the direction of crossover. You can get big trending moves using the moving averages appropriately in your trading system while keeping risks to the minimum.
You may use triple crossovers with 4 day, 9 day and 18 day period moving averages to get more precise and reliable buy and sell signals.
A buy signal is generated when 4 day moving average crosses above 9 day moving average. The buy signal is confirmed when 9 day moving average also crosses above 18 day moving average.
A sell signal is generated when these moving averages cross lower.
The stock prices close below the long term moving average can be kept as your stop loss while prices sustaining above short term moving averages is an indication of momentum in the stock prices.
To protect the profits, you can also prefer to book your profits when the stock closes below the short term moving average instead of waiting for close below the long term moving average.
Moving Average Indicator - An Incredibly Easy Method That Works For All
Moving average indicator is a lagging indicator. Following it ensures that you are doing what the market is telling you to do. This helps you make big profits.
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