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What Are The Types Of Moving Average

04 Dec 2023

An Overview

Moving averages are the most straightforward and widespread method for technical analysis. Moving averages, rather than predicting price movement, characterize the current direction with a lag. That is why they are referred to as ''lagging'' indicators. Moving averages perform effectively when prices are trending, but they might provide deceptive signals when prices are not trending.

For the intermediate/medium term, moving averages of 21 to 100 days are commonly used, for the short term, moving averages of 5, 11, and 21 days can be used. Finally, any moving average with a period of 100 days or longer can be used to calculate long-term momentum. The more sensitive the signal, the shorter the MA.

Types Of Moving Average

The Exponential Moving Average (EMA) and the Simple Moving Average (SMA) are the common types of moving averages. They can be used to determine trend direction as well as potential resistance and support levels.

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  • Exponential Moving Average (EMA)

To eliminate latency in simple moving average, exponential moving average is utilised. It lowers latency by giving more weight to recent prices relative to previous prices, so it reacts faster to recent price changes than a SMA. As an example: The most recent price 33.33% is weighed by a 5-period exponential moving average.

The formula for an exponential moving average is

EMA= (EMA (previous day) + Multiplier)*(Closing price –EMA (previous day))

  • Simple Moving Average (SMA)

A simple moving average is calculated by averaging the price of a securities over a set number of periods. While moving averages can be calculated using the high, open and low data points, most moving averages are built using the closing price. A 5-day SMA, for example, is computed by adding the closing prices for the previous 5 days and dividing the total by 5.

Daily closing price 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10

First day of 5-day SMA: (5+6+7+8+9)/5 =7

Second day of 5-day SMA: (6+7+8+9+10)/5 =8

Whether you use a 52-week average or a 21-day average, the computation is the same: instead of adding five days, add the 52-week or 21-day average and divide by the same.

Importance Of Moving Averages In Predicting Market Trends

Moving averages can also be used to determine trends; if the moving average is falling, the trend is considered negative; if the moving average is increasing, the trend is regarded as positive. It also aids in the identification of resistance and support.

A common strategy for establishing exit and entry points is moving average crossover. When the shorter moving average crosses below the long term moving average, it indicates a downward trend and generates a sell signal. This is known as a "Death Cross." When the shorter moving average crosses over the long-term moving average, it indicates that the trend is upward and gives a buy signal. This is called the “Golden Cross”.

Disadvantages Of MA

Moving averages are generated using past data, and there is nothing predictive about the method. As a result, moving averages might produce irregular outcomes. At times, the market appears to obey MA resistance/support and trade signals, while at other times, it does not.

One big issue is that choppy price movement can cause the price to bounce back and forth, resulting in many trend reversals or trade signals. When this happens, it's better to take a step back or use another indication to help define the pattern. A similar scenario can happen with MA crossovers when they become "tangled up" over an extended length of time, resulting in repeated loss transactions. 

Moving averages perform well in strong trending environments but poorly in choppy or range environments. Adjusting the time frame can temporarily solve this problem, but similar issues are likely to reoccur regardless of the time frame used for the moving average(s).

What Is The Purpose Of Moving Averages?

Moving averages are frequently employed in technical analysis, a type of investing that aims to understand and profit from the price movements of indices and stocks. Moving averages are sometimes used to corroborate their suspicions that a change is taking place.

Wrapping Up

The moving average aids in trend identification and keeps you on the right side of the trend; nevertheless, it should not be used only to enter at the bottom and leave at the top; rather, it should be used in conjunction with other technical tools that complement it. Moving averages can also be used to determine the extent of security support and resistance.

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