In the world of investing and trading, technical analysis (TA) has been around for a while. TA indicators can be used to analyze a variety of portfolios, including traditional ones that include stocks and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum. Their goal is to help you make informed decisions that will lead to the best results. There are hundreds of different types and styles of TA indicators that have been developed over the decades. However, few of them have enjoyed the continued popularity of moving averages (MA).
There are many types of moving averages. However, the main purpose of these averages is to improve trading charts. Smoothing the charts creates a clear trend indicator. These moving averages are not trend-following indicators, but lagging indicators because they rely on historical data. They still have the power to cut through the noise and help you determine the direction of the market.
Different types of moving averages
You can use different types of moving averages for day trading or swing trading as well as long-term trading. Despite their many types, moving averages can be divided into two categories: simple moving Averages (SMAs), and exponential moving Averages (EMAs). Traders can decide which indicator will benefit their set-up depending on market conditions and desired outcomes.
Simple moving average
The SMA uses data over a specified time period and returns the average price for that security in the dataset. The SMA is different from the base average of prices in the past. With SMA, the oldest dataset is ignored as soon as a new data set is created. If a simple moving average is used to calculate an average using 10 days of data then the entire dataset will be continuously updated to only include the 10 most recent days.
It is important that you note that the SMA weights all inputs, regardless of how old they were. It is often stated that traders who feel it is more relevant to the most recent data are more likely to believe that the SMA has an equal weight. This is detrimental to technical analysis. This problem was addressed by the Exponential Moving Average (EMA).
Moving average with exponential growth
EMAs can be compared to SMAs because they provide technical analysis based upon past price fluctuations. The equation is a little more complex because the EMA gives more weight and value the latest input prices. Both averages are useful and widely used. However, the EMA is more sensitive for sudden price fluctuations or reversals.
EMAs are preferred by traders engaged in short-term trading because they are more likely than the SMA to predict a price reversal. The trader or investor should choose the right type of moving average to suit their goals and strategies, and adjust the settings accordingly.
How to use Moving Averages
MA uses past prices rather than current prices, so they have a lag period. The latency is greater for larger datasets. A moving average that analyses the past 100 days will take longer to respond to new data than one that only considers the last 10 days. Simply because a new record in an extensive dataset will have a smaller impact on the total numbers, this is why.
Depending on the trading setup, both can be advantageous. Long-term investors will benefit from large data sets as they are less likely be affected by one or two large fluctuations. A smaller data set allows for more reactive trading, which is what short-term traders prefer.
Traditional markets use the 50, 100, and 200 day moving averages most often. Stock traders pay attention to the 200-day and 50-day moving averages. Any breakouts above or below these lines is considered to be important trading signals, especially if they are followed closely by crossovers. This is also true for cryptocurrency trading. However, because the markets operate 24 hours a day and 7 days a week the setting of the moving average or the trading strategy may vary depending on the trader’s profile.
An upward MA is a sign of an uptrend. A falling MA signifies a downtrend. The moving average is not an indicator that can be trusted. MA can be used to detect intersection signals between bullish and bearish.
When two moving averages cross on the chart, it creates a crossover signal. A bullish cross (also known “golden crossing”) is when a short-term and long-term moving average intersects. This signals the start of an uptrend. A bearish intersection, also known as a “death crossing”, occurs when a short term moving average crosses below a long-term one. This indicates a beginning of a downtrend.
There are other factors to be aware of
All the examples so far have been day-to-day. However, this is not required when analysing moving averages. Intraday traders may be more interested in the performance of the asset over the last two to three hours than it was over the past three months. The equations that calculate moving averages can include all time frames. As long as the time frames are consistent and consistent with the trading strategy the data can be used.
MA’s lag time is one of their main drawbacks. Moving averages are slow indicators that do not take into consideration previous price movements. This means signals can arrive late. A bullish crossover could indicate a purchase but it can only occur after a substantial increase in price.
Even if the uptrend continues for a while, profits may have been lost during the time between the crossover signal and the price rise. False gold cross signals can cause traders to buy local tops just before the price falls. These false buy signals are often called bull traps.
The most popular TA indicator, moving averages, is one of the most powerful. It is possible to analyse market trends using data. This gives you a clear picture of the market’s performance. Keep in mind, however, that crossover signals and moving averages should not be used together and it is safer to use different TA indicators together to avoid false signals.