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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Moving Average

A Moving Average is an indicator that shows the average value of a security's price over a period of time. When calculating a moving average, a mathematical analysis of the security's average value over a predetermined time period is made. As the security's price changes, its average price moves up or down.

There are several popular ways to calcuate a moving average.
MetaStock for Java calculates a "simple" moving average--meaning that equal weight is given to each price over the calculation period.

The most popular method of interpreting a moving average is to compare the relationship between a moving average of the security's price with the security's price itself. A buy signal is generated when the security's price rises above its moving average and a sell signal is generated when the security's price falls below its moving average.

This type of moving average trading system is not intended to get you in at the exact bottom nor out at the exact top. Rather, it is designed to keep you in line with the security's price trend by buying shortly after the security's price bottoms and selling shortly after it tops.

The critical element in a moving average is the number of time periods used in calculating the average. When using hindsight, you can always find a moving average that would have been profitable. The key is to find a moving average that will be consistently profitable. The most popular moving average is the 39-week (or 200-day) moving average. This moving average has an excellent track record in timing the major
(long-term) market cycles.

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