What is a moving average (MA) ?
A moving average (MA) is a technical indicator that combines price points of an instrument over a specified time frame, and divides by the number of data points, to give you a single trend line. It is popular amongst traders because it can help to determine the direction of the current trend, while lessening the impact of random price spikes.
A moving average will enable you to examine the levels of support and resistance, by analysing the previous movement of an asset’s price. It is a measure of change that trails the previous price action of an asset, assessing the history of market movements to determine possible future patterns. A moving average is primarily a lagging indicator, which makes it one of the most popular tools for technical analysis.
Calculating an MA requires a certain amount of data, which can be a large quantity depending on the length of the moving average. For instance, a ten-day MA will require ten days of data, while a one-year MA will require 365 days’ worth. A 200-day period is a very commonly used timeframe for MA.
The indicator is described as ‘moving’ because the introduction of new figures will replace old data points and ‘move’ the line on the chart.