Technical Indicators

What is a 'Simple Moving Average - SMA'?

A simple moving average (SMA) is a simple, or arithmetic, moving average that is calculated by adding the closing price of the security for a number of time periods and then dividing this total by the number of time periods. Short-term averages respond quickly to changes in the price of the underlying, while long-term averages are slow to react.

BREAKING DOWN 'Simple Moving Average - SMA'.

In other words, this is the average stock price over a certain period of time. Keep in mind that equal weighting is given to each daily price. As shown in the chart above, many traders watch for short-term averages to cross above longer-term averages to signal the beginning of an uptrend. As shown by the blue arrows, short-term averages (e.g. 15-period SMA) act as levels of support when the price experiences a pullback. Support levels become stronger and more significant as the number of time periods used in the calculations increases.

An Exponential Moving Average (EMA) is a type of moving average that is similar to a simple moving average, except that more weight is given to the latest data. It's also known as the exponentially weighted moving average. This type of moving average reacts faster to recent price changes than a simple moving average.

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