What is the simple moving average (SMA) and how to use it

What is the simple moving average?

A simple moving average (SMA) is a technical indicator that calculates the average price of a stock over a certain number of periods (e.g. days, weeks, months). This average is then plotted on a chart to indicate a trend or direction of the stock. For example, if a stock’s SMA over 50 days is increasing, it may indicate an upward trend, whereas if the SMA is decreasing, it may indicate a downward trend. Traders often use moving averages in conjunction with other indicators to confirm or refute signals of a stock’s direction.

Can multiple SMAs be used simultaneously?

It’s common for traders to use multiple simple moving averages (SMAs) simultaneously. By comparing different SMAs with different time periods, traders can get a more comprehensive view of a stock’s trend and potential direction. For example, one trader might use a short-term SMA (e.g. 10 days) to identify short-term fluctuations in the stock’s price, and a long-term SMA (e.g. 200 days) to identify long-term trends. By comparing the short-term SMA to the long-term SMA, the trader can gain insight into whether the short-term fluctuations are consistent with the long-term trend or if they are likely to be temporary. Another example is using 2 moving averages with different periods and when the shorter period SMA crosses over the longer period SMA it can indicate a bullish or bearish direction. This technique is known as the Moving Average Crossover.

What are some other indicators used in conjunction with the simple moving average?

There are many technical indicators that traders use in conjunction with simple moving averages (SMAs) to help identify trends and make investment decisions. Some of the most commonly used indicators include:

  1. Relative Strength Index (RSI): This indicator compares the magnitude of a stock’s recent gains to the magnitude of its recent losses, and is used to identify overbought or oversold conditions.
  2. Bollinger Bands: This indicator consists of a simple moving average and two standard deviation lines that are plotted above and below the average. It is used to identify overbought or oversold conditions and potential breakouts.
  3. Stochastic Oscillator: This indicator compares a stock’s closing price to its price range over a certain period of time and is used to identify overbought or oversold conditions.
  4. Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD): This indicator is calculated by subtracting a 26-day exponential moving average from a 12-day exponential moving average. It is used to identify changes in momentum and potential trend reversals.
  5. Fibonacci retracements: This indicator is a way to identify support and resistance levels by plotting horizontal lines at key Fibonacci levels of a price move.

Can simple moving averages be used to automate trading?

Simple moving averages (SMAs) are sometimes used to automate trading. Traders can create algorithms that use SMAs and other technical indicators to generate buy or sell signals. These algorithms can then be programmed into trading software, which can execute trades automatically based on the signals generated by the algorithm.

Please note that automating trading based on SMAs or any other technical indicator is not a guarantee of success. Many factors can influence a stock’s price, and no single indicator can provide a complete picture of a stock’s trend or direction. It’s important to backtest the algorithm and also keep monitoring it, as market conditions change over time which can cause the algorithm to stop working as expected.

What is the Relative Strength (RSI) indicator?

The Relative Strength Index (RSI) is a popular technical indicator used in the analysis of financial markets. Developed by J. Welles Wilder Jr. in 1978, the RSI is a momentum indicator that measures the strength of a security’s price action. It compares the magnitude of recent gains to recent losses in an attempt to determine overbought and oversold conditions of an asset.

The RSI is calculated using a simple mathematical formula that compares the average gains of an asset to the average losses over a specified period of time. The resulting value is then plotted on a scale of 0 to 100, with values above 70 indicating that the asset is overbought, and values below 30 indicating that the asset is oversold.

One of the key strengths of the RSI indicator is its ability to identify potential trend reversals. If the RSI is above 70, it may indicate that the asset is overbought and that a price correction or reversal is likely to occur. Similarly, if the RSI is below 30, it may indicate that the asset is oversold and that a price rally is likely to occur.

Another important aspect of the RSI indicator is that it is a momentum indicator, meaning that it helps traders to identify the strength of a trend. If the RSI is trending higher, it may indicate that the underlying asset is in an uptrend and that the trend is gaining momentum. Conversely, if the RSI is trending lower, it may indicate that the underlying asset is in a downtrend and that the trend is losing momentum.

It’s also worth noting that RSI is a lagging indicator. It is based on past performance, so it may not always be the best indicator to predict future price movements. Therefore, traders should use RSI in conjunction with other technical indicators and fundamental analysis to make more informed trading decisions.

The RSI is a powerful technical indicator that can be used to determine overbought and oversold conditions, identify potential trend reversals, and measure the strength of a trend. While it is not a perfect indicator, it can be a valuable tool for traders when used in conjunction with other technical indicators and fundamental analysis.

How to create a thinkorswim (TOS) dollar gainer scan

If you’re just starting out, be sure to visit the thinkorswim Learning Center first. The video on that page describes how to get started with creating your first scan. I’ll keep this simple, and even provide the code for you! In this scan we will meet the following criteria. 1) The stock must have gained at least one dollar from the previous day’s close during the pre-market trading session. The pre-market is defined as the time between 4:00am and 9:29am. 2) The pre-market cumulative volume must exceed 5,000 shares traded. Here are the steps to create a thinkorswim (TOS) dollar gainer scan. Feel free to update the change and preMktVolMin variables to meet your needs.

  1. For the “Scan in:” section, choose All Stocks from the Category list
  2. For the “Exclude:” section, choose All OTC Stocks from the Category list (unless you like to trade OTC stocks, of course)
  3. Add a filter using the “+ Add filter” button. Choose Stock. Under the first drop-down, choose Last and set the min and max price for the stocks you like to trade
  4. Add another filter. This time choose Study. At the bottom of the first drop-down list, choose custom. A window will open. Click the “thinkScript Editor” tab at the top of the window. Also, change the Aggregation (also at the top of the window) to 1 min. Remove the default code from the editor window and copy/paste the code from below. Update the “change” or “preMktVolMin” variable values as needed.
  5. Add another “Stock” filter. Set it to a Market cap min. of 1M. This will filter out some things that are not stocks.
def change = 1.00;
def preMktVolMin = 50000;
def mktClose = 1559;
def preMktStart = 0400;
def preMktEnd = 0929;
rec closePrice = CompoundValue(1, if SecondsTillTime(mktClose) == 0 then close else closePrice[1], close);
def gainers = (close - closePrice) >= change;
def preMkt = SecondsFromTime(preMktStart) >= 0 and SecondsTillTime(preMktEnd) >= 0;
def preMktVol = if preMkt and !preMkt[1] then volume else if preMkt then preMktVol[1] + volume else preMktVol[1];
plot scan = preMkt and gainers and preMktVol > preMktVolMin;
  1. Click OK to exit the window.
  2. Click the menu to the far right of the “Add condition group” button, and click “Save scan query…”
  3. Give your scan a name, and save it.
  4. Click the Scan button and await your results! NOTE: If you’re not scanning during the pre-market, you’ll get no results.

Stock Advisor

A Stock Advisor portfolio compared to S&P 500, NASDAQ, and Dow Jones, since inception (02/08/2022)

Just because you’re a day trader doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also be investing for the long term. I, like many professionals, have a 401k, IRA, and self-managed brokerage account. The self-managed also happens to be the account I day trade in. You might not know that when you keep your funds in cash (provided you have 25k in a margin account) most brokerages will give you 4x leverage with which to day trade. When your money is invested, however, that comes down to 2x leverage. Not bad considering you can keep a well diversified portfolio for the long haul, and use the brokerage firm’s money to play with every day.

For a year or so, I’ve considered subscribing to a premium service from The Motley Fool called Stock Advisor. Stock Advisor provides subscribers with two new stock picks each month, 10 best buy now stocks which they refer to as timely stocks, and 10 foundational stock recommendations for new and experienced investors. You also get access to their community and investing resources. On their about page they say their purpose is “…to make the world smarter, happier, and richer.” Their investing philosophy prioritizes buying and holding quality stocks for long periods of time, and they generally recommend holding for at least 5 years. They lay it out in simple steps:

  1. Buy 25 or more companies recommended by The Motley Fool over time
  2. Hold those recommended stocks for 5 years or more
  3. Invest new money regularly
  4. Hold through market volatility
  5. Let your portfolio’s winners keep winning
  6. Target long-term returns

This is clearly a smart approach to investing and follows the classic age old advice of diversify, add, and hold. There are countless resources that go in depth on dollar cost averaging, so I wont go into that here. Instead, I’m going to share with you my progress. The fact is, I got into day trading because I hate investing. I don’t like thinking about companies profits, P/E ratios, etc. It’s a terrible bore and I’d much rather spend my time playing music and cooking. My long term positions, until recently, have been entirely invested in broad index ETF’s. This week, I sold all of those positions, created a fairly aggressive asset allocation (see table below), and bought a portfolio of 25 of their recommended assets. I also automated a script to pull the daily P/L percentage of my Stock Advisor portfolio, the S&P 500, NASDAQ, and Dow Jones Industrial Average, and add the cumulative result to the table at the top of the page. While I’d love to share with you the stocks that I bought, it wouldn’t be the right thing to do. You’ll just have to get your own subscription! Good luck everyone, and I wish you the very best that life has to offer!

My Asset Allocation

Category My Target
Stocks, US Large Cap 27%
Stocks, US Mid Cap 9%
Stocks, US Small Cap 14%
Stocks, International 17%
Real Estate 4%
ETF’s, Total US Stock Mkt. 14%
ETF’s, Total Intern. Stock Mkt. 5%
Bonds/Cash 10%

Best Day Trading Books

How to Day Trade for a Living: A Beginner’s Guide to Trading Tools and Tactics, Money Management, Discipline and Trading Psychology (Stock Market Trading and Investing)

From the author

Day trading is not gambling. It’s not an online poker game. To be successful at day trading you need the right tools and you need to be motivated, to work hard, and to persevere.

At the beginning of my trading career, a pharmaceutical company announced some positive results for one of its drugs and its stock jumped from $1 to over $55 in just two days. Two days! I was a beginner at the time. I was the amateur. I purchased 1,000 shares at $4 and sold them at over $10. On my very first beginner trade, I made $6,000 in a matter of minutes.

It was pure luck. I honestly had no idea what I was doing. Within a few weeks I had lost that entire $6,000 by making mistakes in other trades. I was lucky. My first stupid trade was my lucky one. Other people are not so lucky. For many, their first mistake is their last trade because in just a few minutes, in one simple trade, they lose all of the money they had worked so hard for. With their account at zero, they walk away from day trading.

As a new day trader you should never lose sight of the fact that you are competing with professional traders on Wall Street and other experienced traders around the world who are very serious, highly equipped with advanced education and tools, and most importantly, committed to making money.

Day trading is not gambling or a hobby. You must approach trading very, very seriously. As such, I wake up early, go for a run, take a shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and fire up my trading station before the markets open in New York. I am awake. I am alert. I am motivated when I sit down and start working on the list of stocks I will watch that day. This morning routine has tremendously helped my mental preparation for coming into the market. Whatever your routine is, starting the morning in a similar fashion will pay invaluable dividends.

Rolling out of bed and throwing water on your face 15 minutes before the opening bell just does not give you sufficient time to be prepared for the market’s opening. Sitting at your computer in your pajamas or underwear does not put you in the right mindset to attack the market. I know. I’ve experienced all of these scenarios.

In How to Day Trade for a Living, I will show you how you too can take control over your life and have success in day trading on the stock market. I love teaching. It’s my passion. In this book, I use simple and easy to understand words to explain the strategies and concepts you need to know to launch yourself into day trading on the stock market. This book is definitely NOT a difficult, technical, hard to understand, complicated and complex guide to the stock market. It’s concise. It’s practical. It’s written for everyone. You can learn how to beat Wall Street at its own game.

About the author

An entrepreneur since childhood, Andrew actively invests in FinTech companies related to the development of AI for trading. When not busy watching the markets, Andrew enjoys trail running, climbing, skiing, and high-altitude mountaineering. Andrew is currently on a mission to climb the highest volcano on each of the 7 continents.

Dr. Andrew Aziz is a Canadian trader and proprietary fund manager at Peak Capital Trading, Forbes Council official member, investor and #1 best-selling author. He has ranked as one of the Amazon top 100 best-selling authors in the “Business and Finance” category for over 4 consecutive years (2016-present). His books in finance and stock market trading have been published thus far in 8 different languages (English, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, French, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Japanese).


The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel

Amazon.com Review

Among the library of investment books promising no-fail strategies for riches, Benjamin Graham’s classic, The Intelligent Investor, offers no guarantees or gimmicks but overflows with the wisdom at the core of all good portfolio management.

The hallmark of Graham’s philosophy is not profit maximization but loss minimization. In this respect, The Intelligent Investor is a book for true investors, not speculators or day traders. He provides, “in a form suitable for the laymen, guidance in adoption and execution of an investment policy” (1). This policy is inherently for the longer term and requires a commitment of effort. Where the speculator follows market trends, the investor uses discipline, research, and his analytical ability to make unpopular but sound investments in bargains relative to current asset value. Graham coaches the investor to develop a rational plan for buying stocks and bonds, and he argues that this plan must be a bulwark against emotional behavior that will always be tempting during abrupt bull and bear markets.

Since it was first published in 1949, Graham’s investment guide has sold over a million copies and has been praised by such luminaries as Warren E. Buffet as “the best book on investing ever written.” These accolades are well deserved. In its new form–with commentary on each chapter and extensive footnotes prepared by senior Money editor, Jason Zweig–the classic is now updated in light of changes in investment vehicles and market activities since 1972. What remains is a better book. Graham’s sage advice, analytical guides, and cautionary tales are still valid for the contemporary investor, and Zweig’s commentaries demonstrate the relevance of Graham’s principles in light of 1990s and early twenty-first century market trends. –Patrick O’Kelley

About the author

Benjamin Graham was a British-born American economist, professor and investor. He is widely known as the “father of value investing”, and wrote two of the founding texts in neoclassical investing: Security Analysis with David Dodd, and The Intelligent Investor.


Secrets of a Pivot Boss: Revealing Proven Methods for Profiting in the Market

Secrets of a Pivot Boss offers the most comprehensive collection of pivot-related trading ideas and concepts available to traders. Whether you are a real-time trader, swing trader, position trader, or investor, you will find great value in this book, regardless of the markets you trade or your level of experience. Frank Ochoa has analyzed the market every day over the past 12 years and has cultivated the techniques in this book into a fine art using the best leading indicators available to traders. The concepts in this book will help you become a more knowledgeable and confident trader. Professional traders use tools that are based purely on price, which is a leading indicator in its own class. In this book, we will discover the best leading indicators available to traders, including the Money Zone, Floor Pivots, and the Camarilla Equation. While you may have studied forms of pivots in the past, Frank Ochoa provides a fresh perspective that can only be described as a truly unique approach to playing these amazing levels for profit. You’ll learn powerful concepts like Two-Day Pivot Relationships, Pivot Width Forecasting, Pivot Trend Analysis, and Multiple Pivot Hot Zones. Not only will you learn about incredible pivot relationships, but Frank will also divulge his best trading secrets, including Powerful Candlestick Setups, the Types of Trading Days, the Types of Buyers and Sellers, Powerful Setups, and Proprietary Indicators. Taking this a step farther, Frank also provides the actual code to each of the scripts that he’s written and covered in the book! Secrets of a Pivot Boss brings a fresh approach to these powerful concepts that you will not find anywhere else.

About the author

Franklin Ochoa is a twelve-year market veteran, system developer, and analyst. He has educated thousands of traders over the last decade through seminars, boot camps, trader conferences, educational DVDs, webinars, and private consulting. Frank is also the founder of PivotBoss.com, where he contributes daily analysis, education, and market insight.