If You Had One Indicator For Trading Technical Analysis What Would It Be? 

I've received several emails this past week and the biggest two questions I was asked repeatedly were "Roger, what is your favorite indicator for trading technical analysis strategies?" and "If you had to choose only one technical analysis indicator, what would it be?" My explanation was rather simple; the best indicators are the ones that fit the type of market environment that you are currently trading.

The Moving Average Indicator

The exponential moving average is a variation of a simple moving average. Before computers were widely used for market analysis, traders relied on simple moving average indicators because they were easy and simple to calculate. To calculate a 10-day simple moving average, simply add the closing prices of the last 10 days and divide by 10. The 20-day moving average is calculated by adding the closing prices over a 20-day period and divide by 20, and so on.

As traders began using computers in the early 70s, they wanted to find ways to make improvements to the moving average, more specifically... they wanted to find a way to create less lag between the market they were analyzing and the indicator. The simple moving average was just not fast enough to react to volatile market swings. Traders wanted an indicator that was similar to a simple moving average, but would put more weight on recent price action and less on past price action.

The moving average indicator is just one of the many factors I use to identify small cap, explosive breakouts. Every single week, my team and I use computers, codes, and moving averages to select the 6 best opportunities in the small cap sectors. Once identified, we enter the trades and exit just a few short days after. We've been able to capture trades like 305% on BEL, 746% on UBNT, and 1,453% on ENTA. In fact, this specific strategy turned just $1,000 into over $8 million in just 20 years. In the next 48 hours, I am offering a very special class to a select number of individuals who want to learn this strategy. In my 60 minute presentation, you'll learn how using moving averages and other factors can lead to such explosive breakouts and large gains. 

Learn the strategy right now, for free [plus you'll also receive my #1 stock pick of the year in the presentation]. I don't want you leaving this article just knowing about the moving average indicator, I want you to take action. You can do that by starting here.  

Now, back to the moving average indicator. You can see in the example below how the simple moving average reacts much slower to price action than the exponential moving average. This is the primary reason why most short term traders and day traders use the exponential moving average instead of the simple one.

Notice How The Red Line Is More Dynamic Than The Green Line

Take a look at another example, of how the exponential moving average is quicker to react when trading technical analysis trends. In this example, you can see how much faster the exponential moving average reacts to the stock turning back up. The simple moving average barely moves, while the stock is gaining substantial momentum upwards.

The Green Line Barely Moves While Stock Gains Substantial Momentum Upwards

The Best Way To Utilize The Exponential Moving Average

Today, I will also show you a complete trading method that I created several years ago that relies on the exponential moving average indicator. Since the exponential moving average is very dynamic and responds well to recent price changes, I tend to use it to trade pullbacks or retracement strategies.

The first thing you need to do is to adjust the exponential moving average to 20 days. The 20 day is a good starting point for most volatile stocks, futures and currency markets. If you are day trading, use 20 bars instead of 20 days.

After you adjust the settings, you want to find a stock or other market that's trading substantially above the 20 day exponential moving average. The further the price is away from the average, the better. You can see in this example below how far the stock is trading above the moving average. This is a great filter for finding stocks or other markets that are trending strongly.

You Want To Find Stocks or Other Markets That Are Rising Sharply Away From The EMA

The next step is to monitor the stock or market you are trading and wait for the market to trade completely below the 20 day EMA. This example below shows you exactly what I mean. You want to make sure that the high is not touching the EMA and is trading completely below it.

The Stock Rallied and Within A Few Days Drops Completely Below The EMA

The next step after the stock or other market you are trading drops completely below the 20 day EMA is to wait for the market to trade once again completely above the 20 Day EMA. You can see how the stock only dropped for a few days prior to resuming the strong trend, this is a good sign. If the stock was to stay below the average for more than one week I would probably be a bit concerned about continued momentum.

The Move Below The Moving Average Was Short Lived

Here is how the entire pattern looks like on one chart. You can get a good feel for how the 20 day EMA filters strong trending markets and more importantly, how it identifies pullbacks away from the main trend.

The Conclusion and Where To Go From Here

I hope you now see why the 20 day EMA is one of the most flexible indicators for trading technical analysis strategies. The power of this indicator is only one piece of the pie when it comes to the strategy I mentioned earlier, which I can now call Overnight Fortunes. If you want to learn how to capture explosive breakouts on options, learn here for free. 

You'll learn the strategy behind gaining fortune overnight, and you'll also receive my #1 stock pick in the free presentation.

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Roger Scott
Senior Publisher