A moving average is an effective technical indicator that helps traders spot trends within the “noise” of normal price variations when trading anything from commodity futures to stocks, foreign currencies, or even cryptocurrencies. The time frame used for moving averages will be best set according to the needs of the trader. Long term swing traders and stock investors use fifty to two hundred day moving averages. Meanwhile, day traders pick moving averages of sixty minutes down to as short as one minute. How to use moving averages for day trading is a basic skill for traders to learn.

In Day Trading, Why Do We Care About Moving Averages?

Over the span of minutes, market prices jump up and back down. What do they mean? Is there a trend emerging within all of this? The reason we care about moving averages in day trading is that by averaging out the “noise” of temporary price fluctuations, we can actually spot when market prices are starting to head up or down. By reliably recognizing intraday trends we are able to choose appropriate trading strategies and profit from the price movement of the day.

Are Moving Averages Effective for Day Trading?

No single tool is sufficient by itself for day trading but, in general, moving averages should always be part of a trader’s tool kit. To be effective, moving averages chosen for day trading need to match the approach that the trader is taking. For example, scalpers will typically use a one-minute moving average as well as one two slightly longer timeframes. Others will make do with longer time frames but all within the span of the trading day.

Which Moving Average Is Best for Day Trading?

The best moving average for day trading will be determined by the strategies that you use. Traders who look to profit from longer term movements during the day will want moving averages that span hours while shorter moving averages in the minutes will be more appropriate for other trading approaches. While longer term moving averages help spot trends evolving over time, they can also tell the trader when it is best not to try entering the market as it has no current set direction and could go either way.

Is the 3-Hour Moving Average Good for Day Trading?

Day traders typically use moving averages with time frames of minutes up to an hour. A time frame of three hours is on the long end of usefulness in helping with day trading decisions and if one uses such a longer time frame it should be coupled with substantially shorter ones in order to successfully read market movement that takes place, reverses, and reverses again over the span of minutes instead of taking place over hours.

What Are the Most Popular Moving Averages for Day Trading?

At DayTradeSafe we teach our students how to effectively enter, manage, and exit their trades with discipline. Choosing and learning how to use moving averages is a large part of what is needed for effective trade decisions. In general, the most popular moving averages for day trading are measured in minutes but having one set for hours will add perspective while the shorter ones will assist in making the split second decisions so often needed to short term profits.

Which Moving Average to Use for Day Trading

The first choice of the day is not to choose a moving average but rather to choose a trading strategy. The choice of moving averages will follow when the trader decides if they intend to scalp profits in a rapidly moving market. In that case time frames as short as one minute will be appropriate. For strategies that benefit from trend action over longer periods of time, longer time frames will work better. If price action with one moving average is not being helpful or making sense one can always reset and then reappraise market action.

How Can We Use the Simple Moving Average in Day Trading?

The purpose of using a simple moving average in day trading is to average out the momentary highs and lows in the market and be able to see trends that are emerging, gaining steam, or getting ready to reverse. Day traders typically use more than one moving average at a time and commonly add another technical indicator. Then, using the skills of a benchmarked professional trader, students of DayTradeSafe use moving averages for day trading profits.