Exponential Moving Average


The Exponential Moving Average (EMA) is a specific type of moving average that points towards the importance of the most recent data and information from the market. The Exponential Moving Average is just like it’s name says - it’s exponential, weighting the most recent prices more than the less recent prices. The EMA can be compared and contrasted with the simple moving average.


The formula for calculating the Exponential Moving Average (EMA) is shown below.


EMA = Exponential Moving Average

Although there are many options to choose from when considering the smoothing factor, most opt for a value of 2. This value gives more credibility to the most recent data points available. The more a trader increases the smoothing factor value, the more influence the most recent data will have on the moving average.

To calculate the EMA, follow this simple formula.

The Exponential Moving Average is equal to the closing price multiplied by the multiplier, plus the EMA of the previous day and then multiplied by 1 minus the multiplier.

EMA = Closing price x multiplier + EMA (previous day) x (1-multiplier)


Similar to other moving averages, the EMA is a technical indicator that produces buy and sell signals based on data that shows evidence of divergence and crossovers from general and historical averages. Additionally, the EMA tries to amplify the importance that the most recent data points play in a calculation. 

It is common to use more than one EMA length at once, to provide more in-depth and focused data. For example, by choosing 10-day and 200-day moving averages, a trader is able to determine more from the results in a long-term trade, than a trader who is only analyzing one EMA length.

It’s best to use the EMA when for trending markets, as it shows uptrends and downtrends when a market is strong and weak, respectively. An experienced trader will know to look both at the line the EMA projects, as well as the rate of change that comes from each bar as it moves to the next data point. Analyzing these points and data streams correctly will help the trader determine when they should buy, sell, or switch investments from bearish to bullish or vice versa.

What to look for

Short-term averages, on the other hand, is a different story when analyzing Exponential Moving Average data. It is most common for traders to quote and utilize 12- and 26-day EMAs in the short-term. This is because they are used to create specific indicators. Look into Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) for more information. Similarly, the 50- and 200-day moving averages are most common for analyzing long-term trends.

Moving averages can be very useful for traders using technical analysis for profit. It is important to identify and realize, however, their shortcomings, as all moving averages tend to suffer from recurring lag. It is difficult to modify the moving average to work in your favor at times, often having the preferred time to enter or exit the market pass before the moving average even shows changes in the trend or price movement for that matter.

All of this is true, however, the EMA strives to make this easier for traders. The EMA is unique because it places more emphasis on the most recent data. Therefore, price movement and trend reversals or changes are closely monitored, allowing for the EMA to react quicker than other moving averages.


Although using the Exponential Moving Average has a lot of advantages when analyzing market trends, it is also uncertain whether or not the use of most recent data points truly affects technical and market analysis. In addition, the EMA relies on historical data as its basis for operating and because news, events, and other information can change rapidly the indicator can misinterpret this information by weighting the current prices higher than when the event actually occurred. 


The Exponential Moving Average (EMA) is a moving average and technical indicator that reflects and projects the most recent data and information from the market to a trader and relies on a base of historical data. It is one of many different types of moving averages and has an easily calculable formula.

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