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Moving Average Envelopes: Learn How Clever Traders Use Them

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This technical analysis guide introduces you to Moving Average Envelopes.

We cover what a Moving Average Envelope is and how traders can use insights from this technical tool to create a better trading strategy with better-informed decisions.

What Are Moving Average Envelopes?

Moving Average Envelopes consist of a moving average plus and minus a certain user-defined percentage deviation.

Moving Average Envelopes claim to be an indicator of overbought or oversold conditions, visual representations of price trends, and an indicator of price breakouts.

The inputs of the Moving Average Envelopes indicator is shared below:

  1. Moving Average: A simple moving average of both the highs and the lows. (generally 20-period, but varies among technical analysts; also, a person could use only the close when calculating the moving average, rather than two)
  2. Upper Band: The moving average of the highs plus a user-defined percentage increase (usually between 1 & 10%).
  3. Lower Band: The moving average of the lows minus a user-defined percentage (again, usually between 1 & 10%).

How To Interpret Moving Average Envelopes

In the chart below, the QQQQ’s price is not trending.

During non-trending phases of markets, it could be argued that Moving Average Envelopes would make great overbought and oversold indicators.

Moving Average Envelopes
This chart of the Nasdaq 100 ETF (QQQQ) shows a 20-day moving average with both a 1% and 2% percentage bands.
  • Using the concept of range trading, a trader might buy when the stock price penetrates the lower envelope and closes back inside the envelope.
  • Likewise, a trader might sell when the stock price penetrates the upper envelope and then closes back down inside the envelope.

How To Spot A Price Breakout Indicator

When stock prices are done resting and consolidating, they breakout, in one direction or the other. Hence:

  • A trader might view prices breaking above the upper envelope as a potential buy opportunity.
  • And when prices break below the lower envelope, a trader might view that as a selling opportunity.

An illustration of an upward price breakout is shown above on the chart of the QQQQ’s. On the right side, the QQQQ’s gapped up above the 2% price band.

How To Spot A Price Trend Indicator

A new trend in price is usually indicated by a price breakout as outlined above with a continued price close above the upper band, for an upward price trend.

A continued price close below the lower band might indicate a new downward price trend.

In the chart of the QQQQ’s, after the price breakout, the closing price continued to close above the upper band; this is a good example of how a price trend begins.

Soon after, the price will fall back into the Moving Average Envelopes, but the Moving Average Envelopes will be heading in a positive direction – easily identifying the recent trend as up.

Other similar indicators such as Bollinger Bands and Keltner Channels that adjust to volatility should be investigated as well.

Which Brokers Can I Practice With?

If you are interested in trading using technical analysis, have a look at our reviews of these regulated brokers available in to learn which charting & analysis tools they offer:

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CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74%-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Further Reading

Learn more about technical analysis indicators, concepts, and strategies including Momentum, Elliot Waves, Market Thrust, Moving Averages, and Fibonacci Patterns.

Also see our guides on Forex, Bitcoin, CFD, Stocks, Cryptos, Bullion dealers, and Options brokers to find out which tools brokerages offer their clients.

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