I realized that most finance and stock screener web sites don't provide the metric of the mean (average) price of the stock over a certain period of time, for example, the mean value of AAPL shares over the last 12 months (which I computed to be around $117 from 2015-02-20 to 2016-02-19). Is there a reason for this? Is this metric useless?

3 Answers 3


Edit3: Regarding the usefulness of the bare number itself, it is not useful unless, for example, an employer uses that average in the computation of how many options the employer grants to the employee as part of the compensation paid. One of my employers used just such an average. What is far more common is to use two or more moving averages, of different periods, plotted on a chart.

My original response continues below...

Assuming there are 252 trading days a year, the following chart does what you have done but with a moving average:

AAPL on Stockcharts.com

Edit: BTW, I looked up the number of Federal holidays, there are 9. The average year has 365.2422 days. 365.2422 × 5/7 = 260.8873. Subtract 9 and you get 251.8873 trading days in the average year. So 252 is a better number for the SMA than 250 if you want to average a year.

Edit2: Here is the same chart with more than one average included:

AAPL chart w/indicators

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    This is the most correct answer.
    – Victor
    Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 1:21
  • Not 365.25? Where does that difference come from? Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 17:45
  • This doesn't answer the question at all. The OP asked about the utility of this data. This gives a way to compute a number, but it doesn't answer the question of whether that number is meaningful.
    – user32479
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 4:04
  • 1
    @JoeTaxpayer Definition of Tropical Year Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 6:28
  • 1
    @JackSwayzeSr - never too old to learn something new. thanks Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 10:35

That metric is not very useful for anything other than very extremely long trading periods.

Most strategies or concerned with price movement over much shorter time frames, 15 mins, 1 hr, 4 hr, daily, weekly, monthly.

The MA or moving average is a trend following lagging indicator used to smooth out price fluctuations and more accurately reflect the price of trading instrument such as a stock (AAPL), commodity, or currency pair.

Traders are generally concerned with current market trends and price action of the instrument they are trading.

As such, an extremely long MA (average daily price, over a period of 365 days) are generally not that important.

  • 1
    That is not true regarding long MAs, in fact the 200 day MA is generally used by many to determine the general trend of a stock or the market. Traders can be very short term based to very long term based. There are trends that last minutes, trends that last days, trends that last weeks and trends that last years, by saying an extremely long MA is generally not that important is very incorrect, they can be more important than short term MAs.
    – Victor
    Commented Feb 20, 2016 at 21:59

I would have to disagree with the other responders. In technical analysis of stock charts, various short and long term moving averages are used to give an indication of the trend of the stock in the short and long term, as compared to the current price.

I would prefer to use the term moving average (MA) rather than average as the MA is recalculated every day (or at appropriate frequencies for your data) on the period you are using. I would also expand on the term "moving average". There are two that are commonly used

  • Simple Moving Average (SMA), this gives the average across a number of data points, giving equal weight to the most recent and the furthest away in time.
  • Exponentially Weighted Moving Average (EWMA), this gives the average across a number of data points, giving more weight to the most recent and less weight to the furthest away in time, based on an exponential weighting factor.

Going back to the question, of the value of this number, For example if the current price is above the 200 day EWMA and also above the 30 day EWMA, then the stock is broadly trending upwards. Conversely if current price is below the 200 day EWMA and also below the 30 day EWMA, then the stock is broadly trending downwards. These numbers are chosen on the basis of the market you are trading in, the volatility and other factors.

For another example of how a number of moving averages are used together, please have a read of Daryl Guppy's Multiple Moving Average, though this does not use moving averages as large as 200 days.

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