I see SMA5, SMA50, EMA13 etc.. but it's not obvious what the "period" over which these averages are taken.

If I have a graph showing last 24 hours of data and select SMA20, does it average the last 20 minutes, 20 hours, 20 days or 20 tick values?

And if I then adjust the graph to show last 6 hours, or 10 days, how does the period used in these technical analysis indicators adjust to accommodate less or more data ?

e.g. if I show a 48 hour graph and a EMA13 indicator, what period or window of historic data would be used to compute the moving average?

1 Answer 1


The period should be the period you are using.

For example, if you are looking at a daily chart where each bar or candle represents one day, then your period for indicators would be daily. Similarly if you look at a weekly chart where each bar represents a week, then the period used for indicators would be weeks.

If you are looking at intra-day charts, where each bar is represented as say one hour, then your indicator period should be one hour. If looking at a chart where each bar is a minute, then your indicator period should be one minute.

It doesn't matter the duration you are looking at, if you are looking at a chart with one minute bars over a one hour duration and change if to a 10 minute duration, both your bars and indicators should still represent the same period, in this case one minute.

So if you change the period of each bar you should make sure that the indicators represent the same period as each individual bar.

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