The exponential moving average is a special type of weighted moving average. Like the basic weighted moving average, the exponential moving average is front weighted. Unlike other moving averages, though, the exponential moving average incorporates all prior prices used in the data. This type of moving average assigns progressively smaller weights to each of the past prices. Each weight is exponentially smaller than the previous weight, hence, the name exponential moving average.
One of the most popular uses of the exponential moving average is for use in the MACD (Moving Average Convergence-Divergence). The MACD is composed of two lines. The first line is the difference between two exponential moving averages (usually the 26- and 12-period exponential moving averages). The second line of the MACD is made by taking an exponential moving average (usually a 9 period) of the difference between the two exponential moving averages used to make the first line. This second line is called the signal line. More about the MACD in Exhibits 13.7 and 13.8.
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