Pandas Time Series: Calculate EMA of Stock Price (Exponential Moving Average)

Updated: February 19, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


Analyzing the stock market trends and making informed decisions is crucial for traders and financial analysts. One way to simplify this analysis is by using the Exponential Moving Average (EMA), a widely used technique in time series data. In this tutorial, we’ll focus on how to calculate the EMA of stock prices using Pandas in Python, making it easier for you to work with financial datasets.

Understanding EMA

The Exponential Moving Average (EMA) is a type of moving average that places a greater weight and significance on the most recent data points. Unlike simple moving averages, EMA reacts more significantly to price changes, making it ideal for traders who need to make quick decisions based on the latest trends. It’s calculated using a specific formula that incorporates the current price, the previous EMA, and a smoothing factor derived from the period of the EMA.

Getting Started

To calculate EMA using Pandas, we first need to install Pandas if it’s not already installed. You can do so via the following command:

pip install pandas

Once Pandas is installed, we’ll also need financial market data. For this tutorial, let’s use Yahoo Finance to download stock price data. Though not covered in detail here, you can use libraries such as yfinance to download this data directly into Python.

pip install yfinance

Here’s a simple code snippet to get started with yfinance and download stock data:

import yfinance as yf
df ='AAPL', start='2020-01-01', end='2020-12-31')

Now, let’s dive into how to calculate the EMA of stock prices using Pandas.

Calculating EMA with Pandas

Calculating the EMA in Pandas is straightforward thanks to the ewm (Exponential Weighted functions) method. This method can be applied directly to a DataFrame or Series to compute the EMA. Here’s how you can calculate a 12-day EMA for Apple’s stock price:

ema12 = df['Close'].ewm(span=12, adjust=False).mean()

In the above code, df['Close'] refers to the closing price column of the Apple stock price DataFrame. The ewm method takes two main arguments: span, which refers to the period of the EMA (12 days in this case), and adjust, which we set to False to use the recursive formula for calculating EMA, ensuring more weight is given to recent prices.

Visualizing the EMA

Visualizing the calculated EMA alongside the original stock price provides valuable insights into market trends. For this purpose, we can use Matplotlib, another Python library that excels at creating static, animated, and interactive visualizations. If you haven’t already, install Matplotlib using:

pip install matplotlib

To visualize the 12-day EMA along with the closing stock prices of Apple, use the following code:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

df['EMA12'] = ema12
df[['Close', 'EMA12']].plot(figsize=(10,5))
plt.title('12-day EMA of Apple Stock Price')

This plot will display the EMA line that closely follows the ups and downs of the stock price but with a smoother curve, highlighting the trend more clearly.

Adjusting the EMA Span

The span of the EMA is adjustable and can be changed based on your analysis needs. A shorter span will make the EMA more sensitive to price changes, while a longer span will smooth out the curve further, reducing sensitivity. For instance, to calculate a 26-day EMA, simply modify the span parameter in the ewm method as follows:

ema26 = df['Close'].ewm(span=26, adjust=False).mean()

You can then plot this alongside the 12-day EMA and the closing prices to compare the differences in sensitivity and trend acknowledgement.


Using Pandas to calculate the Exponential Moving Average of stock prices is an efficient method to analyze market trends. The steps provided in this tutorial will help you incorporate EMA into your financial data analysis, offering both potency in trend identification and flexibility through adjustment of the EMA’s span. Whether you’re a seasoned trader or just starting in data analysis, mastering the EMA calculation using Pandas can provide you with valuable insights into stock market movements.