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How to Average up Stocks: The Ultimate Guide to Averaging

Skylar Williams

Sep 21, 2022 14:50

Stocks are inherently volatile. This implies that their prices fluctuate rapidly, sometimes without much notice. Because of this, it is often unwise to invest too much money in a single stock. Averaging up can effectively increase your stake in a stock you consider to have long-term potential. More shares purchased at higher prices will cost more than the same number of shares purchased at a lower price.

What Is Average Up?

Average up refers to the act of purchasing extra shares of an existing stock at a higher price, and this increases the average price paid by the investor for all of their shares.

Averaging up is accomplished in the context of short selling by selling additional shares at a higher price than the initial transaction. A common trend-following approach will boost the position's weighted average as the price rises. The goal is to focus on your successes.

The act of averaging into a stock raises the average price per share. For instance, suppose you purchase XYZ at $20 per share, and as the stock price climbs, you purchase equal quantities at $24, $28, and $32 per share. This would result in an average cost basis of $26 per share.

To take advantage of momentum in a rising market or when an investor believes a stock's price will rise, averaging up can be an advantageous approach. The viewpoint may be based on the occurrence of a particular catalyst or on fundamentals.

Others base their buying on the performance of technical indicators like moving average, rising trend, or up-down momentum, which compares a stock's average up the volume to its average down the volume.

How to Determine The Potential For Growth?

What is the correct definition of the term 'cheap'? Is it based on historical appraisals or industry comparisons? What if the company in question has radically altered its business model or has been a significant industry disruptor?

Does the fact that a stock's price has doubled imply that it is time to make a profit? Many companies (especially those with a smaller market capitalization) have the ability to double their share price and then double it again.

Due to the effectiveness of the Pfizer-Biotech vaccine, the stock of the German biotech company BioNTech (BNTX) rose from roughly $10 at launch in 2019 to more than $380 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in August 2021.

However, since then, the stock has lost more than half of its value, trading at approximately $150 in August 2022.

Even if your trading decisions are based on the extensive study as opposed to the hot hand fallacy or averaging up, prior performance is not a reliable sign of future performance. The markets are volatile, and the value of any asset may decline, resulting in losses.

Averaging Up vs. Averaging Down

A common opposite to averaging up is averaging down or purchasing more shares of a stock as its price declines. While averaging down reduces your cost per share, and some proponents of a value approach to investing employ this strategy, it might result in bigger losses if the stock price continues to decline.

Investopedia does not offer financial, tax, or investment services or advice. The material is provided without regard to any particular person's investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances and may not be appropriate for all investors. Investing involves risk, including the potential for capital loss.

Benefits of Averaging Up Strategy

Enter successful stocks: There are always those stocks in the portfolio that experience sustained pressure. The price continues to decline, and the losses continue to increase. A prolonged decrease in the stock price increases selling pressure. A simple law of the markets states that if a stock is decreasing, someone must have identified a weakness in the company's finances or management. Poorly performing stocks are always the first to decline. On the other hand, averaging up in the stock market facilitates the purchase of winning stocks. If a stock is seeing prolonged buying, a large number of investors must be optimistic about its future performance. By averaging up, you have the chance to profit from the rising trend.

Many investors purchase extra shares as the share price falls. It helps reduce the average purchase price and boosts the possibility of earnings. However, the likelihood of catching a falling knife increases dramatically by purchasing a stock while it is falling. The method of averaging up is relatively secure, and it assists in avoiding harmful businesses.

Brings to the forefront of a rally the idea that all businesses begin small. When a company is small, its market capitalization is modest and receives minimal investor interest. As market capitalization climbs steadily, more investors become aware of the stock, boosting buying as soon as a stock surpasses a specific market stock threshold and its price increases. Averaging up in the stock market places you at the forefront of the stock price growth.

Multibaggers are notoriously difficult to predict, even for extremely experienced investors. The price of a stock that has increased by a factor of two may increase by a factor of five in the near future. No one can tell if the stock will become a multibagger. The only way to improve your position in a potentially multibagger investment is to average up at regular periods. The additional shares acquired through dollar-cost averaging can assist in generating substantial returns.

Averaging down

In contrast to averaging up, averaging down is the exact opposite. It entails purchasing extra shares at a discount.

To demonstrate, consider the prior scenario in which 100 shares of business A were purchased for S$25 each share.

The stock price dropped to S$20 per share the following day. You decide to buy 100 shares at this price, spending a total of S$2,000. The next day, the stock price again decreased to S$15 per share.

You acquire 100 additional shares with the idea that you are receiving an even better deal than when the share price was $25. With this third transaction, the price per share has decreased to S$1,500.

You have spent a total of S$6,000 to acquire 300 shares, decreasing your average purchase price from S$25 to S$20. This is a straightforward example of how to average down. 


Investors who utilize this method frequently feel that a lower share price indicates an even better deal than all else being equal.

This strategy is beneficial for reducing your average cost and improving your safety margin.

Short-term occurrences, such as missed quarterly earnings or a temporary roadblock, may have precipitated the share price decline. However, it is essential to guarantee that the business's long-term outlook stays positive.

Buffet once advised, "Be greedy when others are afraid." By purchasing discounted shares, you are capitalizing on the anxiety of others to profitably grow your shareholdings at lower costs.


This method is beneficial, however, only if business prospects stay intact. If the selected company is a dud, diminishing revenue and profitability will almost invariably result in additional price declines.

It would be unwise to average down a firm with a dismal future. In such situations, abandoning the venture and pursuing a more promising candidate is preferable.

Is Averaging Down An Effective Strategy?

The straightforward answer to this question is that it depends. In addition, investing professionals tend to hold divergent views regarding the efficacy of averaging down.

Long-term contrarian investors advocate the averaging-down strategy.

This method should not be employed lightly. If there is a large amount of selling against a firm, you would adopt a contrarian investment strategy and go against the trend. Contrary to the majority, purchasing shares while others are selling might be advantageous, but it can also mean overlooking the hazards that are causing others to sell.

However, if you invest in a company as opposed to merely a stock, you may have a better sense of whether a decline in the stock's price is temporary or a hint of problems based on the firm's past performance and current condition.

If you actually trust in the firm and wish to raise your ownership, then averaging down may make sense. If you intend to own the stock for an extended period of time, it makes sense to buy extra shares at a discount.

Why Is Averaging Up Better Than Averaging Down?

Happy investors sell less.

We have all been in the position of wanting nothing more than to sell a losing investment. You are indifferent, can't stand to look at it, and you just want to leave. This causes increased selling of underperforming equities. Call it window dressing or simply selling out of irritation, but poor stocks are typically the first to be sold. Buying on the way up, on the other hand, allows you to buy in a stock that investors like, makes them feel good, and makes them seem good. Overall, this is a much better circumstance.

Avoid troublesome corporations

Everyone is familiar with the idiom "catch a falling knife." It is painful to purchase a stock on the decline just to be confronted with additional troubles and losses. Ask the poor (very poor) investors that purchased Poseidon Concepts Corporation (stock suspended) at $12, $5, and $2 as the stock plummeted to $0. Buying on the ascent prevents stepping on a bomb.

Greater market capitalizations attract more investors.

Small businesses struggle to garner investor interest. However, as a firm's market capitalization rises, so does investor interest. In Canada, where so much capital is concentrated in so few enterprises, a price increase just means more buyers. Once a company's share price increases to the point where its market capitalization reaches $500 million, its valuation improves as liquidity and trade increase. It is the same company, but investors now place a higher value on it. You can get ahead of this move by averaging up.

Buy into higher earnings momentum.

A rising stock price indicates that conditions are favorable and that other investors have taken note. Typically, this is because earnings are growing faster than anticipated. Last week, this was the case with CGI. Earnings momentum investing is not failsafe but often results in stock increases. In general, when business is good, its trajectory does not abruptly reverse overnight. Gaining momentum by arithmetically averaging upwards.

Get a multi-bagger

You can never quadruple your investment in stock unless it first doubles. If you want a stock to increase 10-fold during your ownership, you cannot be frightened to purchase it after it has already increased five-fold. It is elementary math. Averaging up to your winners allows you to acquire a substantial position in a rapidly growing stock, which is the best possible outcome. In addition, you know that you have allies (other investors) on your side when the stock price rises. Your confidence in having a larger interest in that company for a longer length of time increases when wealthy investors validate your investment thesis.

When Should You Average Up on Stocks?

You should only average up on stocks if you are convinced that the stock's price will continue to grow owing to favorable economic conditions or investor optimism. You should conduct in-depth research on the stock to determine whether cash flow and earnings will continue to rise over the next few years.

How to Average Up Stocks?

If you want to improve your investment techniques, you may want to explore the up averaging technique. Averaging up in the stock market entails purchasing additional shares of a stock when its price declines. The objective is to reduce the average cost per share and boost potential earnings.

Obviously, averaging up is not risk-free. If the stock price continues to decline, you may incur a net loss. And if the stock price fluctuates, you may end up purchasing shares at a higher price than what you initially paid. So how can you know when it's a smart idea to average up? Here is some advice:

Look for stocks that have a history of stability and are well-established. These stocks are less likely to encounter dramatic price movements, making it simpler to average up without incurring large losses.

Consider purchasing additional shares of existing stock. This will enable you to make more informed investment selections, as you will be familiar with the company and how it runs.

Consider your overall investment objectives. If done right, averaging up can help you reach your goals more quickly, but it's crucial to have a plan, so you don't take on more risks than you're comfortable with.

If you decide that averaging up is your best strategy, there are several ways to implement it. Dollar-cost averaging entails investing a fixed amount of money in the stock at regular intervals. This strategy can help you minimize your losses if the stock price falls and capitalize on lower pricing if the stock price eventually recovers.

Optionally, the stock may be acquired in smaller increments over time. Thus, you can avoid some of the hazards involved with averaging up by only purchasing additional shares when the price declines.

Whether or not averaging up is a suitable investment strategy depends on your specific investment goals and objectives. If done correctly, averaging up can be a fantastic method to increase profits and attain your financial objectives more quickly. However, if you are not attentive, it might potentially result in greater losses.

Should You Buy More When It Goes Up or Down? 

This is contingent upon the underlying stock. For instance, if a company's financials, goods, etc., are all excellent, you may want to purchase additional stock when it's rising (averaging up).

Alternatively, if a company is in distress and its stock price has already fallen much, averaging down may be a better option. Due to the possibility that the stock will never recover, you will continue to lose money. It is essential to note that it relies on the specific investor and the specific asset.

Each problem should be approached individually. Reading additional articles on our website is the greatest approach to preparing for this decision, and you will gain a better grasp of how to make this decision by doing so.

Final Thoughts

There is no right or wrong approach to calculating the average cost of a stock, and it is contingent upon your investment objectives and risk tolerance. If you are okay with the associated risks, averaging up or down can effectively reduce your overall cost basis and increase your prospective profits. However, if you are uncomfortable with risk, purchasing stock shares at a single price may be advisable.