Average Up

What Is Average Up?

Average up refers to the process of buying additional shares of a stock one already owns, but at a higher price. This raises the average price that the investor has paid for all their shares.

Key Takeaways

  • Average up refers to the process of buying additional shares of a stock one already owns, but at a higher price.
  • Averaging up can be an attractive strategy to take advantage of momentum in a rising market or where an investor believes a stock’s price will rise.
  • Investors following an average-up strategy could expose themselves to increased losses if they wind up buying company shares just before they fall sharply or if the stock price hits a peak.

Understanding Average Up

In the context of short selling, averaging up is achieved by selling additional shares at a price higher than that of the first transaction. A popular trend-following strategy will average up on a position as the price increases. The idea is to lean into your winners.

Averaging up into a stock increases your average price per share. For example, say you buy XYZ at $20 per share, and as the stock rises you buy equal amounts at $24, $28, and $32 per share. This would bring your average purchase price, or cost- basis, to $26 per share.

Averaging up can be an attractive strategy to take advantage of momentum in a rising market or where an investor believes a stock’s price will rise. The view could be based on the triggering of a specific catalyst or on fundamentals.

Some investors use a discipline in their averaging up strategies, planning their purchases for when a stock has hit a certain price, while others base their buying on the performance of technical indicators such as moving average, upward trend, or up-down momentum, which compares a stock’s average up volume to its average down volume.

Special Considerations

Averaging up does have risks though. Investors following an average-up strategy could expose themselves to increased losses if they wind up buying company shares just before they fall sharply or if the stock price hits a peak. Even if averaging up, you can still make profits as the stock rises by selling small percentages of a position to lock in some gains. That can help to reduce your losses if there’s a sudden reversal in the stock price.

When you average up in a portfolio context, you have to weigh the effect of increasing your position in a stock against the impact on overall concentration. In other words, making sure that weights and investment holding sizes for each stock position are still in line with the target levels you’ve set for the portfolio. This is important if volatility is a concern.

Other investors are agnostic to where the stock price is and will regularly buy more shares as part of a plan. Such a plan could involve a monthly investment added to a given stock. This process is also be referred to as "Dollar Cost Averaging".

Averaging Up vs. Averaging Down

Averaging up is often contrasted with averaging down, or buying more shares of a stock as its price falls. While averaging down lowers your cost per share, and some advocates of following a value style of investing practice it, the problem with that strategy is that it can lead to greater losses if the stock price continues to fall.

Investopedia does not provide tax, investment, or financial services and advice. The information is presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.

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