Dollar Cost Averaging

Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA) is a strategy that can be used by both long-term investors and intraday traders, aiming to reduce the impact of market volatility on the entry cost of their investments. Here's how it would compare for an intraday trader vs. a long-term investor:

Intraday Trader

An intraday trader aims to capitalize on short-term price movements within a single trading day. They would divide their trading capital into smaller portions and enter positions at different price levels throughout the day to average the entry cost. By doing so, they can reduce the impact of intraday market volatility and minimize the risk of entering a position at an unfavorable price.


Let's say an intraday trader has $1,000 to invest in a stock. They decide to use DCA to manage their risk in a volatile market. They divide their capital into five equal parts of $200 each. The stock's price changes during the day as follows:

  • 10:00 am: $50

  • 11:30 am: $48

  • 1:00 pm: $52

  • 2:30 pm: $49

  • 4:00 pm: $51

The trader buys $200 worth of shares at each of these price points:

  • 10:00 am: 4 shares

  • 11:30 am: 4.17 shares

  • 1:00 pm: 3.85 shares

  • 2:30 pm: 4.08 shares

  • 4:00 pm: 3.92 shares

In total, the intraday trader purchases 20.02 shares for $1,000. Their average purchase price is $49.98 ($1,000 / 20.02).

Long-term Investor

A long-term investor, on the other hand, focuses on building a portfolio over an extended period, often years. They would use DCA by regularly investing a fixed amount of money into a particular asset, regardless of its price. This approach helps them acquire more shares when prices are low and fewer shares when prices are high, thus averaging the purchase cost over time.


A long-term investor has $1,000 to invest in an ETF over five months. They decide to invest $200 each month, regardless of the ETF's price. The ETF's price changes over the five months as follows:

  • Month 1: $100

  • Month 2: $110

  • Month 3: $90

  • Month 4: $95

  • Month 5: $105

The investor buys $200 worth of shares at each of these price points:

  • Month 1: 2 shares

  • Month 2: 1.82 shares

  • Month 3: 2.22 shares

  • Month 4: 2.11 shares

  • Month 5: 1.90 shares

In total, the long-term investor purchases 10.05 shares for $1,000. Their average purchase price is $99.50 ($1,000 / 10.05).

The main difference between the two lies in their investment horizon and objectives. Intraday traders use DCA to reduce exposure to short-term market fluctuations, while long-term investors use the strategy to build a portfolio with minimized timing risk. Additionally, intraday traders would typically close their positions within the same day, whereas long-term investors hold their investments for years.

It is important to note that both intraday trading and long-term investing come with their own set of risks. Using DCA does not guarantee profitability, and a disciplined approach, proper risk management, and a well-defined plan are crucial for success in both cases.

DCA with Fibonacci Retracement Tool

Using the Fibonacci Retracement Tool for DCA involves setting up incremental investment amounts at certain predefined retracement levels. The idea is to increase your investment as the price goes down, reducing the average cost of your holdings. Here's how you could potentially do this using the 0.25, 0.5, and 0.75 levels:

  1. Identify the Swing High and Swing Low: The first step in using the Fibonacci Retracement Tool is to identify the most recent significant swing high (peak) and swing low (trough) on the chart.

  2. Draw the Fibonacci levels: Next, you would use the Fibonacci Retracement Tool in your trading platform to draw lines between the identified swing high and swing low. This would automatically plot the Fibonacci retracement levels on the chart. In this case, we are interested in the 0.25, 0.5, and 0.75 levels. Note that these are not standard Fibonacci levels, so you would have to manually add them to your tool.

  3. Plan your Investments: The next step is to decide how much you want to invest at each level. For example, you might decide to invest 20% of your intended total investment at the 0.25 level, 30% at the 0.5 level, and 50% at the 0.75 level. This way, you are investing more as the price goes down, which can help reduce your average cost if the price recovers.

  4. Execute your Plan: Once the price reaches each of these levels, you would make the corresponding investment.

Fib Retracement Tool in TradingView configured for DCA:

Remember that while this strategy can help reduce your average cost in a declining market, there's no guarantee that the price will recover after reaching the 0.75 level. It's possible that the price could continue to decline, so it's important to also have a plan for managing your risk if the price moves against you.

Last updated