Day Trading

Purchasing and selling securities within the same trading day

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What is Day Trading?

The main attribute of day trading is that the purchasing and selling of securities occurs within the same trading day. It means that all trading positions are liquidated at the end of a trading day. The main goals of day trading are discovering and leveraging short-term market inefficiencies.

Unlike many investors, day traders do not concern themselves with the long-term value of securities. Day traders are only interested in short-term price movements.

Day Trading

Day trading is a risky trading strategy. Even if a trader can accurately predict the price movements of securities, gains from the price changes can be offset by transaction fees.

Day traders may be employees of financial services companies such as banks and investment funds, as well as private individuals.

Key Parameters in Day Trading

The following parameters are essential for almost all day traders regardless of the trading strategy:

1. Volatility

This is a variable that measures the range of price fluctuations of a security. Volatility is helpful for day traders, as it provides them with more opportunities to capture profits from short-term price changes.

2. Trading volume

This is a measure of how many times a security is bought and sold during a specified trading period. The trading volume provides insights to a trader regarding interest in a security. Like volatility, higher volume usually means increased opportunities for day trading.

3. Liquidity

Liquidity affects the bid-ask spreads in the prices of a security. Low bid-ask spreads are often critical for day trading success because they help to minimize transaction costs.

Key Variables in Day Trading

Essential Tools for Day Traders

Day traders use various tools to profit from their strategies:

1. Real-time market data and news

Access to real-time market information is essential for day trading. Real-time market data and news allow traders to grasp the latest information on the market and leverage it to make profits. Day traders often spend significant amounts of money on access to real-time market data. One of the most popular market information options among day traders is Bloomberg terminals.

2. Electronic Communication Network (ECN)

This is an electronic system that matches the buy and sell orders between institutional and individual market participants. The ECN displays the best available bid and ask quotes, so it can help day traders obtain favorable buy and sell prices.

3. Securities price charts

Charts are crucial for the technical analysis of securities, which is the form of analysis most commonly used for day trading. Day traders often favor using candlestick charts. Candlesticks provide a clear visual display of the high, low, opening, and closing prices for a specific time period.

Day Trading Strategies

There are different techniques used to make profits from day trading. Each trader chooses his or her own trading strategy based on their risk tolerance and current market conditions. Traders may rely on several strategies to quickly adjust to rapidly changing market conditions.

The following are some of the most popular day trading strategies:

1. Scalping

Scalping is one of the most popular day trading strategies that aims to minimize losses but also only provides minimum profits. The strategy involves immediately closing a trade once it shows a small profit. Scalping trades may only be held for a few minutes or even just a few seconds.

2. Momentum

Momentum is a measure of the strength or acceleration of a security’s price trend. For example, a positive news release may trigger a sharp price increase that is sustained for a period of time. A day trader who is expecting such a move might buy the security, looking to sell it for a profit after the strong move up in price.

3. Contrarian trading

Contrarian trading is based on the idea that a security whose price has been steadily rising or declining for a while is due for a correction. Using a contrarian strategy, a day trader will look for signs of an impending reversal in price direction and trade accordingly.

Related Readings

CFI offers the Capital Markets & Securities Analyst (CMSA)® certification program for those looking to take their careers to the next level. To keep learning and advancing your career, the following resources will be helpful:

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