Swing trading is a trading technique that traders use to buy and sell stocks when indicators point to an upward (positive) or downward (negative) trend in the future, which can range from overnight to a few weeks. Swing trades aim to capitalize on buying and selling the interim lows and highs within a larger overall trend.
Traders use technical indicators to determine if specific stocks possess momentum and the best time to buy or sell. To exploit the opportunities, the traders must act quickly to increase their chances of making a profit in the short-term.
How Swing Trades Works
Swing trading seeks to capitalize on the upward and downward “swings” in the price of a security. Traders hope to capture small moves within a larger overall trend. Swing traders aim to make a lot of small wins that add up to significant returns. For example, other traders may wait five months to earn a 25% profit, while swing traders may earn 5% gains weekly and exceed the other trader’s gains in the long run.
Most swing traders use daily charts (like 60 minutes, 24 hours, 48 hours, etc.) to choose the best entry or exit point. However, some may use shorter time frame charts, such as 4-hour or hourly charts.
Swing Trades vs. Day Trading
Swing trading and day trading appear similar in some respects. The main factor differentiating the two techniques is the holding position time. While swing traders may hold stocks overnight to several weeks, day trades close within minutes or before the close of the market.
Day traders do not hold their positions overnight. It often means they avoid subjecting their positions to risks resulting from news announcements. Their more frequent trading results in higher transaction costs, which can substantially decrease their profits. They often trade with leverage in order to maximize profits from small price changes.
Swing traders are subjected to the unpredictability of overnight risks that may result in significant price movements. Swing traders can check their positions periodically and take action when critical points are reached. Unlike day trading, swing trading does not require constant monitoring since the trades last for several days or weeks.
Swing traders can use the following strategies to look for actionable trading opportunities:
1. Fibonacci retracement
Traders can use a Fibonacci retracement indicator to identify support and resistance levels. Based on this indicator, they can find market reversal opportunities. The Fibonacci retracement levels of 61.8%, 38.2%, and 23.6% are believed to reveal possible reversal levels. A trader might enter a buy trade when the price is in a downward trend and seems to find support at the 61.8% retracement level from its previous high.
2. T-line trading
Traders use the T-line on a chart to make a decision on the best time to enter or exit a trade. When a security closes above the T-line, it is an indication that the price will continue to rise. When the security closes below the T-line, it is an indication that the price will continue to fall.
3. Japanese candlesticks
Most traders prefer using the Japanese candlestick charts since they are easier to understand and interpret. Traders use specific candlestick patterns to identify trading opportunities.
Thank you for reading CFI’s explanation of swing trading. 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: