The term Day Trader refers to a person who buys and sells stocks (or any market) in the same day, investing huge amounts of money to cash in on small fluctuations in the prices of stocks and indexes that are highly liquid and volatile. Certain stocks are suitable for Day Traders, liquidity and volatility are the two most essential aspects that are looked at by Day Traders.
The essential elements of successful Day Traders are, Excellent trading psychology and mental state management, Proven money management systems, Proper tools and training, Profitable trading system. There is a certain amount of risk involved in every trade. The risk increases for those without sufficient knowledge and training.
Day Trading used to be practiced generally by financial firms, investment bankers and speculators. However, with new leaps in technology and the introduction of electronic trading and margin trading, it has become more popular with casual at home traders.
There are many styles within Day Trading. Many focus on short term trading, as in they close all their transactions before the close of the day to avoid all unmanageable risks. Others focus on price momentum. While yet some others lay emphasis on technical patterns. Day Traders often borrow certain amounts of money to trade. This is called Margin Trading.
Some of the strategies followed in Day Trading are discussed here:
* Trend Following – This basically follows the principle that prices of stocks once rising will always be rising, and vice versa.
* Contrarian Investing – This follows the principle that prices that have been soaring will reverse and prices that have been falling will go up.
* Range Trading – This is based on keeping record of stocks and seeing the range in which they fluctuate. Thus stocks are brought when they are at a low and sold off when they reach their peak.
* Scalping – This is a trading style where traders buy stocks that are on the rise and sell them off in minutes or seconds to get the profit instantly. This basically exploits the market when the market is volatile.
* Rebate Trading – This technique involves trading low priced stocks in huge amounts which helps them trade more shares and have more liquidity. This uses ECN as the primary source of profit.
* News Playing – This is the most important aspect which Day Traders exploit. Often there are rumors in the market of stocks going up or falling and these have to be understood by the Day Traders and stocks are bought or sold off in accordance to maximize their profit.
It is estimated that around 90% of Day Traders fail or lose their capital and it is a hard discipline. However, with the advent of newer technologies and statistics it has become somewhat stable. For a good Day Trader the most important aspects are good training, a proven system, and managing emotions.