There are several types of trading styles that persons seeking to profit from short term trades in the market may wish to use. Here is a brief description of the most widely used short term trading styles.
- Day Trading
Day traders buy and sell stocks throughout the day in the hope that the price of the stocks will fluctuate in value during the day, allowing them to earn quick profits. A day trader will hold a stock anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours, but will always square off all of those stocks before the close of each day. The day trader does not own any positions at the close of any day therefore immune to overnight risks. The objective of day trading is to quickly get in and out of any particular stock for a profit on an intra-day basis.
Day trading can be further subdivided into a number of styles, including:
Scalpers: This style of day trading involves the rapid and repeated buying and selling of a large volume of stocks within seconds or minutes. The objective is to earn a small per share profit on each transaction while minimizing the risk.
Momentum Traders: This style of day trading involves identifying and trading stocks that are in a moving pattern during the day, in an attempt to buy such stocks at bottoms and sell at tops.
- Swing Traders
The principal difference between day trading and swing trading is that swing traders will normally have a slightly longer time horizon than day traders for holding a position in a stock. As is the case with day traders, swing traders also attempt to predict the short term fluctuation in a stock's price. However, swing traders are willing to hold stocks for more than one day, if necessary, to give the stock price some time to move or to capture additional momentum in the stock's price. Swing traders will generally hold on to their stock positions anywhere from a few hours to several days.
Swing trading has the capability of providing higher returns than day trading. However, unlike day traders who liquidate their positions at the end of each day, swing traders assume overnight risk. There are some significant risks in carrying positions overnight. For example news events and earnings warnings announced after the closing bell can result in large, unexpected and possibly adverse changes to a stock's price.
- Position Trading
Position trading is similar to swing trading, but with a longer time horizon. Position traders hold stocks for a time period anywhere from one day to several weeks or months. These traders seek to identify stocks where the technical trends suggest a possible large movement in price is likely to occur, but which may not be fully played out for several weeks or months.