Day trading chart strategies
Many make the mistake of thinking you need a highly complicated strategy to succeed intraday, but often the more straightforward, the more effective. These three elements will help you make that decision. Breakout strategies centre around when the price clears a specified level on your chart, with increased volume. The breakout trader enters into a long position after the asset or security breaks above resistance.
Alternatively, you enter a short position once the stock breaks below support. After an asset or security trades beyond the specified price barrier, volatility usually increases and prices will often trend in the direction of the breakout.
You need to find the right instrument to trade. The more frequently the price has hit these points, the more validated and important they become. This part is nice and straightforward.
Prices set to close and above resistance levels require a bearish position. Prices set to close and below a support level need a bullish position.
Using chart patterns will make this process even more accurate. You can calculate the average recent price swings to create a target. If the average price swing has been 3 points over the last several price swings, this would be a sensible target.
One of the most popular strategies is scalping. The driving force is quantity. You will look to sell as soon as the trade becomes profitable. This is a fast-paced and exciting way to trade, but it can be risky. You need a high trading probability to even out the low risk vs reward ratio. Be on the lookout for volatile instruments, attractive liquidity and be hot on timing. Popular amongst trading strategies for beginners, this strategy revolves around acting on news sources and identifying substantial trending moves with the support of high volume.
You simply hold onto your position until you see signs of reversal and then get out. Alternatively, you can fade the price drop. This way round your price target is as soon as volume starts to diminish.
This strategy is simple and effective if used correctly. Just a few seconds on each trade will make all the difference to your end of day profits. Although hotly debated and potentially dangerous when used by beginners, reverse trading is used all over the world. This strategy defies basic logic as you aim to trade against the trend. You need to be able to accurately identify possible pullbacks, plus predict their strength.
To do this effectively you need in-depth market knowledge and experience. It is particularly useful in the forex market. A pivot point is defined as a point of rotation. Note that if you calculate a pivot point using price information from a relatively short time frame, accuracy is often reduced.
You can then calculate support and resistance levels using the pivot point. To do that you will need to use the following formulas:. When applied to the FX market, for example, you will find the trading range for the session often takes place between the pivot point and the first support and resistance levels.
This is because a high number of traders play this range. Requirements for which are usually high for day traders. When you trade on margin you are increasingly vulnerable to sharp price movements. Yes, this means the potential for greater profit, but it also means the possibility of significant losses.
Fortunately, you can employ stop-losses. The stop-loss controls your risk for you. In a short position, you can place a stop-loss above a recent high, for long positions you can place it below a recent low. You can also make it dependant on volatility. One popular strategy is to set up two stop-losses.
Firstly, you place a physical stop-loss order at a specific price level. This will be the most capital you can afford to lose. Secondly, you create a mental stop-loss. Place this at the point your entry criteria are breached. Forex strategies are risky by nature as you need to accumulate your profits in a short space of time.
The exciting and unpredictable cryptocurrency market offers plenty of opportunities for the switched on day trader. Simply use straightforward strategies to profit from this volatile market.
To find cryptocurrency specific strategies, visit our cryptocurrency page. Day trading strategies for stocks rely on many of the same principles outlined throughout this page, and you can use many of the strategies outlined above. Below though is a specific strategy you can apply to the stock market.
This is one of the moving averages strategies that generates a buy signal when the fast moving average crosses up and over the slow moving average. A sell signal is generated simply when the fast moving average crosses below the slow moving average. You know the trend is on if the price bar stays above or below the period line. Spread betting allows you to speculate on a huge number of global markets without ever actually owning the asset.
Plus, strategies are relatively straightforward. Early ECNs such as Instinet were very unfriendly to small investors, because they tended to give large institutions better prices than were available to the public. This resulted in a fragmented and sometimes illiquid market. The next important step in facilitating day trading was the founding in of NASDAQ —a virtual stock exchange on which orders were transmitted electronically. Moving from paper share certificates and written share registers to "dematerialized" shares, computerized trading and registration required not only extensive changes to legislation but also the development of the necessary technology: These developments heralded the appearance of " market makers ": A market maker has an inventory of stocks to buy and sell, and simultaneously offers to buy and sell the same stock.
Obviously, it will offer to sell stock at a higher price than the price at which it offers to buy. This difference is known as the "spread". The market maker is indifferent as to whether the stock goes up or down, it simply tries to constantly buy for less than it sells.
A persistent trend in one direction will result in a loss for the market maker, but the strategy is overall positive otherwise they would exit the business. Today there are about firms who participate as market makers on ECNs, each generally making a market in four to forty different stocks.
Another reform made was the " Small Order Execution System ", or "SOES", which required market makers to buy or sell, immediately, small orders up to shares at the market maker's listed bid or ask. In the late s, existing ECNs began to offer their services to small investors. New brokerage firms which specialized in serving online traders who wanted to trade on the ECNs emerged.
Archipelago eventually became a stock exchange and in was purchased by the NYSE. Moreover, the trader was able in to buy the stock almost instantly and got it at a cheaper price. ECNs are in constant flux. New ones are formed, while existing ones are bought or merged.
As of the end of , the most important ECNs to the individual trader were:. This combination of factors has made day trading in stocks and stock derivatives such as ETFs possible.
The low commission rates allow an individual or small firm to make a large number of trades during a single day. The liquidity and small spreads provided by ECNs allow an individual to make near-instantaneous trades and to get favorable pricing. The ability for individuals to day trade coincided with the extreme bull market in technological issues from to early , known as the Dot-com bubble. In March, , this bubble burst, and a large number of less-experienced day traders began to lose money as fast, or faster, than they had made during the buying frenzy.
The NASDAQ crashed from back to ; many of the less-experienced traders went broke, although obviously it was possible to have made a fortune during that time by shorting or playing on volatility.
In parallel to stock trading, starting at the end of the s, a number of new Market Maker firms provided foreign exchange and derivative day trading through new electronic trading platforms. These allowed day traders to have instant access to decentralised markets such as forex and global markets through derivatives such as contracts for difference. Most of these firms were based in the UK and later in less restrictive jurisdictions, this was in part due to the regulations in the US prohibiting this type of over-the-counter trading.
These firms typically provide trading on margin allowing day traders to take large position with relatively small capital, but with the associated increase in risk. Retail forex trading became a popular way to day trade due to its liquidity and the hour nature of the market. The following are several basic strategies by which day traders attempt to make profits. Besides these, some day traders also use contrarian reverse strategies more commonly seen in algorithmic trading to trade specifically against irrational behavior from day traders using these approaches.
It is important for a trader to remain flexible and adjust their techniques to match changing market conditions. Some of these approaches require shorting stocks instead of buying them: There are several technical problems with short sales—the broker may not have shares to lend in a specific issue, the broker can call for the return of its shares at any time, and some restrictions are imposed in America by the U. Securities and Exchange Commission on short-selling see uptick rule for details.
Some of these restrictions in particular the uptick rule don't apply to trades of stocks that are actually shares of an exchange-traded fund ETF.
Trend following , a strategy used in all trading time-frames, assumes that financial instruments which have been rising steadily will continue to rise, and vice versa with falling. The trend follower buys an instrument which has been rising, or short sells a falling one, in the expectation that the trend will continue. Contrarian investing is a market timing strategy used in all trading time-frames. It assumes that financial instruments which have been rising steadily will reverse and start to fall, and vice versa.
The contrarian trader buys an instrument which has been falling, or short-sells a rising one, in the expectation that the trend will change. Range trading, or range-bound trading, is a trading style in which stocks are watched that have either been rising off a support price or falling off a resistance price.
That is, every time the stock hits a high, it falls back to the low, and vice versa. Such a stock is said to be "trading in a range", which is the opposite of trending. A related approach to range trading is looking for moves outside of an established range, called a breakout price moves up or a breakdown price moves down , and assume that once the range has been broken prices will continue in that direction for some time.
Scalping was originally referred to as spread trading. Scalping is a trading style where small price gaps created by the bid-ask spread are exploited by the speculator. It normally involves establishing and liquidating a position quickly, usually within minutes or even seconds. Scalping highly liquid instruments for off-the-floor day traders involves taking quick profits while minimizing risk loss exposure.
The basic idea of scalping is to exploit the inefficiency of the market when volatility increases and the trading range expands. When stock values suddenly rise, they short sell securities that seem overvalued.
Rebate trading is an equity trading style that uses ECN rebates as a primary source of profit and revenue. Most ECNs charge commissions to customers who want to have their orders filled immediately at the best prices available, but the ECNs pay commissions to buyers or sellers who "add liquidity" by placing limit orders that create "market-making" in a security.
Rebate traders seek to make money from these rebates and will usually maximize their returns by trading low priced, high volume stocks. This enables them to trade more shares and contribute more liquidity with a set amount of capital, while limiting the risk that they will not be able to exit a position in the stock. The basic strategy of news playing is to buy a stock which has just announced good news, or short sell on bad news. Such events provide enormous volatility in a stock and therefore the greatest chance for quick profits or losses.
Determining whether news is "good" or "bad" must be determined by the price action of the stock, because the market reaction may not match the tone of the news itself.
This is because rumors or estimates of the event like those issued by market and industry analysts will already have been circulated before the official release, causing prices to move in anticipation. The price movement caused by the official news will therefore be determined by how good the news is relative to the market's expectations, not how good it is in absolute terms. Keeping things simple can also be an effective methodology when it comes to trading. These traders rely on a combination of price movement, chart patterns, volume, and other raw market data to gauge whether or not they should take a trade.
This is seen as a "simplistic" and "minimalist" approach to trading but is not by any means easier than any other trading methodology. It requires a solid background in understanding how markets work and the core principles within a market, but the good thing about this type of methodology is it will work in virtually any market that exists stocks, foreign exchange, futures, gold, oil, etc.
An estimated one third of stock trades in in United States were generated by automatic algorithms , or high-frequency trading. The increased use of algorithms and quantitative techniques has led to more competition and smaller profits. Commissions for direct-access brokers are calculated based on volume. The more shares traded, the cheaper the commission. A scalper can cover such costs with even a minimal gain. The numerical difference between the bid and ask prices is referred to as the bid-ask spread.
Most worldwide markets operate on a bid-ask -based system. The ask prices are immediate execution market prices for quick buyers ask takers while bid prices are for quick sellers bid takers.
If a trade is executed at quoted prices, closing the trade immediately without queuing would always cause a loss because the bid price is always less than the ask price at any point in time. The bid-ask spread is two sides of the same coin.
The spread can be viewed as trading bonuses or costs according to different parties and different strategies. On one hand, traders who do NOT wish to queue their order, instead paying the market price, pay the spreads costs. On the other hand, traders who wish to queue and wait for execution receive the spreads bonuses. Some day trading strategies attempt to capture the spread as additional, or even the only, profits for successful trades. Market data is necessary for day traders, rather than using the delayed by anything from 10 to 60 minutes, per exchange rules  market data that is available for free.