The buying and selling of financial instruments within a day with the goal of making a profit is called day trading. Common day trading financial instruments are stocks, binary options, cfd’s, forex, indices and commodities. Social trading has also recently became popular.
Originally day trading was the domain of financial firms and professional speculators. However, day trading has become more common and popular with the advent of electronic trading.
Scalping is a commonly used technique. It simply means that traders hold positions for a very limited time. Most day traders exit positions before the market closes in order to avoid unmanageable risks. Price gaps can occur between one day’s close and the next day’s opening.
Commonly used terminology in day trading includes “margin trading.” This basically means that they “borrow” money to trade. This can lead to huge profits, but also major losses. Buying on margin is very common. The interest rate is based on a broker’s call.
Originally when stocks were traded a trader would contact a stockbroker who in turn relayed the order to a specialist on the floor. The specialist then got hold of whoever was interested in the order, process it and write the tickets. This effectively transferred the stock. Brokerage commissions were set at 1% However, in 1975 it changed. This allowed brokerages to charge commission fees of their own. The lower commission fees lead to much better and more competition. It was also one of the first moves to allow the start of day trading. Electronic ownership transfer was the last step that made today’s online day trading possible.
A very important necessity for day traders is market data. Real data feeds are available. These come at a very low cost. Usually brokers require traders to make a certain volume of trades each day in order to cover the costs of these data feeds. The requirements aren’t high. Even a moderately active day trader can expect to meet the requirements. By meeting these requirements the data feeds essentially becomes free. More advanced data feeds are also bought some of the more experienced traders.
Some day traders also buy complicated analysis and charting software. These systems vary in price, from a few cents to hundreds of dollars per month.
By its nature, day trading carries huge risk, but it also offers the potential for massive gains.