Day trading ? no, it?s not something that Bill Murray wished he had in Groundhog Day. It?s a style of trading on the foreign currency exchange market in which a trader completes all his trades within a single day. In other words, he may make a few dozen ? or more ? trades in a day with the objective of buying and selling quickly and making a profit from the fluctuations in a currency exchange rate over the course of the day.
Sound complicated? Depending on the method or system that you use to pick your trades it can be. The idea behind day trading is that currency exchange rates are subject to fluctuations over the course of the day ? they go up and down depending on who?s buying, who?s selling and what rumors are floating around. In fact, day trading in the foreign currency market is probably the single segment of any type of stocks, currency or futures trading market most affected by rumors and real-time, real-world happenings. A savvy trader who is quick on his feet can roll up the profits by paying attention to what the current news is doing to the currency exchange rates.
The currency market, commonly referred to as the forex (short for Foreign Exchange), is the most liquid market in the world. The latest statistics say that daily trading on forex is in excess of $1.3 trillion U.S. dollars. That makes forex the world?s largest, most efficient market. A major part of the reason for the liquidity and volume of trade is the practice of day trading. The difference between day trading and other types of trading is in how long you hold your stocks (or in this case, your currency). In day trading, you hold nothing beyond the close of the day?s market. Think of it as a game in which the object is to keep trading cards back and forth, increasing the value of your cards ? but have no cards in your hand at the end of the day.
Of course, since the currency market is a 24 hour market, there really IS no market closing ? so the rules change slightly. The currency market is open from Sunday afternoon to Friday afternoon, with trading going on all the time, so you can pick your times to trade rather than being locked into the Stock Exchange timetable.
How You Make Money in Day Trading
People will tell you that the difference between a day trader and an investor is the length of time that each holds onto their stocks. That?s a superficial difference. The real difference is in the mindset of short-term vs. long-term and liquidity. An investor buys something that he believes will steadily increase in value, and holds onto it for the long haul. A day trader rides the minute fluctuations in the currency market minute by minute the way a surfer rides a wave. Because you?re trading in lots of 100,000, a tiny fluctuation can mean a big profit ? or a huge loss.
Limiting Loss in Day Trading
One of the hardest concepts for new traders to grasp is that of limiting loss. Let?s say you make a trade for a currency that is heading down because you believe that it?s near its support point ? the point where it will rebound and start heading back up. Instead, it breaks the point and keeps heading down ? you?re losing money instead of making it. You have two choices ? hold onto it because you KNOW it will start heading back up soon, or get rid of it and limit the amount of money you?re going to lose. In day trading, the name of the game is limiting your losses and maximizing your wins ? decide ahead of time just how much you?ll allow each trade to lose before you sell it, and then STICK TO YOUR LIMIT. By the same token, decide how much profit you want to make, set a sell order for when the currency reaches that point ? and sell when it hits the mark.
Know what you?re doing.
Day trading on the forex is like any other business. The people who make money are the ones who take the time to learn the market and understand the ins and outs of the trades that they make. Those who jump in feet first without learning the terms, rules and trends of the forex market are priming themselves to lose ? and lose big. Remember, there?s no such thing as high profit potential without equivalent risk. Before you jump in, take a course in trading, or read read read all that you can.
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