3.7 Day Trading: What You Need to Know Absolutely


Hello, fellow traders and investors! If the world of finance were a music festival, day trading would be the headlining act. It’s high-tempo, adrenaline-pumping, and requires rapid-fire decision-making. But does the allure of quick profits outweigh the risks involved? Let’s delve deeper into this trading strategy to find out.

Part 1: What is Day Trading?

Day trading, at its core, is a strategy that involves buying and selling financial instruments within a single trading day. The aim? To profit from short-term price movements. Day traders typically make multiple trades each day, and importantly, they close all positions before the market shuts its doors. This eliminates the risk of any nasty surprises occurring overnight that might impact the value of their holdings.

Part 2: Day Trading: Not for the Faint of Heart

Now, don’t let the prospect of quick profits fool you – day trading is not easy. It requires patience, sharp analytical skills, and a strong understanding of the markets. Not to mention, it’s time-intensive. Day traders often spend the entire trading day in front of their screens, scanning for opportunities and executing trades.

Part 3: An Anatomy of a Day Trade

Let’s look at a typical day trade. Say a day trader spots a stock whose price has been rising steadily throughout the morning. Anticipating that this upward trend will continue, they buy the stock, hoping to sell it at a higher price later in the day. They monitor the stock’s price movement closely, watching for any signs of reversal. If the price continues to rise as expected, they’ll sell the stock before the market closes, pocketing the difference as their profit.

Case Study 1: Profiting from a News-Driven Event

Let’s apply this in a real-world context. Bob, a day trader, spots news of a clinical breakthrough announced by a pharmaceutical company. Seeing the stock’s price and trading volume begin to surge, he decides to ride the wave of optimism. He buys in at $10 and places a stop-loss order at $9.50 to protect his capital just in case things go south. The stock rallies throughout the day, propelled by the positive news, and Bob decides to cash in on his profits, selling at $11.50.

Case Study 2: Riding the Trend

Next, let’s consider a day trader who uses technical analysis to guide their trading decisions. Sarah identifies a stock that’s been trending upward for several days. One morning, she observes the stock price bouncing off a support level, suggesting the upward trend might continue. Trusting her analysis, she buys into the stock and keeps a close eye on the price action. By the day’s end, the stock is nearing a resistance level, and Sarah decides it’s time to sell, locking in her profits.

Case Study 3: Quick Recovery from a Loss

Now, let’s talk about loss – an inevitable part of day trading. Alex starts his trading day by buying into a stock he believes is set to rise. Unfortunately, the price takes a nosedive shortly after. But Alex has a plan; he’d set a stop-loss order and promptly exits his position to curtail further losses. He doesn’t let this early setback derail his day. Later, he identifies another potential opportunity with a different stock. This time, his analysis pays off, the stock price goes up, and he recovers his earlier losses, even finishing the day with a profit.

Part 4: The Risks and Challenges of Day Trading

Day trading comes with its fair share of risks. It’s not just about losing money on a bad trade – though that’s certainly a concern. It’s also about the high potential for trading addiction, the stress, and the significant time commitment. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the U.S. even requires a minimum of $25,000 in your trading account if you make more than three day trades within a rolling five-business-day period.


In conclusion, day trading can be a lucrative trading strategy if done right, with careful planning, sound risk management, and the appropriate skills. It’s not for everyone, though. It demands your time, attention, and a hefty dose of mental fortitude. Always do thorough research, have a trading plan, and stick to your stop losses to manage risk effectively.

How much do day traders make?

When we start to talk about potential earnings in day trading, the range can be vast. Some traders may scrape by with marginal profits or even face losses, while others might earn in the hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars. But how much a day trader can make depends on several factors.

First and foremost, the trader’s skill level plays a crucial role. Day trading isn’t something one can just wade into and expect to make a fortune. It requires substantial knowledge about financial markets and a deep understanding of trading strategies and risk management. Therefore, a skilled trader, who understands the market dynamics, has a well-tested strategy and knows how to control risk, is more likely to be on the profitable side of the trade.

Secondly, the capital invested in day trading significantly influences the potential earnings. A trader with a larger capital can buy more shares or contracts, thus has the potential to earn more if the trade moves in their favour. However, it’s vital to note that a larger investment also means the potential for larger losses if the trade doesn’t go as planned.

Thirdly, market conditions can also influence a day trader’s earnings. Some days or periods may present more trading opportunities than others. For instance, during times of high market volatility, there might be more significant price movements that a day trader can try to capitalize on.

However, it’s essential to temper these factors with a dose of reality. Statistics show that many day traders lose money. It’s a challenging endeavour, and success often comes with experience, patience, and learning from mistakes.

How much money do you need to day trade?

Let’s discuss the money aspect. How much money do you need to start day trading? Well, it depends on the market you want to trade in. For forex and futures, the initial capital could be lower. But if you plan to day trade stocks, you’ll need a bigger chunk of change.

In the United States, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) rules require a minimum of $25,000 in a trader’s account that will be used for day trading. This rule applies if the trader makes more than three day trades (opening and closing a position within the same day) in a rolling five-business-day period.

day trading

Why do you need $25,000 to day trade?

You might be wondering, why the arbitrary $25,000 number? This rule, often known as the “pattern day trader” rule, aims to protect inexperienced traders from the risks associated with day trading. The idea is to ensure that traders have sufficient capital to absorb potential losses and prevent them from falling into a debt spiral.

The $25,000 acts as a buffer. Imagine you make a series of unsuccessful trades and your account balance drops below this threshold. In this case, you’ll be barred from making further day trades until you replenish your account.

Why is day trading illegal?

A quick clarification here: day trading is not illegal. The confusion might arise from certain regulations surrounding day trading. Due to the high-risk nature of day trading, regulatory bodies across the globe have established rules to protect individual investors.

In the U.S, apart from the aforementioned ‘pattern day trader’ rule, day traders are also subject to specific tax regulations. Traders who qualify as ‘pattern day traders’ are treated differently for tax purposes than casual investors. Furthermore, day trading other financial instruments like futures and forex is regulated differently than trading stocks.

However, it’s crucial to note that while day trading is legal, it’s not suitable for everyone. The high-stress environment, combined with the potential for substantial financial loss, makes it a risky endeavour. It’s always wise to fully understand the commitment and risk involved before diving into day trading.