The most important aspect of stock trading is to develop a stock trading strategy that suits your needs, expectations and personality type. You need to look at your comfort level for risk, are you looking to make short-term investments and stay on top of the market?
Even your age affects the strategy you should use for trading stocks. Let’s look at some of the most common stock trading strategies in use today…
The day trader is someone who buys and sells intraday (during the day) and they tend to trade with frequency throughout the day. The advantages to this stock trading method are that you have no overnight hold exposures; you can take advantages of both longs and shorts during the quick swings in either direction that may occur during the day. You can focus on a higher percentage of winning trades by taking quicker profits (although smaller) and reducing your risk.
Like all things in life this stock trading method is not without its downsides too. This stock trading strategy requires a lot of work, time and effort on your part. You must pay consistent if not constant attention to the market during trading hours. Your transaction costs can run high with this trading strategy since you are trading stocks frequently.
The swing trader is someone who is looking for larger moves in the market and their trades may last a day, a few days or a couple of weeks. With the slower cycle of trades, there are fewer commissions, less chance of error and the ability to capture the more significant multi-day profits of swing trading.
Technical analysis is typically used to help identify swing trading opportunities and they target a higher percentage of return than in day trading. Along with the higher profit targets also comes a higher risk per trade.
If you are looking to trade over a longer timeframe, you have to expect a higher average risk per trade just to account for the retreats common in all stock and futures market trading. You also have overnight risks and you are exposed to any major developments or events.
Long-term Swing Trading
This investor is much like the Swing Trader above, but this investor typically focuses on holding their stocks for several weeks to a few months and beyond.
This type of trading strategy focuses on trading the indexes, timing of mutual funds or focusing on the technical and fundamental analysis of those stocks purchased. By focusing on the longer-term, you can filter out some of the ‘noise’ common in virtually all trading markets. Since you are looking at a longer tend, a small move against the trend isn’t as much of a concern (although consistent moves against the trend should not be ignored).
The profit objective of this stock trading method can be quite large with 20, 30 or even 50 percent or greater not being out of the norm. Again with the larger timeframe you have a larger risk, especially with stocks that tend to be more volatile. With this trading strategy you also miss out on the shorter-term swings the market might make.
Buy and Hold Trading
This type of investor might also be called the buy and forget investor, typically purchasing a stock and holding onto it for years. If you pick right using plenty of fundamental analysis and market sentiment analysis, the gains can be quite large with very few trading costs for this stock trading strategy.
Unfortunately, most investors using this stock trading method don’t truly have a long-term trading goal in mind other than to amass stocks and just hold on to them.
This is why it is better for the buy and hold investor to start thinking more like the long-term swing trader. You go from no true strategy to a specific strategy where you always know when you enter into a trade what your objectives are and how you’ll exit should the market go against you.