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Active trading is the act of purchasing and selling stocks based on short-term movements in order to profit quickly. This is in contrast to passive investment, which takes the long-term approach of buy and hold. Traders frequently employ a wide range of techniques and strategies, including but not limited to fundamental, quantitative, and technical analysis. Some traders are also interested in market news and occurrences.

Active traders can also trade a wide range of financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, currencies, and commodities. Option, futures, and derivatives may also be used to hedge investments or improve prospective returns. There are four (4) common ways to active trading tactics. Scalping, day trading, swing trading, and position trading are some of them.

1. Scalping

Scalping is the practice of benefitting from tiny price swings in securities. Scalpers typically keep a trading position for a relatively short length of time, ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes, with the goal of profiting on small price movements.

Traders who employ the scalping strategy must consider transaction fees as well as bid-ask spreads. Because of the frequency with which the scalper trades, these fees can be significant if not controlled efficiently. Scalping also necessitates quick decision making, focus, and discipline, as scalpers must be able to enter and exit positions quickly in order to capitalize on slight price swings.


  • Scalping can offer quick gains as traders aim to profit from small price movements in a short period
  • Because of the high trading frequency, scalping allows traders to take advantage of numerous trading opportunities
  • This approach aims to capture tiny price movements, reducing exposure to sudden market reactions
  • Scalping can help traders develop strong habits because of the high level of discipline and focus it requires


  • Scalping involves a high frequency of trading, which can result in high transaction costs such as commissions and bid-ask spreads
  • This approach can be very stressful and emotionally draining
  • Given the approach of capturing small profits frequently, scalping has a limited profit potential per trade
  • Scalping requires solid risk management to juggle multiple positions and limit exposure to market risk

2. Day Trading

Day trading is a short term trading strategy whereby securities are bought and sold within the same trading day. Day traders aim to profit from price movements in security and typically close all of their positions by the close of the market trading day.

The general public often associates day trading with individual investors who work from home or a small office and use their own capital to trade securities. However, day traders also work for large financial institutions such as banks, brokerage firms, and hedge funds.


  • There is a high potential for profits per trade, if executed correctly
  • Day traders can work from anywhere with an internet connection, making it a convenient and flexible way to earn a living
  • There is no overnight risk as day traders close all their positions by the end of the day


  • Day trading is a high risk trading strategy and traders can lose a significant amount of money if they do not have a solid understanding of market trends and risk management techniques
  • Trading costs can eat into potential profits
  • Day trading is fast paced and can lead to emotional trading decisions such as overtrading or holding onto losing positions for too long

3. Swing Trading

This approach involves buying and holding securities for a short period of time, usually from a few days to a few months. The goal of swing trading is to gain from short term price movements in the market, buying when prices are low and selling when prices are high.

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Swing traders have to manage sudden and unexpected moves in the market which can lead to losses. They have to stay informed about market trends and news. Additionally, swing traders need to have strong risk management skills and discipline to stick to their trading plan and avoid emotional trading decisions.8910


  • Reduced transaction costs relative to scalping and day trading
  • Swing traders have more time to analyze market trends and make informed trading decisions, reducing the risk of emotional trading decisions
  • Swing trading can offer more flexibility than position trading as traders can adjust their positions as market conditions change


  • Swing traders may be exposed to sudden market events that can cause significant price movements
  • This approach requires relatively more time commitment as swing traders need to spend time analyzing market trends and monitoring their positions
  • Swing traders may miss out on long-term price movements as they only hold positions from a few days to a few months at most

4. Position Trading

This approach entails holding positions in securities for an extended period, usually from several l months to years or even decades. The objective of position trading is to profit from major trends in the market rather than short term price movements. Position trading is less active than scalping, day trading and swing trading. Institutions typically allocate a portion of their trading book to this approach.

Generally position traders use fundamental analysis to identify securities that are undervalued or overvalued and hold these positions for the long term, waiting for the market to correct itself. Position traders may also use technical analysis to identify optimal entry and exit points.


  • Position trading can offer higher potential gains than the other active trading strategies as traders aim to profit from long term price movements
  • There are fewer transaction costs due to the infrequency of trading
  • Position traders can be more flexible in their trading strategy as they can adjust their positions as market conditions change
  • With this approach there is more time to analyze market trends and make informed trading decisions, reducing the risk of emotional trades


  • Position traders may be exposed to sudden market events that can cause large price movements
  • This approach may limit the traders ability to take advantage of short term market opportunities
  • Holding positions for an extended period can limit the trader’s liquidity, making it difficult to add new positions
  • Position traders must have a solid risk management plan to manage their positions and limit their exposure to market risk

There are several reasons why individuals and entities consider active trading strategies. These include:

  • High return potential: There is a potential for higher returns when compared to passive investment strategies. By actively monitoring the market and making informed decisions, traders can take advantage of short term price movements and profit from market volatility.
  • Flexibility: Traders can adjust their trading strategies to take advantage of changing market conditions and adapt their strategies based on their risk tolerance.
  • Control: Active traders have greater control over their investment decisions compared to passive investors. They can choose entry and exit points, set stop loss and profit levels and manage their risk exposures.

Individuals and entities should be aware of the limitations of active trading. These limitations include:

  • High risk: There is a higher level of risk involved relative to passive investing strategies. Traders must be able to manage their risk effectively and have a solid understanding of risk management concepts and techniques.
  • Time and effort: Active trading requires an enormous amount of time and effort. Traders must monitor the market and make informed decisions, which can be time consuming and stressful.
  • Transaction costs: Because of the increased frequency of trading, there will be a larger amount of transaction costs, commissions and fees associated with this approach.
  • Emotional stress: Active trading can be emotionally stressful, particularly during periods of market volatility.
  • Tax implications: Short term capital gains taxes can occur through the short term profits generated by active trading.

Which Type of Trading is Best For Beginners?

Getting started in trading as a beginner can be difficult. You must not only understand the technical features of the markets, such as different order types and which securities to buy, but you must also learn how to design your own trading strategy, to mention a few.

Many individuals believe that forex trading is the greatest way for a newbie to get started. Forex is the world’s largest and most liquid market, so it’s a fantastic place to start. Currency trading is available 24 hours a day, five days a week. Furthermore, there is no commission to pay when trading.

However, currency can be dangerous, so you must exercise caution. Before you begin trading, be sure you have done your homework. There are numerous wonderful books and resources that can assist you in getting started. Also, choose a good forex broker who will assist you in learning the ropes.

Trading stocks is also popular among beginners. This is because stocks are relatively easy to trade, and there is a lot of information available about them. You can trade stocks on most exchanges around the world, and there are many different types of stocks to choose from. 

However, stocks can also be risky, so you need to be careful. Make sure you evaluate the companies thoroughly before you start trading their shares.

There are many different asset types that you can trade, however, there are also different types of trading when it comes to duration. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the most common: 

Day trading 

This involves buying and selling securities within the same day. Advantages include having the potential to make quick profits, as well as being able to cut losses quickly. Disadvantages include the possibility of missing out on longer-term gains and the need for active monitoring of positions. Another disadvantage to day trading is the number of fees and taxes that can add up. By placing many sales and buy orders within a month, the costs can really start to add up. 

Swing trading

This strategy involves holding securities for a period of days or weeks, to profit from price swings. Advantages include the potential for more substantial profits than day trading, as well as reduced monitoring requirements. 

Disadvantages include the need for patience to hold positions and the possibility of being whipsawed by short-term price movements. If you are also in need of quick cash, swing trading might not be the best option for you as it can take some time before your position starts to show a profit. 

Trend following

This approach seeks to profit from longer-term price trends. It follows a very common principle in Wall Street, which is the trend is your friend. Advantages include the potential for large profits, as well as the ability to ride out short-term price fluctuations. Disadvantages include the need for a larger initial investment and the possibility of missing out on early gains in a new trend. 

With trend following, you also run the risk of getting into a position too late and missing out on most of the gains. Trend following can be a great way to get into a position before the rest of the market does, but investors can often fall victim to FOMO (fear of missing out) and panic investing. 

The best type of trading for beginners will depend on factors such as the amount of time they have to dedicate to trading, their risk tolerance, and their financial goals. However, all three of these types of trading can be successful if done correctly. 

some types of trading may be easier to start with than others. For example, day trading involves making trades that last only for a single day. This means that you don’t have to worry about holding onto positions overnight, which can be helpful if you’re new to trading and still getting a feel for the market. It can be easy if you have a clear understanding of what is happening in the markets and can make quick decisions. 

Swing trading can be easy because you are holding onto positions for a slightly longer time (days or weeks). This can be easier than day trading since you don’t have to be as actively involved in monitoring your positions. 

If you can see trends happening in the market, trend following can be relatively easy. You can hold onto your positions for as long as the trend continues, and then sell when it reverses. This can be helpful if you don’t want to be actively involved in the markets regularly. 

Ultimately, the best type of trading for beginners is going to be the one that fits their individual circumstances and goals. Some people may find day trading to be easier, while others may prefer swing or trend trading. There is no wrong answer, so it’s important to experiment and find the approach that works best for you. 

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