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What is a swing trader?

Swing trading is typically a short to intermediate term trend following system lasting anywhere from 1 to 30 days. What is a swing trader? Traders who swing trade typically look for trend reversals & retracements for their entry/exit points. Swing trading is commonly defined as a stock, index, or commodities trading practice whereby the instrument is bought or sold at or near the end of an up or down price swing caused by daily or weekly price volatility. A swing trade position is typically open longer than a day, but shorter than trend following trades or buy and hold investment strategies. Swing traders engage in prospecting changes in an instrument's price caused by oscillations between its price being bid up by optimism and alternatively being bid down by pessimism over a period of a few days, weeks, or months. Profits can be sought by engaging in either Long or Short trading.


  1. Manageable take profit and stop losses.
  2. Less time involved in actively trading - it is not necessary to "babysit" your trades.
  3. Can be worked around a regular job - a couple of hours per day should suffice.
  4. Less stressful than intraday trading.


  1. Need to pay full amount to purchase the stocks.
  2. Susceptible to market disasters.
  3. Can be difficult to learn and become profitable.
  4. While it requires less time than day-trading, preparation and analyzing the markets is still necessary and can be time consuming. Tending your positions daily is a must!
  5. Some traders have a tendency to develop emotional attachments to a trade.
  6. Discipline and keeping emotions in check are very important. It is not uncommon to exit on a retrace or trend change only to have the market immediately change back and head in the original direction.

Market timing

Use the S&P 500 to time your trades to the market with Williams %R. Only establish new positions when one of the following conditions occurs.
  1. Moving averages

    : For long positions, the 10 SMA must be above the 30 EMA. For short positions, the 10 SMA must be below the 30 period EMA.
  2. Williams %R

    : Set Williams %R at a 3 period setting. Oversold is less than -80. Overbought is more than -20
  3. Long positions

    : The 10 SMA is above the 30 EMA and Williams %R is oversold - BUY
  4. Short positions

    : The 10 SMA is below the 30 EMA and Williams %R is overbought - SHORT
  5. Hourly chart

    : Look at the hourly chart on the S&P 500 for bullish or bearish patterns.
  6. Supplemental

    : Look at the VIX to identify extreme market readings.

Note: Only use this market timing method to establish new positions? not to exit positions. Trail your stops on individual stocks to exit positions.

Selecting individual stocks

This is for long positions only.
  1. Trend

    : The trend is up with the 10 SMA above the 30 EMA. The stock is in between the 10 SMA and 30 EMA (Traders Action Zone). This stock is in a stage 2 uptrend.
  2. 200 SMA

    : The stock is above the 200 period simple moving average.
  3. Pullback

    : The stock has at least 3 consecutive down days with lower highs.
  4. Candlestick pattern

    : The stock has a bullish candlestick pattern for today (hammer, engulfing, piercing), and/ or traded over the high of the previous day.
  5. Hourly chart

    : The hourly chart matches your expectations on the daily chart.
  6. Earnings

    : The stock is not coming out with an earnings release within the next couple of days.
  7. Support level

    : This stock is trading at a support level.

Risks involved

Risk of loss in swing trading typically increases in a trading range or sideways price movement, than in a bull market or bear market that is clearly moving in a specific direction because of the increased potential for whipsaws or false positives. In trending markets (either a bear market or a bull market), momentum may carry the traded instrument's price for a much longer than usual time in one direction only, making swing trading strategies that do not incorporate this trending, less profitable than trend following strategies.

As with all financial instruments risk of loss in trading is considerable, and only mitigated by the trading strategy that is back tested on any particular equity, index, or commodity, and continues to prove its worth with successful trades.

Essentially, you must look at how much you are prepared to trade with, how much you are prepared to risk on each individual trade and the size of your trades. The objective is to preserve capital if trading does not go well because once you are out of capital you simply can't trade any more.

The daytrader

Share prices charts

  1. Trading for a living
  2. Short term trading strategies
    Gaining knowledge is the first step to trading.
  3. Price action trading
  4. Range trade
  5. What is a swing trader?
  6. Follow the trend
    1. Trend following strategy
      Traders violate it surprisingly often!
  7. Initial public offering
  8. Options contract
  9. Advanced option trading strategies
  10. Futures market
  11. Exchange traded funds
  12. New fund offer
  13. Commodity trade finance
  14. Trade network
  15. How to be a successful trader?
    For those who do not know about day trading, ...
  1. How to read share price charts?
  2. Candlestick charting
  3. RSI chart

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