Day trading margin meaning
Because of the high risk of margin use, and of other day trading practices, a day trader will often have to exit a losing position very quickly, in order to prevent a greater, unacceptable loss, or even a disastrous loss, much larger than his or her original investment, or even larger than his or her total assets. Originally, the most important U. A trader would contact a stockbroker, who would relay the order to a specialist on the floor of the NYSE. These specialists would each make markets in only a handful of stocks.
The specialist would match the purchaser with another broker's seller; write up physical tickets that, once processed, would effectively transfer the stock; and relay the information back to both brokers. One of the first steps to make day trading of shares potentially profitable was the change in the commission scheme. In , the United States Securities and Exchange Commission SEC made fixed commission rates illegal, giving rise to discount brokers offering much reduced commission rates.
Financial settlement periods used to be much longer: Before the early s at the London Stock Exchange , for example, stock could be paid for up to 10 working days after it was bought, allowing traders to buy or sell shares at the beginning of a settlement period only to sell or buy them before the end of the period hoping for a rise in price. This activity was identical to modern day trading, but for the longer duration of the settlement period. But today, to reduce market risk, the settlement period is typically two working days.
Reducing the settlement period reduces the likelihood of default , but was impossible before the advent of electronic ownership transfer. The systems by which stocks are traded have also evolved, the second half of the twentieth century having seen the advent of electronic communication networks ECNs.
These are essentially large proprietary computer networks on which brokers could list a certain amount of securities to sell at a certain price the asking price or "ask" or offer to buy a certain amount of securities at a certain price the "bid".
The first of these was Instinet or "inet" , which was founded in as a way for major institutions to bypass the increasingly cumbersome and expensive NYSE, also allowing them to trade during hours when the exchanges were closed.
Early ECNs such as Instinet were very unfriendly to small investors, because they tended to give large institutions better prices than were available to the public. This resulted in a fragmented and sometimes illiquid market. The next important step in facilitating day trading was the founding in of NASDAQ —a virtual stock exchange on which orders were transmitted electronically. Moving from paper share certificates and written share registers to "dematerialized" shares, computerized trading and registration required not only extensive changes to legislation but also the development of the necessary technology: These developments heralded the appearance of " market makers ": A market maker has an inventory of stocks to buy and sell, and simultaneously offers to buy and sell the same stock.
Obviously, it will offer to sell stock at a higher price than the price at which it offers to buy. This difference is known as the "spread". The market maker is indifferent as to whether the stock goes up or down, it simply tries to constantly buy for less than it sells. A persistent trend in one direction will result in a loss for the market maker, but the strategy is overall positive otherwise they would exit the business. Today there are about firms who participate as market makers on ECNs, each generally making a market in four to forty different stocks.
Another reform made was the " Small Order Execution System ", or "SOES", which required market makers to buy or sell, immediately, small orders up to shares at the market maker's listed bid or ask. In the late s, existing ECNs began to offer their services to small investors.
New brokerage firms which specialized in serving online traders who wanted to trade on the ECNs emerged. Archipelago eventually became a stock exchange and in was purchased by the NYSE. Moreover, the trader was able in to buy the stock almost instantly and got it at a cheaper price. ECNs are in constant flux. New ones are formed, while existing ones are bought or merged. As of the end of , the most important ECNs to the individual trader were:.
This combination of factors has made day trading in stocks and stock derivatives such as ETFs possible. The low commission rates allow an individual or small firm to make a large number of trades during a single day.
The liquidity and small spreads provided by ECNs allow an individual to make near-instantaneous trades and to get favorable pricing. The ability for individuals to day trade coincided with the extreme bull market in technological issues from to early , known as the Dot-com bubble. In March, , this bubble burst, and a large number of less-experienced day traders began to lose money as fast, or faster, than they had made during the buying frenzy.
The NASDAQ crashed from back to ; many of the less-experienced traders went broke, although obviously it was possible to have made a fortune during that time by shorting or playing on volatility. In parallel to stock trading, starting at the end of the s, a number of new Market Maker firms provided foreign exchange and derivative day trading through new electronic trading platforms.
These allowed day traders to have instant access to decentralised markets such as forex and global markets through derivatives such as contracts for difference. Most of these firms were based in the UK and later in less restrictive jurisdictions, this was in part due to the regulations in the US prohibiting this type of over-the-counter trading. These firms typically provide trading on margin allowing day traders to take large position with relatively small capital, but with the associated increase in risk.
Retail forex trading became a popular way to day trade due to its liquidity and the hour nature of the market. The following are several basic strategies by which day traders attempt to make profits.
Besides these, some day traders also use contrarian reverse strategies more commonly seen in algorithmic trading to trade specifically against irrational behavior from day traders using these approaches.
It is important for a trader to remain flexible and adjust their techniques to match changing market conditions. Some of these approaches require shorting stocks instead of buying them: There are several technical problems with short sales—the broker may not have shares to lend in a specific issue, the broker can call for the return of its shares at any time, and some restrictions are imposed in America by the U.
Securities and Exchange Commission on short-selling see uptick rule for details. Some of these restrictions in particular the uptick rule don't apply to trades of stocks that are actually shares of an exchange-traded fund ETF.
Trend following , a strategy used in all trading time-frames, assumes that financial instruments which have been rising steadily will continue to rise, and vice versa with falling. Rebate traders seek to make money from these rebates and will usually maximize their returns by trading low priced, high volume stocks.
This enables them to trade more shares and contribute more liquidity with a set amount of capital, while limiting the risk that they will not be able to exit a position in the stock. The basic strategy of news playing is to buy a stock which has just announced good news, or short sell on bad news. Such events provide enormous volatility in a stock and therefore the greatest chance for quick profits or losses.
Determining whether news is "good" or "bad" must be determined by the price action of the stock, because the market reaction may not match the tone of the news itself.
This is because rumors or estimates of the event like those issued by market and industry analysts will already have been circulated before the official release, causing prices to move in anticipation. The price movement caused by the official news will therefore be determined by how good the news is relative to the market's expectations, not how good it is in absolute terms. Keeping things simple can also be an effective methodology when it comes to trading.
These traders rely on a combination of price movement, chart patterns, volume, and other raw market data to gauge whether or not they should take a trade. This is seen as a "simplistic" and "minimalist" approach to trading but is not by any means easier than any other trading methodology. It requires a solid background in understanding how markets work and the core principles within a market, but the good thing about this type of methodology is it will work in virtually any market that exists stocks, foreign exchange, futures, gold, oil, etc.
An estimated one third of stock trades in in United States were generated by automatic algorithms , or high-frequency trading. The increased use of algorithms and quantitative techniques has led to more competition and smaller profits. Commissions for direct-access brokers are calculated based on volume. The more shares traded, the cheaper the commission. A scalper can cover such costs with even a minimal gain. The numerical difference between the bid and ask prices is referred to as the bid-ask spread.
Most worldwide markets operate on a bid-ask -based system. The ask prices are immediate execution market prices for quick buyers ask takers while bid prices are for quick sellers bid takers. If a trade is executed at quoted prices, closing the trade immediately without queuing would always cause a loss because the bid price is always less than the ask price at any point in time.
The bid-ask spread is two sides of the same coin. The spread can be viewed as trading bonuses or costs according to different parties and different strategies. On one hand, traders who do NOT wish to queue their order, instead paying the market price, pay the spreads costs.
On the other hand, traders who wish to queue and wait for execution receive the spreads bonuses. Some day trading strategies attempt to capture the spread as additional, or even the only, profits for successful trades.
Market data is necessary for day traders, rather than using the delayed by anything from 10 to 60 minutes, per exchange rules  market data that is available for free. A real-time data feed requires paying fees to the respective stock exchanges, usually combined with the broker's charges; these fees are usually very low compared to the other costs of trading.
The fees may be waived for promotional purposes or for customers meeting a minimum monthly volume of trades. Even a moderately active day trader can expect to meet these requirements, making the basic data feed essentially "free". In addition to the raw market data, some traders purchase more advanced data feeds that include historical data and features such as scanning large numbers of stocks in the live market for unusual activity.
Complicated analysis and charting software are other popular additions. These types of systems can cost from tens to hundreds of dollars per month to access. Day trading is considered a risky trading style, and regulations [ which? Pattern day trader is a term defined by the SEC to describe any trader who buys and sells a particular security in the same trading day day trades , and does this four or more times in any five consecutive business day period. It is important to note that this requirement is only for day traders using a margin account.
In addition to the legal restrictions, day trading is speculation considered negatively both as personal behavior and for the potential damages on the real economy. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the practice. For the occupation, see Day trader. This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. Learn how and when to remove these template messages. This article needs additional citations for verification.
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Retrieved 2 October A pattern day trader is generally defined in FINRA Rule Margin Requirements as any customer who executes four or more round-trip day trades within any five successive business days. A non-pattern day trader i. If the brokerage firm knows, or reasonably believes a client who seeks to open or resume trading in an account will engage in pattern day trading, then the customer may immediately be deemed to be a pattern day trader without waiting five business days.
Day trading refers to buying and then selling or selling short and then buying back the same security on the same day. For example, if you buy the same stock in three trades on the same day, and sell them all in one trade, that can be considered one day trade  or three day trades.
Day trading also applies to trading in option contracts. Forced sales of securities through a margin call count towards the day trading calculation.
Under the rules of NYSE and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority , a trader who is deemed to be exhibiting a pattern of day trading is subject to the "Pattern Day Trader" rules and restrictions and is treated differently than a trader that holds positions overnight. In order to day trade: Any legal restrictions on speculation permit to limit an activity that is negative with respect to moral-religious principles. The rule provides day trading buying power to up to 4 times a pattern day trader's maintenance margin excess.
The excess maintenance margin is the difference of the account equity and the margin requirement. If the account has a margin loan, the day trading buying power is equal to four times the difference of the account equity and the current margin requirement. If a client's day trading margin requirement is to be calculated based on the latter method, the brokerage must maintain adequate time and tick records documenting the sequence in which each day trade is completed. Time and tick information provided by the customer is not acceptable.
The Pattern Day Trading rule regulates the use of margin and is defined only for margin accounts. Cash accounts, by definition, do not borrow on margin, so day trading is subject to separate rules regarding Cash Accounts.