The Daily Routine of a Swing Trader

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Justin Kuepper

07 Sep, 2012

in Equities


Market Hours
The market hours are a time for watching and trading. Many swing traders look at level II quotes, which will show who is buying and selling and what amounts they are trading. Those coming from the world of day trading will also often check which market maker is making the trades (this can cue traders in to who is behind the market maker's trades), and also be aware of head-fake bids and asks placed just to confuse retail traders.

As soon as a viable trade has been found and entered, traders begin to look for an exit. This is typically done using technical analysis. Many swing traders like to use Fibonacci extensions, simple resistance levels or price by volume. Ideally, this is done before the trade has even been placed, but a lot will often depend on the day's trading. Moreover, adjustments may need to be made later, depending on future trading. As a general rule, however, you should never adjust a position to take on more risk (e.g., move a stop-loss down): only adjust profit-taking levels if trading continues to look bullish, or adjust stop-loss levels upward to lock in profits.


You will often find that entering trades is more of an art than a science, and it tends to depend on the day's trading activity. Trade management and exiting, on the other hand, should always be an exact science.

After-Hours Market
After-hours trading is rarely used as a time to place trades because the market is illiquid and the spread is often too much to justify. The most important component of after-hours trading is performance evaluation. It is important to carefully record all trades and ideas for both tax purposes and performance evaluation. Performance evaluation involves looking over all of your trading activity and identifying things that need improvement. Finally, you should review your open positions one last time, paying particular attention to after-hours earnings announcements, or other material events that may impact your holdings.

In Summary
Looking at the daily routine of the typical swing trader, it is evident that the pre-market routine is paramount to successful trading. This is the time when trading opportunities are located and the day is planned. Market hours are simply a time of entering and exiting positions, not devising any new plans. And finally, after hours is just a time to review the trades for the day and assess performance. Adopting a daily trading routine such as this one can help you improve your trading and ultimately beat market returns. It just takes some good resources and proper planning and preparation.

Justin Kuepper can be contacted at Internationalinvest

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Re: The Daily Routine of a Swing Trader

Justin, couls you write something about swing trading currencies as in the same fashion you did for stocks, perhaps?

Nov 08, 2013

Newbie (1 post)

Re: The Daily Routine of a Swing Trader

Very well written, thanks.

Jan 26, 2013

Rookie Member (14 posts)

Re: The Daily Routine of a Swing Trader

Thanks, I've been waiting for someone to do a write up on this topic.

Sep 07, 2012

Member (157 posts)

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