Best Short-Term Trading Tips: Benefits, Types, and Drawbacks

Understanding Short-Term Trading: Types, Advantages, and Disadvantages

Short-term trading is unpredictable as well as rapid. Survival in this world demands strategic planning and decision-making. Understanding the correct methods and strategies can turn uncertainty into opportunities for traders of all levels. 

Short-term trading is a fast-paced area of the financial market with significant gains and risks. This article will discuss short-term trading tips, provide an example, and examine its various forms. It also outlined a few short-term trading strategies that work.

Key Highlights

  • Unlike traditional 'Buy' & 'Sell' strategies, short-term trading is trading where you buy and sell within seconds or maybe in several days. 

  • Four popular short-term trading strategies have proven effective and efficient in yielding quick returns.

  • Even for experienced traders, accurately timing the market can be difficult. 

What Exactly is short-term trading?

Short-term trading is when you buy and sell rapidly because there is no fixed time, which means unlike traditional 'Buy' & 'Sell' Investment strategies, it is trading where you are buying and selling within seconds or maybe in several days. This trading style is primarily centered around the rapid variation of market prices induced by prevalent economic data, company earnings, and political events.

Notably, short-term trading is associated with active trading owing to their intense departure from passive fund trading or investing strategies. One crucial point is that this trading style is substantially rooted in speculation. In other words, it doesn't necessarily involve trading underlying assets. Instead, it deals with derivative instruments, allowing traders to enter and exit trades without holding the assets. Such instruments encompass Contracts for Difference (CFDs), spread bets, and options, all crafted to enable profits from soaring or plummeting market prices.

Example of Short-Term Trading

A crucial instrument often incorporated in short-term trading is the moving average. This denotes an average stock price calculated over a specific period of time. Popular time spans for these averages range from 15, 20, 30, 50, 100, to 200 days.

Consider a trader employing a 15-day moving average strategy on a particular stock. The trader calculates the average closing price of this stock over the past 15 sessions. If today's price exceeds the 15-day moving average, our trader eyes a potential buying opportunity, interpreting this as a bullish signal. Conversely, if the current price lags behind the standard, undesirable "bearish" signs flicker, indicating a selling position.

A word of caution—a plunge into short-term trading demands an understanding of its significant risks, elevated trading costs and potential hefty losses born out of market volatility being the prime suspects.

Types of Short-Term Trading

Short-term traders can choose from a wide range of trading approaches depending on their time limits and risk tolerance. These are: 

  • Scalpers

  • Day traders 

  • Swing traders


In the trading world, scalpers are akin to skilled hawkers seeking to profit from minute price variations. Their trading positions remain open from a few seconds to minutes, generally not crossing that limit. Their unique strategy entails embarking on trade and exiting as the market favors them, scalping off small profits atop a market trend. Consequently, this style translates to a high win-to-loss ratio.


  • Swift profits

  • Fundamental analysis is not required

  • Minimal market exposure

  • Easy to obtain small price movements


  • High time consumption

  • Requires impeccable entry points

Day traders

Like sprinters in the world of trading, day traders purchase and sell assets in a single trading day, mainly to avoid overnight fees. This short-term style capitalizes on minor market variations by frequent daily trading. Although potent, rapid price fluxes might also lead to market pitfalls like slippage.


  • Quick results

  • Lower market exposure


  • Demands high-level technical and fundamental analysis skills

  • It can be stressful and time-consuming

Swing Traders

Swing traders strategically exploit a position within a significant move that could run from a few days to weeks. They mark their entry and exit points by interpreting an overall price movement trend through robust technical analysis tools. Though categorized as a short-term trading style, it may expand past a few weeks, overlapping with longer-term styles.


  • Potential high returns if executed rightly

  • Requires less time than scalping or day trading


  • Demands expert-level analysis skills

  • High exposure to market risks and fluctuations overnight

What are the best ways to do short-term trading?

We unveil the four popular short-term trading strategies that have proven effective and efficient in yielding quick returns.

  1. Momentum trading 

  2. Range trading

  3. Breakout trading

  4. Reversal trading

1- Momentum Trading: Harnessing the Strength of Trends

The adage "Is the wind in your sails?" rings right within momentum trading. This technique involves buying and selling assets based on the strength of a recent trend. Momentum traders believe that a strong market movement, whether upward or downward, is likely to continue and thus create opportunities for profits. It is about capitalizing on the main body of the movement rather than trying to pinpoint the exact 'top' or 'bottom.'

How to Execute Momentum Trading?

The key to successful momentum trading lies in identifying the strength of trends. Traders often leverage Moving averages (MAs) to determine whether a stock will increase or decrease. Specifically, two moving averages—the slow exponential moving average (EMA) and the fast EMA—are employed to estimate the best times to enter and exit trades. 

  • When the fast EMA passes below the slow EMA, enter a long position.

  • When the fast EMA passes above the slow EMA, enter a short position.

2- Range Trading: Profiting from Market Boundaries

Range trading seeks to exploit the movement of prices within a specific range. It's all about understanding the lines of resistance and support. Range traders buy at a known level of support and sell at a general class of resistance. The idea is to predict price oscillations within these boundaries and to profit from them.

How to Execute Range Trading?

Technical indicators like the stochastic oscillator or relative strength index (RSI) can help identify overbought and oversold signals. Tools like Bollinger Band or fractals often determine when market prices might break from the range.

  • Open a long position at a known level of support and close it at the resistance level.

  • Open a short position at a known resistance level and close it at the support level.

3- Breakout Trading: Leaping the Ladder before the Crowd

Are you a day or swing trader? Then breakout trading might be your backbone. This strategy focuses on entering a trend early, anticipating a break from a range. In breakout trading, traders try to identify a change in market sentiment, indicating that a price might break out from a set range. By entering the market at this point, traders hope to ride the likely trend from start to finish.

How to Execute Breakout Trading?

  • Breakout traders usually set limit orders at a support or resistance level. If a breakout occurs, the trade is executed without manual intervention.

  • Volume indicators like the Money Flow Index (MFI), Balance Volume, and the Volume Weighted Moving Average are used in many breakout methods to forecast breakouts.

4- Reversal Trading: Capitalizing on Market U-turns

Reversal trading is all about detecting market sentiment changes. It's a strategy anticipating and capitalizing on trend reversals. Reversal trading predicts a difference in a current trend's direction. It can be either a 'bullish reversal' or 'bearish reversal,' representing a trend change from downtrend to uptrend and vice versa.

How to Execute Reversal Trading?

  • Focus on immediate price reversals to seize quick profit opportunities. 

  • Fibonacci retracement is commonly used to confirm whether a market has surpassed known retracement levels and had a complete reversal.

Risk of Short-Term Trading 

Short-term trading introduces several risks for traders, both new and experienced. Let's have a look at the risks associated with short-term trading.

  1. Market Volatility: Trading in the short term can be highly vulnerable to market volatility. Sudden changes in the market might result in rapid and occasionally significant losses.

  2. Increased Trading Costs: Short-term trading typically entails more significant trading costs due to the possibility of numerous trades. Costs associated with each transaction, such as fees and spread, can quickly eat away at profits.

  3. Timing Difficulties: Even for experienced traders, accurately timing the market can be difficult. Financial loss may result from incorrectly timing your stock purchases or not selling them before prices decline.

  4. Emotional Trading and High Stress: Because short-term trading moves quickly, it can cause people to make decisions based on their feelings and feel a lot of stress, which can sometimes lead to wrong results.

  5. Time and work-intensive: Research and monitoring the markets while making short-term investments takes much time and effort.

  6. Loss of Money: One of the most significant risks of short-term investing is that you could lose money. This is particularly valid when the market is erratic or you are trading with leverage or borrowed funds.

Some traders are lured to short-term trading because of the possibility of rapid earnings, even with these hazards. But it's crucial to comprehend these dangers well and develop a solid trading strategy. Remember that while short-term trading can be profitable, not everyone should do it.

Is short-term trading worth it? 

When traders use short-term trading to profit from little price swings that might otherwise go overlooked from a longer-term trend perspective, they can do so very profitably. If successful, short-term tactics like scalping and day trading help achieve tiny but consistent daily gains. However, consider additional risks and expenses associated with short-term trading that should be considered before initiating a position.

Bottom Line

If you're willing to take the substantial risks of short-term investments, you may swiftly amass a sizable fortune. Follow the above-mentioned short-term trading tips. Always think about the positive aspects and downsides of the trading approach you're considering. These tactics are standard practice. Studying markets, waiting for opportunities, and making sensible plan decisions are most crucial. The goal is not to become rich overnight but to acquire the skills necessary for successful short-term trading. Happy trading!

"In the world of trading, it's not about betting the house every time; it's about carefully analyzing and making smart decisions."

Suggested Articles:

  1. Consumer Price Index (CPI)

  2. RSI Indicator

  3. Debt to Income Ratio (DTI)

15 Nov, 2023


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