What a Swing Trader’s Daily Routine Looks Like

Swing Trading is all about combining fundamental as well as technical analysis to spot momentous price movements. With swing trading, you have a tool that will help you use capital efficiently for higher returns. However, the strategy does come with a few drawbacks—including higher commissions plus more volatility.

For an average forex trader, trading can prove difficult. However, new traders can still do it like their professional counterparts. For instance, there are many strategies, options, and information you can bank on to trade profitably. Plus, professional traders take advantage of lower commissions to take their games to another level. So, as a new trader, you can take advantage of these features to trade like a pro. RagingBull.com analyses the daily routine of a typical swing trader.


A typical trader will usually start his/her routine at 6 AM EST—a time at which the Opening ball is yet to ring. Doing things early will help you have a feel of how the day will unfold and familiarize yourself with the swing trading activities. Use this time to find potential traders, create a daily watch list, and check existing positions.

Market Overview

Your first task should be to check the latest market developments and news. Use a cable television like channel such as CNBC to check the market news. Alternatively, you can go to a reputable website like Market Watch and monitor the market news from there. As a trader, you need to keenly monitor the following three things:

  • Market Segment—it’s important that you monitor the overall market segment. This includes the bullish, bearish, and inflation. Also, try to keep a keen eye on things like inflation, important economic reports, currency, as well as foreign trading sessions.
  • Sector Segment—another important aspect you should keep a close eye on is the sector segment. Things like hot sectors and growing sectors play a key role when it comes to manitoring the market.
  • Current Holding—a professional trader will also try to have a clear picture concerning the current holdings (including news, earnings, as well as SEC filings).

Find Potential Trades

The trader will then scan for any potential daily traders. Here, a swing trader inters a position using a fundamental catalyst. From here, he/she will manage the position or exit from it using technical analysis. Finding fundamental analysis can happen in two ways.

Special opportunities—commonly found in SEC filings and headline news, special opportunities will usually include things like IPO (an abbreviation for Initial Public Offerings), bayous, mergers, and acquisitions. These opportunities can also include bankruptcies, restructuring, and insider buying. You can only spot these opportunities through observing certain types of fillings like S-4 as well as 13D. Use sites like SECFilings to get notifications whenever a filing is made.

It’s important to note that these opportunities are usually associated with huge risks. However, the rewards are extremely handsome. But you have to do things carefully. The sector plays best analyses the news from a different financial website.

Making a Watch List

From here, a swing trader should draft a wishlist. This wishlist should contain all stocks of that particular day. These stocks form part of a catalyst that will influence your trading options.

Pro tip: Keep a dry-erase based board next to your trading solutions. Be sure to have a categorization of opportunities, target prices, and stop-loss prices. Also, the categorization should include entry prices and other opportunities that can help your trading day end well.

Checking Existing Positions

Checking existing positions should be the next step. During the pre-market hours, you need to check the existing positions and review the necessary news to ensure that nothing has affected the stock during the previous night. One of the ways of doing this is through inputting the stock symbol into news websites or service providers like Google News. From here you will be required to check to ascertain if there is any filing. If you don’t find any material information, make your analysis to ascertain if it has any effect on that trading plan of yours. At this point, you might be forced to adjust your stop-loss as well as take-profit points.

Market Hours

Now that you are through with all the necessary preparations, it’s time to watch and trade. Look for those level II quotes—they will help you see who buys or sells. They will also show you the amounts involved. If you love day trading, it’s time to check the market marker. However, it’s important to be alert. Avoid head-fake bids—they are asked to confuse you.

After-Hours Market

Rarely do people use after-hours trading to place trades. This is because of two factors:

  • An illiquid market
  • A spread market that is difficult to justify.

So, don’t place trades during this time. This timer should be reserved for performance evaluation. So, record all relevant information. Some of the information you should record include trades and ideas. This information will help you to evaluate taxes and performable levels.

With performance evaluation, you have the opportunity to evaluate trading activities to identify areas of improvements. Also, you will need to review your open positions—paying close attention to earning announcements.

Characteristics of an Expert Swing Trader

Swing trading, like any other stock trading, requires the following key strategies.

  • Discipline—a swing trader must exhibit a high level of discipline. Without discipline, you risk losing everything. So, know when to trade and when not to. Leave greed at home.
  • Consistency—Embrace consistency. Don’t give up.
  • Confidence—Confidence is key. So, don’t be afraid to trade
  • Skill—Sharpen your trading skills
  • Research—Acquire trading knowledge by doing extensive research

The Bottom-Line

The daily routine of a swing trader is packed with numerous activities. You need to wake up early, prepare, study the news, trade, and wait for results. So, if you want to become a professional trader, follow these guidelines. This is a typical daily schedule of a professional swing trader. Embrace it and trade like a pro. Happy swing trading. 

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.