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Different types of trading and strategies to get started

Before you dive into trading, it's crucial to understand the different types of trading you could explore. Read this article to learn more about trading strategies and how they work.

5 min read

The following statements do not constitute investment advice or any other advice on financial services, financial instruments, financial products or digital assets. They are intended to provide general information. The following statements do not constitute an offer to conclude a contract for the purchase or sale of financial instruments and financial products or an invitation to submit such an offer and to buy or sell any particular digital asset.

Stocks and ETFs are subject to high fluctuations in value. A decline in value or a complete loss are possible at any time. The loss of access to data and passwords can also lead to a complete loss.


The world of financial trading is exciting, dynamic, and ever-changing — and overwhelming at the same time. Admittedly, there's a lot of learning to do, but never fear! From stocks to cryptocurrencies, commodities to forex, there are different types of trading opportunities depending on your risk profile and trading strategy. Deciding to invest your money is just the beginning.

In this article, we'll cover the types of trading and the essential trading strategies that many beginners use. Intrigued by day trading, swing trading, or long-term investing? You’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn more about these topics and build a solid foundation for your next investment steps. 

What is trading?

First, a refresher on the basics: Trading refers to the buying and selling of financial assets, such as stocks and bonds, to generate profits. The idea is to capitalize on price fluctuations, and traders use different strategies, timeframes, and analysis techniques to make decisions. (Check out our step-by-step guide to trading for much more about how all of this works.)

Trading takes place in stock markets, forex (foreign exchange) markets, commodities exchanges, and other financial markets. As we'll cover next, different types of trading range from short-term to longer-term investments.

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What are the most common types of trading? 

Before diving into the stock market, it’s wise to understand each type of trading. This will help you make investment decisions that match your goals and preferred level of risk. Experienced traders often combine multiple strategies or adapt their approaches based on market conditions, risk tolerance, and individual preferences to optimize their trading success. These are some of the most common types of trading:

Day trading

Day trading involves buying and selling assets within the same trading day — that means from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The goal is to capitalize on short-term price fluctuations, and traders close out their positions by the end of the day to avoid the risk of prices changing overnight. To be successful in day trading, you need to stay dialed into market trends and be able to make decisions quickly.

Swing trading

Unlike day trading, swing traders might hold positions overnight or for several days, aiming to profit from the swings in prices. This typically involves analyzing technical indicators and other factors influencing the market.

Position trading

Position trading focuses on long-term trends and can span weeks, months, or even years. Traders identify major market moves and hold positions for extended periods to profit from their expected trends. It takes a clear understanding of economic factors and market cycles — plus, you need a willingness to tolerate short-term price fluctuations so that you can (potentially) benefit from higher returns over time.

Algorithmic (or automated) trading

Algorithmic or automated trading relies on computer programs and algorithms to execute trades. They follow specific trading strategies, making fast decisions based on predetermined criteria. This form of trading depends on quantitative analysis, backtesting, and programming skills.

Scalping

Scalping is an ultra-short-term trading strategy where traders aim to profit from small price movements. They hold their assets for brief periods — minutes or even seconds! — to accumulate multiple small gains throughout the day. This type of trading is for experts in market liquidity who are comfortable executing trades at lightning speed.

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How to get started with financial trading

No matter what type of trading you’re interested in, it’s always best to take your time learning about financial markets, trading strategies, and risk management practices. Only start trading once you’ve gotten a strong handle on financial markets! When it comes to trading, knowledge is definitely power.

First, select a type and strategy that fits your risk profile and budget — whether it's scalping, day trading, swing trading, or position trading. Then, craft your trading plan and investment portfolio. 

The final step involves executing the trading strategy in a live environment, with or without the help of a broker. Before jumping into it, practice on a model account to get the experience you need.

From the maneuvers of day trading to the intricate strategies of position trading, each type of trading has its own set of advantages and challenges. Trading can be risky, time-intensive, and emotionally demanding. Not only that, but there are transaction costs and tax implications to be aware of. Acknowledging these trade-offs will help you create your own personal risk management and investment strategies, so that you can make responsible decisions and stay financially healthy in the long-term.

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FAQ

What is active trading?

Active trading involves frequent buying and selling of financial assets to capitalize on quick price movements. Traders execute numerous trades within short time frames, using various techniques to make decisions based on short-term market fluctuations.

What different trading strategies are there?

There are many approaches to trading, each tailored to different market conditions, investor goals, time frames, and levels of risk tolerance.

  • Trend following: identifying and capitalizing on dominant market trends.
  • Range trading: profiting from price fluctuations within a certain range.
  • Mean reverting: trading strategies based on the prediction that prices will return to historical averages.
  • Breakout trading: aims to benefit from asset price breakouts above resistance or below support levels.
  • Momentum trading: riding out strong price movements.
  • Scalping: making quick gains by executing trades very quickly.
  • Arbitraging: exploiting minor price differences in different markets.
  • Pairs trading: simultaneous trades on a pair of similar assets in order to profit from their performance relative to one another.

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