Scalping stocks can provide a means to make a living for individual traders, but definitely should not be assumed easy.
Scalping involves making several (or many) trades throughout the day, often only being in a position for a few brief seconds and other times for a few minutes.
This type of trading is not for everyone though. There are certain requirements and characteristics needed to be successful, and even just to try it out for that matter. Here's a partial list of what I've found to be necessary over the years to be involved with Scalping stocks:
- Hours available to trade: most trading opportunities for scalping occur during the morning hours when the regular session trading opens and lasts for an hour or two. This is typically the most volatile time of the trading session which therefore produces the widest price fluctuations during the day. An exception to this would be soon after a press release is announced in the middle of the day.
- The ability to accept being wrong: This is true of all types of trading but even more so with Scalping. Due to the number of trades typically placed during each day and the often larger than normal position size, having the ability to accept being wrong will allow you to exit losing trades quickly and move on to the next opportunity. In contrast, a Scalper who cannot accept being wrong easily will stay in losing trades too long, incur larger losses and miss potential profitable trading opportunities.
- Having a high end computer set up: To place many trades quickly throughout the day, you'll want to have a fast computer with plenty of memory to run your trading program(s), and a very fast internet connection.
- Have a backup plan in place to submit orders: Have you ever had the power go out while having a large position open while Scalping? I have. It's not a good feeling and is enough to make you put some type of backup plan in place if you haven't already done so. Keep telephone numbers handy for your broker, keep a cell phone handy (and charged), look into getting an Aircard for a laptop, and anything else that can be used as a back up. The more, the safer you'll be, just in case.
- Have the ability to make quick, confident decisions: As mentioned above, Scalping sometimes involves being in and out of a single trade within seconds. You won't have time to analyze your choices before making a decision. You'll need to learn or be able to pick the best option as quickly as possible and the first time around.
These are only some of the requirements that will be needed to be successful at Scalping stocks for a living. Many of them can be developed, but many are traits that you will need to have to a certain degree to begin with.