In the forex industry, there are different trading styles, one of which is swing trading. In this article, you will learn the meaning of swing trading, its advantages and disadvantages.
Swing trading is a popular style of trading employed by investors in the financial market to capture short to medium-term price movements.
Unlike long-term investing, which involves holding assets for an extended period, swing trading involves taking advantage of price fluctuations within a specific time frame, typically ranging from a few days to several weeks.
This style of trading allows investors and traders to take advantage of both upward and downward market trends, allowing traders to profit from different market conditions. Traders who engage in swing trading usually aim to capture profits from the swings or oscillations in asset prices.
Swing style of trading offers several advantages for traders looking to capitalize on short to medium-term market fluctuations. These are:
One of the key advantages of swing trading is its flexibility. In contrast to long-term trading which requires a commitment over months or years, or day trading which requires constant monitoring of trades, swing traders can capitalize on shorter time frames, ranging from a few days to a few weeks.
This flexibility allows traders to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions, take advantage of short-term trends, and quickly adjust their strategies in response to new information.
The flexibility that also comes with swing trading allows part-time traders to have time to attend to other things. Such as those working two jobs, students attending schools while trading and so on.
As hinted above, the swing trading style allows traders to adapt to changing market conditions. Hence, swing traders are not tied to a specific market direction. This means traders have the opportunity to profit from both upward and downward price swings by systematically and strategically entering and exiting trades.
In bullish markets, traders may go long and ride the upward momentum, while in bearish markets, they can short-sell to profit from declining prices. Traders can also use inverse exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to profit from declining prices.
For example, during a market correction (a move that occurs after the price has moved impulsively in one direction, a swing trader could identify a currency that is overvalued and might enter into a downtrend. By short-selling, the trader can profit from the anticipated decline in the currency’s price, which shows how swing trading adapts to different market phases or conditions.
From the definition of swing trading given above, we see that swing trading focuses on short to medium-term movements which can help traders reduce emotional stress compared to long-term trading and day trading.
Long-term traders usually experience extended periods of market volatility, economic downturns, or bear markets, leading to emotional stress. Day traders who usually experience little fluctuation in price are usually bothered because of their tight stop-loss orders.
However, Swing traders, by targeting shorter time frames, may experience less extended exposure to market uncertainties and fluctuations, which ultimately reduces emotional stress.
Let's look at this, if for instance, a long-term trader experiences a significant market downturn, they might endure substantial losses and emotional distress while a swing trader could have already exited positions during shorter-term trends, which mitigates prolonged exposure to market downturns.
You might wonder what this means. Active learning is when traders can analyze the outcomes of their trades within a relatively short period, facilitating a faster learning curve.
This helps traders to learn and adapt quickly. During this process, traders can refine their strategies, adapt to changing market conditions, and continuously improve their decision-making skills.
A swing trader may experiment with different price action entry and exit models over a series of short-term trades. By actively analyzing the outcomes, they can identify what works best for their trading style and make adjustments accordingly.
In swing trading, traders can implement different trading strategies within a diversified portfolio.
Traders can make use of different technical analysis tools, chart patterns, and price action models across multiple assets. This diversification helps spread risk and enhances the overall steady growth of the portfolios.
In this case, a swing trader might simultaneously employ trend-following strategies, reversal strategies, and breakout strategies across different assets or financial instruments. This diversification provides traders with more opportunities for profitable trades while reducing the impact of poor performance in any single strategy.
Just as the saying goes “Everything that has an advantage also has a disadvantage”. Let’s discuss the shortcomings of the swing style of trading.
The swing trading may not be suitable for all types of assets. Some assets may lack the necessary volatility and/or liquidity for effective swing trading, which limits the number of opportunities that can be provided by the market and taken advantage of.
For instance, in the stock market, there is limited liquidity and this asset might experience wide bid-ask spreads, making it difficult for swing traders to execute trades at desired prices.
There is usually a certain level of capital needed in swing trading to effectively manage risk through position sizing and diversification.
For traders with smaller trading accounts, the limitations on the number of positions and leverage that can be used may hinder the effectiveness of swing trading.
Traders with a small account size may find it difficult to diversify adequately or may be forced to take on higher levels of risk to achieve meaningful returns. This could lead to significant losses if the market moves unfavourably and may eventually lead to the blowing of their accounts.
Frequent buying and selling of assets, and holding of trading positions overnight and over the weekends in swing trading usually result in higher transaction costs which include commissions and fees.
Sometimes, these costs can completely wipe out profits, especially when trading smaller price movements.
To recap, swing trading presents a flexible approach for traders that offers advantages such as flexibility, adaptability to market conditions, reduced emotional stress, active learning opportunities, and the ability to diversify trading strategies.
The swing trading style's emphasis on short to medium-term movements allows for quicker learning curves and better risk management.
However, swing trading comes with its own set of cons, including the fact that transaction costs can impact profits, smaller accounts may face limitations and it may not be suitable for all assets, particularly those lacking volatility or liquidity.
As you have read in this article, swing trading is best suited for securities that have high volatility and liquidity. Hence, forex, commodities and some actively traded socks are best suited for swing trading.
While there is no specific rule of thumb on this issue, traders should have at least $5,000 in capital for effective trading.