Stock Market Trading Styles Defined

Have you ever heard of the terms Scalping, Swing Trading, Trend Trading and Momentum Trading? Wonder if you are any of them? Wondering what suits you? Here’s a quick definition.

The different forms of trading are actually better differentiated by time frame more than the techniques that are involved. Because of the difference in time frame, different techniques must be used in order to reap profits from the capital markets.

From the shortest holding period to the longest, we have Scalping, Momentum Trading, Swing Trading and lastly, Trend Trading.

Scalping is a term used for a method where trades are opened and closed within a very short time scale, perhaps anything from a second or two to a few minutes. This is a day trading method where Scalpers make several, perhaps hundreds of trades a day, accruing small profits intraday for an overall daily return.

Momentum trading is another day trading method where the trader sees an acceleration in a stock’s price, earnings, or revenues and takes a long or short position in the stock with the hope that its momentum will continue in either an upwards or downwards direction. Once momentum slows down or falls, the trade is exited. The holding period is commonly from a few hours up to a whole day.

Swing Trading is a style of trading that attempts to capture gains in a stock within one to four days. This is mainly used by private, at home traders. The individual trader is able to exploit the short-term stock movements without the competition of major traders. Swing traders use technical analysis to look for stocks with short-term price momentum. These traders aren’t interested in the fundamental or intrinsic value of stocks but rather in their price trends and patterns.

Trend Trading is a trading strategy where traders commonly hold their positions for up to a month. It is a trading strategy that attempts to capture gains through the analysis of an asset’s momentum in a particular direction. The trend trader enters into a long position when a stock is trending upward (successively higher highs). Conversely, a short position is taken when the stock is in a down trend (successively lower highs).

All in all, Swing Trading and Trend Trading seems like the way to go for most private traders who has a day job or who cannot afford to day trade the market.

I too am a Swing Trader and have enjoyed tremendous success for the past few years using what I call the Star Trading System. Read about it here at