Is day trading profitable?

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vu8
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Is day trading profitable?

Post by vu8 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:35 pm

Commercials and ads about people made a fortune through day trading/ strategic trading all over YouTube before every single warren buffett’s Videos. Is day trading profitable for most day traders? Is the success of Tim Sykes replicable?

2m2037
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by 2m2037 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:39 pm

vu8 wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:35 pm
Commercials and ads about people made a fortune through day trading/ strategic trading all over YouTube before every single warren buffett’s Videos. Is day trading profitable for most day traders? Is the success of Tim Sykes replicable?
Is day trading profitable for most day traders? No, not most.

Is the success of Tim Sykes replicable? Yes, but just as the last person who won the lottery, you, too, can win the lottery.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:42 pm

I've found that winning the lottery is exceptionally easy. Simply buy the winning ticket.

Day trading is also exceptionally easy. Buy stocks in the morning that will double by afternoon and then sell them. If they're not going to double by the afternoon, then why would you buy them?
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

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JoMoney
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by JoMoney » Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:44 pm

vu8 wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:35 pm
... Is day trading profitable for most day traders? ...
Where would the money be coming from if "most" could trade against each other at a profit?
It would be like a poker game where all the players think if they play well enough they can all be winners.
It doesn't work that way.
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

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Sandtrap
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:55 pm

Like every endeavor that touts success, if everyone is making a profit, where is the money coming from? :shock:
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alex_686
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by alex_686 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:55 pm

Is day trading profitable? It can be.

Is professional poker playing profitable? It can be. Golf? Bowling? House Flipping? Antiquating? etc. It can be but odds are very much against it.

It is a job which requires dedication, skill, and some luck in a very competitive field.

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serbeer
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by serbeer » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:09 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:42 pm
I've found that winning the lottery is exceptionally easy. Simply buy the winning ticket.

Day trading is also exceptionally easy. Buy stocks in the morning that will double by afternoon and then sell them. If they're not going to double by the afternoon, then why would you buy them?
This is very good advice! :)

racy
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by racy » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:15 pm

JoMoney wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:44 pm
vu8 wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:35 pm
... Is day trading profitable for most day traders? ...
Where would the money be coming from if "most" could trade against each other at a profit?
It would be like a poker game where all the players think if they play well enough they can all be winners.
It doesn't work that way.
“If you've been playing poker for half an hour and you still don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy.”
― Warren Buffett

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JoeRetire
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by JoeRetire » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:34 pm

vu8 wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:35 pm
Is day trading profitable for most day traders?
No.

But selling them day trading "systems" is.
Very Stable Genius

mhalley
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by mhalley » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:42 pm

I think if I discovered a foolproof method of day trading I would never mention it to anyone to prevent the ability to do so being compromised by other people doing the same thing. Once I achieved my 100 million, then I would stop and retire the system, perhaps sharing it with my children or grand children, but I would never make it public,

2m2037
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by 2m2037 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:24 pm

mhalley wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:42 pm
I think if I discovered a foolproof method of day trading I would never mention it to anyone to prevent the ability to do so being compromised by other people doing the same thing. Once I achieved my 100 million, then I would stop and retire the system, perhaps sharing it with my children or grand children, but I would never make it public,
If I discovered a highly profitable business in selling shoelaces to Nike I would also keep mum about it.

Could be anything, really, doesn't have to be day trading. :sharebeer

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whodidntante
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by whodidntante » Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:30 pm

For some it is. A regular poster here is a credible and successful trader and has shared some of what he did. We mostly don't understand what he said, but it sounds really smart.

Dottie57
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:50 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:30 pm
For some it is. A regular poster here is a credible and successful trader and has shared some of what he did. We mostly don't understand what he said, but it sounds really smart.
How do we know he was/is successful.

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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:02 pm

Day trading is definitely profitable...for the brokers/trading platforms. For you, not so much.
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Taylor Larimore
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by Taylor Larimore » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:22 pm

vu8 wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:35 pm
Commercials and ads about people made a fortune through day trading/ strategic trading all over YouTube before every single warren buffett’s Videos. Is day trading profitable for most day traders? Is the success of Tim Sykes replicable?
vu8:

In The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing (page 165) we wrote:

"Terry Odean and Brad Barber, two professors at the University of California, did a study of 66,400 investors between the years 1991 and 1997 to learn how trading affected those investors' returns. They found that buy-and-hold investors outperformed the most active traders by a whopping 7.1 percent a year."

Best wishes
Taylor
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Oak&Elm
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by Oak&Elm » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:28 pm

I know a guy who worked overseas as an engineer 30 years ago, smart guy, made a lot of money than moved back to the USA. I found out he was a trader and has supported his family of 4 ever since without working a normal job. No idea what he has for investments but he lives fairly modestly. I asked him about his trading “system” once and he basically told me to mind my own business, so the point is these guys are out there but the real ones don’t share their system, why would they?

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Toons
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by Toons » Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:15 pm

As a fulfilling career.
No.
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

DaBombCat
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by DaBombCat » Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:29 pm

What would be included in day trading?

BrooklynInvest
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by BrooklynInvest » Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:39 pm

Day trading is INSANELY profitable.

For the people running the ads and leasing you the trading platform. For you, no. Not so much.

cheapindexer
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by cheapindexer » Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:49 pm

Definition of “ day trader “


1) trust fund baby that never had a job and never wanted one . Make a few trades here and there pretending to be self made

bstevlin
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by bstevlin » Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:49 pm

vu8 wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:35 pm
Commercials and ads about people made a fortune through day trading/ strategic trading all over YouTube before every single warren buffett’s Videos. Is day trading profitable for most day traders? Is the success of Tim Sykes replicable?
It must be. I have a relative that quit medicine to do day trading. He is in his sixties and is back to practicing medicine. He said he ran into bad luck and gubamint regulations. He maintains he has the market figured out. If the family would loan him money he would make all of us rich. Yah right!
Last edited by bstevlin on Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

furwut
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by furwut » Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:52 pm

After reading Michael Lewis’s book, Flash Boys, on high frequency trading and dark pools I have no illusions on day trading as a profitable activity.
Last edited by furwut on Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

NoRegret
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by NoRegret » Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:53 pm

OP,

Check out https://vantagepointtrading.com/whats-t ... gh-answer/.

There are some interesting statistics there. I have read "low single digit percent" success rate elsewhere. This question has been posted to Quora and EliteTrader before.

My own short-term trading (days to weeks) results are not good although I've never tried day trading seriously.

Why do you want to know?

NR
Market timer targeting long term cycles -- aiming for several key decisions per asset class per decade

columbia
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by columbia » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:03 pm

It can be quite profitable, if you’re a brokerage charging a fee for each trade. :moneybag

Church Lady
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by Church Lady » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:08 pm

IF I were a successful day trader, I would not publish my secrets. If I did, everyone would replicate my strategies. Instead of competing against the market, I'd be competing against desperate people, and probably sophisticated software on high speed computers, implementing my strategies faster than I. I'd lose my alpha!

No, I'd guard my secrets like Fort Knox, as would every other successful day trader. Those adverts you see before each Warren Buffet video are from day trading failures. Don't be sucked in.

We can't know how many good day traders there are because they're not talking. We can estimate the number of failed traders by the number of ads for day trading software.
He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.

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Pajamas
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by Pajamas » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:17 pm

vu8 wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:35 pm
Commercials and ads about people made a fortune through day trading/ strategic trading all over YouTube before every single warren buffett’s Videos.
Get Adblock Plus or similar. That will eliminate ads on YouTube except ones that are actually part of a video.
Is day trading profitable for most day traders? Is the success of Tim Sykes replicable?
No, day trading is not profitable for most people who attempt it although some people certainly do make money at it just as they do playing poker or betting on horses. I had to google Tim Sykes but I'm not surprised that he was day trading during the dot.com boom and did well at it. There was a lot of volatility that facilitated success back then, compared to now.

Day trading is not as easy as you might think. It can be very stressful even when you do well and there is always a lot of risk that is completely out of your control. (Think trading halts for adverse news, events that are unpredictable but occur on a regular basis, and also events like 9/11 or flash crashes.) Tax time is a nightmare. I think very few people have the combination of attributes and abilities to succeed at it and that even for most of those people, success is not sustainable over the long-term, just as with hot hedge fund managers. And don't forget that you are always going up against pros.

Tanelorn
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by Tanelorn » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:31 pm

Sure, day trading is just like investing, only moreso. Sometimes, if you're good or lucky, it makes money and has great returns. Other times, if your bad or unlucky, it loses money. Only that result, say +-20% or whatever, can happen in a few days instead of a few years. Costs are much higher for trading than investing however, so the bar to be good at it, enough to be consistently profitable, is high.

Prior discussion here -

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=194277

stlutz
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by stlutz » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:30 am

Following the traditional definition of "day trading", whereby you trade during the but close out all positions before the market closes, the answer is "no".

That is because basically all of the longer-term returns in the market occur during overnight hours. e.g. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/your ... ading.html

H-Town
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by H-Town » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:44 am

vu8 wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:35 pm
Commercials and ads about people made a fortune through day trading/ strategic trading all over YouTube before every single warren buffett’s Videos. Is day trading profitable for most day traders? Is the success of Tim Sykes replicable?
Day trading is definitely making profit for stock brokers and the exchanges.

For you? it's a toss up. 50/50. Do you like your chances?

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Lancelot
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by Lancelot » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:52 am

alex_686 wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:55 pm
Is day trading profitable? It can be.

Is professional poker playing profitable? It can be. Golf? Bowling? House Flipping? Antiquating? etc. It can be but odds are very much against it.

It is a job which requires dedication, skill, and some luck in a very competitive field.
I agree

Most successful investors became wealthy by investing over the long term, the boring way. Some folks are drawn to the glitz and love to share their investment prowess at get togethers. Personally I see similarities with gamblers and day traders, in that money is secondary and simply allows the game to continue. The juice is the game its self.
No Where for Very Long...

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randomizer
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by randomizer » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:07 am

After costs, I'd imagine it is not profitable on average.
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JustinR
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by JustinR » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:09 am

No, it's not.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:06 pm

You don't want to be this guy:
Giammanco sometimes wore a military-style hat that earned him his nickname during his 11-month bank robbing spree. He said he went on the spree to finance his daughters' Catholic education and keep his house after he went bust day-trading stocks.
Boonie Hat Bandit

skepticalobserver
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by skepticalobserver » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:18 pm

Thinking of buying a trading system? Is someone selling the Golden Goose--never, not ever.

Most "successful" retail traders have PhDs: parents have dough. Sooner or later they're washed out.

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Pajamas
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by Pajamas » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:22 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:06 pm
You don't want to be this guy:
Giammanco sometimes wore a military-style hat that earned him his nickname during his 11-month bank robbing spree. He said he went on the spree to finance his daughters' Catholic education and keep his house after he went bust day-trading stocks.
Boonie Hat Bandit
Seems like a good subject for a film or television series as well as the book. I doubt anyone will ever say that about me. :beer

core4portfolio
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by core4portfolio » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:34 pm

i never done day trading.. but did some trading but we need luck to help on that part.
Trading vs investment - i picked investment as it gains better.
I do own some individual stocks but mostly on index funds.

I have seen couple of good day traders in fatwallet site but iam not one.
Allocation : 80/20 (80% TSM, 20% TBM) | Need to learn fishing sooner

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VA_Gent
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by VA_Gent » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:43 pm

Yes it is possible but it takes a rare breed.

Some thoughts:
It is extremely stressful.
Works best on short time frames of very liquid leveraged markets (ie Emini SP500 Futures contract)
Must have volatility no vol = whipsaw and death by a thousand cuts.
A trend following short term system may only be in the market for 2-3% of the time.
There are long periods of waiting for the vol to return.
Risk management is number one priority.
You must know exactly how much you are risking on any one trade and exit promptly if it is exceeded.
20% avg annual returns can be had with 10% max draw downs .
The winning trades are for larger than the losers but come infrequently.
You must trade every trade generated or you may miss the infrequent winner.
Think no vacations because you cant afford to miss the winning trade. Or you have a mobile trading platform.
The cost are exceptionally low due to the leverage.
25% winning months are possible.
You must be prepared to trade through a "Flash Crash" just when it looks like you will certainly lose big.
Trade the system and only the system. No "hunch" trades.

Other than that it is a great occupation.
You are your own boss. Every day is casual Friday.
Walk to the home office. Office hours are 9:30am - 4pm
Much of the tedious parts of trade execution can be automated.
Its the perfect companion to your other long only equity exposure. When a RBD (really bad day) comes you will have an exceptional day shorting.


Tax is not terrible:
Section 1256 contracts are taxed at a more beneficial rate of 60/40, 60% taxed at long term capital gains rates and 40% taxed at short term capital gains rates.
"In investing, what is comfortable is rarely profitable." - Robert Arnott

naaduve
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by naaduve » Sat Dec 21, 2019 11:32 am

Pajamas wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:17 pm
vu8 wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:35 pm
Commercials and ads about people made a fortune through day trading/ strategic trading all over YouTube before every single warren buffett’s Videos.
Get Adblock Plus or similar. That will eliminate ads on YouTube except ones that are actually part of a video.
Is day trading profitable for most day traders? Is the success of Tim Sykes replicable?
No, day trading is not profitable for most people who attempt it although some people certainly do make money at it just as they do playing poker or betting on horses. I had to google Tim Sykes but I'm not surprised that he was day trading during the dot.com boom and did well at it. There was a lot of volatility that facilitated success back then, compared to now.

Day trading is not as easy as you might think. It can be very stressful even when you do well and there is always a lot of risk that is completely out of your control. (Think trading halts for adverse news, events that are unpredictable but occur on a regular basis, and also events like 9/11 or flash crashes.) Tax time is a nightmare. I think very few people have the combination of attributes and abilities to succeed at it and that even for most of those people, success is not sustainable over the long-term, just as with hot hedge fund managers. And don't forget that you are always going up against pros.
Rightly said, Sykes made most of his money during the dot com bubble due to market volatility. He also made some money with OTC trading but since 2012 onwards OTC market has died. Listed stocks are not volatile as OTC stocks and that's the reason people cannot make money with the better odds including sykes. Now he is losing money or making literally small money. Trading $15k and making $200-$500 on the upside and losing $800-$2000 on the downside. So you can figure out that this is not a money making strategy anymore. Off Course all the self claimed GURU's show rosy pictures to attract new subscribers. I feel very sad for them. There are very few genuine GURU's out there, who will present an honest picture before you subscribe. It is very easy to identify them. Stay away from anyone who poses with their Ferrari's and rolex watches. It is just a gimmick.

skepticalobserver
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by skepticalobserver » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:07 pm

It's profitable for those with a PhD (parents have dough).

marcopolo
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by marcopolo » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:12 pm

uh oh, I think we might be nearing a market top.

I remember 1999 when random people started wondering if they too should be getting into day trading like all the other people making so much money.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

MotoTrojan
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by MotoTrojan » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:13 pm

What’s the best way to become a millionaire day-trader? Start with a billion.

skepticalobserver
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by skepticalobserver » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:14 pm

marcopolo wrote:
Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:12 pm
I remember 1999 when random people started wondering if they too should be getting into day trading like all the other people making so much money.
The private island commercials. Yes!

Schlabba
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by Schlabba » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:28 pm

VA_Gent wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:43 pm
Other than that it is a great occupation.
You are your own boss. Every day is casual Friday.
Walk to the home office. Office hours are 9:30am - 4pm
Much of the tedious parts of trade execution can be automated.
Its the perfect companion to your other long only equity exposure. When a RBD (really bad day) comes you will have an exceptional day shorting.
Great occupation? You sit at your computer screen watching little candlesticks move up and down and following your own "trading system" like a monkey who is getting banana's for a little trick to execute. Tedious, repetitive, boring, lonely, meaningless.
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TropikThunder
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Re: Is day trading profitable?

Post by TropikThunder » Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:13 pm

VA_Gent wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:43 pm
Other than that it is a great occupation.
You are your own boss. Every day is casual Friday.
Walk to the home office. Office hours are 9:30am - 4pm
Much of the tedious parts of trade execution can be automated.
Its the perfect companion to your other long only equity exposure. When a RBD (really bad day) comes you will have an exceptional day shorting.
Wait, so I never have to do any work after hours (research etc), I can just wait until the market opens at 9:30 to decide what trades to make? That’s not even 35 hours a week if I take a lunch break. :P

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