Intraday trading is speculation in securities, specifically buying and selling financial instruments within the same trading day. Strictly, day trading is trading only within a day, such that all positions are closed before the market closes for the trading day.
Many traders may not be so strict or may have day trading as one component of an overall strategy. Traders who participate in day trading are called day traders. Traders who trade in this capacity with the motive of profit are therefore speculators.
The methods of quick trading contrast with the long-term trades underlying buy and hold and value investing strategies.
Some of the more commonly day traded financial instruments are stocks, options,
currencies, and a host of futures contracts such as equity index futures, interest rate futures, currency futures and commodity futures.
Day trading was once an activity that was exclusive to financial firms and professional speculators. Many day traders are bank or investment firm employees working as specialists in equity investment and fund management.
With the advent of electronic trading and margin trading, day trading has become available to private individuals.