Swing Trading

Swing trading is a common strategy in the UK that takes advantage of short to medium-term market fluctuations. This guide will cover the basics of swing trading and include some helpful strategies as well as our advice on what markets to swing trade for beginners. We’ve also listed the best brokers for swing trading in the UK.

Top Swing Trading Brokers

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    AvaTrade is a leading forex and CFD broker, established in 2006 and regulated across 9 jurisdictions. Over 400,000 users have signed up with the broker which processes over 2 million trades each month. The firm offers multiple trading platforms, including MT4, MT5, and a proprietary WebTrader. 1250+ financial instruments are available for trading, from CFDs to AvaOptions and now AvaFutures, alongside a comprehensive education center and multilingual customer support.

  2. XTB

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    Founded in 2002 in Poland, XTB now serves more than 935,000 clients. The forex and CFD broker combines a heavily regulated trading environment with an extensive selection of 5,600+ assets and a commitment to trader satisfaction, featuring an intuitive in-house platform with superb tools to support aspiring traders.

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    Established in 1989, CMC Markets is a respected broker listed on the London Stock Exchange and authorized by several tier-one regulators, including the FCA, ASIC and CIRO. More than 1 million traders from around the world have signed up with the multi-award winning brokerage.

Swing Trading Explained

The definition of swing trading is investing in securities and derivatives anywhere from overnight to a few weeks to capitalise upon medium-term market trends. The goal is to make money from larger, price movements than a typical day trading strategy.

Due to the risks with longer-term trading strategies, like overnight price shifts, swing traders generally open smaller positions with less leverage than intraday traders. That said, longer timeframes can mean larger price movements and, with robust risk management steps and technical analysis, swing trading has the potential to be a profitable way to invest.

It is possible to swing trade on most of popular markets, including stocks, commodities, forex, ETFs and cryptocurrencies. However, the timeframe of the swings and profitability will depend on the trading volume and volatility of the underlying asset. One particular market that can be exploited with swing trading is penny (low priced) stocks.

BP, for example, is a stock that experiences a lot of short-term volatility. If your research tells you the price is low and likely to rise, you can open a long position. The upward trend might last for a few days and you would close once you see reversal signals. You could even extend your profit by opening a short position right after that.

Swing Trading Group Limited

Swing trading is the opposite of passive investing. The aim is not to buy and hold, but to buy low and sell high. Swing traders are less interested in the long-term performance of an asset. The important thing is to time your entries and exits correctly. In a few months, the asset could be worth nothing, but you will have still made money.

Swing Trading Strategies

There are no winning secrets of swing trading or strategies that work 100% of the time, you must be patient, do your research and show dedication. The main difference between swing trading and traditional long-term investing is the reliance on technical, rather than fundamental, analysis. Mastering the maths required will take diligence.

With stock trading, fundamental analysts look at factors like the company’s earnings, interest rates and the economic environment to calculate a valuation for the stock. Technical analysts presume all these factors are already present in the current value of the stock and rely instead on patterns in the price movements. Swing traders mostly focus on using hourly, daily or weekly charts.

As a rule of thumb, it is best to keep your swing trading portfolio at five securities, or fewer. This way you can get to know each one inside out and better spot patterns and price swings. Some traders use scanners or screeners to analyse the performance of numerous stocks and highlight the ones that are likely to be profitable. They will also use watchlists to identify those that are approaching a profitable position. These stock picks can sometimes be successful but you should always ensure you are comfortable with your trades and the reasoning behind them.

No matter what you are trading with, make sure you adapt your strategy to the particular assets or markets – the strategies for swing trading forex might be different from those focusing on crypto derivatives.

Here are some useful tools for beginners, plus a few tips to get you started:

Exponential Moving Average (EMA)

Exponentially weighted moving averages, also known as EMAs, are similar to simple moving averages (SMA), except that they are calculated using more recent data and a slightly different weighting equation. Swing traders generally use 9, 13 or 50 period EMA time frames.

If an asset’s price goes above the EMA, this indicates a long entry. If it falls below, this indicates a long exit or a short entry.

Effective use of the EMA crossover is one of the core principles of swing trading. When used correctly, it can help define optimum entry and exit strategies and identify trends and patterns, as knowing when to buy and sell is key for your profits.

Support And Resistance

Understanding support and resistance levels is a key part of swing trading. Technical analysts use these levels with price action as indicators of a price reversal. Flipping position sides according to support and resistance levels is a popular strategy.


Finding the right platform is key to successful swing trading and will depend on the market you’re trading in. If you are considering cryptos, you might prefer a platform like Binance, while forex swing traders might prefer something like the FxPro Platform. Some brokers will offer their own proprietary software as well as commercial platforms like MT4 and MT5. You may want access to a range of signals and indicators that are easily customisable.

Automated trading options like NMA swing trading algorithms, Gann technique EA systems and oil futures bots can also be helpful when swing trading as they can alleviate some of the time commitment. You may also want to find an intuitive, user-friendly setup that will provide a comfortable experience. You should use demo accounts to get an idea of what each platform offers before investing any real capital and to practice your swing trading skills.

Candlestick Charts

Candlesticks are a swing trader’s best friend. They provide a clear graphical indication of any potential swing patterns. Getting to grips with using candlesticks and chart patterns like moving average crossovers, head and shoulders patterns and cup-and-handle patterns may give you the edge when swing trading.

Heikin-Ashi, also spelt Heiken-Ashi, is a Japanese phrase that means “average bar”. Similar to EMAs, this chart can help traders spot price reversals and patterns. Heikin-Ashi charts can make candlesticks easier to use and more readable.

Pivot Points

In swing trading, pivot points are a change in price direction. Once you learn to identify minor and major pivot points, also called swing low and swing high points, you can increase your profits and manage your risk by using stop losses to exit a trade after a major pivot point. Using stop losses is a common way to mitigate the risk of breakouts by exiting a position at a preset level even if you are not present. Entry signals, which will open a position under certain conditions, are also a clever way to automate swing trading.


If you own stocks at the time when they produce dividends, these will get paid to you. There are some swing trading strategies that profit from market movements around the dividend collection date.

What Markets To Swing Trade

You will want to find a market that swings regularly from high to low. The best markets for this are those with high liquidity and volatility. These markets will see regular swings with more dramatic highs and lows that you can take advantage of. Some of the most liquid and volatile markets include crypto, forex and the stock market. You can also swing trade using all sorts of securities and derivatives, including options, futures and CFDs. Weekly options and other short-term derivatives are common among swing traders.

Pros & Cons Of Swing Trading

Some of the benefits of swing trading include:

  • Time Frames – Longer-term investments than those used in day-trading can mean more dramatic price shifts but shorter time frames than holding means quicker profits.
  • Assets – It is possible to swing trade on all major instrument types, including options, futures and CFDs. Assets available to swing trade include cryptos like Bitcoin and altcoins like Litecoin and Ethereum; indices such as NASDAQ and CAC 40, commodities like gold and oil, forex currency pairs and stocks.
  • Leverage – The possibility to leverage your positions means you can swing trade higher volumes for a small portion of the required investment.

However, some of the disadvantages of swing trading are:

  • Holding Fees – Brokers might charge you fees for holding your position overnight, so you should ensure that your potential swing trading returns are always higher than these fees. Trading overnight or over weekends can also lead to price jumps.
  • Leverage Risk – Swing trading on margin can be risky as it will increase both your potential returns and your potential losses, so only invest what you are prepared to lose.

Swing Trading For A Living

It is possible to make a living swing trading, both full-time and part-time, but it takes a lot of dedication. If you want to become a millionaire swing trader, you will need a combination of luck and skill. Swing trading is an active profession and requires a lot of time commitment, it cannot easily be a casual side gig. Any trader used to long term “buy and hold” positions will need to let go of their fundamentals and embrace technical analysis before they can make their millions with this strategy. Masters will know that the psychology is centred around shorter time periods and traders must ensure they don’t get distracted by the long-term prospects of an asset.

Swing Trading Higher Highs Quotes

If you are considering swing trading alongside a full-time job, you will need a lot of discipline. You may find time for both if you consider end of day investing. If you have refined your techniques, then it is possible to make a living from swing trading in both bullish and bearish markets.

Swing Trading Vs Scalping

Scalping is different from swing trading in that scalpers generally close their positions as soon as a profit has been made. The goal with scalping is to have an extremely high turnover of small profit trades that mount up to greater overall results. Scalping is often reliant on algorithms, where swing traders tend to be more interested in longer-term price fluctuations and will hold positions until they identify a price reversal.

Swing Trading Vs Position Trading

Position trading is different from swing trading as it revolves around longer-term investments. Where swing traders will use technical analysis to capitalise on short-term price movements, position traders use fundamentals to choose a security to invest in over a long period.

Swing Trading Education

There are many ways to learn more about swing trading. Numerous websites with training courses, helpful videos and online classes exist that are run by reputable trading experts and gurus. Aside from this, there are plenty of books, audiobooks, online PDFs, podcasts, blogs and forums with ideas, methods and success stories to get you inspired.

Educational websites and training course providers like BabyPips can provide helpful examples of how to utilise news events, lessons on profit percentage calculators made easy, daily stock alerts, journal building mistakes and even realistic explanations of the dangers of swing trading when it does not work. They can also offer Gann swing trading techniques, links to live Discord discussions and calls, personality requirements advice and reviews of how much money you could make on sites like GDAX and DailyFX.

All it takes is a quick search online and you will have a wealth of information at your disposal. However, be sure to sift through this and find genuinely valuable content. While a lot of this will be available free of charge, some of the better resources will come at a cost.

Swing Trading Taxes

Any profits made swing trading in the UK will be taxed according to standard British tax laws, meaning any profits made over the basic tax exemption of £12,500 may be classed as capital gains. The rules also say that these profits are added onto any other income you may earn so be careful you are reporting your earnings accurately. You may want to consult a local tax advisor before investing in the UK.

Final Word On Swing Trading

The swing trading game can be an exciting one for those looking for medium-term investments. Accumulated holding fees are a danger to investors but can be avoided with careful technical analysis and a solid strategy. Make sure to time your entry and exit points correctly and use indicators and other tools available to optimise your swing trading experience.


What Is Swing Trading?

Swing trading is a type of trading that takes advantage of short to medium-term price fluctuations, or swings. Traders hold a position for a certain amount of time and then swap to the opposite side of the position when the trend begins to reverse. Timing your entry and exit points correctly is key to successful swing trading.

How Do I Start Swing Trading?

To begin swing trading, you will need to identify a market with regular periods of volatility. Once you have defined a trend, enter the position and use technical indicators and signals to know when to move in the other direction.

Is It Possible To Swing Trade In The UK?

Yes, it is possible to swing trade in the UK. British traders have access to a wide range of assets, many of them with high trading volumes and volatility, which makes for a good climate when swing trading. Use signals and alerts to optimise your strategy.

Where Can I Learn More About Swing Trading?

There is a plethora of information out there. Whether you prefer to learn from a book, ebook, dedicated swing trading academy, online course or video tutorial, you will certainly find a resource suited to your taste. Beginners in the UK can even find online mentors who will guide them through the process of swing trading. Use online reviews to find the resources best suited to your needs.

What Markets Can I Swing Trade In The UK?

With swing trading, there is no limit to the securities you can invest in. In the UK, popular markets are forex pairs such as USD/GBP and EUR/GBP, as well as stocks like Amazon, Google and Microsoft. If you wish to invest in cryptos like Ethereum, you can use exchanges like Binance. However, keep in mind the UK has banned the sale of all crypto derivatives to retail traders.

What Are Swing Trading Hours In The UK?

In the UK, market opening hours will be shown in GMT. UK markets such as the stock exchange will be open from 09:00 GMT to 17:00 GMT. When swing trading, it is important to know when the market opening and closing hours are as these will define your prime entry and exit points.

Where Can I Find Swing Trading Strategies?

There are many ebooks and 101 PDFs online with a plethora of specialist swing trading strategies for particular instruments or asset classes. So whether you are looking for deep in the money options with 4-hour chart analysis, a MACD or gaps plan, a nifty double bottom swing trading system, momentum profit targets, a list of stocks using volume candlestick charting or a leveraged ETFs setups service, there will be something out there for you. You can even find general market tools like an options book, a stock swing trading guide or useful tools like an excel checklist download link.