At the market open I already have my first orders ready to submit, assuming that there are stocks that might setup right after the open. When you're day trading, be alert right at the start.
Most of my day trades are entered in the first half hour of the day. Movements are the strongest during this period of the day. Momentum trades can almost only be done in this time.
I make sure I watch what happens in the market during the reversal zones, especially the one at 10:15, and choose my entries accordingly. Meaning, I won't enter another long if the market is already going up and a reversal zone is approaching.
Because I'm day trading, most of the stocks from my initial list will either setup in the first half hour or become invalid. Only a few stocks are sometimes left that I will continue watching for potential setups.
If there is not much interesting left on my initial watch list I will start scanning for intraday trades, i.e. I will scan for strong stocks that are consolidating near their highs for potential breakout trades. These are good opportunities for day traders.
I will create another watch list based on those scans. Again, I put the most interesting stocks into the day trader's stock tools: level 2 and charts.
Ideally, the stocks I find thru intraday scanning will setup after the first 45 minutes of trading and after a reasonable consolidation (depending on the setup). Many of them setup right before the lunch hour, which gives me opportunities for day trading.
After placing my morning trades and potentially some intraday trades, I take a break of about 30 minutes. Then I return to intraday scanning and continue following the stocks that are still on my morning list.
If the market didnít break out over noon I will be looking to enter more trades once the market gets busier, which is typically after 2PM. I enter my last trades before 3PM, although other day traders keep going. For some reason I was never overly successful with trading after 3PM. There is no real explanation for that. Every day trader has different times when he or she is the most successful.
I will be mostly just watching the market from about 3PM to the close, and exiting some of my trades or taking partial gains if I have any open positions. In this time I will also start working on my watch list for the next morning's day trading.
The close is always very interesting to watch, especially if I have positions that I might be willing to hold overnight. A general rule for the day trader is, that the stronger the stock is at the close, the more likely it is going to continue higher the following day. I am more likely I am to hold such a stock overnight. I like my long positions to finish at least in the upper half of the trading day in order for them to be interesting as an overnight hold. Vice versa for shorts. (More articles on day trading.)