How to Scan Stocks for Swing Trading

May 1, 2024

Blog & Resources

By Dan Taylor

Imagine the thrill of capturing the wave of a stock as it swells, poised to crest with substantial financial returns. This is the essence of swing trading, a dynamic approach that straddles the line between day trading and long-term investment strategies. But how do you scan stocks for swing trading?

With advanced trading strategies and tools, traders can harness significant profits over short periods—often a few days to several weeks—making it a daily adventure for those looking to boost their trading success. This article will help you understand the critical role of sophisticated scanning tools and strategies that elevate the art of swing trading, and how to get started with your own swing trading strategy.

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What Is Swing Trading?

Swing trading is a strategy that involves holding positions in stocks or other assets for several days to weeks to capitalize on expected upward or downward market moves. It offers a chance for significant profits over short periods -- if you do it right. It's different from day trading, which requires you to watch the market all day, and from long-term investing, which tests your patience over months or years.

Swing trading is the perfect middle ground. It lets traders take advantage of short-term trends without needing to constantly monitor the market. This style is especially good for people with full-time jobs, as it lets them trade on their own time, without interfering with regular work hours. The success of swing trading depends on having a strong trading system that can quickly spot and capitalize on profitable opportunities.

How Stock Scanning Works in Swing Trading

The success of swing trading largely depends on effective stock scanning. This process involves searching for stocks that meet specific criteria, which greatly increases your chances of consistent success. It's not just about finding any stocks, but about identifying those that are ready to make big moves based on clear technical and fundamental rules.

Modern traders use advanced technology to make this process easier, reducing risk and increasing potential returns. These technologies provide powerful analytics that comb through large amounts of market data to pinpoint the best candidates for swing trades, allowing traders to act quickly and confidently.

Key components of a successful stock scanning process include:

  • Market Trend Analysis: Understanding the overall market direction to align trades with the prevailing momentum.
  • Volume and Volatility Filters: Identifying stocks that exhibit the right balance of trading activity and price movement to offer safe yet profitable opportunities.
  • Price Patterns and Technical Indicators: Using algorithms to spot favorable price behaviors and setups indicated by tools like moving averages, RSI, or MACD.

Key Features of an Effective Swing Trading Scanner

A good swing trading scanner is a huge advantage to traders, transforming complex market data into actionable trading insights quickly and accurately. The cornerstone of such a scanner is its ability to provide real-time data, allowing traders to make decisions based on the most current market conditions. Ease of use is also critical; intuitive interfaces allow traders to harness powerful analytical tools without needing extensive technical knowledge.

Essential features of an effective swing trading scanner include:

  • Real-Time Data Access: Ensuring information is up-to-the-minute, reflecting live market dynamics.
  • Integration with Technical and Fundamental Analysis: Combining various data points to give a holistic view of potential trading opportunities.
  • Customizable Alerts and Filters: Allowing traders to set specific parameters that align with their trading strategies, such as entry and exit triggers.
  • Historical Data Analysis: Providing the context of past performance to predict future movements more accurately.

Strategies for Successful Swing Trades and Advanced Scanning Techniques

Swing trading can be incredibly rewarding when traders use the right strategies and tools to uncover opportunities. Mastering the art of identifying low-risk, high-reward trades is crucial, and educational programs play a significant role in this process. Through strategic scanning and advanced techniques, traders can not only spot potential trades but also execute them with precision.

Strategic Scanning for Low-Risk, High-Reward Opportunities

Successful swing trading hinges on the ability to identify stocks that offer high potential with controlled risk. Traders can achieve this by focusing on stocks that show strong momentum but are still trading under the radar of mainstream investors. Using tools that scan for specific technical setups, such as moving average crossovers or breakout patterns, can highlight stocks ready to make significant moves.

Leveraging Technical Indicators and Real-Time Data

Advanced scanners utilize real-time market data and integrate various technical indicators to provide a comprehensive view of the market. By setting up customized alerts based on these indicators, traders can catch market moves as they happen. For instance, an alert can be set for when a stock hits a particular price point or when its volume exceeds a certain threshold, ensuring that traders can act quickly on potential opportunities.

Setting Up Alerts for Market Moves

Automation plays a crucial role in modern trading. By setting up automated alerts, traders can stay ahead of market movements without having to monitor the markets continuously. These alerts can notify traders about important price movements or technical indicator changes, which could signify a good time to enter or exit a trade.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Scan Stocks for Swing Trading

Scanning stocks for swing trading involves a systematic approach to identify potential trading opportunities that align with short-term price movements. This step-by-step guide will help you set up and use a stock scanner effectively:

Step 1: Choose the Right Scanner

Select a stock scanner that offers real-time data and allows for customizable filters. This tool should also integrate both technical and fundamental analysis features to provide comprehensive scanning capabilities.

Step 2: Set Your Criteria

Define the criteria for your scans based on the swing trading strategy you plan to use. Common criteria include:

  • Price Movement: Look for stocks that have shown significant price movements within the last few days or weeks.
  • Volume: Identify stocks with higher than average trading volume, as this indicates stronger interest and potential for sustained movement.
  • Technical Indicators: Use indicators such as moving averages, Relative Strength Index (RSI), and MACD to find stocks that are in an uptrend or showing signs of a reversal.

Step 3: Filter by Market Conditions

Adjust your scanner settings based on current market conditions. For example, in a volatile market, you might focus on stocks with high volatility and liquidity to capture quicker profits.

Step 4: Run the Scan

Execute the scan during market hours to receive real-time data. This will provide you with a list of stocks that meet your specified criteria.

Step 5: Analyze the Results

Review the scan results and conduct a more detailed analysis on each stock. Look at their price charts, recent news, and earnings reports to ensure they truly have potential for a successful swing trade.

Step 6: Monitor and Adjust

After selecting your stocks, continuously monitor their performance and adjust your positions as needed based on their actual movements and any changing market conditions.

Step 7: Record and Refine

Keep a record of all your trades and the outcomes. Use this information to refine your scanning criteria and techniques over time, learning from both successes and mistakes to improve your swing trading strategy.

Common Pitfalls in Swing Trading and How to Avoid Them

Even seasoned traders can face challenges in swing trading if they're not careful. Recognizing common pitfalls and understanding how to avoid them can significantly enhance a trader's effectiveness.

Not Setting Stop-Loss Orders

One common mistake is not using stop-loss orders. These are crucial for managing risk as they automatically close a trade at a predetermined level, preventing significant losses during sudden market downturns. Proper training emphasizes the importance of stop-loss settings to safeguard investments.


Another pitfall is overtrading, where traders make too many trades too quickly without proper analysis. This can lead to quick losses and emotional trading. Continuous learning and mentoring can help traders develop the patience and discipline to wait for the best opportunities.

Ignoring Market Conditions

Failing to account for overall market conditions is a frequent oversight that can lead to unfavorable trades. Swing traders should use tools that analyze market trends and sentiment to ensure their trading strategy aligns with current market dynamics.

Need to Learn How to Be a Better Swing Trader? Try MarketGauge’s Trading Tools and Education Programs

If you're looking to elevate your swing trading strategies, MarketGauge offers a comprehensive range of educational programs and strategic tools designed to boost every aspect of your trading. Here are some essential resources that can help you become a more skilled trader:

Mish's Ultimate Trading Program

This extensive course provides a deep dive into the trading world, guiding you from the basics of setting up a trading account to mastering advanced trading strategies used by professional traders like Mish. With 36 detailed video lessons, this program is perfect for traders aiming to replicate Mish's success using her proven tactics and insights.

Trading Essentials

Ideal for those new to MarketGauge, this five-module course teaches you to pinpoint market directions, anticipate significant price swings, and manage trades effectively. It's designed to help you minimize risks while maximizing returns, providing you with the tools to identify potential trades through the T.E. Focus List.

Mish's Market Minute Advantage Premium (MMM Premium)

Gain an edge with Mish's Market Minute Advantage Premium, where you get exclusive market insights on crucial ETFs, leading to actionable trade ideas. This program also includes monthly mentoring videos where Mish shares her analysis of current market conditions and specific trade recommendations, allowing you to benefit from her expertise in real-time market scenarios.

To get started, check out MarketGauge's swing trading tools today.