Watch List of the Best Stocks for Day Trading – Updated Daily
Written Content Updated 10/25/2023. Scanners are on a 15-minute delay from real-time market data.
- Scanner of the Most Active Stocks Today
- The Best Stocks for Day Trading
- Looking for Stocks Moving Up
- My Watch List Begins with Top Gainers
- The Best Stocks for Day Trading have High Relative Volume
- I Prefer Stocks Under $20/share
- My Favorite Stocks Have Breaking News
- Lower Float Stocks Tend To Make Bigger Moves
- Where to Buy the Most Active Stocks?
- Want to Keep Learning about Day Trading?
Scanner of the Most Active Stocks Today
How to use the Day Trading Stock Scanners
These scanners search for the best stocks to day trade daily using the criteria outlined below.
Symbol:The symbol column is the stock ticker for the company. You can click on the stock ticker to check for breaking news.
Gap (%):The scanner is sorted by the biggest percentage gap from highest to lowest. A gap is defined by a stock opening higher at the 9:30am opening bell than the stock closed at the 4pm closing bell during the prior trading session. Stocks gap up because they have news. Once a stock opens at 9:30am the percentage gap becomes fixed and does not change for the rest of the day, however the change from the close will continue to change.
Price:Current trading price of the stock.
Volume:Total number of shares traded today.
Relative Volume (5 min %):Volume in the last 5-minutes compared with a regular 5-minute interval. A higher ratio is better.
Change From Close (%):This is the percentage change from the prior day’s close.
Float:The float is the number of shares available to trade.
Short Interest:This refers to the number of shares held short against the company. Higher short interest can create short squeezes.
Short Ratio:This is the ratio of shares short vs float. It’s another way of looking at short interest. Higher numbers are better.
The Best Stocks for Day Trading
In order to find the best penny stocks to buy now, you need first to understand what makes a stock “good”. Everything I share on this page comes from my experience trading the markets. You’re welcome to check out my audited track record. I share these with you because I want you to know the person you’re learning from is credible.
I also want you to know that what constitutes the “best stocks to day trade ”is subjective. This is simply my opinion based on the best stocks to trade for my strategy. As always, you must determine what is best for you based on your risk tolerance and strategy.
The term “best ”as used in the title and throughout this page reflects my analysis based on my personal trading strategies and criteria. It does not represent an absolute or objective ranking. The stocks mentioned here should not serve as suggestions for day trading opportunities and are only examples of what I find to work well for my personal strategy. Everything I share on this page comes from my experience trading the markets. You’re welcome to check out my audited track record. I share these with you because I want you to know the person you’re learning from is credible.
Trading stocks involves risks, and past performance is not indicative of future results. It’s crucial for readers to conduct their own research, consider their financial situation, risk tolerance, and trading objectives before making any investment decisions. The information provided on this page is for educational purposes only and not intended as financial advice.
The Best Stocks to Day Trade Will Already Be Moving Up
The reason you see the stock scanner at the top of this page is that I use stock scanners to find all the stocks I trade. The primary criteria for a stock to be worth trading for me is that it’s already going up! This might seem counterintuitive to some people. You might be thinking, “Ross, if it’s already going up I’ve missed the move”. But think about it this way. Stocks that start moving and are up let’s say 10% on the day have a higher chance of making another 10-15% move versus a stock that is up 0% on the day and has zero volume and zero interest.
Once a stock begins moving, you know what happens? People see it and start buying it up. Traders are not attracted to stocks that aren’t moving. We look for stocks that are moving and try to jump on that momentum. In this article, I’ll share with you a simple strategy for buying and selling, but first, let’s talk more about how to identify the best stocks to day trade each day.
My Stock Watch List Begins With Top Gainers
Each day when I sit down to trade I know exactly what I’m looking for. However, I don’t already have a watch list from the previous day. I built my watch list early in the morning based on stocks that had news overnight. The first thing I do is I look at the biggest percentage gainers each day. You’ll see those listed at the top of the scanner above. These are going to be the stocks that most likely will receive the most attention from traders today.
The first thing I look for is that a stock must be up at least 10% versus the prior day’s close in order to consider trading it. When I look at my metrics they prove this is where I make the most money, as you can see below in Figure 1.
The Best Stocks to Day Trade Have High Relative Volume
Let me begin by asking you a question. If a stock trades on an average of 100,000 shares daily, but today is trading on 10,000,000 shares of volume. What would cause that? If you guessed the news, you’d be right. The problem is, there are so many stocks in the market that if you spent your time searching for news, you’d never find the needle in the haystack. Using Relative Volume is a great technique to quickly screen all the stocks in the market to remove everything with average or lower volume.
Relative Volume is defined by the average volume over the last 14 days. So if a stock has 5x higher volume today, its Relative Volume is 5. I want to trade stocks with a Relative Volume of at least 5, but higher is better. Once again, this is not an arbitrary number. This is based on my own trading metrics as you can see below.. Trading stocks with 2x or 3x Relative Volume doesn’t produce nearly as much profit as 5x and higher.
The Best Stocks for Day Trading are Under $20 per share
It’s important to know that just because a stock is the #1 leading gainer in the stock market doesn’t mean it’s a stock I’m willing to day trade. I prefer stocks under $20/share because I can afford to buy more shares. If a stock is a leading gapper but it’s priced at $200/share, I probably won’t trade it. Similarly, if a stock is priced at 20 or 30 cents, I’ll probably leave it alone as well. I typically find the sweet spot is between $2-8 per share.
This is where we see large percentage moves but also where I can make a decent profit with only 5,000-10,000 shares of the stock. On really cheap stocks you have to buy hundreds of thousands of shares to make any meaningful profit, but that carries the risk of being unable to sell all those shares if you want to get out. My preference for trading stocks under $20 is also supported by my own metrics.
Breaking News is Important for Day Trading
Once I find a stock that is up at least 10%, has 5x Relative Volume, and has an acceptable price, it’s time to search for the news catalyst. This is the easiest part. Simply by typing the stock symbol into a Google search, you can find the news headlines. I personally use a newsfeed built into my stock scanner software so I don’t need to use Google, but either way works. What’s important to know is that the stock has a clear reason for moving higher. Remember that stocks are never priced to perfection. The trading price can become dramatically disconnected from the “book value” of a company, as we’ve seen even on large-cap stocks like Tesla.
However, what’s important to know is that there is a clear catalyst. Stocks that go up 100% or more with no news can be subject to regulatory investigation and can be halted. Shareholders caught during the halt will be unable to sell his or her shares. So be mindful of trading stocks with no news.
Also, be aware that stocks with “buy out” news rarely provide opportunities for trading. When a company has been bought out by another company, it’s price becomes fixed at the buyout price. Therefore, there isn’t any speculation about the price going up or down, and there are no opportunities for trading.
The Best Stocks for Day Trading Have a Float of Under 20 Million Shares
The definition of float is the number of shares available to trade. When a company has a large float, there is such an abundance of supply that even a significant increase in demand is not enough to make the stock go up 30-50% in 1 day. This is good news for large pension funds and 401ks. You don’t probably want billion-dollar funds invested in stocks that could go up (or down) that much in 1 day. But for retail traders looking to make a few hundred dollars a day in the market, we need volatility. That means the above criteria that help create demand, must be matched by a low level of supply. With a float of under 20 million shares, a company will be more likely to make larger percentage moves.
In total, these 5 criteria create the supply-demand imbalance that I look for each day, and that are on display on the scanner above.
How to Buy Stocks When Day Trading?
Once I’ve decided a stock adequately meets my criteria for being worth trading, it’s time to start looking for an entry point. I’ve written extensively about the various patterns I like, and of course, I teach these patterns as part of our curriculum here at Warrior Trading. For the sake of this article, I’ll keep my explanation brief. What I’m looking for is a stock chart where the stock has moved up quickly. As it’s moving up, we’ll see large green candles on high volume.
While an advanced trader may choose to enter during this first move up as the stock breaks psychological areas of resistance and holds over them (half dollars, whole dollars, or daily moving averages), a beginner trader will do well to wait for the stock to pull back.
The psychology of a stock making a big move is important to understand. A stock squeezes up and traders rush to buy up shares. Perhaps early short sellers are also forced to buy back shares, and this creates a rapid move up. Following a big move, there is a natural tendency for the stock to pull back. Buyers become nervous about taking positions when the stock is so extended, shorts begin to take their own positions, and other traders decide to lock up some profits by selling.
My Favorite Stock Chart Pattern: Bull Flag Pattern
As the stock pulls back, as long as it holds at least 50% of the previous move, it will begin to attract a new group of traders looking to capitalize on the next wave up. This is a classic bull flag pattern. It’s one of my favorite trading strategies.
Whether or not the stock will make a second wave up, or will simply fade, is to be determined by the price action. What I look for is the first candle to make a new high as this indicates the beginning of the trend shifting from pulling back to moving up. With an entry here, my max loss is at the low of the pullback, and my profit target is at the high of day. This is a chart pattern I’ve traded for over a decade.
Want to keep learning How to Day Trade?
If you found this interesting, I hope you’ll check out the courses I teach on day trading. Our Warrior Pro Course is an award-winning curriculum that has been recognized by Investopedia and Business Insider as one of the most comprehensive courses for day trading. If you want to keep learning in small steps, you may want to check out the articles I’ve written on Entrepreneur, or read my book “How to Day Trade” .
Frequently asked questions
I generally say that whatever your daily goal is, you need an account at least 10x as big. So if you want to make $100-200/day, a $1-2k account is a bare minimum. In the United States, we have the Pattern Day Trader (PDT) Rule which means if you want to trade on margin more than 3x in a 5-day period you need $25,000. However, you can trade in a cash account as much as you want, you just have to wait for trades to settle.
Day trading can be profitable for those who master a strategy, follow a strict set of rules, and manage risk. While a very small group of traders are exceptionally profitable, most traders do not make any meaningful amount of money day trading. For this reason, it’s advisable to practice in a paper trading simulator before putting real money on the line.
Becoming a day trader is as simple as opening a trading account and beginning the execute trades. Being a profitable day trader is a whole different story. To be profitable you must have a strategy that you follow every day. The strategy should be backtested and proven profitable before you put real money on the line.
It’s true that there are traders who do make this much and more. However, that is the exception, not the norm. Most beginner traders do not make a significant amount of money trading, and even worse, some lose substantial amounts.
The pattern day trader rule was established on February 27 2001 following the Dot Com stock market crash. The rule was designed to prevent novice traders from losing money in the market. There have been some efforts to repeal this rule but they have not been successful. Currently, the rule only applies to margin accounts. Cash accounts are not forced to maintain a $25k minimum balance.
The biggest mistake is trading with real money before they have first proven profitable in a paper trading simulator. The second is holding losers too long. Most beginner traders will fall victim to FOMO and buy stocks at inflated prices then hold and hope the stock comes back up when it declines in price. This is a recipe for failure.
ThinkorSwim is one of the most popular platforms for trading. It’s part of the Charles Schwab suite of trading platforms. Professional traders and institutional traders use highly advanced software designed to trade at a rapid pace. They would rarely use retail platforms such as ETrade, ThinkorSwim, or Fidelity. They certainly wouldn’t use Robinhood or Webull.
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