I've heard multiple times that the vast majority of day traders, sometimes given as "over 99%", lose money. What's a realistic number? For specificity, use a one year time-frame.

For example, here are references to two such claims:

Do Individual Day Traders Make Money? Evidence from Taiwan

Moreover, in the typical six month period, more than eight out of ten day traders lose money

What It Takes to be A Successful Day Trader

Ninety-two percent of day traders trying to scalp loose money. Only eight percent are successful. Out of the eight percent, only two percent of the day trading public make money on a consistent basis. Why do 92 percent of day traders fail and what makes eight percent successful?

  • From my experience working in investment banking I know, that day traders are obliged to hedge on any risky operation. It's common misconception thinking that objective of professional day trading is to score big, while in fact it is to have (on average) slow and steady growth.
    – vartec
    Dec 16, 2013 at 10:48
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    You might want to edit the question title: "99%"? ""most"? "more than 80%"? "the vast majority"? If you're sure you want to keep "99%" then perhaps you should find a reference to show that "99%" is a 'notable claim'.
    – ChrisW
    Dec 16, 2013 at 10:57
  • @vartec: I think your experience points out another issue apart from the percentage. Is the claim about institutional or retail day-traders? On a per-day basis, or a lifetime basis?
    – Oddthinking
    Dec 16, 2013 at 11:56
  • @Transmissionfrom Yes the second reference does say, "only two percent of the day trading public make money on a consistent basis", which is in the same ballpark as "99% lose".
    – ChrisW
    Dec 16, 2013 at 14:03
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    @Transmissionfrom Can we assume that the claim is simply that, "most day traders lose on average and/or in the long run"? I supplied the references to demonstrate that that kind of advice ('most day traders lose money') is given (is notable). IMO any related studies would be welcome.
    – ChrisW
    Dec 16, 2013 at 18:20


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