16 Pages

Posted: 22 Jul 2019

Last revised: 22 Aug 2019

Date Written: August 14, 2019


We show that it is virtually impossible for an individual to day trade for a living, contrary to what course providers claim. We observe all individuals who began to day trade between 2013 and 2015 in the Brazilian equity futures market, the third in terms of volume in the world, and persisted for at least 300 days: 97% of them lost money, only 0.4% earned more than a bank teller (US$54 per day), and the top individual earned only US$310 per day with great risk (a standard deviation of US$2,560). Additionally, we find no evidence of learning by day trading.

Keywords: day trade, day trading for a living, retail investors, HFT, course providers, futures market

JEL Classification: D14; G02

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