Abstract

The validity of day trading as a long-term consistent and uncorrelated source of income is a matter of debate. In this paper, we investigate the profitability of the well-known Opening Range Breakout (ORB) strategy during the period of 2016 to 2023. This period encompasses two bear markets and a few events with abnormal volatility. Our results suggest that with the proper use of leverage or leveraged products (such as 3x leveraged ETFs), day trading can empirically produce significant returns when compared to a standard buy and hold strategy on benchmark indexes in the US public equity markets (Nasdaq or NYSE). Without any loss of generality, we studied the results of an ORB strategy implemented in QQQ. By comparing the results of the active day trading approach with a passive exposure in QQQ, we prove that it is possible for the ORB portfolio to significantly outperform the passive investment. In fact, the day trading portfolio produced an annualized alpha of 33% (net of commissions). Nevertheless, due to leverage constraints enforced by brokers, an active trader would have capped the full upside potential given by the ORB strategy. To overcome this issue, we introduced the use of TQQQ, a leveraged ETF of QQQ, which allows day traders to fully exploit the benefit of the active strategy while adhering to leverage constraints. The resulting portfolio would have earned an outstanding return of 1,484% during the same period of 2016 to 2023, while an investment in the QQQ ETF would have earned only 169%.

Can Day Trading Really Be Profitable
Can Day Trading Really Be Profitable

Read the paper: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4416622