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A stock trader or equity trader or share trader is a person or company involved in trading equity securities. Stock traders may be an agent, hedger, arbitrageur, speculator, or stockbroker. Such equity trading in large publicly traded companies may be through a stock exchange. Stock shares in smaller public companies may be bought and sold in over-the-counter (OTC) markets.
Stock traders can trade on their own account, called proprietary trading, or through an agent authorized to buy and sell on the owner’s behalf. Trading through an agent is usually through a stockbroker. Agents are paid a commission for performing the trade.
Proprietary trading (also “prop trading”) occurs when a trader trades stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities, their derivatives, or other financial instruments with the firm’s own money, aka the nostro account, contrary to depositors’ money, in order to make a profit for itself. Proprietary traders may use a variety of strategies such as index arbitrage, statistical arbitrage, merger arbitrage, fundamental analysis, volatility arbitrage, or global macro trading, much like a hedge fund.