Swing trading has been described as a kind of fundamental trading in which positions are held for longer than a single day. This is because most fundamentalists are actually swing traders since changes in corporate fundamentals generally require several days or even a week to cause sufficient price movement that renders a reasonable profit.
But this description of swing trading is a simplification. In reality, swing trading sits in the middle of the continuum between day trading to trend trading. A day trader will hold a stock anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours but never more than a day; a trend trader examines the long-term fundamental trends of a stock or index, and may hold the stock for a few weeks or months. Swing traders hold a particular stock for a period of time, generally a few days or two or three weeks, which is between those extremes, and they will trade the stock on the basis of its intra-week or intra-month oscillations between optimism and pessimism.
Swing trading is actually one of the best trading styles for the beginning trader to get his or her feet wet, but it still offers significant profit potential for intermediate and advanced traders. Swing traders receive sufficient feedback on their trades after a couple of days to keep them motivated, but their long and short positions of several days are of the duration that does not lead to distraction. By contrast, trend trading offers greater profit potential if a trader is able to catch a major market trend of weeks or months, but few are the traders with sufficient discipline to hold a position for that period of time without getting distracted. On the other hand, trading dozens of stocks per day (day trading) may just prove too great a white-knuckle ride for some, making swing trading the perfect medium between the extremes.