Since ENIAC and the other earliest computers were first developed in the 50s, computing power has multiplied countless times even as the size of computers has continued to shrink. As computers have become more powerful, less bulky and cheaper, they've become ubiquitous and there are industries which have been completely remade by the availability of computers; and others have completely vanished. There is one industry in particular which is currently undergoing a transformation which began about a decade ago.
This industry is stock and commodity trading. All stock trading relies on trade timing; but success in day trading is particularly dependent on trade timing in order to beat the market. The trader who manages to make the first move will usually make the largest profit on the trade.
Day trading is an especially popular form of trading; the professional day traders who work for financial industry giants often make trades with a leverage of 20:1 or higher. For those unfamiliar with the concept, leverage is the practice of using a loan to purchase shares in the hopes that enough profit will be made on the trade to repay the loan and net some earnings for the trader as well.
Leverage has acquired something of a bad reputation as of late; on a very large scale, leveraging is among the factors responsible for the current economic slump and credit crunch. However, leverage can be used responsibly in day trading; it's a tool and like many tools, it can either be useful or incredibly dangerous depending on how it is used.
It is these kinds of fatal mistakes which has led leveraging and by extension, day trading to acquire a reputation as a dangerous activity. There are of course plenty of other possible investment strategies, such as Warren Buffet's buy and hold approach; most of these strategies take a long term approach with the trader making their profits gradually over time. However, being successful with buy and hold trading relies on a detailed knowledge of the market and the businesses you invest in.
The big change in stock trading is due to the increasing power of computers and their declining cost. The software used to model market behavior and perform market analysis is becoming increasingly sophisticated and at heart, any successful day trader is a pattern analysis geek. What traders are looking for in those charts and analytical tools they use is patterns: patterns of price movements which tell them that a particular investment has a good chance of being profitable. There are now programs known as day trading robots which are making the analytical process much easier, which has opened up the stock market to investors who may not have an extensive background in trading stocks and commodities.
There are traders out there who have an especially entrepreneurial bent who sell subscriptions to email newsletters which provide subscribers with reports that give them access to the analytical prowess of these robots. Most of these newsletters are targeted towards smaller investors and they tend to be focused on penny stocks (also known as the pink sheet market). These newsletters aren't free, but having regular reports from a trader with a solid record of successful trading can be quite valuable indeed.
Having solid market information at your fingertips can help you to make more profitable trades; but you shouldn't make these tips your sole source of information. It's important to do your own research on the market and on particular companies being traded along with using these software-generated trading recommendations. It's important to keep in mind that these recommendations are based on previous patterns of performance - and like any kind of stock trading, there is always some degree of risk.