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If data is delayed then am I literally trading on data or events that already transpired? How does that effect what I see on the DOM, the charts, time & sales? The bid/ask are always fluctuating so what does delayed data mean in relation to this? How would delayed data impact a scalper for example? I have an IBKR Lite account and I really do not want to have to deposit $2000 and maintain a minimum of $500 to subscribe to real-time market data.

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    How are you making trades without live quotes? And what's the reasoning behind day trading if you don't even have 2k of capital to work with?
    – Money Ann
    Jun 28, 2021 at 4:00
  • Good point. I am considering swing trading on a smaller cash account.
    – Smtih
    Jun 28, 2021 at 14:44
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    You could remove 2/3 of the question title. It is not wise to day trade, PERIOD.
    – jamesqf
    Jun 28, 2021 at 16:09
  • For those who don't know how to day trade, it's not wise to do it. Jun 28, 2021 at 17:08

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Trading delayed data in a paper trading account has value for learning to function efficiently on that broker's platform but not much more than that.

IBKR's delayed quotes are 10-20 minutes behind real time data. It's possible to trade with delayed data but whether your order will be filled or not will be determined by current prices. Effectively, you're trading while blind.

Try to find a secondary source of real time data. Otherwise, forget this idea.

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  • On a live account i have level 1 data. By default is this data delayed?
    – Smtih
    Jun 28, 2021 at 14:42
  • By live account do you mean real money rather than paper trading? The best thing to do is to contact IBKR and find out what accounts offer real time data and what the cost is for that real time data, if any. Jun 28, 2021 at 17:10
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By "real-time" data I assume you don't mean nanosecond freshness but just "not delayed by many minutes". If so, this is a standard service all brokers provide. They even have some basic data for free on their sites without an account, and many brokers these days let you open accounts with no minimum and no fees. I would start there. The data you see will be up to a few seconds or milliseconds behind the actual trades being placed, depending on the quality of the broker.

If you do want nanosecond-fresh data, then your question makes no sense. Network latency and processing power becomes critical at that point (this is where people rent buildings across the street from NYSE and turn them into datacenters) and it takes millions of dollars, which you don't have.

Trading with even a 15 minute delay, in principle, is doable. Many trends develop over hours or days. If you can design a strategy to target those and be neutral against the second and minute level trends, you could do it. But keep in mind for example that if you see a stock shooting up, so you buy it, and your data is 15 min delayed while the stock crashed 10 minutes ago, you'll lose a bit of money. If you bid $100 for a stock that's now $20 the broker won't charge you $100 and pocket the $80 btw, they will just buy it at the best price. But I've also never heard of a broker that lets you place live orders but doesn't give you live quotes - sounds like it would probably be illegal to do that.

Anyways, if you want to get a taste for day trading but don't even have a couple hundred, the best thing to do is paper, aka fantasy trading. If you go by only your delayed data and never cheat by peaking at real world news and so on, it will be exactly the same (except that the money isn't real). You could also open a robinhood account and trade 0.0001 shares, but if you're actively trading you'll get a fat tax form at the end of the year and CPAs charge a couple hundred anyhow.

Also, in the US I believe there's a law that requires a >$30k balance to day trade, which they define as "selling the stock the same day it was bought more than 3 times in a week". So once again, day trading without funds is not practical.

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  • In the US, the Pattern Day Trader rule limits one to 3 trades (options and equities, not futures) in a rolling 5 day span. If you make 4 trades then you are labeled a pattern Day Trader and must maintain $25k of equity in your account at all times. There's is no limitation on day trading settled cash in a Cash Account. Jul 28, 2021 at 16:59
  • "But I've also never heard of a broker that lets you place live orders but doesn't give you live quotes" — An example would be Interactive Brokers, which charges clients for live quotes.
    – Flux
    Jul 29, 2021 at 8:21

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