Day traders tend to get a lot of attention from market watchers. For some, they represent everything that's wrong with the stock markets. Day traders aren't investors, they don't intend to hold stocks, they're just trying to capitalize on momentum and make a quick buck. They're not helping move the capital necessary to drive industry and commerce in the way people who hold stocks are.
However, day traders are as old as the stock markets and, as long as one can buy and sell securities, they're going to be there looking for opportunities to make money.
And it's not an easy business to be in. Most day traders go broke, and painfully few people have ever made a long-term career out of speculating on intraday stock moves. As often as not, day traders have become a punchline. Saying you're a day trader is not unlike saying you've got a "system" to beat the house in roulette. It requires a certain degree of naivete to really believe what you're saying.
However, that doesn't mean that there aren't those shrewd people out there who have actually nailed down a way to make money from day trading, and lots of it. While few and far between, solid day traders combine shrewd instincts and technical know-how to be able to suss out market dynamics as they're happening.
The folks at Bulls on Wall Street have developed this excellent infographic to take a closer look at the day trader and how he or she spends their day.