Top Day Trading Stocks for 2024

Day trading stocks is inherently risky. Traders that engage in the practice are attempting to “catch a falling knife,” which is pretty dangerous. They are betting on a short-term gain, trying to spot a dip in the share price, speculating that it will quickly rebound. The risk is that the stock price will fall even further.

Experienced traders sometimes do the opposite and bet on falling prices, with the help of derivatives. This is called short-selling. However, beginners had better avoid this type of trading. 

Rewards can be massive with day trading, but the risks are huge. To mitigate them, we recommend choosing stocks with a track record of success that are likely to bounce back from temporary setbacks. They should also be traded frequently, which makes it easier to quickly get in and out of positions. Stocks that trade often tend to have good volatility, and day traders can exploit those price swings. In this guide, we take a look at the 10 best stocks for day trading.

Best Stocks for Day Trading in 2024

Here are the top 10 stocks for day trading, all of which are heavily traded, large-cap stocks: 

  1. Microsoft: The tech giant is coming off strong quarterly results and its shares rarely take much of a step back, but they are worth buying when they do. The stock is up around 1,200% over the past decade.
  2. Alphabet: The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) should boost revenue from Google Cloud and its other diversified products, including the dominant search engine and YouTube, the No. 2 social media site.
  3. Nvidia: The chipmaker is thriving despite an export ban on two brands of its high-end AI chips to China. The stock is prone to dropping during bear markets, but always seems to come back higher than before.
  4. Amazon: The combination of e-commerce and cloud platform growth isn’t slowing down and the company just passed Alphabet to become the fourth-largest company by market cap.
  5. Caterpillar: The U.S.-based heavy-equipment maker just reported its strongest financial year ever and is bound to benefit from new infrastructure projects, in both developed and emerging economies.
  6. Eli Lilly: The pharmaceutical company is seeing so much demand for diabetes and obesity drugs Zepbound and Mounjaro that it’s having a hard time keeping up with it..
  7. Meta: The parent of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp is coming off a strong fourth quarter and just announced its first dividend.
  8. Apple: The maker of the iPhone just launched its Vision Pro virtual reality headset and it’s seen as an enterprise product, one that companies will buy and find uses for.
  9. Marathon Digital: The Bitcoin miner’s shares are prone to huge swings, which is ideal for day traders. The inclusion of cryptocurrencies in spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) strengthens the company.
  10. Palantir Technologies: The U.S. software company focuses on platforms for big data analytics, which is suddenly in more demand, thanks to AI.

A Closer Look at the Best Day Trading Stocks in 2024

Now, let’s take an in-depth look at the best stocks for day trading:

1. Microsoft: Cloud, AI Fuels Its Continued Growth

Microsoft became the world’s most valuable company in February 2024, with a market cap of $3 trillion. The technology company has invested heavily in OpenAI, which developed ChatGPT and that should help it drive revenue across its various businesses for years.

Microsoft chartThe company just reported fiscal 2024 second-quarter numbers on Jan. 30, and it’s obvious why investors continue to be excited. Revenue was $62 billion, up 18%, year over year. Net income totaled $21.9 billion, with EPS of $2.93, both up 33% over the same period last year. The big drivers were the Azure cloud platform and commercial revenue from Office 356, which rose 33% and 17%, respectively.

The stock, despite its success, remains volatile for several reasons. At times of rising interest rates investors stay away from tech stocks, and the company’s cloud computing business faces so much competition that any new release or new product by a competitor causes a ripple effect in the stock’s price.

Ticker  One-year price change Average daily trading volume
NASDAQ: MSFT 57.21% 23.61 million

2. Alphabet: Big Plans for AI-Enabled Search

The tech company gets most of its revenue from advertising sales on Google Search and YouTube, but it sees the most growth from Google Cloud. Alphabet was already quite active in AI, particularly in making its searches faster and more responsive, and just launched Gemini Ultra, the improved version of AI assistant Bard.

Google revenue chartIn the fourth quarter, revenue was $86.3 billion, up 13%, year over year. Net income was $20.7 billion, up 52% year over year, while EPS was $1.64 up from $1.05 a year earlier. Revenue from Google Cloud, though still a small contributor to overall revenue, grew 25.6% from a year earlier to $9.2 billion. Google Search brought in $48 billion in revenue, up 12.7%, year over year.

The company’s margins should expand as it has recently reduced headcount and cut down on office space.

Ticker  One-year price change Average daily trading volume
NASDAQ: GOOGL 39.54% 28.29 million

3. Nvidia: Perhaps the Best AI Play Out There

Nvidia makes the technology that powers AI platforms run by more than 40,000 companies, including many of those in this list, such as Amazon, Alphabet, Meta and Microsoft. As more AI start-ups launch, the number of customers for Nvidia’s graphics processing units (GPUs), central processing units (CPUs), networking, AI foundry services and NVIDIA AI Enterprise software grows.

In the third quarter, Nvidia said revenue grew 206%, year over year, to $18.1 billion, led by record data center revenue. The latter was $14.5 billion, up 41% from the second quarter and 279% from the third quarter of 2022. The company is forecasting another jump to $20 billion in fourth-quarter revenue. Nvidia’s third-quarter EPS was $3.71, increasing more than 12 times from the same quarter a year earlier. 

It also just launched its new 40-series Super GPUs, high-end graphics cards that should help the company stay ahead of rival Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD).

Ticker  One-year price change Average daily trading volume
NASDAQ: NVDA 207.9% 27.56 million

4. Amazon: Services Driving Improved Revenue, Earnings

The online retail giant sells its own products and fulfills orders on behalf of other businesses. It also derives revenue from its subscriptions, advertising and web hosting. The company’s service divisions, which have higher margins, are now bringing in more money than Amazon’s retail side.

Amazon chartAmazon benefits from the continued rise in e-commerce and the growth of AI, which has helped it be more efficient in taking and delivering orders. In the quarter, Amazon introduced AI-powered personalized size recommendations and said it’s planning to launch Rufus, an AI-enabled personal shopping assistant.

Amazon reported a record fourth-quarter with $170 billion in revenue, up 14%, year over year. Net income was  $10.6 billion in the quarter, or $1 in EPS, compared with $300 million, or $0.03 of EPS a year earlier. For the year, sales were $574.8 billion, up 12% and net income was $30.4 billion, or $2.90 in EPS, compared to a loss of $2.7 billion, or a loss of $0.27 per share, in 2022.

Ticker  One-year price change Average daily trading volume
NASDAQ: AMZN 66.56% 47.99 million

 

5. Caterpillar: Leveraging Its Market Share, Energy Projects

The world’s largest maker of heavy equipment has a 13% market share worldwide. It just reported its best financial year in its 98-year history, with increased prices and growth in financing revenue making up for a slight decline in sales volume. On top of that, dealer inventories are dropping, meaning that sales volume will increase this year.

Caterpillar chartIn 2023, the company said it had sales of $67.1 billion, up 13% and EPS of $20.12, up 53%. In the fourth quarter, sales totaled $17.1 billion, up 3%, year over year and EPS of $5.28, up 89% over the same period last year. The drivers for growth included a 12% gain in the quarter in energy sales (such as drill rigs, gas compressors and locomotives) and a 15% rise in financing revenue.

The company is a dividend aristocrat that has raised its dividend for 30 consecutive years, including a 8.3% jump last year to $1.30 a share, equaling a yield of around 1.6%.

Ticker  One-year price change Average daily trading volume
NYSE: CAT 29.99% 2.79 million

6. Eli Lilly: Obesity, Diabetes Drugs Lead the Way for Gains

Lilly’s new obesity drug Zepbound and new Type 2 diabetes therapy Mounjaro, which are different formulations of its tirzepatide, have garnered a lot of attention.

Eli Lilly chart

Lilly saw revenue rise 28%, year over year in the fourth quarter to $9.35 billion, led by Mounjaro and Zepbound. Mounjaro alone accounted for  $2.2 billion of that. Zepbound wasn’t approved until Nov. 8, and in less than two months, did $175 million in revenue. Fourth-quarter EPS was $2.42, an increase of 13% year on year. It expects revenue to climb to between $40.4 billion to $41.6 billion from $34.1 billion. 

In addition, the company has a huge pipeline because it has been willing to spend on research and development. In 2023, it spent $8.8 billion in R&D, up 23% from the year before. That includes promising drugs that are coming off positive phase 3 trials: Alzheimer’s therapy donanemab, ulcerative colitis drug mirikizumab and lymphoma therapy pirtobrutinib. 

Ticker  One-year price change Average daily trading volume
NYSE: LLY 107.56% 3.27 million

7. Meta Platforms: A Growth Stock Getting Value From Ads

Most of the company’s revenue, roughly 98%, comes from the advertisements it sells on its platforms of Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp. In the fourth quarter, revenue was $40.1 billion, up 25%, year over year. EPS soared by 203% over the same period last year, to $5.33.

Meta price chartThe company’s shares got a bump when it said, for the first time, it would begin paying out a dividend. To start with, it will only be $0.50 per quarterly share, meaning a yield of around 0.44%. That’s not a lot but it’s a nice add-on to stock price acceleration.

That’s not to say the company is bullet-proof. It took a full year for the company’s ad sales to return to growth after Apple’s iOS privacy changes cut into Meta’s targeted ads. It has frequently been in the crosshairs of Senate hearings for its privacy failures and the company’s reliance on growing ad sales from China could cause problems down the line. However, regardless of short-term concerns, the stock always appears to bounce back.

Ticker  One-year price change Average daily trading volume
NASDAQ: META 146.43% 19.31 million

8. Apple: The Best Priced Stock for Day Trading

Investors are so confident in Apple, that, even after the company issued underwhelming guidance, it can’t keep the company’s shares down for long. In the company’s fiscal 2024 first-quarter report, it said that it expects revenue to fall 5%, year over year in the first quarter, with iPhone sales dropping 10%. For a day, the stock fell to a three-month low of $179.25, but by the next day, it bounced back.

Apple chartTaking a deeper look at Apple’s earnings, it’s hard to find much of a weakness. In the quarter, revenue grew 2%, year over year, to $119.6 billion and EPS was $2.18, up 16% over the same quarter a year ago. The key is, the other shoe hasn’t dropped as people are waiting to see what the company will do with generative AI, such as using it in a new iOS operating system for its iPhones and iPads, or potentially to improve its Siri chatbot.

The company has increased its quarterly dividend, counting stock splits, each of the past 11 years, including a 4% boost last year to $0.24. That equals a yield of around 0.51%. Unlike some of the other stocks on this list, it doesn’t appear to be overpriced as it is trading at under 30 times earnings.

Ticker  One-year price change Average daily trading volume
NASDAQ: AAPL 24.31% 57.08 million

9. Marathon Digital: Benefits From Bitcoin’s Bounce-Back

Marathon just made a big move to improve its efficiency and production of bitcoin by buying mining sites that total 390 megawatts of capacity operated by Hut8 in Granary, Texas, and Kearney, Neb. It said it expects to take control of the sites by April 30, lowering the operating fees and its costs to produce bitcoin.

Marathon Digital chartIn January, the company averaged producing 1,084 bitcoin a day, up 58%, year over year. Its energized hash rate, which takes into account the amount of energy it takes to produce the computational power to secure the network, improved by 262% to 26.4%, compared to January in 2022.

The company is benefiting from higher bitcoin prices and from its own increased production. In the third quarter, it said it had revenue of $97.8 million, up from $12.7 in the same quarter a year earlier. Net income was $64.1 million or $0.35 in EPS, compared to a net loss of $72.5 million or an EPS loss of $0.62 in the third quarter of 2022.

Ticker  One-year price change Average daily trading volume
NASDAQ: MARA 139.19% 93.91 million

10. Palantir Technologies: Commercial Revenue Spurs Growth

The software company isn’t a new player in AI. Since its founding in 2003, its software platforms have helped analyze large amounts of data, especially in counterterrorism operations, health care, and finance. 

Palantir chartThe company derives revenue from government and commercial contracts, but the latter is what is seeing the most growth. The biggest concern about the stock is, thanks to a big run up over the past year, that it’s trading at more than 258 times earnings, a heady valuation.

In the fourth quarter, its revenue rose 20%, year over year, to $608 million and net income grew by 203%, year over year, to $93.4 million, its fifth consecutive quarter of profitability.  Government revenue at $324 million rose 11% rise, while commercial revenue jumped 32% to $274 million. In 2024, the company said it expects revenue between $2.652 billion and $2.668 billion and U.S. commercial revenue in excess of $640 million, a growth of at least 40%.

Ticker  One-year price change Average daily trading volume
NYSE: PLTR 187.10% 53.18 million

How to Pick the Best Stocks for Day Trading

Focus only on strong companies

A stock chosen for day trading should have all the attributes of a quality stock – a viable business model, a strong balance sheet, and a solid track record of growth.

Look for well-known, highly profitable companies, with long track records of revenue growth, then buy them when their price drops. 

That way, even if a trade doesn’t work in the short term, it should still make sense to hold onto a stock until its price rises. It also makes sense to wait until the first hour of trading is over before you jump in, to get a better overall picture of what is happening. Your trade might make sense with a given stock, but if the overall market is on a big downward trend that day, that could change your strategy.

Stick to a Handful of Stocks That You Know Well

You’re competing against professionals, who likely have more time and better equipment to analyze market trends. The best way to get ahead is by focusing on a smaller group of stocks to better understand why they might move one way or another.

Keep Potential Losses in Check with Limit Orders

While a market order is executed at the best price available, there’s no guarantee. A limit order is filled only if the stock is available at a specific price. You can also set a limit order to sell a stock at a particular price, helping you lock in profits.

Look for Popular Companies that are Heavily Traded

It’s a lot easier to move in and out of positions quickly if the stocks you are buying have heavy volume. Also, if you’re trading in stocks that are well-known, there’s more news regarding the stock. The more information you have in day trading, the better.

Where to Get Undervalued Stock Tips and Insights

AltIndex, a subscription-based service, is particularly useful to day traders because it uses alternative data and artificial intelligence (AI)  to rate stocks, and it updates its data regularly throughout the day. 

AltIndex photoThe company even has alternative stock tips that it regularly updates, to show which stocks are on the move and where the sentiment is coming from for that move.

The service utilizes a variety of data sources, including app downloads, social media, web searches, customer satisfaction ratings, and other information regarding a company.

AltIndex takes the information it compiles about a company and compares it to similar stocks, using machine learning to come up with investment insights. Stocks are scored from 1 to 100, making the decision-making process easier for investors.

AltIndex is widely used, with more than 10,000 members. It provides more than 100,000 unique stock insights and alerts each day and has a strong win rate of 75% from its AI stock picks.

You can try AltIndex’s Starter Plan for just $29 a month and receive stock picks directly to your email, as well many other useful features.

Conclusion

Day trading can be done successfully as long as you are willing to do the research on stocks to take advantage of short-term market overreactions.

The best day traders take a disciplined approach by consistently trading in the same manner and by sticking to the stocks they know best. Day trading can be a good supplement to an overall investing strategy, provided you have the time to make it work.

References

https://news.microsoft.com/2023/09/19/microsoft-announces-quarterly-dividend-increase-5/

https://www.pcmag.com/news/ces-2024-nvidia-geforce-rtx-4070-4080-super-cards-launch-january

https://investors.caterpillar.com/stock-info/dividend-history/default.aspx

https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-new-medication-chronic-weight-management

https://investor.apple.com/dividend-history/default.aspx

https://ir.mara.com/news-events/press-releases/detail/1340/marathon-digital-holdings-to-assume-full-operational

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Jim Halley

I am an experienced journalist who has also worked as an editor and writer at the Savannah Morning News, Salt Lake Tribune, USA Today, Stars and Stripes, and The Motley Fool. I spent the first half of my career in sports journalism, but in recent years have switched to writing about my other passion, stocks, particularly healthcare, real estate and consumer staples stocks. I've won numerous journalism awards from the Associated Press and state press associations and have been a judge for the Georgia Sportswriters Association. I've written one non-fiction book, Just One More Time, about Georgia Southern football, and…