DEFINITION of 'Manual Trading'

A trading system that involves human decision-making for entering and exiting trades. This is in contrast to automatic trading, which employs programs linked to market data, which are able to originate trades based on human instructional criteria. Manual traders often employ computer programs in order to consolidate information. In some cases, they may also set automated indicators to alert them to potential trading opportunities. However, in all cases, human input is required to authorize trades.

BREAKING DOWN 'Manual Trading'

There is an ongoing debate as to whether automated trading is advisable or not. Currently, most traders believe that manual trading is superior, since human judgment is required to gauge market trends and control risk. They feel that the proper place for automation is in monitoring data and consolidating it for human interpretation. However, proponents of automated trading argue that this method is superior, since it takes irrational human behavior out of the equation. This debate is likely to become even more relevant as programmable trading continues to become even more sophisticated.

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