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According to the FINRA, the rules permit a pattern day trader to trade up to four times the maintenance margin excess in the account as of the close of business of the previous day. So if you have \$26,000 in your account you can only trade \$1,000? Or am I thinking about this wrong? And if this is the case, how do higher frequency trading strategies manage to work?

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If you have \$26k, and no positions on, your maintenance excess is \$26k, so your day trading buying power, DTBP, is \$26k * 4 = \$104k in DTBP. You are confusing account minimum with maintenance excess, different concepts.

Having worked at a shop directly supporting HFTs, I can say in general that they have MUCH larger account sizes. One issue to consider if doing an HFT-type strategy is how does your broker handle open-order exposure.

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  • $\begingroup$ does that mean that the value of your open positions can not exceed your DTBP? But you can buy and sell as money stocks as you want during the day but the value of your open positions can't exceed that value? Believe it or not I've been on about 5 different brokerage's websites trying to get the details of this but not one had a full explanation. $\endgroup$ May 19 at 21:50

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