It may often happen that swing trading overlaps with short term trading and that is purely because they are both for the short term. Swing trading is more about riding the short term trend in the stock more decisively. There are 4 ways in which day trading differs from swing trading. Let us look at each one of them.

Structure of the trade: In an intraday trade, the trader uses more of a top-down approach. The focus is more on getting the broad momentum of the market right and then trade individual stocks accordingly. The swing trade is lot more bottom-up. Like in the case of HPCL illustrated above, the focus is on the stock/index and the macros are used to ratify.

Returns from the trade: Obviously, the return potential on a swing trade is higher than on an intraday trade. Discipline puts quite a few restrictions on an intraday trade and hence the trader does not have the leeway to capture the complete price move potential. Swing trade does not have any such constraint.

Risks in the trade: As a logical corollary it follows that the swing trade is more risky compared to a day trade. Since the day trade is executed with very tight stop losses and profit targets, the total risk can be cordoned off. Swing trade, on the other hand, is more of a directional bet and can be on the long side or the short side. This exposes the swing trade to overnight risk. Also margins are higher in case of swing trade and that also locks a bigger chunk of your capital in these trades.

Directional versus agnostic: A day trader is normally indifferent to the direction of the stock and the market and is willing to trade the same stock on the long side and on the short side the same day. The swing trade is focused a lot more on interpreting swings and emphasizes on catching swings at the top or at the bottom to make the best of the trend.