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Contents

CFD Trading 2020 – Tutorial and Brokers

Day trading with CFDs is a popular strategy. The leverage and costs of CFD trading make it a viable option for active traders and intraday trades. This page provides an introductory guide, plus tips and strategy for using CFDs. We also list the best CFD brokers in 2020.

Top 3 CFD Brokers in Russia

What Is A CFD?

A CFD is a contract between two parties. They agree to pay the difference between the opening price and closing price of a particular market or asset. It is therefore a way to speculate on price movement, without owning the actual asset.

The performance of the CFD reflects the underlying asset. Profit and loss are established when that underlying asset value shifts in relation to the position of the opening price.

When trading CFDs with a broker, you do not own the asset being traded. You are speculating on the price movement, up or down.

CFD Example

Lets use an example. Say you select a stock with an ask price of $25 and you open a CFD to the value of 100 shares.

If buying shares the traditional way, the cost would be $2,500. There might also be commission or trading costs.

However, a CFD broker will often require just a 5% margin. This will allow you to enter the same trade but with only $125. (Actual levels of leverage or margin will vary). This makes it an attractive hunting ground for the intraday trader. The risk and reward ratio is increased, making short term trades more viable.

When you enter your CFD, the position will show a loss equal to the size of the spread. This means if the spread from your broker is 5 cents, you’ll need the stock to appreciate by at least 5 cents to break even.

CFD vs Stock

Using the above example: Let’s say the price of the underlying stock continues to increase and reaches a bid price of $26.00

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If you owned the stock, your holding is now worth $2600. A nice profit – ignoring commission or trading costs the trader realised $100.

However, with the underlying stock at $26.00, the CFD would show the same $100 profit – but it required way less to open, just $125. So in terms of percentage, the CFD returned much greater profits. Had the market moved the other way, losses relative to our investment would have been larger too – both risk and reward are increased.

There are of course other benefits to owning an asset rather than speculating on the price. We also ignored commissions and spreads for clarity. But the above does illustrate the relative differences in the two methods of investing.

Application

As you are day trading you probably won’t hold any CFD positions overnight. Instead, you’ll likely place a high number of CFD trades in a single day. To maximise your returns you’ll want to concentrate on liquid volatile markets. CFD trading with oil, bitcoin, and forex are all popular options, for example.

CFD Benefits

You may have already gleaned a couple of advantages above from CFDs, but let’s break them down and add a few more.

  • Leverage – CFD leverage is much higher than traditional trading. You can get margin requirements as little as 2%. The rate usually depends on the underlying asset. Shares or volatile cryptocurrencies, for example, can reach up to 20%. Whilst low margin rates will allow you to take big positions with less capital, losses will also hit you harder.
  • Accessibility – The best CFD brokers will allow you to trade in all of the major markets. With so many markets that means CFD trading hours effectively run 24 hours a day. You’ll just need to check your brokers trading hours first.
  • Cost – CFD trading systems incur minimal costs. You will find many brokers charge little or zero fees to enter and exit trades. Instead, they make their money when you have to pay the spread. The size of the spread will depend on the volatility of the underlying asset. Note it is usually a fixed spread.
  • Less shorting rules – Some markets enforce rules that prevent you shorting at certain times. They can demand greater margin requirements for shorting as opposed to being long. The CFD market, however, generally doesn’t have such rules, as you’re not actually owning the underlying asset. This means no borrowing or shorting costs.
  • Less day trading requirements – Some markets require significant capital to start trading. This limits you to how many trades you can make, and in turn how much profit. An online CFD trader, however, can set up an account with as little as $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Diversity – Whatever peaks your interest, you’ll probably find a CFD vehicle. You can start CFD FX trading, as well as utilising treasury, commodities, cryptocurrencies, and index CFDs.

CFD Risks

Despite the numerous benefits, there remain a couple of downsides to CFDs you should be aware of.

  • Regulation – The CFD industry is not thoroughly regulated. This means it’s increasingly important you select the right broker. You need to make sure they are credible and in a strong financial position. For more guidance, see our brokers page.
  • Trading on margin – While margin increases profit potential, it also increases risk. It is very easy to lose sight of the total exposure you have when using margin. $2000 worth of open positions using 5% margins mean exposure to $40,000 worth of contracts. You are effectively borrowing $38k from your broker. If markets move against you, losses can exceed deposits. An awareness of the total exposure is very important.

How To Start Trading CFDs

One of the selling points of trading with CFDs is how straightforward it is to get going. You’ll need to follow just five simple steps.

1. Choose A Market

There are thousands of individual markets to choose from, including currencies, commodities, plus interest rates and bonds. Try and opt for a market you have a good understanding of. This will help you react to market developments. Most online platforms and apps have a search function that makes this process quick and hassle-free.

2. Buy Or Sell

If you buy you go long. If you sell you go short. Bring up the trading ticket on your platform and you will be able to see the current price. The first price will be the bid (sell price). The second price will be the offer (buy price).

The price of your CFD is based on the price of the underlying instrument. If you have a reason to believe the market will increase, you should buy. If you believe it will decline you should sell.

3. Trade Size

You now need to select the size of CFDs you want to trade. With a CFD, you control the size of your investment. So although the price of the underlying asset will vary, you decide how much to invest. Brokers will however, have minimum margin requirements – or more simply, a minimum amount that is required in order for the trade to be opened. This will vary asset by asset. It will always be made clear however, as will the total value (or your exposure) of the trade.

Volatile assets such as cryptocurrency normally have higher margin requirements. So a position with exposure to $2000 worth of Bitcoin, might need margin of $1000 for example. A well traded stock however, may only need 5% margin. So a $2000 position on Facebook, may only require $100 of account funds.

4. Add Stops & Limits

This will help you secure profits and limit any losses. Most CFD strategies for beginners and experienced traders will employ the use of stop losses and/or limit orders. They tie in with your risk management strategy. Once you have defined your risk tolerance you can place a stop loss to automatically close a trade once the market hits a pre-determined level. This will help you minimise losses and keep your accounts in the black – leaving you to fight another day on subsequent trades.

A limit order will instruct your platform to close a trade at a price that is better than the current market level. If you opt for a trading bot they will use pre-programmed instructions like these to enter and exit trades in line with your trading plan. These are perfect for closing trades near resistance levels, without having to constantly monitor all positions.

5. Monitor & Close

Once you’ve placed your trade and stop or loss limits, your profits will shift along with the market price. You can view the market price in real time and you can add or close new trades. This can be done on most online platforms or through apps.

If your stop loss or limit order hasn’t been activated you can close it yourself. Simply select ‘close position’ from the positions window. You will be able to see your profit or loss almost instantly in your account balance.

Strategies

Choosing the right market is one hurdle, but without an effective strategy, your profits will be few and far between. You need to find a strategy that compliments your trading style. That means it plays to your strengths, such as technical analysis. It also means it needs to fit in with your risk tolerance and financial situation.

Below two popular and successful CFD trading strategies and tips have been outlined.

Breakout Strategy

This simply requires you identifying a key price level for a given security. When the price hits your key level, you buy or sell, dependent on the trend. The main thing to remember with breakout trading is to avoid any trades when the market isn’t providing clear signals.

If you can’t quite tell which direction the overall trend is moving in then give it a miss. This is where detailed technical analysis can help. Use charts to identify patterns that will give you the best chance of telling you where the trend is heading.

Contrarian Strategy

This is all about timing. Your plan rests on the knowledge that trends don’t last forever. If a stock’s price has been on the decline then you identify a point where you believe it’s near the end of the trend. Then you enter a buy position in anticipation of the trend turning in the other direction.

You can follow exactly the same procedure if the price is rising. You can short a stock that has been increasing in price when you think a sharp change is imminent. Both Wave Theory and a range of analytical tools will help you ascertain when those shifts are going to take place.

For further guidance, see our strategies page.

CFD Trading Tips

If you’re looking to really bolster your profits consider these tips from top traders. Learn from their mistakes and hopefully, you won’t run into the same expensive pitfalls.

Control Your Leverage

Leverage is your greatest asset when you’ve made the right trade. The temptation to increase your position sizes when you’re winning is difficult to resist. However, there is always a loss on the horizon.

You don’t want to be the trader that turns a small account into a huge account, only to end up back at square one. So, you need to be smart. Nobody wants the margin calls and the stress that come with big losses. As Paul Tudor Jones famously said, ‘Don’t focus on making money, focus on protecting what you have.’

Having said that, start small to begin with. Keep your exposure relatively low in comparison to your capital. It’s a good idea not to leverage more than 3 times your account size, particularly at the beginning.

As your capital grows and you iron out creases in your strategy, you can slowly increase your leverage.

Keep A Journal

A bit like a diary, but swap out descriptions of your crush for entry and exit points, price, position size and so on. This will be your bible when it comes to looking back and identifying mistakes. CFD trading journals are often overlooked, but their use can prove invaluable.

Hindsight is a powerful force, don’t waste it. You’ll be able to identify patterns, reflect on your trading emotions and streamline strategies. A thorough trading journal should include the following:

  • The instrument
  • The time you entered and exited the trade
  • Reasons for the trade, technical, news-based, etc.
  • Whether it was a profit or loss
  • A review of your trade performance (including whether you followed your trading rules)
  • What you learnt from the trade

It may sound time-consuming but it will allow you to constantly review and improve. You’ll make smarter and faster decisions, whilst those without are still scratching their heads wondering what they’ve been doing wrong for the last few weeks.

Use Stops

Used correctly you’ll be able to minimise your losses, keeping you in the game. Each trade you enter needs a crystal clear CFD stop. This is because emotions will inevitably run high and the temptation to hold on that little bit longer can be hard to resist. As William O’Neil correctly pointed out, ‘letting losses run is the most serious mistake made by most investors.’

So, define a CFD stop outside of market hours and stick to it religiously. This will also help you anticipate your maximum possible loss. You can then use the time you would be fighting an internal battle to research and prepare for the next trade.

Demo Accounts

When you’ve completed your research and you’ve finally got the capital to start trading, it can be hard to resist jumping in head first. However, the switched on day trader will test out his strategy with a demo account first.

Plenty of brokers offer these practice accounts. They’re funded with simulated money, making them the ideal place to make mistakes before your real money is on the line. Not only can you test your strategy and get familiar with CFD trading markets, but they’re also an effective way to try your broker’s trading platform. You can make sure it has all the charting and analysis tools your trading plan requires.

When you’re comfortable and seeing consistent results on your demo account, then upgrade to a live account.

Education

Nobody likes to hear it, but school isn’t over. The best traders will never stop learning. You need to keep abreast of market developments, whilst practising and perfecting new CFD trading strategies. Learning from successful traders will also help. To do all of this you’ll need to utilise a range of different resources. To name just a few:

Regional Differences

Taxes

Although you can trade CFDs all over the world, where you’re based and the market you’re trading in can throw an expensive spanner in the works. CFD trading in the USA will be different to that in the UK, Australia, India, South Africa, and Singapore.

This is mainly because of taxes. Different countries view CFDs differently. Some consider them a form of gambling activity and therefore free from tax. Some countries consider them taxable just like any other form of income.

The tax implications in the UK, for example, will see CFD trading fall under the capital gains tax requirements. Although you get a £10,100 annual exemption, any profits that exceed that will be taxed. This means you should keep a detailed record of transactions so you can make accurate calculations at the end of the tax year.

So, before you start trading, find out whether you’ll pay personal income tax, business tax, capital gains tax, or if you’re lucky, no tax. Once you know what type of tax obligation you will face you can incorporate that into your money management strategy.

For more detailed guidance, see our taxes page.

Final Word

Day trading CFDs can be comparatively less risky than other instruments. Having said that, it will still be challenging to craft and implement a consistently profitable strategy. If you want to be a successful CFD trader you will need to utilise the educational resources above and follow the tips mentioned. As successful trader Alex Hahn pointed out, If you master your thinking and your emotions, nothing can stop you.’ So, the ball is in your half of the court now, go and turn it into gold.

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Online Forex Trading: A Beginner’s Guide

What is Forex Trading and how does it work?

At FXTM, we are committed to ensuring our clients are kept up-to-date on the latest products, state-of-the-art trading tools, platforms and accounts.

For those just getting started, we have created a comprehensive Beginner’s Guide to introduce you to forex terminology, answer common FAQs and, most importantly, keep things simple.
Looking for a breakdown of forex terminology? Head over to our glossary page.

What is the forex market?

What is forex trading?

What is a forex broker?

What is the forex market?

Foreign exchange (also known as forex or FX) refers to the global, over-the-counter market (OTC) where traders, investors, institutions and banks, exchange, speculate on, buy and sell world currencies.

Trading is conducted over the ‘interbank market’, an online channel through which currencies are traded 24 hours a day, five days a week. Forex is one of the largest financial markets, with an estimated global daily turnover of more than US$5 trillion.

What is forex trading?

Forex trading is the act of buying or selling currencies. Banks, central banks, corporations, institutional investors and individual traders exchange foreign currency for a variety of reasons, including balancing the markets, facilitating international trade and tourism, or making a profit.

Currency is traded in pairs, in both spot and futures markets. The value of a currency pair is driven by economic, political and environmental factors, such as wars, natural disasters, or national elections.

What is a forex broker?

Brokers act as intermediaries, facilitating trades by providing clients access to the 24-hour interbank
in order to conduct trades.

FXTM offers a number of different accounts, each providing services and features tailored to our clients’ individual trading objectives. Discover the account that’s right for you on our account page. New to forex trading? Learn about the markets by opening a demo account page.

Understanding Currency Pairs

All transactions made on the forex market involve the simultaneous purchasing and selling of two currencies.
These are called ‘currency pairs’, and include a base currency and a quote currency. The diagram below represents the forex pair EUR/USD (Euro/US Dollar), one of the most common currency pairs traded on the forex market.

Sell 1 Euro for 1.0916 US Dollars

Buy 1 Euro for 1.0918 US Dollars

Ask Price – Bid Price

1.0918 – 1.0916 = 0.0002 (2 pips)

Ask Price – Bid Price

1.0918 – 1.0916 = 0.0002 (2 pips)

Base Currency

The base currency is the first currency that appears in a forex pair. This currency is bought or sold in exchange for the quote currency.
So, based on the example above, it will cost a trader 1.0916 USD to buy 1 EUR.
Alternatively, a trader could sell 1 EUR for 1.0916 USD.

Quote currencies

The second currency of a currency pair is called the quote currency. In EUR/USD for example, USD is the quote currency.

Ask Price

TThe ask price is the value at which a trader accepts to buy a currency .

Bid Price

The bid price is the value at which a trader is prepared to sell a currency.

Spread

A spread is the difference between the ask price and the bid price. In other words, it is the cost of trading.
For example, if the Euro to US dollar is trading with an ask price of 1.0918 and a bid price of 1.0916, then the spread will be the ask price minus the bid price. In this case, 0.0002.

A point in price – or pip for short – is a measure of the change in a currency pair in the forex market.
The acronym can also stand for ‘percentage in point’ and ‘price interest point’. A pip is used to measure price movements, and it represents a change in a currency pair. Most currency pairs are quoted to five decimal places.

Note: Forex prices are often quoted to four decimal places because their spread differences are typically very small. However, there is no definitive rule when it comes to the number of decimal places used for forex quotes.

On the forex market, trades in currencies are often worth millions, so small bid-ask price differences (i.e. several pips) can soon add up to a significant profit. Of course, such large trading volumes mean a small spread can also equate to significant losses.
Always trade carefully and consider the risks involved.

Visualising
Currency Trades

Trades & Key Terminology

A ‘position’ is the term used to describe a trade in progress. A long position means a trader has bought a currency expecting its value to increase. Once the trader sells that currency back to the market (ideally for a higher price than he paid for it), his long position is said to be ‘closed’ and the trade is complete.
A short position refers to a trader who sells a currency expecting its value to decrease, and plans to buy it back at a lower price. A short position is ‘closed’ once the trader buys back the asset (ideally for less than he sold it for).

For example, if the currency pair EUR/USD was trading at 1.0916/1.0918, then an investor looking to open a long position on the euro would purchase 1 EUR for 1.0918 USD. The trader will then hold on to the euro in the hopes that it will appreciate, selling it back to the market at a profit once its price has increased.

An investor going short on the EUR would sell 1 EUR for 1.0916 USD. This trader expects the euro to depreciate, and plans to buy it back at a lower rate if it does.

What are the most traded currency pairs on the forex market?

There are seven Major currency pairs on the forex market. Other brackets include Crosses and Exotic currency pairs, which are less commonly traded and all relatively illiquid (i.e., not easily exchanged for cash).

MAJOR CURRENCY PAIRS

Major currency pairs are the most commonly traded, and account for nearly 80% of trade volume on the forex market.
These currency pairs could typically have low volatility and high liquidity.

They are associated with stable, well managed economies, are less susceptible to manipulation and have smaller spreads than other pairs.

CROSSES

Cross currency pairs – Crosses – are pairs that do not include the USD.
Historically, Crosses were converted first into USD and then into the desired currency, but are now offered for direct exchange.

The most commonly traded are derived from Minor currency pairs (e.g. EUR/GBP, EUR/JPY, GBP/JPY); they are typically less liquid and more volatile than Major currency pairs.

EXOTIC CURRENCY PAIRS

Exotics are currencies from emerging or smaller economies, paired with a Major.

Compared to Crosses and Majors, Exotics are much riskier to trade because they are less liquid, more volatile, and more susceptible to manipulation.

They also contain wider spreads, and are more sensitive to sudden shifts in political and financial developments.

We’ve created a table below which showcases several different currency pairs from each bracket, as well as some nicknames which were coined by traders themselves.

7 MAJOR PAIRS

7 MAJOR PAIRS

6 MINOR PAIRS

6 MINOR PAIRS

6 EXOTIC PAIRS

6 EXOTIC PAIRS

Brackets

MAJOR CURRENCY PAIRS

MINOR CURRENCY PAIRS

EXOTIC CURRENCY PAIRS

Nicknames

Abbreviations

N. Zealand Dollar

UNDERSTANDING FOREX CHARTS

CANDLESTICK CHART

A candlestick is a chart, also known as a Japanese Candlestick Chart, that is often favoured by traders due to the wide range of information it portrays. The chart displays the high, low, opening and closing prices.

A candlestick has three points: open, close and the wicks.
The wicks show the high to low range and the ‘real body’ (wide section) shows investors if the closing price was higher or lower than the opening price.

If the candlestick is filled, then the currency pair closed lower than it opened. If the candlestick is hollow, then the closing price is higher than the opening price.

BAR CHART

A bar chart shows the opening, close, high and low of the currency pair’s prices.

The top of the bar represents the highest paid price and the bottom indicates the lowest traded price for that specific time period.

The actual bar represents the currency pair’s overall trading range and the horizontal lines on the sides represent the opening (left) and the closing prices (right).

A bar chart is most commonly used to identify the contraction and expansion of price ranges.

LINE CHART

A line chart is easy to understand for forex trading beginners. In a line chart, a line is drawn from one closing price to the next.

When connected, it is easy to identify a general price movement of a currency pair throughout a time period and determine currency patterns.

NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT TRADING FOREX?

How to start trading with a forex broker

A broker such as FXTM acts an intermediary between the traders and the liquidity providers. It facilitates in the execution of clients’ orders.

It is recommended to choose a licensed, regulated broker that has at least 5 years of proven experience. If your broker abides by regulatory rules, then you can be sure that they are legitimate.

Once you have an active account, you can trade — but you will be required to make a deposit to cover the costs of your trades. This is called a margin account.

However, it’s really important to remember that becoming a profitable trader isn’t an overnight process. It takes time to become familiar with the markets, and there’s a whole new vocabulary to learn. For this reason, reputable brokers like FXTM offer a Demo account. This is a great way to experiment with different trading strategies – but with virtual money and none of the risk!

Once you’re ready to move on to live trading, we’ve got a great range of trading accounts to suit you.

Learn forex trading

As a global broker, we’re firm believers that developing a sound understanding of the markets is imperative to a trader’s potential to succeed. That’s why FXTM offer a vast range of industry-leading educational resources in a variety of languages which are tailored to the needs of both new and experienced traders.

These include free webinars, Ebooks, articles and more. Prefer to learn from an expert in person? We also hold insightful seminars and workshops in various regions around the world that a cover a multitude of topics.

There are also many forex tools available to traders such as margin calculators, pip calculators, profit calculators, economic trading calendars, trading signals and foreign exchange currency converters.

Forex widgets can help to enhance your trading experience. Some of the more popular widgets include Live rates feed, Live Commodities Quotes, Live Indices Quotes, and market update widgets.

MT4 & MT5 Webtrader Platforms

A forex trading platform is an online software which enables investors to access the foreign exchange market. It can be used to open, close and manage trades from the device of their choice and contains a variety of tools, indicators and timeframes designed to allow you to monitor and analyse the markets in real-time.

As a leading global broker, FXTM are committed to providing services tailored to the needs of our clients. As such, we’re s proud to offer our traders the choice of two of the industry’s leading forex trading platforms; MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5). They are both available on a PC, Mac, mobile (iOS and Android) or tablet.

MetaTrader 4

MetaTrader 4, also known as MT4, provides access to a range of markets and hundreds of different financial instruments, including foreign exchange, commodities, CFDs and indices.

It provides you with all the tools you need to both manage your trades and analyse the markets, whilst also being completely free to download.

With the MetaTrader 4 platform, you’ll enjoy easy-to-read, interactive charts that allow you to monitor and analyse the markets in real-time. You’ll also have access to more than 30 technical indicators which can help you to identify market trends and signals for entry and exit points.

MetaTrader 5

MetaTrader 5, or MT5, is the newest and most advanced online and free trading platform. Trading on MT5 via FXTM gives you even greater access to financial markets including foreign exchange, commodities, CFDs, stocks, futures and indices.

Its diverse functionality, fundamental and technical analysis tools, copy trading and automated trading equip you with the best tools and instruments available.

Other great benefits of MT5 include a multi-threaded strategy tester, fund transfer between accounts and a system of alerts to keep up to date with all the latest market events. Traders can also communicate through the embedded MQL5 community chat to network with other traders and share tips and strategies.

These platforms, combined with innovative services such as FXTM’s Pivot Point tool and FXTM Invest, as well an award-winning Customer Support team, ensures FXTM traders have all the resources they need to trade with confidence.

You can find out more about our trading platforms, or download MT4 and MT5 from our trading platforms page.

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ForexTime Limited (www.forextime.com/eu) is regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission with CIF license number 185/12, licensed by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) of South Africa, with FSP No. 46614. The company is also registered with the Financial Conduct Authority of the UK with number 600475.

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Risk Warning: Trading Forex and Leveraged Financial Instruments involves significant risk and can result in the loss of your invested capital. You should not invest more than you can afford to lose and should ensure that you fully understand the risks involved. Trading leveraged products may not be suitable for all investors. Before trading, please take into consideration your level of experience, investment objectives and seek independent financial advice if necessary. It is the responsibility of the Client to ascertain whether he/she is permitted to use the services of the FXTM brand based on the legal requirements in his/her country of residence. Please read FXTM’s full Risk Disclosure.

Regional restrictions: FXTM brand does not provide services to residents of the USA, Mauritius, Japan, Canada, Haiti, Suriname, the Democratic Republic of Korea, Puerto Rico, the Occupied Area of Cyprus. Find out more in the Regulations section of our FAQs.

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