Before you start trading Contracts for difference it is important to obtain a few tips from the professionals to make sure that you do not make many of the costly mistakes that newbie traders make. Below are three trading pointers which will help you in your CFD trading success.
1. Manage your Positions
Repeatedly new traders spend a significant amount of time selecting, planning and executing new positions, however they regularly make the mistake of exiting these trades with much less thought. This is unfortunate as it is the exit which will determine whether a trade has been profitable or not.
It is human nature to take profits hastily while the concern of incurring a loss will see the same trader leaving poorly performing positions open in the hope that prices will move in the correct direction and reduce losses or even turn them into profitable trades.
Numerous new traders forget about the old saying “Let your profits run and cut your losses short”. As the proverb states if you have a profitable position, it is best to allow that trade to realize its full potential, as opposed to closing it out at the very first sign of a small return. On the other hand, if you happen to hold a position that is moving against you, it is best to move quickly to exit that position, before the loss becomes too great.
If you're managing your trades properly, your average winning trade should be significantly larger than your average losing trade. Once you have the discipline to buy and sell in this way, you should be able to achieve overall profitability even when only half of your trades are winners. A lot of traders make the mistake of not closing poorly performing positions fast enough. One tool that makes this less complicated is a stop-loss order.
After you have determined a price level that corresponds with the amount of risk that you are prepared to take on a particular trade, a stop-loss order can be placed at this level to automatically close out the trade. This removes the human aspect from the exit, reducing the risk that the emotion of hope will interfere with rational decision making.
It is important to understand that a stop-loss order simply provides a trigger point for the execution of an order. If a sell stop has been placed on a long position, the stop-loss will be activated if the price trades at or beneath the nominated stop level. Occasionally, this may lead to trades being executed a price that is less favorable than the nominated stop-loss price. This is known as slippage.
2. Understand the instrument that you're trading
Being over-the-counter products, there are various differences in the contract specifications of CFDs. If you are thinking of trading these products, it is critical to know what these specifications are.
You must also be aware of the influence that foreign exchange fluctuations might have on your holdings. If the base currency of the CFD rises against the base currency of your account your profits could be eroded by any currency fluctuation or your losses might be made worse.
Most CFD traders trade CFDs based on stocks listed in their home country. The simple reason for this is that traders are more comfortable trading CFDs that they're familiar with. Most traders also benefit from the convenience of trading their home market as it isn't practical to sit up for half the night to trade a Contract for difference over a share listed on an exchange in another part of the world?
In lots of cases it is much better to stick with CFDs based on equities listed on exchanges that you're familiar with as opposed to trading Contracts for difference based on stocks listed on markets you don't fully understand.
3. Use the correct order types
You should treat trading as a serious business. As such, you must take some time to make sure that you thoroughly understand the tools of your business. Many CFD traders miss chances or have been stopped up out of trades at the wrong time just because they placed the wrong kind of order.
At the very least, be certain to become familiar with the following order types:
Market order: This kind of order is utilized to execute a trade at the present market price.
Stop-order: This order type is utilized to exit a trade at a specific price. Stop-orders are placed at a level that's worse than prices presently available in the market. On a long position, the stop-loss order to sell would be located below the present market price. Conversely, on a short position, the stop-loss order to buy would be placed at a level greater than present market prices.
Limit order: A limit order is used to exit a trade. Limit orders are placed at a level that is better than the present market price. When seeking to lock-in profits on an open long position, a limit order to sell would be placed at a level greater than current market prices. If seeking to lock-in profits on a short position, a limit order to buy would be placed at a level underneath current market prices.
You must always understand that as Contracts for difference are leveraged and that buying and selling them can be risky. However if used correctly Contracts for difference will become a valuable tool within your trading arsenal.
To find out more about CFDs you can download our complimentary CFD Guide.