Learning to trade DMA CFDs is often fairly daunting initially, with new traders having to master the trading platform offered by their DMA CFD provider and of course develop a trading plan. Trading can be enjoyable and rewarding if you take some time in the beginning to do your homework, below are some essential tips to assist novice traders who are getting started.
1. Develop a trading plan
A common mistake new trader’s make is that they use an inappropriate trading strategy, or worse still, they have got no plan at all. Adopting a trading strategy and using it on a consistent basis, provides a framework of discipline. It is also likely that this is going to deliver better results than a hap-hazard approach or using a frequently changing number of approaches. Care should be taken when deciding on a strategy. It would be a mistake to attempt trading a technique dependent on five minute charts if you're unable to access your trading platform for much of the trading day. Likewise, it would be a mistake to use a strategy based on monthly charts if your trading horizon is calculated in days or weeks.
Certain traders tend to believe that a more complex system is usually a better system. They build techniques that employ huge numbers of inputs and require tremendously complex calculations and algorithms. They regularly produce graphs which are so heavily covered in indicators that it becomes difficult to spot the price action. While a few of these complicated systems certainly are effective, the greater the number of inputs and calculations they need, the more potential there is for something to go wrong. In some ways, a simple approach is usually superior (and easier to stick to with confidence) than a more complicated approach.
One of many strategies employed by a lot of traders is the short trade. This is where a trader sells a CFD that they don’t currently hold in anticipation of buying it back again at a cheaper price in the future. While it can be argued that there is no difference between taking a long position or a short position, a short position might not be suitable for a conservative trader. In theory, a short position holds much greater risk than a long position, this is because of the difference in the maximum possible downside for each type of trade. When holding a long CFD position, the worst possible move could be for the CFD to fall to zero and become worthless. For a short position, where losses will mount as prices rise, the maximum loss is limitless. While holding a short CFD position over an equity with a skyrocketing price is unlikely, it is possible. It would be a mistake for a very conservative trader to trade on the short side, especially without a stop loss order in place.
2. Learn how to use your trading platform
It can sometimes be a steep learning curve when trading on a new platform however once you have spent the time and effort and overcome any lingering fears of technology you'll realise that this is important if you are to be a successful online trader. It is no good waiting until you have open positions and the markets start moving before you determine how to put on or alter a stop-loss or take-profit order. You must ‘know’ how to manoeuvre around the platform and open, close or adjust orders without needing to look up the platform user guide.
You also need to plan for more extreme situations. Think about what might occur if your internet connection were to break down or if your PC became infected with a virus and wasn't operating at its peak. As a preventive measure, it is wise to write down your CFD provider’s telephone number near your PC. Additionally it is good practice to keep a list of your open positions so that you know what your exposure is.
3. Take accountability for your trades
Most traders closely keep an eye on their open positions but there are those that make the mistake of not doing so. By frequently checking on your open positions you'll know what your overall exposure to the market is and whether or not you're in profit or loss situation.
As well as trading mistakes, some traders simply forget that they have placed certain orders, or because they do not understand the platform they find that they have by accident placed orders without meaning to do so. It's best to discover these errors as fast as possible by keeping track of your open positions. Mistakes made when entering trades tend to be more frequent than you might think. Traders frequently hit buy instead of sell (or vice versa) or enter the incorrect quantity or even the wrong ticker symbol. These are simple errors that tend to be put down to having a “fat finger”. However, if you take your trading seriously, you need to make sure that you exercise the proper amount of care.
CFD Trading can easily be very rewarding and enjoyable if you spend some time at the start educating yourself and learning the tools of your trade. Naturally it is always important to keep in mind that trading DMA CFDs can be risky, however the tips outlined above will assist you in managing risk and will help you to avoid many of the mistakes traders make when starting out.
To learn more about DMA CFDs you can download our free DMA CFD Guide.