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CFD Markets Tutorial 2020

A Contract for Difference (or “CFD”) can be defined simply as a trading contract that exists between two parties (a buyer and a seller).  Essentially, both parties enter into the contract with an agreement to pay the difference between an asset’s opening price and its closing price. This gives investors an opportunity to speculate on the potential trend movement that is likely to unfold in the price of a market asset.

Most interestingly, this entire process can be conducted without actually owning the asset involved in the trade.  However, the asset itself is still very much reflected by the performance of the CFD as an instrument that offers key advantages relative to several other types of trading in the financial market. Essentially, when the value of the underlying asset changes (in relation to its opening price), the profit/loss figure is established.  Since the concepts behind CFD trading remain elusive for many new traders, let’s consider an example of what these types of positions aim to accomplish.

CFD Highlights

Pivot Point Trading Tutorial


The first question is what is a pivot? A pivot point is a technical analysis indicator, or calculations, used to determine the overall trend of the market over multiple time frames. The pivot point itself is simply the average of the high, low and closing prices from previous trading sessions. Once a pivot point has…

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MACD divergence trading strategy


Beginner traders often make the mistake in thinking that the more indicators they have the better their results will be, but this is not the case. Using too many indicators, or not knowing which indicators to use in combination with each other, can cause sensory overload, confusion and generate false signals. This guide will hopefully…

TD Line Breakout Strategy


The difficulty in determining a pivot point in sentiment was accomplished by DeMark in creating an objective way to measure breakouts and breakdowns. DeMark created objective trend lines which can be used to create breakouts which will help determine if demand or supply is advancing. The proper construction of trend lines is the basis for…


Connors RSI Trading Tutorial


As a result, the Connors RSI can be a valuable tool which can be used to construct intra-day strategies with a high probability of success. Trading signals are generated based on indicator readings that fall between the values of 0 and 100. In general terms, indicator readings below 5 suggest asset prices are oversold (a…

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Momentum ‌Trading‌ ‌Tutorial‌


First, traders must understand what the word “momentum” actually means in practical terms. For these purposes, a straightforward definition of the concept can be interpreted as follows: Momentum = Underlying Trend Strength Let’s consider the market price activity that’s visible in three different examples: In our first example, we can see a market showing positive…

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Swing Trading Tutorial


In many cases, swing traders will utilize fundamental analysis techniques in addition to their assessments of market trends and technical chart price patterns. However, swing traders tend to base their investment decisions on technical analysis strategies that identify new trading opportunities while they are still in their developing phases. Swing Trading Position Stances Swing trading…

Bollinger Bands Trading Tutorial


Of course, these specific price measurements can be adjusted to fit the requirements of each person’s unique trading style. However, these are the defined parameters which were used when John Bollinger first made these tools available to the public in the 1980s. In the chart depicted above, Bollinger Bands can be seen bracketing a 20-period…

Ichimoku Trading Tutorial


Designed by Goichi Hosoda in Japan in the 1960s, the Ichimoku system provides traders with additional data points when compared to traditional candlestick charts. At first glance, the Ichimoku Cloud (and the signal lines which make up its component parts) might seem like an overly complex piece of abstract art. However, once traders develop experience…

EMA Crossover Strategy


What is important to understand about the EMA is that it does not work all the time. Asset prices trend only 30% of the time. Your risk management will play an important function in the success of an EMA crossover trading strategy. The goal, when using a trading strategy such as the EMA, is to…

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Day Trading Tutorial


Successful day trading strategies aim to capitalize on the small price moves which characterize intraday trends. However, day trading can also pose many risks for those without a tested, though-out strategy. This is why it’s particularly important for investors to gain a deeper understanding of the common principles of day trading. In this article, we…

Relative Strength Index (RSI) Tutorial 2020


In its most traditional applications, values below 30 are interpreted as undervalued (or “oversold”) while RSI values above 70 are considered overvalued (or “overbought”). These informative readings can be used to design trading strategies and alert traders to potential price reversals or corrective pullbacks within a larger market trend. Basics of RSI RSI is one…

Breakout Trading Strategy Tutorial


When many people hear the term “breakout trading,” the first thing that comes to mind is a stock trend that rallies higher. However, these ideas can just as easily be applied to negative market scenarios (i.e. downside or bearish price breakouts) that can be accurately identified before establishing short-sell positions. Additionally, the technical analysis concepts…

Gap Trading Strategy Tutorial


Expert traders are often able to interpret the true meaning behind these price gaps and capitalize on their occurrences as opportunities for investment. When used properly, price gaps offer favorable trade set-ups for experienced investors and open the door to substantial profit potential for those interested in active trading. For some background, it’s important to…

Scalping Trading Tutorial


Scalpers typically employ technical analysis strategies as a way to identify potential trading setups. Some of the most common technical indicator tools used by expert scalpers include: Support and Resistance Levels Stochastic Oscillators Bollinger Bands Moving Averages Parabolic SAR Trend Analysis Since scalpers primarily focus on market prices, technical indicators will contain a high level…

Turtle Trading Tutorial


Essentially, Dennis believed anybody could be taught to master the futures markets but Eckhardt was much more skeptical. Instead, Eckhardt argued that Dennis had years of training and experience that enabled him to beat the market and profit from his approach to trading. As a result, Dennis devised an experiment that could be used to…

Dividend Capture Strategy Tutorial


The capture strategy is a two-trade system that is solely designed to allow investors to benefit from a stock’s dividend without encountering the risks involved when holding shares for an extended period of time. In any market investment, the longer an asset is held, the greater the potential it has to fall in value. This…

Growth Investing Tutorial


The ability to successfully buy into a young company in its earliest stages of growth is a skill that can generate impressive returns if the business is able to deliver on its expectations. This central reason growth investing is particularly interesting for many investors. However, many of these companies are new and untested, so there…

Dividend Stock Investment Tutorial


When investors are able to focus on solid and stable companies capable of making regular dividend hikes, the magic of compounding gains can turn a relatively small investment into a substantial nest egg over the long term: Unfortunately, many beginner investors lack a basic understanding of what a dividend actually is —and what it isn’t. …

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CFD Trading Example

Rather than committing to physical ownership of an asset, a CFD trader speculates only on its upward or downward price movement.  Let’s assume the trader selects a stock that has an initial valuation of $40 per share and the trade composed of 200 shares is executed.  On a traditional stock market position, the cash outlay for the trader would be $8,000 (plus any other trading commissions or fees required by the broker).

cfd trading strategies

To circumvent such large cash outlays of money, a CFD broker can offer some key advantages for traders (especially those with smaller account sizes). In many cases, CFD brokers have required trading margins of only 5%.  In other words, this would allow the trader to enter the position with an initial cash outlay of just $400. Of course, the exact amount will vary depending on individual trades opened and the specific commission charged by the broker.  For an intraday trader with a small account size, this is a scenario that offers an excellent opportunity to make money.

At the time a trade is opened, CFD trading accounts will display initial losses that are equivalent to the size of the trading spread.  Thus, a spread size equal to five cents will require further gains of five cents in order to reach its break-even point.  Assuming the stock moves higher and reaches $42.50 per share, the position would result in gains of $250 (or 6.25%).  However, the CFD price is generally lower than the price shown in the national exchanges because long traders must close the position at the Bid price (which might be $40.48).  In this example, total profits for the CFD trader would be $248 (contract difference of $2.48x 100 shares) and this would be equal to a gain of 6.2% on the position.

CFD Highlights

Profiting in Bearish Markets

Many beginner investors are often surprised to find out that it’s actually possible to profit from the bearish price decline of an asset.  Another benefit of CFD trading is that it allows investors to open positions that profit as the underlying asset drops in value. This is referred to as “going short” the CFD (as opposed to “going long” as we covered in the trading example).

Let’s say a CFD trader wants to speculate on a position and believe that the share price of Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is going to fall.  The CFD trader could sell a “share CFD” based on Apple stock.  Once executed, the CFD trader would be in a position to exchange the difference between the opening price and the closing price.  This position would earn a profit if the share price drops and would generate losses if the share price of Apple stock gained in value.

CFD Trading Strategies

CFD trading approach must be supported by an effective strategy that has proven to be consistent over time.  There are many factors involved which must be understood when constructing positions and developing an approach to the CFD trading market.  Here, we will look at some of these factors and see how they can be used in active markets.

Long-term vs. Short-term:  One of the most essential aspects involved with the tasks of mastering CFD trading is to determine a time frame that will be used for each position.  In many cases, this becomes a fluid situation as it is entirely possible that a CFD trader will wind up holding a position longer than originally intended.  This means CFD traders will often revise the time frame that might have been chosen for the position.  However, it’s still important to have a sense of some of the differences present in opposing time-based strategies.

Short-term trading allows investors to generate profits based on changes in market prices on small time frames.  Sometimes referred to as “day trading” or “intraday” trading, short-term price changes are generally based on time frames that stretch from several hours to a few days.  When trading in CFDs, it is possible to see sizable price changes even during these short periods of time and this can create substantial opportunities for profitability.

Long-term trading refers to periods that stretch from several days to several months (but can even last for years, in some cases).  Some CFD traders prefer long-term time frames because the strength of extended price trends can often be predicted with greater accuracy.  Long-term strategies in CFD trading often allow market participants to capture price moves that are much larger in size because these trends tend to unfold over months or years.  Essentially, the larger sizes in long-term price moves create opportunities that are more substantial when compared to short-term strategies).

Swing trading strategies:  Swing trading strategies aim to benefit from intermediate price reversals (price “swings”) that become visible in market trends.  Of course, prices cannot move in one direction forever and CFD traders often notice small corrections or retracements within a dominant market trend which offer opportunities to enter into new positions.

For example, in bull market trends, asset prices will need to face periods of retracement or consolidation.  This will cause prices to fall below trend highs.  These types of events give CFD traders another opportunity to go long and buy into the uptrend at favorable valuations.  Under ideal scenarios, the bullish momentum found in the underlying price trend will continue in the positive direction and the CFD trader will be able to accumulate profits as it happens.

Breakout trading strategies:  Breakout trading strategies involve situations where market prices have broken above key resistance levels or have fallen below key support levels.  The advantage of breakout strategies is that it’s relatively easy to spot new trading opportunities and forecast the direction of the next price trend.  When resistance levels break, uptrends are generally expected and long CFD trading positions can be opened.  When support levels break, downtrends are expected and short CFD positions can be opened.  The downside of this approach is that volatility levels tend to rise in these scenarios, and this is often viewed as being unfavorable for CFD traders with a more conservative outlook.

cfd trading risk managing

Protective CFD Strategies: Stops & Limits

Protective CFD strategies allow traders to secure gains while limiting any potential losses in a position.   Beginners and experienced CFD traders should always employ stop losses or limit orders so that excessive losses cannot accumulate in the event of unexpected market volatility.  Stop losses and limit orders play an integral role in risk management strategies for CFD traders.  Once the proper risk tolerance levels have been structured (usually potential profits will equal to 3x potential losses), stop orders can be submitted so that the position will be closed if prices reach pre-defined levels.  An added benefit of these protective order strategies is that they allow traders to execute decisions without monitoring a trading station.  As a result, stop orders work as one of the best security decisions CFD traders can make when positions are open in active markets.

Overall, it should be understood that there are several elements involved when trading in CFDs and each of these elements must be treated with importance.  Failure to adopt anyone of these trading elements can create unnecessary problems and significant losses in the event market volatility performs in an unpredictable fashion.  Before starting to use real money in open positions, CFD traders should always practice first with a demo trading account in order to learn the basic functions of each broker’s unique trading platforms.


Trader Summary: CFD Trading

  • A Contract for Difference can be defined simply as a trading contract that exists between two parties (a buyer and a seller).
  • CFDs positions can be based on a wide variety of asset classes, including: stock shares, stock shares, commodities, forex pairs, or cryptocurrencies.
  • CFDs give investors an opportunity to speculate on the potential trend movement that is likely to unfold in the price of a market asset.
  • CFD trading can be conducted without actually taking ownership of the asset involved in the market position.
  • CFD trading also allows investors to open positions that profit as the underlying asset drops in value (short-selling).
  • CFD trading strategies involve the use of several approaches which include swing trading and breakout trading. These two strategies tend to be particularly useful when dealing specifically with CFD markets.
  • Protective CFD strategies (stop losses and limit orders) allow traders to secure gains while limiting any potential losses in a position.
  • Several elements are involved when trading in CFDs and each of these elements must be treated with importance. Failure to adopt anyone of these trading elements can create unnecessary problems and significant losses.
  • Before starting to use real money, CFD traders should always practice first with a demo trading account in order to learn the basic functions of each trading platform.

CFD Highlights