Forex & Futures Explained
Foreign Exchange is an international financial market place where money is bought and sold freely. It is a continuous cash market where you speculate on changes in exchange rates of foreign currencies. Forex operates through a global network of banks, corporations and individuals’ trading one currency for another but has no physical location and no central exchange, unlike stocks.
Globally, there are four centre’s for Forex trading – Sydney, Tokyo, London and New York. The times for operation of these various markets overlap to a degree, allowing for 24-hour continuity in the market as a whole. Since there is no centralized exchange for currencies to be bought or sold, Forex is considered to be an ‘over-the-counter’ market or what is called OTC. Banks and Forex dealers are connected around the world via internet, fax and phone to form the Forex market.
Currencies are traded in pairs e.g. EUR/USD (Euro vs. U.S. Dollar) or USD/JPY (U.S. Dollar vs. Japanese Yen). The most commonly traded currencies are called the “majors”, and include the US Dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen, Great British Pound, Canadian Dollar, Swiss Franc and Australian Dollar. Forex trading begins every day in Sydney, moves to Tokyo, followed by London and finally New York.
Advantages of Forex Over Other Financial Markets
The Forex market is the largest financial market in the world trading a net worth in excess of US$1.9 Trillion a day, which means there other traders ready to quickly reciprocate your trade, which means in the Forex market, it’s just as simple to sell a contract as it is to buy a contract.
24 Hour Trading
Because the Forex market is global, trading is available 24 hours a day, 5 days a week, giving you the freedom to trade anytime of the day or night!
In Forex investors use leverage to profit from the fluctuations in exchange rates between two different countries. The leverage that is achievable in the Forex market is one of the highest that investors can obtain making this market highly accessible to first time traders and enabling new investors to trade a minimum contract (investment) size of only $100.
The leveraged nature of FX trading means that any market movement will have an equally proportional effect on your deposited funds. This may work against you as well as for you. The possibility exists that you could sustain a total loss of initial margin funds and be required to deposit additional funds to maintain your position. If you fail to meet any margin call within the time prescribed, your position will be liquidated and you will be responsible for any resulted losses.
Advantages of Forex as a business:
- Low start-up investment
- High earning potential
- Flexibility to work from anywhere in the world
- No advertising or marketing required
- No staff or employees
- Minimal financial exposure (unlike expensive franchises)
- Full-time or part-time – choose your hours
- Trading foreign exchange (Forex) is fast becoming the profitable opportunity for many looking for the ideal business. Even for those who choose to retain their full-time jobs, Forex is being used to enhance their existing retirement programs and other supplemental income needs.
- Individuals with limited or no business experience are starting respectable businesses from their own homes, without the overhead typically seen in the bricks and mortar model.
If you are dissatisfied with your current career? Would rather put your hard work toward building your future wealth? Or just looking for an opportunity to choose your hours and your income?
E-mini contracts are available on a wide range of indices such as the Nasdaq 100, Russell 2000, SPI200 and the S&P 500. E-mini are a derivative contract representing a designated fraction of the trading value of a standard futures contract, allowing smaller investors to use the same hedging and speculation strategies available to institutional and accredited investors.
Advantages of Emini contracts include:
- Greater affordability
- Reduced financial exposure
- High levels of liquidity
- Exchange-backed financial integrity
What is the S&P 500?
The S&P 500 is the collective value of 500 US stocks chosen for market size, liquidity and industry grouping, among other factors. The S&P 500 is designed to be a leading indicator of U.S. equities and is meant to reflect the risk/return characteristics of large market capitalized US companies. The S&P 500 is one of the most commonly used benchmarks for the overall U.S. stock market and most people agree that the S&P 500 is the best representation of the overall U.S. market performance.
Industry sectors include:
- Consumer Discretionary
- Consumer Staples
- Health Care
- Information Technology
Essentially we trade the collective worth of the top 500 performing companies in the US as determined by the S&P Index Committee (a team of analysts and economists at Standard & Poor’s).
Advantages of Emini´s Over Other Financial Markets
Each stock trades differently and reacts to market conditions on an independent basis. However, when day trading the e-mini, you are constantly looking at the same play. This level of focus on one investment vehicle builds a level of “touch” that only comes from monitoring one thing extensively.
The S&P 500 Emini futures trade millions of contracts per day during regular trading hours, which means there is usually someone on the other end to quickly reciprocate your trade; contract sizes exceeding 500 clear all day long without any problem, and without adversely impacting the bid/ask spread.
Day trading stocks requires a Trader to maintain $25,000 in their trading account, this can prove costly for some small retail investors, the S&P 500 Emini futures contract has a small cash requirement to day trade and provides a trader the ability to buy and sell for a fraction of the cost of a full contract.
The leveraged nature of trading means that any market movement will have an equally proportional effect on your deposited funds. This may work against you as well as for you. The possibility exists that you could sustain a total loss of initial margin funds and be required to deposit additional funds to maintain your position. If you fail to meet any margin call within the time prescribed, your position will be liquidated and you will be responsible for any resulted losses.
No surprise gaps
If you have ever traded stocks, significant news announcements can dramatically shift a stocks value, sometimes opening at half it’s previous day’s closing price in the instance of a negative release. This can cause irreparable damage to traders’ investments. Relative shifts that occur in stocks do not occur in Eminis, yes, they gap higher or lower, sometimes 2% – 3% but they have never gapped down to the extent that individual stocks sometimes do.