Mahavir M Jain & Associates

What is a CFD? Contract for Difference Explained

what is a cfd in trading

To open a position that mimics buying 500 shares of HSBC, you’d buy 500 HSBC CFD contracts. CFDs are complex financial instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. CFDs are attractive to day traders who can use leverage to trade assets that are more costly to buy and sell. CFDs can be quite risky due to low industry regulation, potential lack of liquidity, and the need to maintain an adequate margin due to leveraged losses.

  • As such, you will not own the share but simply bet on its price movements.
  • If Apple appreciates to $170, you make $10 a share – a $1,000 profit.
  • CFD trading is known for offering traders higher leverage when compared to other markets.
  • Again, that might not sound like much, but when you’re using leverage even a 10-point fall could mean a big loss.

By short selling the same shares as CFDs, you can try and make a profit from the short-term downtrend to offset any loss from your existing portfolio. When you trade CFDs with us, you can take a position on thousands of instruments. Our spreads start from 0.7 points on forex pairs including EUR/USD and AUD/USD.

Going long versus going short

If you’re only planning to place one short trade every year, then you might decide to go with the more traditional approach. The required maintenance margin percentage will vary from broker to broker, though in some countries it’s actually the financial regulator who sets the rate. If your broker sets a ‘maintenance margin’ of 25%, you will be required to keep at least £12,500 in additional capital in your account. If you plan to use leverage, your broker will require you to add additional capital to your account above the cost of the trade itself. When using leverage, any losses or gains are calculated on the total value of the trade, not the amount of capital. CFDs use leverage, which means that as a trader, you won’t require as much capital to place a trade as you might when placing a normal investment.

what is a cfd in trading

Typically, fewer rules and regulations surround the CFD market as compared to standard exchanges. As a result, CFDs can have lower capital requirements or cash required in a brokerage account. Often, traders can open an account for as little as $1,000 with a broker.

Find out how to place a CFD trade

Furthermore, unlike physical equities, CFDs do not require a settlement period, allowing traders to benefit immediately. Leverage allows you to spread your capital extensively to maximize profit. IG is a trading name of IG Limited a company registered at 2702 & 2703 Level 27, Tower 2, Al Fattan Currency House, DIFC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. IG is authorised and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) under reference No. This is another way in which CFD trading is more similar to traditional trading than other derivatives. CFDs can also be used to hedge against losses in an existing portfolio.

Share CFDs are generally priced slightly differently from other CFD markets. Unlike many other CFD providers, we do not wrap our own spread on top of the market spread. Instead, we take a small commission fee when you open and close the trade. CFDs are a what is a cfd in trading leveraged product and can result in the loss of your entire capital. If you buy a CFD contract you expect the market to rise,  if you sell it that means you expect the market to fall. The cost of opening a CFD position is usually covered in the spread.

Deal size

Conversely, you could make a loss if the market moves against you. Contracts for difference allow you to speculate on an asset’s price movement in either direction. This means you can potentially profit not only when an asset rises in price (goes long), but also when it falls (goes short).

what is a cfd in trading

For example CFD trading is not regulated in the United States by regulators like the SEC or CFTC but they are regulated north of the border in Canada. CFD trading is possible in most of the world but it is worth checking regulations in your region. The margin requirement is the amount of funds needed in your account to place a CFD trade. Hedging is taking an opposite position to an open trade with the hope of offsetting an potential loss. One benefit of CFD trading is the ability to speculate on both rising and falling markets.

This means that your initial stake must be transferred from dollars to pounds, and then any profits must be traded back. This costs CFD brokers, who will then usually cover their exchange costs will a small additional charge on your trade. These are small payments that are applied to your account if you hold a CFD trade overnight.

Any trader, new or seasoned, may use the whole arsenal to get the job done and learn how to succeed. There’s also a company blog providing trading advice, instructions, and other resources to help novices get started. Because CFDs are leveraged products, you can build considerably larger positions with a smaller initial investment than you would with ordinary shares. Some seasoned traders open multiple CFD accounts with the same broker to trade different assets or pursue different trading methods.


By short selling the same shares as CFDs, you can attempt to counterbalance some of the potential loss from your existing portfolio. Using a CFD hedging strategy means that any drop in the value of the particular shares in your portfolio will be offset by a gain in your short CFD trade. Additionally, a maintenance margin may be required if your trade is likely to suffer losses that the deposit margin, including any additional funds in your account, won’t cover. The first trade constructs the open position, which is later closed out through a reverse trade with the broker at a different price.

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