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Comprehensive Guide on How to Trade Indices

Forex Trading 09 - 03 - 2023

how to trade indices

Trend trading​ involves buying as prices are rising, assuming the trader believes prices will continue rising. If the price is falling, in a downtrend, a trader may short if their analysis determines that prices may continue falling. Since indices move to different degrees, some traders may opt to use leverage trading to magnify the price movements of the index. During such times, opening a long (buy) position on the index allows traders to potentially profit from the rise without having to buy, trade or research individual stocks. Similarly, when an index falls 20% or more, it’s said to be in a bear market​ and traders can potentially attempt to profit by shorting in a downward trending market. Indices are often useful for longer-term investors that aim to diversify their portfolio​, since a wide range of stocks or other assets can be purchased with a single transaction.

Currency-based indices aim to track the performance of the underlying currency. For example, the US Dollar Index (DXY) measures the value of greenback against a basket of other currencies. It is a leading international benchmark for the value of the US currency. The Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) tracks the Energy Select Sector index, which is composed of large-cap US companies in the oil and gas market, as well as energy equipment firms. The VanEck Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ) invests in stocks of small gold mining companies, with the MVIS Global Junior Gold Miners Index as its underlying index.

how to trade indices

Both are excellent choices for those who want to focus on large-cap stocks and their performances. Assume a trader believes that UK stocks will fall, and they want to potentially profit from the decline by trading on our UK 100 – Cash​ instrument. Using a spread betting account, they open a position on our derivative instrument. News events such as the release of fresh economic data, which are scheduled in advance in an economic calendar, can cause volatile price movements in a stock index.

Arm yourself with the relevant information to ensure you stay abreast of any potential changes to the index and can trade accordingly. You can also enhance your trading by learning how to analyse price charts by using oscillators and other technical indicators. Using CFDs rather than futures or ETFs gives you the option to trade in both directions. You can open a long position on an index if you are bullish on the outlook, or go short if you are bearish. You can trade directly with your CFD broker for stock index trading rather than using an exchange or mutual fund provider.

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Indices usually have high volatility, especially when the markets of the

index country open. If the stock prices of these companies increase, the DAX price will rise. It’s easy to fund your account using one of the following payment methods. Harness the market intelligence you need to build your trading strategies. Trade up today – join thousands of traders who choose a mobile-first broker.

  • Before trading, you should always consider whether you understand how leveraged instruments work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
  • Integrate your strategy with trading applications or build your own custom user interface.
  • The VIX volatility index represents the market’s expectations of price changes within the S&P 500 over the next 30 days.
  • The VanEck Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ) invests in stocks of small gold mining companies, with the MVIS Global Junior Gold Miners Index as its underlying index.
  • Investing in an index can only be done indirectly, but index mutual funds and ETFs are now very liquid, cheap to own, and may come with zero commissions.

Please see our About page and our Privacy & Terms of Use for more details. Some ROTC scholarships cover full tuition, provide additional money for books, and come with a monthly living allowance. You will have to commit to serve as an officer for a specified number of years after graduation, though, so make sure you’re willing to undertake such an obligation. You’ll start out earning roughly half of what you would make as a fully qualified worker, and the amount will increase as you acquire skills and complete your training. Department of Labor, the average wage for a beginner apprentice is about $15 an hour. One of the most common ways to learn a skilled trade is through on-the-job training in the form of an apprenticeship.

What are the most traded indices?

Stock index trading poses a lower risk than trading individual stocks due to diversification. If you trade a company stock and the company goes bankrupt, you can lose your investment. But if one company in an index rebalances regularly, the failing stock would be replaced by the next largest company outside the index. For example, stock market index prices fluctuate based on constituent companies’ share prices. For commodity indices, on the other hand, commodity prices are crucial drivers. A market capitalisation weighted index uses the value of its constituent companies to rank them.

  • You can open a long position on an index if you are bullish on the outlook, or go short if you are bearish.
  • BT, Rolls-Royce, and Royal Dutch Shell are some of the businesses tracked by the FTSE 100.
  • In less than 8 minutes I entered and closed the trade with a nice 380€


  • The difference is 100 points, so your profit is £1000 – excluding other costs.

This is due to the characteristics of sectors usually linked to these strategies, such as utilities and staples. Get $25,000 of virtual funds and prove your skills in real market conditions. You must carefully review our Investment Services Agreement for the details of such protections or restrictions that may apply to you. • Composition changes – The price of an index can be altered if the index makes any changes to the way it is constructed, such as a different weighting algorithm or adding or removing constituents.

Because index markets do not operate continually like the currency market, you must choose the optimal time to open a trade. One of the best-performing and most widely known indices in the world is the Dow Jones index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) tracks the overall performance of the 30 largest companies in the US. If the average price of the 30 companies goes up, the DJIA also climbs higher. If the average price of the 30 companies drops, the DJIA will decline too.


Today, indices are the standard used to gauge the stability and solvency of a market or sector. Your stock index trading strategy could incorporate both fundamental and technical analysis to give you a balanced view of the market. Stock indices weighted towards companies that generate most of their revenues abroad can be influenced by currency exchange rates.

Index Stocks are a major part of the service that they offer to clients,  you can also get competitive spreads on other markets, such as forex, us stocks, gold, commodities, and cryptocurrencies. To place your first trade, go to our trading platform and select an index. Next, select ‘Futures’ from the drop-down menu next to the index name tab on the price chart, decide whether you want to buy or sell the index, and choose your position size. Trading futures with spread bets or CFDs means that you can go long or short on an index price. Going long means that you are speculating on the value of a future increasing, and going short means that you are speculating on its value decreasing.

how to trade indices

Additionally, please bear in mind that there is substantial risk when selling options. Selling a call, for example, incurs potentially unlimited risk as market prices can keep rising – theoretically, without limit. You can predict on the price of indices rising or falling without taking ownership of the underlying asset with CFDs. Instead, you could place a single CFD short position on the Dow Jones 30 and profit from any potential downturn in the index. Index trading is the buying and selling of a specific stock market index. Traders speculate on the price of an index rising or falling, which then determines whether they will be buying (going long) or selling (going short).


And that’s why we love to trade them every day in the LFT trading room. Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) or The Dow 30 is a popular index that consists of the top 30 blue-chip US companies. Some of these companies are Apple, Nike, Walmart, Intel, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and more. Together, all three of them make up the Dow Jones Composite Average Index. Get tight spreads, no hidden fees, access to 12,000 instruments and more.

• No risk of bankruptcy – If you were to trade individual stocks from index constituent companies, no matter how big, there’s always the risk that company could become bankrupt. Before trading, you should always consider whether you understand how leveraged instruments work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Indices, as a representation of an entire market or industry, measure the overall performance of all stocks included within the index. For example, let’s say a notable event occurs that affects the market as a whole rather than just a few specific companies. By taking a position on an index like the S&P 500, you trade on how the incident will impact a wide cross-section of the most important stocks in an economy or sector.

Contracts for difference (CFDs) are another popular approach to speculate on the index value fluctuations. They are a form of a contract between a trader and a broker aimed at speculating on the price difference between when the position is opened and when it closes. Traders can open a long position if they expect prices to rise or go short if they expect prices to fall. While stock trading speculates on the value of an individual stock, forex trading speculates on the value of a currency. Note that the forex market is highly liquid and available 24 hours a day except weekends as currencies trade across time zones.

Blue-chip companies are typically well-established, considered to be market leaders in their sector, and likely to have a market capitalisation value in the billions of dollars. When forex moving average you think you’re ready to start indices trading, it’s time to open your trade. To do this, go to the market you want to trade on the IG trading platform – Wall Street for example.

A free Axi trading account gives you access to a world of top index trading opportunities. Indices are highly liquid, which means they are suitable both for short-term and long-term trading. Follow macroeconomic data that can have an impact on the index, as well as government policy announcements, and keep an eye on major geopolitical events that can drive markets higher or lower.

They are traded on margin, meaning that for a small refundable deposit you can actually control a much larger trading position. You can also profit from both rising (going long) and falling (going short) markets. Index CFDs is a simple but effective way for a trader to speculate from the direction of the stock indexes.

To start trading indices with us, open an account on our award-winning platform.1 We’re a FTSE 250 company with over 45 years’ experience. Our spreads are among the lowest in the industry, and we have an unrivalled set of weekend index markets. Get exposure to unique trading opportunities on several 24-hour indices, and benefit from our deep liquidity and low spreads. Alternatively, if you had a current short position on several individual stocks which feature on an index, you could hedge against the risk of any price increases with a long position on that index. If the index rises, your index position will earn a profit, counteracting a proportion of the losses on your short stock positions.

This means that big-sized companies may have a bigger influence on the index value, than small-sized companies. An Index is just a way of measuring the value of a certain group of stocks. Our powerful OANDA Trade platform can be accessed from your web browser. You can also trade on the move with our apps for iPhone, Android and tablet devices. Explore our comprehensive range of educational resources and trading strategies.