Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spreads and Market Conditions

Market Conditions
This page is intended to provide specific details and conditions regarding market instruments available for trading. Due to a constantly changing nature of financial markets, information provided on this page is subject to change at any moment and without prior notice. Portion of the information provided below is updated in real-time.

Price Spreads
Spreads between bid and offer (ask) prices are variable. They depend on current market conditions and can change at any time. Below is the list of standard price spreads on the market instruments available for trading. Current price spreads that are different from the standard ones are shown in brackets.

EUR/USD: 2, USD/JPY: 3, GBP/USD: 4, USD/CHF: 4, USD/CAD: 4, AUD/USD: 4, NZD/USD: 4, EUR/JPY: 4, EUR/GBP: 3, EUR/CHF: 4, GBP/JPY: 8, AUD/JPY: 5, CHF/JPY: 5, GBP/CHF: 8, EUR/CAD: 10, EUR/AUD: 10, AUD/CAD: 10, Constantine: 0.60%, Yangtze: 1.00%, Asiasset: 1.00%, Brasillion: 1.00%, Indiamond: 1.00%, Nippon: 1.00%, Columbus: 1.00%, Eastera: 1.00%, Dow Jones: 475 (19000), Nasdaq 100: 90 (3600), S&P 500: 50 (2000), DAX: 275 (550), FTSE 100: 450 (900), CAC 40: 200 (400), Russell 3000: 35 (1400), Gold: 80, Silver: 55, Platinum: 475 (2375), Palladium: 380 (1900).

Please note that price spreads often unexpectedly change and greatly increase during weekends, in after-hours trading, in case of market-related announcements or market turmoil.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Specifics and Facts

If you want to trade you simply have to know what volatility is, how interest rate changes occur and what do they influence. While you chat with traders they will often use slang to express their thoughts in a shorter form: "market is really thin today...". Please click on the links below to read more about the trading specifics and the language used in the trading world.

Trading Terminology
Traders often chat with one another about a variety of topics related to financial markets, giving their perspectives and discussing trading ideas and current moves on the markets. While communicating with each other they often use slang to express their thoughts in a shorter form. Some of the most popular slang is listed below.

Asset Allocation: Dividing instrument funds among markets to achieve diversification or maximum return.

Bearish: A market view that anticipates lower prices.

Bullish: A market view that anticipates higher prices.

Chartist: An individual who studies graphs and charts of historic data to find trends and predict trend reversals.

Counterparty: The other organization or party with whom trading is being transacted.

Day Trader: Speculator who takes positions in instruments which are liquidated prior to the close of the same trading day.

Economic Indicator: A statistics which indicates economic growth rates and trends such as retail sales and employment.

Exotic: A less broadly traded market instrument.

Fast Market: Rapid movement in a market caused by strong interest by buyers and / or sellers.

Fed: The U.S. Federal Reserve. FDIC membership is compulsory for Federal Reserve members.

GDP: Total value of a country's output, income or expenditure produced within the country's physical borders.

Liquidity: The ability of a market to accept large transactions.

Resistance Level: A price which is likely to result in a rebound but if broken may result in a significant price movement.

Spread: The difference between the bid and ask price of a market instrument.

Support Levels: When a price depreciates or appreciates to a level where analysis suggests that the price will rebound.

Thin Market: A market in which trading volume is low and in which consequently spread is wide and the liquidity is low.

Volatility: A measure of the amount by which an asset price is expected to fluctuate over a given period.

Margin Requirements
Margin requirement is only applicable to margin trading. It allows you to hold a position much larger than your actual account value. Margin requirement or deposit is not a down payment on a purchase. Rather, the margin is a performance bond, or good faith deposit, to ensure against trading losses. Trading platforms often perform automatic pre-trade checks for margin availability and will execute the trade only if you have sufficient margin funds in your account.

In the event that funds in your account fall below margin requirement, most trading systems will automatically close one or more open positions. This prevents your account from ever falling below the available equity even in a highly volatile, fast moving market.

For example, you may be required to have only $1,000 in your account in order to trade position that would normally require $20,000. The $1,000 (5%) is referred to as "margin". This amount is essentially collateral to cover any losses that you might incur. Margin should reflect some rational assessment of potential risk in a position. For example, if a market instrument is very volatile, a higher margin requirement would normally be justified.

Overnight Interest
Overnight interest is only applicable to margin trading. Trading on margin means that a trader borrows money to buy or sell a market instrument using actual account value as collateral. Traders generally use margin to increase their purchasing power so that they can own more market instruments without fully paying for it.

Considering that trading on margin involves borrowing money, trader has to pay interest on the loan. That interest is referred to as Overnight Interest and is generally charged based on number of days a position on margin was held. Most trading systems will charge daily interest portion at the end of each trading session and charge three times more on Monday or on other preset weekday (if market is closed on weekends).

In case of Forex, Overnight Interest is calculated as interest rate differential between interest rates for particular currencies that make the currency pair that is being traded. For example, if a trader wants to sell USD/JPY on margin, he or she will have to pay 4.0% (e.g. U.S. interest rate at 5.0% subtracted by Japanese interest rate at 1.0% makes the interest rate differential) of the amount borrowed per year to hold the position.

Before trading on margin it is highly recommended to get information on exact interest rates charged for borrowing money and how that will affect the total return on investments.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Trading Specifics and Facts

What is point and position point value?
Point is the smallest change in a market instrument's price. If a price changed from 1.2000 to 1.2001 or from 201.10 to 201.11, it changed for 1 point. Point value depends on your position size.

How do I calculate my profit?
Your profit depends on your position size and difference in prices traded. If you buy a market instrument for 129.38 (quantity of 10000) and later sell it for 129.52, your profit will be (129.52 - 129.38) * 10000 = 1400.

Are there any restrictions on quantity?
You can specify any position size in our trading system, as we don't have strict quantity specifications. For example, you can specify: 1, 3, 7, 23, 154, 837, 3497, 10000, 100000 or any other quantity when you send an entry order.

What is spread?
Spreads between bid and offer (ask) prices are variable. Price spreads often unexpectedly change and greatly increase during weekends, in after-hours trading, in case of market-related announcements or market turmoil.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Trading Fundamentals

What is long and short position?
Long (buy then sell) position and short (sell then buy) position are: a long position is simply one in which a trader buys a market instrument at one price and aims to sell it later at a higher price. In this scenario, the trader benefits from a rising market. A short position is one in which the trader sells a market instrument in anticipation that it will depreciate. In this scenario, the trader benefits from a declining market.

What is entry limit and stop level?
A limit order is an order to buy below the current price, or sell above the current price. For example, if a market instrument is trading at 1.2952 / 55 and you believe that price is expensive, you could place a limit order to buy at 1.2945. If executed, this will give you a long position at 1.2945, which is 10 points better than if you had just bought the instrument with a market order. A stop order is an order where you buy above the current market price or sell below the current market price, and is used if you are away from your desk and want to catch a trend. If a market instrument is trading at 1.2952 / 55, you could place a stop buy order at 1.2970. In case the market moves up to that price, your order will execute and open a long position. If market continues in the same direction (trend), the position will bring you profit.

What is stop-loss and target level?
A stop-loss order ensures a particular position is automatically liquidated at a predetermined price in order to limit potential losses should the market move against a trader's position. Exit target level is a price level at which you want to close your position, when you reach certain profit. You can set the exit target level when you open your position or at any time while the position is open.

What is GTC, GTD and IOC order?
GTC (Good Till Cancelled) order will stay in the market until you cancel it and it is the default order duration type. GTD (Good Till Date) will stay in the market until a date you specify, and IOC (Immediate Or Cancel) order will be executed immediately (if other order conditions are met) or cancelled.