A CFD is a financial instrument that allows traders to speculate on the price of an asset, like securities or currencies. The instrument works by allowing a trader to enter into a contract with another party, agreeing on a specific “notional” amount of one particular asset. For example, if you had $10 in your trading account and entered into a CFD agreement on Apple Incorporated (AAPL), this would allow you to control 100 shares of AAPL (minus transaction fees).
The point of these contracts is that they allow individuals to make profits from fluctuations in the underlying asset’s market price, which means that instead of owning the physical asset, like an individual share in a company, you control the value of that asset without actually having it. However, if the market moves against your contract in any way, it will affect how much profit or loss you make on the deal.
The CFD instrument is different to an option because with an option, once purchased. There is no set time when you need to sell your asset before the expiry date (you can hold onto an option for as long as you want). An option gives its owner the prerogative to exercise their options contract at any time until its expiry date.
So why would someone buy an option if they didn’t have to be committed to selling their asset? The simple answer is because it could allow them to earn more money. If the market price moved in the right direction, they could exercise their option and immediately sell it for a profit.
As CFDs are available to anyone with a trading account, there is no need for an individual to have an underlying asset to trade them. Meaning CFD traders can make profits from fluctuations in the value of financial investments without actually owning those assets.
CFDs allow traders to sell a financial asset without owning it, known as going short. CFD traders can earn more money if they think the price of an investment will fall.
Using CFDs means that you don’t have to set stop-losses on your positions because even if the market moves against you, your loss will be limited by how much you initially had invested in the position (minus transaction fees).
Compared to buying and selling securities on an exchange, using a CFD has lower costs because you only need to pay brokerage fees when you enter or exit a trade. Also, since returns are not taxed for Australian investors due to their personal use exemption – it’s important to remember that using CFDs can lead to higher taxes in the future.
A market order is used by investors who want to buy or sell a financial asset at whatever price the market currently offers. With CFDs, this service is taken care of for you because your position will be closed as soon as possible once you submit a trade (minus transaction fees).
CFDs are complex instruments that can be difficult to understand. For example, to close your position, a CFD trader has to sell their positions for a lower amount than they bought it despite the market favouring them. It is known as a “negative rebate”. Also, the risk here is that if the market price moves against you and continues in this way when you want to close your position – your loss will not be limited by how much you initially invested (no stop-loss).
In addition, with CFDs, you do not have direct ownership of the underlying asset, so there’s no guarantee that the investment will perform as you expect it to. As the investment doesn’t belong to you, it’s possible that if an investor with actual ownership of the asset wants to buy or sell it, they could do so before you (no stop-loss).
You can use this link to start trading with CFDs.