CFD Trading for Beginners

CFD Trading for Beginners

Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Contract for Difference (CFD) Trading has become an increasingly popular way for beginners and experienced traders to trade and hedge risk exposure in the financial markets. CFDs offer the opportunity to participate across a diverse range of asset classes, including Stocks, Indices, Commodities, Currencies and even Digital Currencies, making it a versatile option for traders looking to expand their portfolios and explore new strategies.

What is CFD Trading?

Imagine you place a speculative bet for $100 with a friend on whether the price of gold will go up or down. Although it is a simplistic example that ignores margin, that's the essence of CFD trading. You're speculating on the underlying price movement of assets like Stocks, Commodities, and Currencies without taking physical ownership. A CFD represents a contract between two parties to exchange the difference in the price of an asset from when the position is opened to when it's closed. 

Difference Between CFD Trading and Traditional Trading

Why Choose CFD Trading?


In CFD trading, leverage allows you to take on larger positions with a relatively small amount of capital (which is known as margin). This means your potential profits are magnified, but remember, so are your potential losses. 

Here's a simple example to illustrate:

Without Leverage:

  • You invest $1,000 in a stock.
  • The stock rises by 10%.
  •  Your profit is $100 (10% of $1,000).

With 10:1 Leverage: 

  • You invest $1,000 in a CFD position, but using margin and a leverage ratio of 10:1, you control a $10,000 stock value. 
  • The stock rises by 10%.
  • Your profit is $1,000 (10% of $10,000), effectively doubling your initial investment minus any broker fees or interest.

Going Long or Short:

Whether you're an eternal optimist and see the glass half full, or you're more of a realist and see it half empty, CFD trading caters to both. You can 'go long' if you think prices will rise or 'go short' if you believe they'll fall. This flexibility is particularly handy in volatile markets.

Speculation Without Ownership:

When you trade CFDs, you can speculate on how prices will move without the hassle of owning (or delivering) the underlying asset. This is advantageous in markets like commodities, where dealing with the physical product can be impractical. As a note, all CFDs are cash-settled instruments.


Investors use CFDs to hedge their portfolios, protecting against potential losses in their current investments. If you own a stock that you believe might lose value in the short term, opening a short CFD position can help offset any potential losses with gains from the CFD position.

Accessibility to Markets:

CFDs offer access to a vast array of markets globally all from a single platform. This variety allows for a broader diversification of investments.

CFD Trading Risks?

Market Volatility:

The financial markets can be as unpredictable as the weather forecast. Prices can swing dramatically in a short period, influenced by economic data, geopolitical events, or market sentiment. Even though volatility can bring in opportunities, it increases the risk of losses for uninformed traders.


It goes both ways. While leverage increases the ability to generate sizable returns, it can equally amplify trading losses. Correct position sizing and a solid risk management system help traders mitigate risk. 


With the ease of entering and exiting trades and the availability of leverage, there's a temptation to trade too much, too often. Overtrading can lead to diminished focus and rash decisions, turning potential profits into real losses.

Reasons To Begin Trading CFDs with FP Markets: 

  • Regulation: FP Markets is a multi-regulated brand whose regulatory presence includes the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) of South Africa, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) of Mauritius, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), the Securities Commission of the Bahamas (SCB) and the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) of Kenya.
  • Platforms: A user-friendly trading platform is crucial. Platforms like MetaTrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5), cTrader and TradingView are popular among CFD traders with FP Markets, chosen for their algorithmic trading capabilities and technical analysis features. Spend time familiarising yourself with the trading platform before committing. Demo accounts are available with FP Markets and are very helpful for practising without risking real money. You can learn how to place trades, set protective stop-loss orders, monitor your positions and backtest your trading strategies.
  • Educational Resources and Customer Support: Access to educational resources can significantly enhance your trading experience. With FP Markets, you have access to comprehensive learning materials, such as webinars, tutorials, and e-books. On top of this, the FP Markets Customer Support Team is available 24/7, and offers multilingual facilities along with being available for contact through multiple channels (email, phone, live chat). 


CFD trading offers a flexible, accessible path to speculate and hedge across various markets. By understanding the mechanisms behind CFDs and following prudent, backtested trading strategies, beginners can gradually navigate their way to becoming proficient traders. Remember, in the world of CFD trading, knowledge and risk management are your best allies.

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