A CFD, or Contract for Difference, is an agreement between two parties to exchange the difference between the opening price and closing price of a contract.
CFDs are derivatives products that allow you to trade on live market price movements without actually owning the underlying instrument on which your contract is based.
You can use CFDs to speculate on the future movement of market prices regardless of whether the underlying markets are rising or falling. You can go short (sell), allowing you to profit from falling prices, or hedge your portfolio to offset any potential loss in value of your physical investments. Moreover, with over 10,000 markets to trade, you can gain exposure to markets you may not have had access to before. We offer prices on shares, indices, currencies, commodities and more. See an example of how you can trade CFDs with City Index.
CFDs are leveraged products, enabling you to trade by paying just a small fraction of the total value of the contract. This means you can potentially magnify your return on investment. Remember, however, that higher leverage can result in losses that could exceed your initial deposit. Find out more about leverage.
CFD trading enables you to go long (buy) if you believe market prices will rise, or go short (sell) if you believe market prices will fall. So if you believe that a company or market will experience a loss of value in the short term, you can use CFDs to sell it today, and your profits will rise in line with any fall in that price. However, if the market moves against you, your losses will also increase. CFDs are therefore a flexible alternative to trading the movements of market prices as they enable you to benefit from any move, regardless of whether the markets are rising or falling.
If you believe your existing portfolio may lose some of its value, you can use CFDs to offset this loss by short selling. For example, let's say you hold £5,000 worth of Vodafone shares in your portfolio. You can short sell the equivalent of £5,000 worth of Vodafone shares through a CFD trade. Should Vodafone share prices fall by 5% in the underlying market, the loss in value of your share portfolio would be offset by a gain in your short sell CFD trade. Many investors today use CFDs to hedge their portfolio, especially in volatile markets.
CFDs can be extremely tax efficient as, depending on your circumstances, you can use any losses you incur to offset against your Capital Gains Tax (CGT) liabilities. For more information, we recommend that you seek independent investment advice.
We recognise the importance of being able to access your account and trade whenever you want, wherever you are, particularly when market prices are moving quickly. We therefore give you unrestricted access to your account 24 hours day, 7 days a week. Furthermore, we run a number of our markets 24 hours a day, including major indices such as the UK 100 and Wall Street, meaning you can trade CFDs even if the underlying markets are closed.
CFDs are traded on leverage, meaning you pay only a small fraction of the total trade value to open your position rather than paying for it in full, this is known as margin. For example, you can trade Vodafone shares by depositing a margin of just 5%. Our margins for the UK 100 and Wall Street start at just 1.5%, while margins for our major currency CFDs start from just 1%.
You can use leverage to magnify your return on investment as your full trade exposure is much more than the initial deposit required for your trade. However, your losses are magnified in exactly the same way if the market moves against you and can lead to losses exceeding your initial outlay. Please ensure you fully understand the risks involved and seek independent advice if necessary. At City Index, we offer a range of risk management tools to help protect your trades against potential losses.
As CFDs are a derivative product, you don't actually own the underlying instrument. This therefore means that you do not have to pay a stamp duty, enabling you to save 0.5% on the value of each trade. Please remember that tax laws can change and are subject to individual circumstances.
CFD trading in the UK is free from stamp duty, with the exception of Irish stocks, which are charged 1% of the notional trade value. This value is, however, refundable if you trade out within 30 days.
At City Index, we provide CFDs on thousands of individual markets including shares, indices, currencies, commodities, interest rates and sectors. You can use CFDs to gain instant exposure on all major global markets including the UK, US, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Our competitive commissions, tight spreads and margins are some of the lowest in the market, with just 1-point spreads for the UK 100, Wall Street, Germany 30 and France 40. See our range of CFD trading markets.
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*Spread betting and CFD trading are exempt from UK stamp duty. Spread betting is also exempt from UK Capital Gains Tax. However, tax laws are subject to change and depend on individual circumstances. Please seek independent advice if necessary.
+Margin Factor is shown here as a guide only. For the current margin factor applicable to your position please refer to the Market Information on our Trading Platform.
†1 point spreads available on the FTSE 100, Wall Street, Germany 30, France 40 and Australia 200 during market hours on daily funded trades & daily future spread bets and CFDs (excluding futures).
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