Day Trading 101: Options vs. Futures

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Some novice investors toss around the terms options and futures like they are interchangeable, when in fact, they are actually two very different things. Both involve the purchase or sale of a future commodity such as stocks or bonds, but the conditions of the sale are what set them apart. Options and futures are also both ways to hedge your investments, which means they reduce your financial risk if the market goes sour.

Futures

In the stock market, a futures contract is an agreement between two parties to buy or sell a set amount of stocks by a predetermined date. However, where this gets tricky, is that investors can also sell their futures contract. Investors are typically in the long position because they agree to buy the stocks. Businesses are in the short position because they agree to sell the stock according to the terms of the contract. However, investors can go short if they sell the futures contract. Typically investors pay an upfront 20% investment called a margin. During the term of the contract though, they never actually own the stocks; they just have the rights to purchase the stocks at a later date. For example, say you agree to buy 200 shares of Apple stock at $100 per share by June 1st. Your futures contract is worth $20,000 at the time you enter the agreement. If the stock goes up to $125, you can sell the contract early and make a considerable profit. If the value of the stock goes down, you will lose more than your initial investment. Futures are considered a high-risk investment. Once you enter into a futures contract you are obligated to buy or sell that stock upon expiration unless you sell the futures contract to someone else first.

Options

The biggest difference between futures and options is that with an option contract you are not obligated to purchase the commodity when the contract comes to term. However, you do have to pay an upfront premium fee. If you choose not to purchase the stocks then you forfeit the premium fee. Returning to the Apple example, you can purchase an options contract to buy 200 shares of stock at $100 each for $2,000. If for some reason the stock plummets to $100 per share, you can forfeit your option and you only lose the premium fee of $2,000 instead paying $20,000 for stock that is only worth $10,000. Because investors are not obligated to fulfill options contracts as they were with futures contracts, options are considered a much lower-risk form of investment.

Any type of speculative investment comes with risk. Although options are safer than futures, both should be approached conservatively if you are a novice investor. Most investors that buy futures and options have years of experience with the stock market and top-notch financial advisors. However, if you are interested in trading stocks and futures than it is a good idea to speaking with a reputable financial advisor before making any investments.

About the Author: Natisha Antill is a finance student who is seriously considering entering the world of day trading when she has more time to focus on a plan. She enjoys reading Timothy Sykes reviews and studying the procedures used by today’s most successful traders.

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Strategies For Investment In Oil Futures

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Movements in oil prices are very volatile. This will not change in the near future either as political and economic worries continue across the globe. Factors such as pipeline or supply disruption, conflict and war are just a few of the reasons why prices can fluctuate widely. If you are trading oil futures it is essential to take steps to protect your investments.

Hedging Your Profit

If the price of oil is fluctuating rapidly it means there is more risk in the market. To account for the added risk traders need to adjust their investment strategy accordingly. Many traders of oil futures look to hedge their positions in the event of volatility. By staying flat on their position and locking in profits allows them to ride through uncertainty and trade out of the position when a stable trend resumes.

Following the Trend

Anticipation of futures prices all depends on direction of the trend. Using a trend following strategy is not always easy in oil trading because of its wild swings however it is proven that when a direction is clear trend following is a very profitable way to trade. Many futures traders look for seasonal effects on prices of oil. Colder times mean higher demand and higher prices, warm means the opposite. There are many other regular patterns which can be forecast over the longer term for those who adapt to this style.

Day Trading Oil

If a trader is looking for shorter term investments in oil futures then they will encounter a very volatile environment. Huge intraday spikes can occur on inventory data being released. Any trader adopting this strategy needs to be aware of the risk that the market can swing against them fast. Protective stops and limit orders are essential to get out of a trade with profit or minimal loss.

Short term traders also need to have charting software. Plotting the oil futures price onto a chart can show them previous levels of support or resistance where the price has turned. Often the price will stall at these areas before deciding its next move which throws up opportunity to hop on board and profit from a ride in a different direction.

As with any investments traders must stay ahead of the news. Keeping up to date with political matters and economic data is essential to having a view on direction. It’s been seen time and time again that news drives prices, often wildly, in the direction of the trend. Don’t fight sentiment, go with the direction and trade the news.

To help keep ahead of the trend www.futuresforecasts.com offers daily directional forecast charts. The site is free and can be a useful guide to the futures market.

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How To Find The Best Forex Signal Provider

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In the busy and highly competitive world of foreign exchange, it is very, very important to have an advantage over your competition and get the highest possible profit you can possibly acquire.

For those relatively new to the foreign exchange market – and even those who are not quite new but still unsuccessful in their ventures – it can be a huge advantage to utilize the best forex signal provider available in the market today.

However, both forex beginners and experienced foreign exchange market members should be wary about the various forex signal providers coming out in the market today. Some of them can be nothing more than scams to take advantage of you and rob you of all your hard earned money. That is why it is always of prime importance that you first do research on the all the forex signal providers you are being offered.

Now, given that you have done your research and you have read the numerous good reviews about the forex signal provider you want, it would be extremely wise to still have your guard up. All those reviews may just be scams or paid, biased reviews for the service. After all, there is no such thing as being too cautious in this important aspect which could make or break your foreign exchange market career. You should not immediately subscribe to a forex signal provider straight up, but if possible, you should first go through a trial period of sorts in order to see whether or not the signal provider you chose is just another scam or not.

Finding a good, effective forex signal provider can then be a huge asset in obtaining profit in the foreign exchange market and can even give you a leg up over your competitors in ventures such as forex futures trading.

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