A Contracts for Difference (CFD) 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.

Similar to trading Forex, CFDs allow investors to hold both “long” and “short” positions granting the retail trader with the opportunity to profit in either a rising or falling stock market. Additionally, investors have the convenience of limiting losses or claiming gains by using stop losses and limit orders.

Because CFDs are traded on margin rather than paying the full value of a transaction, the investor only needs to pay a percentage when placing a trade. Trading with margin grants the investor with leverage, which in turn allows the investor to access a larger amount of shares than buying or selling actual stock shares. By offering CFDs, we are allowing our investors to speculate on instruments and markets that may otherwise be unavailable or difficult for them to trade.

How does the CFDs market operates?

As with traditional share dealing, CFD prices are quoted as a Bid (the price at which you can sell) and Offer (the price at which you can buy). CFDs are traded on margin (also known as leverage), which means that to open a position you need to deposit a small fraction of the full value of your trade, known as initial margin. The initial margin required varies across different markets though would typically be between 10%-25% for an equity CFD trade and between 2%-5% for an index or currency trade.

What is margin and leverage?

CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a small percentage of the full value of the trade in order to open a position. This is called “trading on margin” (or margin requirement). While trading on margin allows you to magnify your returns, your losses will also be magnified as they are based on the full value of the position, meaning you could lose more than any capital deposited. As CFDs is a margined product, there are overnight financing charge when you hold your CFD position open.

Leverage your investment potential

One of the main advantages of CFD trading, as compared with conventional types of trading, is that you can gain the same amount of market exposure by depositing just a small fraction of the total value of your trade.

Managing Risks

With CFD trading, you can optimise your market exposure by depositing a small fraction of your trade value as margin against your total trade value. We offer a range of tools such as stop loss orders, trailing stops, and limit orders to help you to better manage your CFD trading portfolio without the need to be watching your open trades constantly. When your Margin Level is at or below your Margin Close Out Level, we may close all or any of your open positions to prevent you from losing more than your deposited capital.

What financial instruments can be traded with CFDs?

At S.A.M. Trade we offer CFD access to different financial instruments around the world, including equities, indices, commodities and precious metal. CFD trading gives you access to a wide range of markets that would not otherwise be available to retail investors all from one trading platform.

Is it possible to buy (long) or sell (short) CFDs?

CFDs can be used to buy (long), sell (short) or hedging, thus offering opportunities to profit in either rising or falling markets. With CFD trading it's possible to sell (short) a product if you believe it will fall in value with the aim of profiting from the predicted downward price move. If your prediction turns out to be correct, you can buy the product back at a lower price to make a profit.


What are indices?

A stock index is a measurement in points of the value of a section of the stock market, and it usually represents the top shares from a particular exchange. For example, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow 30) is a stock market index represents the 30 largest publicly owned companies traded on the US Stock Exchange. If the share prices of these companies on average go up, the Dow 30 will rise. Likewise, if the share prices fall, the index will drop.

How do indices operate?

The prices of most indices are calculated using a capitalization-weighted average. The larger the worth of a company, the greater effect its share price will affect the index. Not all indices use a capitalization-weighted average. For example, the Dow Jones and Nikkei are price-weighted indices. Shares with higher prices have a greater influence on the price of the index.

For example, a stock trading at USD 100 will have 10 times more weight than one that is trading at USD 10.

It is important to note that indices are merely numbers. You do not own them directly.

Why trade Indices?

Indices CFDs offer our clients access to some of the most popular global indices, such as the US30 (Dow Jones Industrial Average), US500 (S&P500 Index), UK100 (FTSE), F40 (CAC), DE30 (Germany 30), JP225 (Japan 225 Index) and the AUS200 (ASX200). Indices allow traders to diversify their portfolio by giving them access to countries they may not have to, or by trading global equity market movements without having to directly own any stocks.

Indices also make great hedging instruments. A trader can go short on the index CFD while investing long in equity stocks from the same market, if markets are bearish or experiencing a correct in the short term, while being bullish in the long term. Indices also allow clients greater flexibility in reacting to market news as they are traded 24 hours while the underlying stock exchange may already be closed. Do note that spreads may be wider during out of hours trading when the underlying stock exchange is closed.

Indices tend to be more volatile than individual shares, and therefore offer greater opportunities but also increased risk.

How do we price indices contracts?

The price of a cash index CFD is derived directly from our liquidity providers, which may differ from the relevant stock exchange’s values. Outside of the trading hours of the related markets, our liquidity providers continue to make a 24-hour price on most index CFDs. Prices during this period are determined by a number of factors; most significantly the correlation with futures contracts in markets that are opened at the time.

Most indices are available for dealing 24 hours a day. For full details on each contract’s trading hours, please refer to the Indices Product Details page. Please note that the actual trading times are governed by local time in the country of the index’s origins. Consequently, seasonal adjustments (e.g. daylight savings) in either the UK or the country of origin may cause times shown to be imprecise.

Spreads are subject to variation, especially in volatile market conditions. Outside of the underlying stock market’s trading hours, spreads may widen to reflect the available liquidity during different times of the day. Our average spread during each time period is shown under the Indices Product Details page.



As this is a leveraged contract, you are effectively being lent money to open your position, outside of the initial deposit you’ve paid. If you want to hold your position overnight, you will be charged a small fee to cover the cost of money you’ve effectively borrowed. Please visit the Overnight Funding page under the Trading tab for more information.


At S.A.M. Trade, we do not charge commission.

Explore more about ...