Should You Trade Forex Or Stocks?
Most people are familiar with stocks which have been central to many investment portfolios for many years now, but should you continue to hold stocks as an investment or move over to a portfolio of currencies?
Traditionally, companies have issued stock whenever they have needed to raise money and sold that stock on the open market giving buyers a stake and part ownership in the company. When the company does well stock holders benefit by receiving a share of the profits in the form on dividends which are paid out each year or twice yearly. In addition, stock holders can also benefit from the good fortunes of a company as the value of the company’s stock will also rise on the open market.
Stocks are traded freely through the world’s major stock exchanges with American stocks for example being traded on such exchanges as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System (NASDAQ). In general most stocks will only be traded through a single exchange, but the stocks of major companies can be listed on several different exchanges.
The problem with stocks is that, while they are great as long as a company is doing well, you can run into problems if the company, its market sector or the market as a whole takes a downturn. In these circumstances you can find that your dividends fall as does the value of your stock on the open market and that, in order to recover your investment, you will need to wait until an upturn in the market. For this reason stocks are seen very much as a long term investment and you must be prepared to hang onto your stock for many years in some cases in order to see a good profit.
The Forex or foreign exchange market is however quite a different matter and is a market which has attracted a great deal of attention since it was opened up to the small investor some years ago.
While you can purchase and hold currencies for the longer term this is rarely done and most Forex trading is done on much smaller time frames than those seen in the equity markets. Indeed, many traders ‘day trade’ the market literally buying and selling on the same trading day and frequently holding currencies for only a matter of a few minutes or an hour or two. Day trading is not however not for the novice and requires considerable knowledge and experience of the market so that most novices will trade on slightly longer time frames.
The Forex is the world’s largest financial market and handles transactions worth trillions of dollars every day. To put this in perspective, the combined turnover of all of the American stock exchanges reaches a daily figure of only about one hundred billion dollars. This huge turnover on the Forex also means that it is the world’s most liquid market and so it is very easy to buy and sell with many more opportunities than are seen in the stock markets.
Another great benefit of the Forex however lies in the fact that there is no center for trading and trading takes place around the world. Also, because of the different time zones across the globe it is possible to trade literally 24 hours a day 7 days a week, unlike the stock exchanges which operate on fixed and very limited hours. As long as you have an Internet connection you can trade from the comfort of your own home at whatever time suits you.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of the Forex however is its predictability. Unlike stocks, currencies tend to follow very well established trends and, once you have learned to work with the many excellent predictive tools available, it is easier than you might think to follow the progress of many of the world’s major currencies.
There is no enormous investment required to enter the world of Forex trading and many online brokers will allow you to open a Forex trading account with as little as $250 and trade on leverage of 100:1, rather than the commonly available leverage of just 2:1 in stock trading. In other words, for your initial investment of $250 you can participate in trading lots of up to $25,000. This in itself is a very attractive reason for giving this exciting and lucrative form of investment a try.