Forex Walkthrough

AAA

Level 1 Forex Intro - Currency Trading

The foreign exchange market (forex or FX for short) is one of the largest, most exciting, fastest-paced markets in the world. It seems to be easier to understand, compared to the stock market. Chances are you've already tried it when you've gone on a trip to another country and exchanged some money.



Historically, only large financial institutions, corporations, central banks, hedge funds and extremely wealthy individuals had the resources to participate in the forex market. However, now, with the emergence and popularization of the internet and mainstream computing technology, it is possible for average investors to buy and sell currencies with the click of a mouse from the comfort of their own home.

If you follow the value of a currency, such as the American dollar (USD), you will know that daily currency movements are usually very small. Most currency pairs, on average, move no more than 1 cent per day, which is less than a 1% change. Therefore, to make a respectable return, many currency traders rely on the use of leverage (using margin) to increase their potential returns for small moves in the exchange rate. In the retail forex market, leverage can be as high as 200:1 if you're trading with less than $50,000 or as low as 50:1. For example, to trade $200,000 worth of currency, if the broker is requiring 1% margin, you would only need $2,000 deposited to your account – giving you leverage of 100:1. This is not as risky as it sounds, because currencies don't fluctuate as much as stocks. (Learn to cut out losses quickly, leaving profits room to grow, see Leverage's "Double-Edged Sword" Need Not Cut Deep.)

The availability of leverage, and massive size of the market and the ease of making fast transactions has increased the popularity of the forex market. Positions can be opened and closed instantaneously at the exact price shown to you, and typically with no commission or transaction fees. Also, unlike the stock market, in which one large buyer or seller can adversely move the stock price, currency prices are much harder to manipulate because the sheer size of the market prevents any one player from significantly moving the currency price. Currency prices are largely based on supply and demand.



Another reason why forex is so popular with traders is because the market is open 24 hrs, meaning you can choose when you want to trade – regardless of whether you're a early bird or night owl. (For more, see Where is the central location of the forex market?)

The very popular forex market also provides plenty of opportunity for investors. However, in order to trade profitably in this market, currency traders have to take the time to learn about forex trading and dedicate enough time to practice what they've learned.

This forex tutorial will provide new investors and traders with the knowledge needed to trade in the forex market. This tutorial will cover the basics of the forex market and will slowly progress to more advanced topics, such as forex strategies. For now, let's take a look at "pairs" and "quotes" in the next section, and learn how to read them correctly.

Currencies
Related Articles
  1. Forex Education

    These Are The Best Hours To Trade the British Pound

    The best times to trade the British pound are centered around economic releases at 1:30 am, 2:00 am, 8:30 am and 10:00 am U.S. ET.
  2. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares Morningstar Small-Cap Value

    Find out about the Shares Morningstar Small-Cap Value ETF, and learn detailed information about this exchange-traded fund that focuses on small-cap equities.
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: ProShares Large Cap Core Plus

    Learn information about the ProShares Large Cap Core Plus ETF, and explore detailed analysis of its characteristics, suitability and recommendations.
  4. Trading Strategies

    How To Buy Penny Stocks (While Avoiding Scammers)

    Penny stocks are risky business. If want to trade in them, here's how to preserve your trading capital and even score the occasional winner.
  5. Stock Analysis

    Should You Follow Millionaires into This Sector?

    Millionaire investors—and those who follow them—should take another look at the current economic situation before making any more investment decisions.
  6. Stock Analysis

    Investors Need to Stop Shorting GoPro. Here's Why

    Discover why investors should stop shorting GoPro. GoPro has been one of the fastest-growing companies since 2005 with many betting against more growth.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: WisdomTree SmallCap Earnings

    Discover the WisdomTree Small Cap Earnings ETF, a fund with a special focus on small-cap and micro-cap stocks with positive earnings.
  8. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares US Regional Banks

    Obtain information and analysis of the iShares US Regional Banks ETF for investors seeking particular exposure to regional bank stocks.
  9. Investing Basics

    5 Things to "Deliberately" Do to Improve Your Trading

    Most traders are putting in trading hours, but not improving. Here are deliberate steps that can take your trading to the next level.
  10. Chart Advisor

    Stocks to Short...When the Dust Settles

    Four short trades to consider, but not quite yet. Let the dust settle and wait for a pullback to resistance for a higher probability trade.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Derivative

    A security with a price that is dependent upon or derived from ...
  2. Real Estate Investment Trust - ...

    A REIT is a type of security that invests in real estate through ...
  3. Profit Margin

    A category of ratios measuring profitability calculated as net ...
  4. Quarter - Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4

    A three-month period on a financial calendar that acts as a basis ...
  5. Debt Ratio

    A financial ratio that measures the extent of a company’s or ...
  6. Price-Earnings Ratio - P/E Ratio

    The Price-to-Earnings Ratio or P/E ratio is a ratio for valuing ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the formula for calculating compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in Excel?

    The compound annual growth rate, or CAGR for short, measures the return on an investment over a certain period of time. Below ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Where do penny stocks trade?

    Generally, penny stocks are traded through the use of the Over the Counter Bulletin Board (OTCBB) and through pink sheets. ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Where can I buy penny stocks?

    Some penny stocks, those using the definition of trading for less than $5 per share, are traded on regular exchanges such ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What assumptions are made when conducting a t-test?

    The common assumptions made when doing a t-test include those regarding the scale of measurement, random sampling, normality ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. When does the fixed charge coverage ratio suggest that a company should stop borrowing ...

    Since the fixed charge coverage ratio indicates the number of times a company is capable of making its fixed charge payments ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between the return on total assets and an interest rate?

    Return on total assets (ROTA) represents one of the profitability metrics. It is calculated by taking a company's earnings ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!