CFD Indices Trading

CFD indices trading allows the speculation upon the performance of stock markets or industries as a whole. This article will discuss what indices are, what CFD trading is, top brokers and how to get started. Find out how to start trading CFD indices today.

Best CFD Indices Trading Brokers boast a global reputation. Regulated in the UK, EU, US and Canada they offer a huge range of markets, not just forex, and offer very tight spreads and a cutting edge platform.
NinjaTrader offer Traders Futures and Forex trading. Use Auto-trade algorithmic strategies and configure your own trading platform, and trade at the lowest costs.
Invest in the markets with online CFDs.
eToro is a multi-asset platform which offers both investing in stocks and cryptoassets, as well as trading CFDs.
CFDs are supported for US stocks, equity indices, currency indices, energies and metals.
Rockfort Markets clients can trade a range of CFDs with high leverage rates, covering crypto, forex, commodity and international equity markets.
Trade CFDs with tight spreads and leverage.
Zulutrade provide multiple automation and copy trading options across forex, indices, stocks, cryptocurrency and commodities markets
IB Boast a huge market share of global trading. With a minimum deposit of $10,000 however, they remain an option for larger traders only.
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What Is An Index?

An index is a financial term for a method of tracking the performance of a market or a group of assets in a set, uniform way. Indices can follow specific stock markets, like the ASX, or areas of economies and industries, like the top technology stocks, top non-technology stocks, etc. Additionally, indices can encapsulate an entire market, such as the TAIEX which tracks the performance of the Taiwan Stock Market as a whole. Within finance, you cannot invest directly in an index.

Indexes may have different methods for calculating their value and weighting their constituents. Generally, an index would have a base value, e.g. 100, and a base year. The value would then increase or decrease based on the performance of the index’s constituents. The change in the value of an index is often more important than the value itself, as that indicates if the market is growing or not.

CFD indices trading is popular in markets across the world. Some of the most commonly-traded indices include:

FTSE 100

The FTSE 100 is a UK stock market index that tracks the performance of the shares of the top 100 enterprises listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Note, just because the index tracks London Stock Exchange-listed stocks, that doesn’t mean that only UK-based companies can be found there. This index is maintained by the FTSE Group, which is a subsidiary of the London Stock Exchange Group. The FTSE 100 is one of the most popular instruments for CFD indices trading.CFD indices and index trading strategy tips


This is a US index of the 100 largest non-financial companies that are listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The weights of stocks in the index are based on their market capitalisations, with rules implemented to cap the influence of the larger listed securities. You can find an index consisting only of the financial companies in a separate index called the NASDAQ Financial-100.

Dow Jones

This is a US index of the top 30 companies that are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

S&P 500

This is a US index of the 500 companies that have the largest market capitalisation. This is favoured for CFD indices trading as it tracks a massive portion of the US economy.


This is a German index that tracks the performance of the top 40 companies listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Although not as big a market as some others, it remains quite popular for CFD indices trading due to more regular market movements.

Why Are Indices Suitable For CFD Trading

CFD indices trading involves speculating on some of the best-performing companies in global markets. This provides diversified exposure to the underlying market without having to invest in individual companies, spreading the risk. This in turn means that there is a reduction in the possibility of wild market movements in reaction to sudden news releases.

In addition, as an investor, you do not have to carry out as much in-depth technical analysis of individual companies when CFD indices trading. Your investment will likely be spread over several industry sectors, reducing the stress of having to manually identify potential stocks worth looking into. Moreover, CFD indices trading is possible throughout the day and is not necessarily limited to normal stock trading hours.

Pros Of CFD Indices Trading

  • Your positions are naturally spread across multiple industries and companies, diversifying your investment and reducing the possibility of drastic instability.
  • Returns are measured on the performance of the index as a whole instead of any particular stocks, meaning that you benefit from the positive performance of any of the listed stocks on the index.
  • You can “short” an index if its overall performance is in decline, allowing you to still profit from bearish markets.
  • CFD indices trading allows you to speculate upon different global markets as a whole, rather than individual stocks, which requires much less in-depth research.

Cons Of CFD Indices Trading

  • You do not own any of the stocks listed within the particular index in which you open a CFD position.
  • Although the performance of the index you speculate against is not majorly influenced by any single company and is more stable than trading individual stocks, the index value could still undergo drastic changes. It is a real possibility that you could lose more than you invest if trading on margin, so great caution needs to be taken.
  • CFD indices trading is not supported in all countries. For example, the USA has banned all CFD trading.


Follow The News

Before deciding what index you want to speculate upon using CFD indices trading, keeping yourself up-to-date on the latest financial news is paramount. Changes in local laws can have a huge effect on any indices based in the area and being able to spot where the market is likely to head will place you in a better position to make positive returns. More importantly, this will allow you to stay aware of possible future movements, reducing the chances of the market catching you off guard.


Since CFD indices trading allows you to sell (“short”) the index, it is often used to hedge existing investments. If your portfolio consists of several stocks from the same index and you expect there to be a sudden decline in the market, you can short the index with CFDs to offset the losses you would see from your main investment, reducing your downside exposure.

How To Start CFD Indices Trading

Choosing A Broker

To begin your CFD indices trading journey, you must first find a CFD broker that offers the right instruments. When doing your research, it is helpful to consider the following points:

  • Leverage Rates: If you have a particular index in mind, you should investigate and compare the margin trading conditions offered. The lower the margin, the lower the required initial investment.
  • Spreads: CFD indices trading brokers often make money from the spreads that they offer to you. The lower the spread, the less profit you need to make to cover the trade cost.
  • Reputation: The reputation of a broker is important when dealing with CFD indices trading, given that certain countries have limited regulations for this kind of trading. Is the broker well known? Have they had any reported issues with their platform before?
  • Customer Support: The last thing that an investor wants is not being able to access their funds or make decisions on their positions due to errors with the platform. Customer support should not be overlooked, some brokers even offer 24/7 support.
  • Fees: There can be many fees associated with CFD indices trading, such as overnight holding charges and transaction fees. Compare the costs of using each broker and try to consider them against your trading approach.

There are lots of different brokers that can offer you CFD indices trading on commercial or proprietary platforms, including City Index and Fineco Bank. Choosing the right broker could mean the difference between success or failure when CFD indices trading, see our list of top recommendations here.CFD Indices Trading For Beginners

Opening Your Position

As a rule of thumb, you should never invest more than you are comfortable losing. Most CFD indices trading platforms are easy to use, and entering/exiting your position is quick and simple. You will be presented with the options to buy (long) or sell (short) your chosen index.

Going long when CFD indices trading means that you will turn a profit when its value rises while going short will make you money if it falls. Most broker platforms offer you extensive information about different instruments, showcasing their data history to help inform your decisions.

Monitoring Your Position

You should keep a close eye on your positions once you open them, putting in place automated exit strategies if possible. If you think that your position is going to start failing, you should exit it to avoid losses. Some platforms allow you to place automated limits, called stop orders, which, once hit, will exit your position for you.

However, the negative balance protection offered by brokers is less a guarantee than a target, as severely unfavourable trading conditions, often coupled with lots of leverage, can still result in you losing a lot of money. Rapid and volatile changes in the market can sometimes be too quick for loss prevention strategies to react to.

Tips For CFD Indices Trading

Here are some useful tips that could help you during your CFD indices trading journey.

  • Use stop losses and take profits to limit your losses.
  • If you hold a stake in a given index through owning stocks in companies listed on there, consider hedging during times of poor market performance to offset any of your losses.
  • Don’t invest more than you can handle losing.
  • Be wary of using high leverage rates as, while profits are increased, losses are magnified.

Final Word On CFD Indices Trading

CFD indices trading is a great way for retail traders to access the indices markets without needing to physically invest in funds and trackers, simply making money from correct speculation of an index’s price movements. Leveraged trading is offered by most CFD brokers and allows profits to be magnified and markets to be accessed for less capital, though losses are also amplified. If you wish to begin CFD indices trading, check out our top CFD brokers.


How Do CFDs Work?

CFD indices trading allows investors to speculate on the future performance of a market without needing to own the particular asset. CFDs are often more accessible than spot products and traders can profit from both bullish and bearish markets.

What Is An Index?

An index is a financial term for a method of tracking the performance of a market or a group of assets in a particular set. CFD indices trading involves taking out the derivatives contracts on index trackers.

What Is Going Long/Short When CFD Indices Trading?

When you buy “long”, you are predicting that the index will go up in value. When you sell “short”, you are predicting the opposite, that the index is going to decrease in value. If your predictions are correct, you will make money on your trade, and vice versa if you are wrong.

Are Trading Hours the Same Across All CFD Indices Trading Instruments?

No. CFD indices trading hours vary from index to index. Some indices may be 24-hours, while others follow the opening hours of the equities markets they are based on.

Do I Have To Pay Stamp Duty On My CFD Index Trades?

No, CFD indices trading is exempt from stamp duty in the UK. However, other countries may have different taxation policies, you can check out our CFD taxes page for an overview, though it is recommended you speak to a qualified advisor before making any tax-related financial decisions.