Forex trading (one of the most popular forms of day trading) is the coming together of banks, businesses, governments, investors and traders to exchange and speculate on currencies. It is the largest and most liquid of all markets. It is the trading of one currency against another. It is not a central marketplace, but an over-the-counter trade. Banks vary in price. Feeds from the different banks are taken into account by a broker who then works on a rough average. The broker effectively performs the transaction, creating the market.
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Scalping is a commonly used technique. It simply means that traders hold positions for a very limited time. Most day traders exit positions before the market closes in order to avoid unmanageable risks. Price gaps can occur between one day’s close and the next day’s opening.
Commonly used terminology in day trading includes “margin trading.” This basically means that they “borrow” money to trade. This can lead to huge profits, but also major losses. Buying on margin is very common. The interest rate is based on a broker’s call.
Originally when stocks were traded a trader would contact a stockbroker who in turn relayed the order to a specialist on the floor. The specialist then got hold of whoever was interested in the order, process it and write the tickets. This effectively transferred the stock. Brokerage commissions were set at 1% However, in 1975 it changed. This allowed brokerages to charge commission fees of their own. The lower commission fees lead to much better and more competition. It was also one of the first moves to allow the start of day trading. Electronic ownership transfer was the last step that made today’s online day trading possible.
A very important necessity for day traders is market data. Real data feeds are available. These come at a very low cost. Usually brokers require traders to make a certain volume of trades each day in order to cover the costs of these data feeds. The requirements aren’t high. Even a moderately active day trader can expect to meet the requirements. By meeting these requirements the data feeds essentially becomes free. More advanced data feeds are also bought some of the more experienced traders.Some day traders also buy complicated analysis and charting software. These systems vary in price, from a few cents to hundreds of dollars per month.
In 1876 it was decided that all currencies should be backed by gold. This was
called the Gold Standard. However, linking currencies to the price of gold led to boom-bust patterns. With the outbreak of World War II, most European countries did not have enough gold reserves to back up their paper money. As a result the gold standard was dropped. It was then decided that there would be fixed exchange rates, with the US dollar becoming the primary reserve currency and the only one backed by gold. This was called the Bretton Woods System.
In 1971 the US announced that it would no longer exchange gold for US dollars in foreign reserves. This led to the end of the Bretton Woods System. The breakdown of the system led to the acceptance of floating foreign exchange rates. During the 1990’s foreign currencies became widely electronically traded.
The most important trading centres are London, New York, Tokyo, Zurich, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and Sydney.
Forex trading carries a risk of capital loss.