What are indices and how to trade them?


What are indices? How to Trade indices? Many of us have this types of questions. Indices are a calculation of the price execution of a bunch of shares from an exchange. Some most popular indices are FTSE 100 which tracks the shares of the 100 largest firms on the London Stock exchange. Trading indices is the process of buying and selling a particular stock market index. It helps you to explore the entire economy or sector through a single source.

Without holding ownership of the underlying assets with CFDs, traders can easily predict the price of indices whether it will increase or decrease. Indices are one of the financial markets that provide high liquidity. Traders may also get better exposure to efficient opportunities.

In simple words, traders foretell the prices of an index will rise or fall which help them determine whether they can purchase or sell. An index exhibits the track record of a bunch of stocks. The value of indices increases when the costs of the share of a particular company that represents indices rise. Vice versa, when the price of stocks drops, the value of the indices also decreases.

Indices are divided into two main categories: futures indices CFDs and cash indices CFDs. New traders who don’t know the difference between them, continue to read this article. The most important difference between them is that the “cash” never expires but the “futures” have an expiry date which is known as a “rollover”. Traders must keep this thing in mind, a Futures contract is an agreement signed by the buyer and seller on the costs which will be paid by the buyer at a pre decided future date.

Advantages of Indices trading

  • It is the best source for retirement savings. Various trades prefer to trade indices, selectively if they are saving for their retirement.
  • The value of indices fluctuate in every trading session, but they don’t get affected too much. Their loss or gains are minor until major changes take place such as natural disasters, pandemics, geopolitical events, etc. 
  • Trading indices provide a wide range of companies to traders, in which if some companies share prices, other remaining companies’ shares that perform well will support them. That is why index holders never face huge losses.  
  • Indices show a meager ratio of risks. For instance, if you invest in shares of a particular company, and the company goes bankrupt, you’ll lose all your investment. But with indices, this will never happen with you. If any company listed on an index goes bankrupt, that company will get replaced by another company. In this case, the value of indices drops as per the size of a crashed company and other remaining companies’ performances. 

How can we calculate Stock Market Indices?

Stock market Indices are determined on the basis of financing of their integral companies. The large-cap companies play an important part in stock market indices calculation because their performances affect the value of the index more in comparison to small-cap companies.

For example, Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) company’s shares consist of a high weightage which means fluctuation in their shares prices affect the price of an index majorly. You can also calculate stock market indices through the price-weighted formula.

The two main formulas for calculating Stock Market Indices are:

Price -weighted Indices

Price-weighted indices determine the value of indices with the help of the exact prices of the constituent stocks. According to this theory, the company with higher share prices put more effect on the value of the indices.

Examples of price-weighted Indices are: The Dow Jones Industrial Average

Market-value-weighted Indices

Market-value-weighted-Indices are computed by the net market cap of their folder companies. According to this, the company with the largest market cap put more impact on the value of indices.

The best examples of Marker-weighted are FTSE 100 and DAX 30.

Major Factors responsible for index’s price movement

Commodity prices: Some commodities’ market’s performance has a huge effect on index prices. For example, FTSE 100 consists of 15% of commodity stocks, which means price fluctuation will affect the index’s prices.

Economic news: Economic events and meetings such as investor sentiment, central bank announcements, NFPs, trade agreements will harm underlying volatility that makes the index’s price move.

Global News: Incidents such as a pandemic or natural disasters leave a bad impact on nations’ economies and affect the price of indices.

Index reshuffle: Weighted indices face price trends when large market cap companies are removed or added from a stock index.

Company News: important announcements like mergers, new leadership, the launch of financial results of companies also have a significant impact on the index’s price.

What are the major traded indices?

Check here the major indices from all over the world. Most of them consist of blue-chip stocks which are well-established companies. It is popular as a market leader due to its huge market cap.

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average – DJIA: It determines the value of the 30 largest blue-chip stocks in the US.
  • S&P 500: measure the value of the 500 biggest companies listed on the US Exchange
  • EURO STOXX 50: represent the value of the 50 largest firms and most liquid stocks of 12 Eurozone countries
  • CAC 40: It is the French stock market index that measures 40 significant stocks of the 100 largest market-cap companies.
  • Nikkei 225: It measures 225 stocks of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
  • Nasdaq 100: calculate the value of the 100 largest non-financial companies in the US.
  • FTSE 100: determines the value of 100 blue-chip companies of the London Stock Exchange
  • DAX 30: calculate the performance of the 30 largest firms listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
  • Hang Seng: It measures 50 constituent companies’ stocks listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
  • ASX 200: It tracks the value of the 200 largest Australian companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. 

In How many ways Investors can trade Indices?

There are two main ways in which traders can trade indices are:

Index Cash CFDs:

Cash indices are usually known as short-term investments. Most cash CFDs investors switch to ignore holding positions throughout the night to avoid overnight charges. In this case, they will reopen the same trade the next day.

Index Futures CFDs:

Index Futures CFDs are considered medium to long term investments because we can’t hold this kind of trade throughout the night due to overnight charges or swap charges. 101investing is the best platform for CFDs trading. The broker consists of a wide range of indices in the form of CFDs.

Why trade indices?

Various factors show long-term trading indices are profitable because they never face huge losses. Indices are a group of stocks of various companies which consist of both large market-cap firms and small market-cap firms. If one company faces losses from the group, others will recover that loss with their market performances. Through this method, not a single index will face more losses. But sometimes, big incidents such as natural disasters and pandemics affect the price of indices. Here we are going to explain some factors why trade indices are profitable for you.

Indices are the least manipulative financial assets: An index value changes based on the integral companies’ price fluctuations that create the index.

Apply money management scheme: We various times listen to this thing that never keeps all your eggs into one basket, which means never invest in one market. Always try to invest in multiple markets reduces the high risk of losing money. For example: With the help of the NASDAQ-100 Index, traders can diversify into the most prominent American high-tech companies.

Zero risks of bankruptcy: An index never goes bankrupt because an individual company suffers losses. Their stocks’ prices will fall, which leads their stocks holder towards loss. But if an index faces a drop or bankruptcy, it replaces companies from the market, which helps indices recover their loss.

Low risks: Indices also face volatility because of some factors such as natural disasters, geopolitical events, economic forecasts. But indices recover their losses very fastly because it deals in a group of companies. For example, the DJIA falls by 17.5% due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US. However, it recovered fastly and began trading higher by early November. This thing repeats again when the DJIA drops due to Covid-19in February March 2020 then recovers again in April.

Hold Short or Long: When you start trading indices with CFDs, you have the option of whether you want to stay short or long. It is an important decision because going long means buying stocks from the marker when you expect the price will increase. Vice versa going short means selling stocks in the market because you think the price is going to drop. In the case of CFDs, a trader’s loss or profit is calculated based on the accuracy of foretells. Moreover,  the remainder depends on the size of the market.

Trade with Leverage: Traders need to deposit only a minimum amount. A broker offers high leverage on your initial deposit. The difference between the initial deposit and selling price is known as margin. It provides you with huge market exposure. That is why CFDs are known as leveraged products.

Trading with high leverage is very risky. So must calculate the profit or losses using the entire position size, not only based on the initial margin used to open an account.

Hedge your current position: A trader with a bunch of multiple shares should consist of a small number of indexes to save themselves from huge losses. In case when the market started falling and their shares started facing decrement. That time index enhances their value which recovers the stock’s losses of traders. Alternatively, the price of indices falls, automatically, the market of stocks starts rising.

How To Trade Indices?

Trading stocks market indices is the best option for particular traders to achieve revelation to a regional sector or global market, without spending time on specific stocks analyses of multiple firms. Due to this, your portfolios never get affected by the individual company bankruptcy or bad performance.

Some of the famous stock market indices provide traders high liquidity, ask spreads, and tight bids for purchase or sell which make it simple to enter or exit from their positions.

Indices can be traded by the investment funds that handle the trading process in place of traders.  Here are two types of funds available like Passive funds or Active funds. Passive funds grip stocks in the identical proportion, similar to an index to copy’s performance. Passive funds are also known as tracker funds. Active funds are controlled by money managers who target to improve index performance.

In the index, dividends paid for the company stocks should be collected by the investment products. If they distribute that amount to the traders, it is called distribution funds. On the other hand, if the amount reinvested in the market is called accumulation funds. Based on the fund’s value percentage, the fund manager will get paid annually.

Role of ETF in indices trading

Exchange-traded funds are one of the popular sources to trade index funds in the stocks exchange. Vanguard, which is an efficient ETF fund manager, demands fewer fees from investors. So that traders can enjoy more of their profits. We all know that the price of a mutual fund has settled once a day, but an ETF price varies all the time during the trading session. People can buy or sell easily and fastly via stock exchanges.

Index funds may also consist of several other derivative products available in the form of indices that investors use to enhance their returns. Futures Contracts and options are included in this category. Traders can use them to hedge against price fluctuations in the section of indices. CFDs are also another way to trade indices globally on various online trading platforms. Some of the famous Indices brokers are TradeATF, ROinvesting.

Efficient Tipson How to Trade Indices

Decide Either you want to trade futures Indices or Cash Indices

Cash indices are preferred by the investors who pursue short-term trading like day traders because they consist of tighter spreads than future indexes. They are traded at the spot costs which is determined by analysing front month future costs and putting correct worth. At the end of the trading day, various investors will shut their cash indices positions. They reopen the next day in the morning to ignore overnight funding charges.

Index Futures are always opted by the traders with long term market trading. This happens because it consists of wider spreads than cash indices. It may also involve all-time funding charges. Must note that Index futures get traded at future costs. At the price on which the trader agrees to pay in the future.

Create an account on the trading platform

Traders need an account to get started trading. Investors who are looking for the best CDFs traders can start trading with 101investing. It is the best platform for CFD trading who offers good spreads to their clients.

Make selection of indices which you required for trade

It is necessary to choose the correct indices as per your trading style. The selection of suitable indices according to your trading method is an important factor that puts a significant impact on your exchange-traded fund. It totally depends upon the risks, available net capital and either you like to go with short term trading or long term.

Long term vs short term

Decide whether you want to go long term, or short term is best for you. This factor is dependent on the performance of the companies available in your index. If you think that the company’s performance is going well and they will rise in future. In this way, you can go long term easily. But when the companies are not performing well, you think that their prices will decrease in the future. In that case, you need to go with the short term.

Set your stop loss and profit limit

Stop loss and profit limit are the two important tools used for arranging profit or loss margin. It restricts your loss limits and profit margin. When your trade is nearer to the loss limit line, it automatically exits from its trading position. Alternatively, when it reaches its profit margin, it automatically performs trade and closes it.


Trading indices are a very good option if you are saving for your retirement because they contain fewer risks than other markets. In this article, we try to clear your droughts about index trading. Here we talk about the best worldwide trading indices which help you to select better for yourself.   Read this article to collect overall information regarding various trading methods of Indices and How to trade indices?



Are index futures derivatives?

Yes, Index futures are financial derivatives. Their costs are dependent upon the price in an underlying market that gets affected by supply, volatility, and demand.

Can I sell futures before the contract date?

Yes, you have the right to sell them before the contract date, and most of the traders will sell their parts before the contract date. You can do this only in two cases: whether you will buy an opposing contract that cancels your current deal, or you can sell that contract outright.

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