The trading mechanics in the forex market is quite similar to stocks in that prices fluctuate based on supply and demand, bid and asking prices. The major differences between them is the number of trading alternatives available. Forex market has very few compared to the thousands found in the stock market. The majority of forex traders focus their efforts on several different currency pairs, which include EUR/USD, USD/JPY, GBP/USD, USD/CHF and commodity pairs, USD/CAD, AUD/USD, NZD/USD. This makes currency trading easier to follow instead of having to pick between thousands of stocks to find the best value, the only thing forex traders need to do is to keep up to date on the economic and political news of these countries.
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In a declining stock market, it is only with extreme ingenuity and luck that an investor can make profit. It can be difficult to short-sell in the US stock market because of strict rules and regulations. On the other hand, forex offers the opportunity to profit in both rising and declining markets easily because with every trade, you are buying and selling at the same time, and short-selling is, therefore, a part of every trade. Forex market is so liquid, traders are not required to wait for an uptick before they are allowed to enter into a short position, as in the rule in the stock market.
As the liquidity of the forex market is high, margins are low and leverage is hight. It is just not possible to find such low margin rates in the stock market, most margin traders in the stock market need at least half of the value of their investment available in their margin accounts, whereas forex traders need as little as few percents. Commissions in the stock market tend to be much higher than in the forex market. Traditional stock brokers ask for commission fees on top of the fees that have to be paid to the exchange. While forex brokers take only the spread as their fee for each trade.
As for investors like you and me, day trading in stocks and forex share a lot of the same stresses – being constantly plugged in, watching news and price action and so on.
When people refer to Forex trading being riskier or more difficult than stock trading, they usually mean that it is more difficult than buying and holding stocks (apples to oranges comparison).
Forex trading might involve more time sensitive decisions rather than a single analysis and then making a long-term investment. However, this is a bit untrue as fundamental forex traders may keep a position for weeks or months, checking it rarely. They have this luxury because they usually use less margin than forex day traders.
In summary, forex trading has better opportunity being 24/5, simplicity as the limited number of major currency pairs, higher liquidity over stock markets, and if you are in the margin game, the potential is way higher than a stock market.
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