1) Don’t be taken in by low minimums on selected markets. You might be able to bet 10p a point on certain currencies such as the USD/NOK, but this market is highly volatile and your risk would be much more compared to a £1 bet on the S&P500.
2) On indices, spread-betting firms may offer spreads on the UK100 and the Wall Street. These are the same as the FTSE 100 and the DOW Jones. The reason they do this is due to copyright restrictions on the names of the indices.
3) Putting a stop loss as close as possible may sound like a sure-fire way to reduce your risk, but if you set it too close then it will trigger just through regular intra-day movements. Look at how much the market has moves day-to-day using the charting software provided and set a stop loss that is reasonable.
4) Choose stake sizes you are comfortable with and work out how much you are risking in each trade. Remember it is a leveraged investment, so you can win and lose much more than your initial bet. Don’t risk money that you cannot afford to lose. I would also suggest that you don’t risk more than 10% of your money in your spread betting account on any one trade.
5) One of the biggest mistakes spread bettors make is thinking that the market will come back so they double or triple their investment and lose a fortune. Don’t be afraid to close out your trade early for a loss, there will be plenty of times where you will make a profit.
6) Put your emotions to one side and trade using logic. Just because a certain share did well for you last month it is not an indicator of future performance and if you dislike bankers it is no reason to sell RBS shares.
7) Get behind trends. If the market is going down don’t buy a market thinking it will come back up. This is an easy way to lose lots of money. Wait until the market starts to bottom out and turn your way before you get behind it. I would rather lose a small handful of points on the way up rather than risking losing a load of money on the way down.
8) If you are trading sizable amounts, look for a firm which will ring fence your money. In the rare case that the company you trade with did go bankrupt and they hadn’t ring fenced your funds, you will lose everything you had with them. Only a handful of firms offer this so do your research carefully.
9) Spend time researching your entry and exit points. This is one of the most important parts of trading. Prior preparation using charts and reading financial news will increase your odds of making money.
10) You can use demo accounts to get to grips with how both spread betting and financial markets operate. However, I suggest that you don’t use the demo accounts as the working is done for you and you will learn much more a lot faster if you start by paper trading. Give yourself £1000 to play with and write down theoretical trades.