You might also be able to trade the FTSE 100 on other spread betting websites.
UK Stock Market Analysis and Trading News
[10:06am] After the strong start to the week, European equities have gotten off to a wobbly start today.
The FTSE had understandably been preoccupied with how the MPC would vote, while Eurozone equity markets fretted over tonight's US FOMC minutes.
The Monetary Policy Committee has seen two members vote for change, and this is the first time we have seen anything other than 9-0 since July 2011.
This opens the door to the possibility of an interest rate increase being squeezed in before the end of the year, but with the weaker-than-expected inflation figures posted yesterday this is far from a foregone conclusion.
On the one hand, the central bankers are pointing towards change, despite the economic data being far from supportive; a perfect balance of uncertainty to keep markets guessing.
Disagreements over what to do with US unit Parsons Brinkerhoff has seen Carillion's third offer for Balfour Beatty rejected, as the attempted takeover looks increasingly hostile.
With money burning a hole in its pockets, Glencore has decided to prop up its shares with a timely $1 billion share buyback.
Having to pay one multi-hundred million dollar fine to US regulators is unfortunate but, that Standard Chartered has had to go back and pay a further $300 million for similar offences just looks careless.
Carlsberg have just issued a profit warning, with earnings struggling due to the company's exposure to the Russian market.
Update by Alastair McCaig, Market Analyst,
[9:17am] Equities are taking a breather this morning ahead of the key MPC and FOMC minutes.
Update by Adrien Cohen, Market Analyst,
FTSE 100 Daily Update
The FTSE 100 is currently trading at 6,766.8.
Overnight, the market closed up 18.6pts (0.28%) at 6,774.8.
30 Minute Analysis
The stock market is trading below the 20-period MA of 6,769.8 and below the 50-period MA of 6,774.2.
1 Day Analysis
The stock market is above the 20-day MA of 6,703.8 and above the 50-day MA of 6,744.6.
Update by Gordon Childs, Editor,
[7:34am] FTSE 100 Technical Analysis (30 mins chart)
FTSE 100 pivot point: 6717
Our preference: Long positions above 6717 with targets @ 6790 & 6830 in extension.
Alternative scenario: Below 6717 look for further downside with 6680 & 6650 as targets.
Comment: Intraday technical indicators are mixed.
[7:34am] UK Shares - Crossing Over their 50 Day Moving Average:
Barratt Developments (+2.9% to 368.6p)
Coca-Cola HBC (+0.97% to 1353p)
3I Group (+3% to 392p)
Marks & Spencer (+0.88% to 435p)
Ocado Group (+4.74% to 369p)
Ophir Energy (+7.09% to 229.6p)
SABMiller (+0.8% to 3324p)
Smith & Nephew (+1.56% to 1041p)
Sports Direct International (+3.34% to 726.5p)
Unilever (+1.07% to 2637p)
John Wood Group (+4.92% to 788.5p)
Wolseley (+1.79% to 3181p)
UK Shares - Crossing Under their 50 Day Moving Average:
BHP Billiton (-4.93% to 1965p)
[5:26am] Equity markets have been running higher all of this week on expectations that interest rates are likely to remain low until well into next year.
Nothing in this week's economic data from either side of the Atlantic so far appears to have dissuaded investors from that belief.
Geopolitical concerns aside, we may be set for continued easy monetary policy from the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve, along with an expectation that the European Central Bank could well add to the punch bowl.
This has seen equity investors eschew concerns about inflation and slow growth in Europe, to push US markets back towards their all-time highs, and help continue the recent rebound in European markets.
Does it Matter if MPC Minutes See a Dissenter?
That being said, stock markets seem set for a pause this morning, with a slightly lower open, as we look ahead to the latest minutes from the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve.
Up until a week ago the contents of the latest Bank of England minutes were eagerly anticipated with expectations fairly high that we might have seen some dissent in the voting patterns with respect to a potential call for an increase in interest rates.
This seems much less likely now for a number of reasons, but the main one surrounds how dovish last week's Bank of England inflation report was, which makes it harder to make that argument.
If there had been any significant dissent at the last meeting you would have thought that it would somehow have manifested itself within that report.
In any case given the weakness seen in both the average earnings data as well as yesterday's sudden fall in the CPI inflation rate it is quite likely that today's minutes are likely to be an anti-climax simply because they are stale, given how recent events have overtaken them.
It is therefore unlikely that we will see any form of split vote from the minutes today and even if we do the weakness seen in both the wages and the inflation data takes the pressure off the Bank having to even consider any prospect of a rate rise.
Let's face it if you're reluctant to raise rates when CPI is at 5% you're hardly likely to do it when inflation is running below target, and has been doing so for seven months in succession.
Update by Michael Hewson, Senior Market Analyst,
[3:51pm] The FTSE continues to lag behind its US and European counterparts, but still looks set to post yet another positive day.
IT issues delayed the release of BHP Billiton's figures this morning, compounding the markets disappointment with the company missing its estimates.
Plans to strip off part of the company into a $16 billion nickel and aluminium play, with only an Australian and South African quote, added to London's disdain for the plans.
Persimmon, the UK housebuilder, looks to have gone out of its way to ensure that shareholders are happy, posting profits up by 57% and revenues up by a third, with an outlook that could only be described as rosy.
Energy sector engineering firm Wood Group has benefited from the increasing interest in US shale production, as alternative energy supply sources around the world continue to look shaky.
Even with the now ubiquitous 'currency headwinds' issue that almost all companies claim, the firm has seen its pre-tax profits jump by 15%.
Update by Alastair McCaig, Market Analyst,
[3:45pm] European Stock Markets
Shares in Europe continued to flesh out gains today.
With the geopolitical issues appearing to be contained for now, the markets are refocusing on easy monetary policy which was supported today in the UK by a deceleration in consumer prices.
UK CPI dropped back down to 1.6% from 1.9% previously.
While some of the drop relates to falling energy prices, core CPI also dropped to 1.8% from 2.0% last month implicating the price change was more widespread.
Lower levels of inflation take the heat of the Bank of England to hike rates.
This latest report won't have been factored into the decision-making at the latest BoE meeting but with core inflation below 2% anyway it seems entirely possible no members of the MPC dissented the decision to keep interest rates unchanged.
If inflation is falling and tomorrow the minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee indicate nobody has dissented, whether Governor Carney and Chancellor Osborne had a secret agreement or not, a rate hike this side of the general election is looking increasingly unlikely.
It's not to say geopolitical risk is gone, the Vedomosti newspaper has cited sources inside the Russian government that further retaliatory sanctions could include the automotive, aircraft and shipping industries, potentially wounding the Eurozone economy even further.
The FTSE 100 was seeing broad-based strength today led higher by strong gains in the house builders including Barratt Developments, which benefited from a 57% jump in half year profits for Persimmon following similar results from Bovis yesterday.
Basic Resources were by far the weakest sector as investors didn't react well to BHP Billiton failing to announce an anticipated share-buyback plan due its divestment of non-core assets into a newly created PLC.
It's been a V-shaped reversal for the FTSE 100, with the sharp declines in late July being matched with an equally sharp reversal higher.
If the index continues at the same pace it will have surpassed the 29 July peak by the end of this week.
Update by Jasper Lawler, Market Analyst,
Glencore Share Price Sees 20% Yearly Gain
With the mining giant expecting half-year results, IG talks to Charles Gibson from Edison about what to expect and whether the share price gains can be continued.
Mr Gibson also compares the outlook for Glencore with that for BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.
[11:03am] In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is up 25 points as it seems increasingly likely that Ukraine and Russia will resolve the situation without bloodshed.
In London, traders are buying back into the market with cautious optimism but they are keeping the eject button in sight, when it comes to the standoff in Eastern Europe no news is good news.
BHP Billiton performed worst today in the FTSE 100, with the mega-miner posting profits which narrowly missed estimates.
The mineral extractor continues to cut loose non-core assets and there is no sign of a share buyback programme in the near future.
Persimmon is proving that the UK property market is performing well. The homebuilder announced a 57% jump in first-half profits, while average selling price and the number of completions were both higher.
Irish building materials supplier CRH is in the red despite rising earnings and lower net debt.
It was surprising that its European business outperformed the Americas.
You can also use a spreads account to access shorter-term daily FTSE markets. Readers should note that opening such an account is normally subject to suitability and status checks.
If your account application is accepted then, once logged in, you will be able to access the charts and the current prices. Access is normally free, however, the catch is that you could get the odd sales letter or email from your firm.
Of course, if you do decide to trade, be aware that spread trading and contracts for difference carry a high degree of risk and you may lose more than your initial deposit.
Advanced Charts for the FTSE 100
Although the charting packages normally differ from platform to platform, in order to assist you with your FTSE 100 analysis, most charts generally have:
A large range of time intervals - 1 minute, 2 minute, 10 minute, 1 hour, 4 hour, 1 month etc
A variety of chart types - candlestick, line and OHCL charts
Drawing tools and features - Fibonacci Time Zones, Arcs and Fans
If you are interested in a free Test Account which allows users to get a better understanding of financial spread betting, and practice trading markets like the FTSE 100, then you could always take a look at:
All of the above companies provide a Demo Account that lets users practice trading, apply a variety of orders, try out strategies and review charts.
How to Spread Bet on the FTSE 100?
As with many global markets, investors can spread bet on stock market indices, like the FTSE 100, to either rise or fall.
If we log on to Financial Spreads, we can see they are showing the FTSE 100 Rolling Daily market at 5785.3 - 5786.3. This means an investor can spread bet on the FTSE 100 market:
Going above 5786.3, or
Going below 5785.3
When spread betting on the FTSE 100 index you trade in £x per point.
Where a point is one point of the index itself.
Should you choose to invest £4 per point and the FTSE 100 moves 24 points then that would alter your profit/loss by £96. £4 per point x 24 points = £96.
Rolling Daily Index Markets
An important aspect of this Rolling Daily Market is that there is no closing date for your trade. You do not have to close your trade, should it still be open at the end of the day, it will roll over to the next session.
If you allow your trade to roll over and are spread betting on the market to:
Increase - then you will be charged a small overnight financing fee, or
Decrease - then a small payment is normally credited to your account
So, if we take the above spread of 5785.3 - 5786.3 and assume:
You have analysed the indices markets, and
You feel that the FTSE 100 index will rise above 5786.3
Then you could decide that you want to buy a spread bet at 5786.3 and risk, let's say, £2 per point.
With this trade you make a profit of £2 for every point that the FTSE 100 index moves higher than 5786.3. However, it also means that you will make a loss of £2 for every point that the FTSE 100 market moves below 5786.3.
Considering this from another angle, should you buy a spread bet then your profits (or losses) are worked out by taking the difference between the closing price of the market and the initial price you bought the market at. You then multiply that difference in price by your stake.
Therefore, if after a few trading sessions the UK stock market rose, you might want to close your position to lock in your profit.
So if the stock market increased then the spread, set by the spread betting company, might move up to 5849.4 - 5850.4. In order to close your position you would sell at 5849.4. Accordingly, with the same £2 stake:
P&L = (Closing Price - Opening Price) x stake
P&L = (5849.4 - 5786.3) x £2 per point stake
P&L = 63.1 x £2 per point stake
P&L = £126.20 profit
Speculating on stock market indices, whether by spread betting or not, doesn't always work out. In this example, you had bet that the index would go up. Nevertheless, it might go down.
If the FTSE 100 index began to drop then you might choose to close your spread bet in order to restrict your losses.
Should the market pull back to 5731.9 - 5732.9 then you would close your spread bet by selling at 5731.9. If so, you would lose:
P&L = (Closing Price - Opening Price) x stake
P&L = (5731.9 - 5786.3) x £2 per point stake
P&L = -54.4 x £2 per point stake
P&L = -£108.80 loss
Note - FTSE 100 Rolling Daily prices as of 1-Oct-12.
Below we have a simple interactive example from Financial Spreads on how spread betting works when trading the FTSE 100.
This quick example shows how the Stop Loss works and also how your upside is unlimited.
Note that Stop Losses are not guaranteed but you can opt for a Guaranteed Stop Loss with Financial Spreads.
How to Spread Bet on the UK 100 - Example 2
Looking at a spread trading website like Tradefair, we can see that they are showing the UK 100 Rolling Daily market at 5787.8 - 5788.8. This means an investor can spread bet on the UK 100 market:
Rising above 5788.8, or
Falling below 5787.8
Whilst financial spread betting on the UK 100 index you trade in £x per point. So, should you decide to risk £5 per point and the UK 100 moves 27 points then that would make a difference to your bottom line of £135. £5 per point x 27 points = £135.
So, if you continue with the above spread of 5787.8 - 5788.8 and assume that:
You have done your research, and
Your research suggests that the UK 100 index will move higher than 5788.8
Then you might decide that you want to go long of the market at 5788.8 and risk, for the sake of argument, £3 per point.
So, you make a profit of £3 for every point that the UK 100 index moves above 5788.8. However, such a bet also means that you will lose £3 for every point that the UK 100 market decreases below 5788.8.
Looked at another way, if you ‘Buy’ a spread bet then your profit/loss is calculated by taking the difference between the settlement price of the market and the price you bought the market at. You then multiply that difference in price by your stake.
As a result, if after a few sessions the UK stock market started to move upwards then you could choose to close your trade in order to guarantee your profit.
So if the market moved up then the spread might change to 5831.6 - 5832.6. You would close your position by selling at 5831.6. Therefore, with the same £3 stake your profit would be calculated as:
Profits (or losses) = (Closing Value - Initial Value) x stake
Profits (or losses) = (5831.6 - 5788.8) x £3 per point stake
Profits (or losses) = 42.8 x £3 per point stake
Profits (or losses) = £128.40 profit
Financial spread trading doesn't always work out as you would have liked. In this case, you wanted the UK index to rise. Nevertheless, it might decrease.
If the UK 100 index decreased, contrary to your expectations, then you might decide to close/settle your trade to limit your losses.
So if the spread fell to 5751.2 - 5752.2 you would close your trade by selling at 5751.2. Accordingly, your loss would be:
Profits (or losses) = (Closing Value - Initial Value) x stake
Profits (or losses) = (5751.2 - 5788.8) x £3 per point stake
Profits (or losses) = -37.6 x £3 per point stake
Profits (or losses) = -£112.80 loss
Note: UK 100 Rolling Daily spread betting market accurate as of 28-Nov-12.
How to Trade FTSE Futures
If we go to a platform like FinancialSpreads, you can see that they are currently pricing the FTSE 100 March Futures market at 5717.3 - 5721.3.
Therefore, you can speculate on the FTSE 100 index:
Settling above 5721.3, or
Settling below 5717.3
On the expiry date for this 'March' futures market, 15-Mar-13.
As with the daily markets above, with the FTSE futures market you speculate on the FTSE 100 index in £x per point. So, if you decided to have a stake of £4 per point and the FTSE 100 moves 35 points then that would alter your profits (or losses) by £140. £4 per point x 35 points = £140.
FTSE 100 Futures Trading Example
If we think about the spread of 5717.3 - 5721.3 and assume that:
You have analysed the UK stock market, and
Your analysis suggests the UK index will finish above 5721.3 by 15-Mar-13
Then you may decide to buy the futures market at 5721.3 and risk, let's say, £5 per point.
With this contract you make a profit of £5 for every point that the FTSE 100 index rises higher than 5721.3. Nevertheless, it also means that you will make a loss of £5 for every point that the FTSE 100 market moves lower than 5721.3.
Thinking of this in a slightly different way, if you are spread trading and you 'Buy' a market then your P&L is calculated by taking the difference between the settlement price of the market and the initial price you bought the spread at. You then multiply that price difference by the stake.
As a result, if, on the expiry date, the FTSE 100 settled higher at 5749.9, then:
P&L = (Closing Price - Opening Price) x stake
P&L = (5749.9 - 5721.3) x £5 per point stake
P&L = 28.6 x £5 per point stake
P&L = £143.00 profit
Trading UK stock market futures is not always easy. With this example, you thought the index would increase. Nevertheless, the UK stock market could fall.
If the FTSE 100 fell and settled lower at 5696.4, you would end up making a loss on this trade.
P&L = (Closing Price - Opening Price) x stake
P&L = (5696.4 - 5721.3) x £5 per point stake
P&L = -24.9 x £5 per point stake
P&L = -£124.50 loss
Note - FTSE 100 March Futures market correct as of 27-Sep-12.
Financial Spread Betting on FTSE 100 Companies
Simply click on the company you're interested in spread betting on.
As well as broker ratings, indicative prices and charts, we talk you through the most popular spread betting questions for the UK firm:
Below, an old but still useful case study on the UK stock market by Shai Heffetz, InterTrader, 28-Apr-2011.
Being an index of the 100 biggest companies on the London Stock Exchange, the FTSE 100 is considered a quite reliable yardstick of the health of the economy in general.
If one looks at the period since the index started at 1000 on the 1st of January 1984, the picture certainly looks healthy. The current value of 6041 represents growth of more than 500 per cent over the 27-year term.
The fact of the matter is, however, that the index is currently well below the record level of 6950.6 it reached in December 1999, which means that in effect we have seen negative growth over the past 12 years.
FTSE 100 Technical Analysis
If we consider technical analysis of the FTSE 100 then, looking at the Ichimoku Kinko Hyo on the candlestick chart below, everything seems to point to a bull market as the price is far above the cloud.
It is also well above the red Tenkan-Sen (short-term average) and the blue Kijun-Sen (longer-term average). The green Chinkou Span line is also well above the price 26 days ago, strengthening the perception of a bull market.
There are, however, a couple of things that could indicate that we should not jump to conclusions. The red Tenkan-Sen has turned flat, which indicates short-term uncertainty in the market, and the cloud is also very thin, which further points to indecisiveness in the market.
If the price should break through the recent high of 6064.80, we might see it test the previous high of 6106.80 it reached on 8 February. A cautious trader would not enter a medium or long-term position long position before this happens. A potential stop loss level in this case is the red Tenkan-Sen line.
In the current market, traders should wait for further signs of weakness before entering into a short position. If the price drops as far as the Ichimoku cloud, it could be on its way to test the previous low of 5505.30 on 16 March.
A careful trader will wait for the price to break downwards out of the cloud before going short, but this could rob you of most of the profits in the swing trade. An alternative, but riskier, approach would be to go short as soon as the price drops below the blue Kijun-Sen.
The London Stock Exchange (LSE) is one of the world's oldest stock exchanges. It's been trading for over 300 years. According to the LSE website it started life in the coffee houses of 17th century London (pre-Starbucks).
For readers who are not familiar with the term 'FTSE 100' it is simply an index of the 100 largest companies on the London Stock Exchange. The index is maintained and owned jointly by the Financial Times and the London Stock Exchange.
The index came into being on 1 January 1984 with a base value of 1,000. It reached a record level of 6950.6 on 30 December 1999. The financial crisis of 2007–2010 saw it drop dramatically to 3,500. Since then it has recovered to a large extent.
FTSE: Financial Times Stock Exchange. These firms (FT and LSE) are jointly responsible for the compilation and maintenance of the main stock indices reflecting the performance of the UK's top shares
FTSE 100: The index of the UK's top 100 companies, as ranked by their market capitalisation. Also referred to as UK100
FTSE 250 or FTSE MID 250: The index of the next 250 FTSE companies as ranked by their market capitalisation
FTSE 350: The index of the top 350 UK companies by market capitalisation. A combination of the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 stocks
FTSE ALL SHARE: An index covering about 800 shares representing 98% of UK stock market value
UK 100: In spread betting and CFD trading, the FTSE 100 is often called the 'UK 100'
'FTSE 100 Spread Betting' edited by Jacob Wood, updated 20-Aug-14
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FTSE 100 Spread Betting
FTSE 100 financial spread betting guide with a price comparison and daily analysis. Plus live FTSE 100 charts & prices, where to spread bet on the stock market index commission-free and... » read from top.