You might also be able to trade the FTSE 100 on other spread betting websites.
UK Stock Market Analysis and Trading News
[4:23pm] European equity markets charge higher on ceasefire talks and more Scandinavian intervention, dragging a slightly reluctant FTSE along.
Having had our choice of economic leaders to listen to earlier in the week, the scarcity of opinions on offer today has given market watchers an eerie sense of quiet.
The corporate arena has done its best to fill this void with the Royal Bank of Scotland confirming that Sir Howard Davies, the ex-FSA head, will be taking over as the bank's Chairman.
Depending on how damning of the bank's historical actions you are, will dictate your opinion as to whether this is shutting the stable door after the horses have already bolted, or the dawn of a new era.
Seven consecutive annual losses, the twin issues of an absence in dividend payment and the 79% UK tax payer stake in the bank continue to diminish the investment appeal of the firm.
The market is only too aware that these issues are unlikely to be resolved until after May's general election.
Any disappointment about RSA's slow resolution to the firm's Irish exposure will be somewhat mitigated by CEO Stephen Hester as he glances at RBS's issues.
Mining companies have given up early gains as profit-taking has hit the sector intraday.
Even though we have seen a correction in the commodity stocks in the past two months, traders are reluctant to take a long-term view as the outlook is still uncertain.
UK GDP came in as expected, but with the ominous caveat that British business investment has declined at its fastest rate in 6 years, further highlighting fears that the UK's economic recovery is too skewed towards consumer spending.
However, this warning wasn't felt by the UK index, as it continued to climb back towards its recent highs off the back of strong gains by some of its key stocks.
Despite missing expectations, KAZ Minerals claims it is on target for its macro-aims.
With copper also pushing $2.70 per pound, both Vedanta Resources and Antofagasta, alongside KAZ, have spent the morning basking in the glow of the metal's latest rally.
And with Brent crude stabilising (for now) at $61 per barrel, the FTSE's oil stocks recovered the minor losses they suffered after the bell.
However, it wasn't all good news.
The announcement that it will continue to cut a 'substantial' amount of jobs in its restructuring process, despite paying £421 million in bonuses over 2014, saw investors turn on the Royal Bank of Scotland, with the stock sinking to a 4% loss.
RBS' woes were joined by a backlash against Capita, which saw this morning's early growth wiped out by lunchtime, alongside continued losses for easyJet and Reed Elsevier.
These laggards ensured that the FTSE couldn't fully capitalise on the robust performance of its mining and oil sectors.
Update by Connor Campbell, Financial Analyst,
[10:22am] In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is narrowly in positive territory as reporting season in the UK hits full swing.
Unfortunately, none of this is anything new for the FTSE 100, as it's been a serial underperformer for the best part of the last five years.
That isn't likely to change now, despite the fact that the UK economy still remains one of the best performing in the G7.
The same looks set to apply today with a lower open expected across the board in Europe after US markets struggled to push on from their new all-time highs earlier this week.
Central Banks Avoid Eye Contact as Markets Look for Direction
It would appear that concerns about Greece are starting to slip away in the short-term, though given the political divisions playing out in Athens as a result of Syriza's compromises, it may not pay to be too complacent.
In this context, it would appear that investors are looking for the next catalyst to drive market direction as the Federal Reserve has given no indication that it is closer to making a move on policy.
Given Bank of England Governor Mark Carney's remarks earlier this week, and the fairly even handed comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen over the past two days, it would appear that neither central bank has any better idea about what prices might do over the next few months than the markets do.
It is apparent however that both rate setting committees are worried about falling prices, hence the reluctance to give any clear signals on a policy tightening at this point in time.
As far as today is concerned, we get the latest update on the UK economy with the second reading of Q4 GDP, which is expected to be confirmed at 0.5%, annualised to 2.7%.
We aren't expecting too much in the way of adjustments to the internals, though imports and exports could well get revised up.
Business investment will also be scrutinised given that we saw an initial fall of 1.4% in the first instance, a few weeks ago, no doubt driven by some uncertainty, due to the Scottish referendum, at the beginning of the last quarter.
As more data comes in, the hope is that this picked up in the wake of the vote.
Update by Michael Hewson, Senior Market Analyst,
[4:26pm] Heading into the close, the FTSE 100 is down 25 points, as modest profit-taking sets in after yesterday's fresh highs.
Yesterday's optimism has been replaced by a more tempered assessment of the situation, although as the month-end looms we are still likely to see a lunge for fresh highs.
Today has perhaps been the first in some time in which Greece has not featured in a significant way, which comes as a relief, while an improvement in Chinese data has also assuaged some nagging doubts.
Star performer Whitbread can be forgiven for striking a confident tone regarding the year ahead, and its recent form seems to provide ample reason for optimism, but this does raise the risk of disappointment should growth not live up to expectations.
At 27 times current earnings the shares look a tad expensive, but history suggests Whitbread can live up to its hefty price tag.
Update by Chris Beauchamp, Market Analyst,
[4:20pm] UK Stock Markets
UK stocks stumbled on Wednesday as issues with the Greek bailout weighed on sentiment amidst a number of corporate earnings releases.
The FTSE 100 failed to build on the record-breaking gains from the previous session.
The benchmark UK index was dragged down when the Irish government failed to give the go-ahead on the IAG takeover of Aer Lingus, while Weir Group was pummelled after giving a profit warning.
Update by Jasper Lawler, Market Analyst,
[9:47am] Traders will, for the second day in a row, be treated to speeches from economic leaders Janet Yellen, Mario Draghi and Mark Carney but whether this will paint a clearer picture of market outlooks is somewhat debatable.
Once again the FTSE appears to be suffering from stage fright as the looming 7,000 level, for so long predicted to be broken, has yet again proven to be a step too far.
Corporate data releases continue to come thick and fast offering equity traders plenty to chew on while regional economic leaders offer their latest comments as well.
While not talking about specific economic releases the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney will be speaking at a banking event this morning.
However, his ability to dance around difficult questions should ensure an absence of any volatile comments.
Mario Draghi has yet to emulate his colleague's reputation for fancy footwork but he will get a chance to hone his skills at this afternoon's ECB annual report in Brussels.
Today it is the turn of Barratt Developments to post outrageously impressive half-yearly figures with pre-tax profits up by almost 75%, basic earnings up by almost 80% and a cash dividend up by 50%.
Investors will be wondering how long this can last, but with last year's change in stamp duty and the continuing support of the government's Help to Buy scheme, UK house builders are sitting comfortably for the time being.
Glasgow-based Weir Group has, in tough markets, been able to post better-than-expected revenue and pre-tax profits enabling it to raise the company's dividend for the 31st year in a row.
Regardless of all of these positives, the markets have shown it is never the here and now but always the future that is the primary concern as shares have fallen on the company's expectations that profit margins will continue to be squeezed in 2015.
Less than a year after its float on the London Stock Exchange AO World has had to cut its earnings outlook.
This is not the confidence-filling actions of a management team that have a firm grasp of the online domestic appliance markets.
It looks like the company's management believed a little too much of their own IPO PR hype as markets aggressively cut the 'blue sky' valuation of the company's share price, knocking it down by 45% in early trading.
Update by Alastair McCaig, Market Analyst,
Dow and FTSE Surge to Record Close after Dovish Yellen
With Janet Yellen refusing to bring forward rate hike expectations, stock market indices have lept to all-time highs and the dollar has slumped.
The delayed likelihood of a Fed hike also saw a rebound in the gold market which is targetting $1,218.
Update by Craig Inglis, Head of Product Development,
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 26-Feb-15
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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.