Spot Trading Demystified: Some Key Concepts Unveiled

By Yashovardhan Sharma

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Spot trading involves the immediate buying and selling of assets at the prevailing market rate, known as the spot price, with the goal of promptly obtaining ownership of the underlying asset. This type of trading is favored by day traders due to the ability to initiate short-term positions with minimal spreads and no expiration date. With brokerage platforms, you have the opportunity to engage in spot market trading, alternatively known as the cash or undated market, using derivatives such as CFDs. This method allows you to trade without physically owning or receiving the assets, providing you with real-time pricing that mirrors the underlying market.


Additionally, you can open positions using a deposit (margin), enhancing your exposure to the market and potentially increasing your profits. However, it's essential to be mindful that this approach can also result in heightened losses. For instance, if you anticipate an increase in the price of silver, you would go long in the spot silver market. A rise in silver prices would yield a profit, while a decrease would lead to a loss. Spot trading is just one avenue to gain exposure to financial markets through derivatives. For those interested in longer-term positions, options trading, futures trading, or forwards could be considered.


Reasons to Trade in the Spot Markets

Reasons, why individuals are drawn to spot (cash) markets, include:

  • Ability to trade with continuous, real-time pricing, helping with price action trading.
  • Spot prices that accurately reflect the underlying market.
  • Access to some of the lowest spreads in the UK, starting at 0.3 points.
  • Absence of fixed expiries on spot positions.
  • Opportunities for continuous charting, beneficial for technical analysis.
  • Well-suited for short-term trading with no position expiries.
  • Availability of leverage for trading, enabling the opening of positions using margin. It's crucial to recognize that while this can amplify profits, it also carries the potential for magnified losses.


Start a Spot Trading Account

Establish a spot trading account and log in Initiate the process by applying to open an account, enabling you to trade spot markets through a CFD trading account. There's no requirement to add funds until you decide to execute a trade. You can start with micro-investments. Alternatively, you can hone your trading skills in a risk-free demo account. Select a spot market for your trading activities by choosing from a diverse range of financial markets, encompassing:

  1. Forex, with major pairs like GBP/USD and EUR/USD
  2. Commodities, including oil, gold, and silver
  3. Shares of companies such as Apple, BP, and Barclays
  4. Indices like the FTSE 100, Germany 40, and US 500
  5. ETFs, such as iShares Core S&P 500 ETF and Vanguard FTSE 100 UCTIS ETF.

Identify your spot trading opportunity


Opportunity - Abstract hand writing word to represent the meaning of financial word as concept


Effectively identifying a favorable spot trading opportunity involves staying informed about news and economic events while monitoring target price levels through technical and fundamental analysis. Once your account is set up, leverage the exclusive tools at your disposal, including:

  • Expert analysis: Access technical and fundamental analysis from analysts
  • Technical indicators: Utilize in-platform tools like MACD and Bollinger bands to identify price trends
  • Trading alerts: Receive automated alerts when your target price is met
  • Trading signals: Get actionable 'buy' and 'sell' suggestions based on analysis


Choose Between Long or Short

Determine whether to go long or short In derivative trading, capitalize on spot markets that either decline in price (going short or short-selling) or increase (going long). This is because you are speculating on the asset's price rather than acquiring the underlying asset itself. If you anticipate an asset's value to rise, opt for a long position, and if you expect it to fall, choose a short position. Your profit or loss is contingent on the accuracy of your prediction. Utilize our spot trading platform to attach stops and limits to your active positions, providing a means to manage risk by minimizing losses and securing profits. The platform offers options such as basic, guaranteed, and trailing stops, which automatically close your position if the market moves unfavorably. It's important to note that basic stops may experience slippage during significant market movements or gaps. Limits, on the other hand, act inversely to stops, closing your position when the market moves a specified distance in your favor.


Supervise and finalize your position

Keep a close eye on your open positions through your IG account. Any ongoing profit or loss will correspond with the fluctuations in underlying asset prices. When you decide to conclude your trade, simply select the 'close' button after clicking on the open position. The final profit or loss will be realized upon the trade's closure, and the calculation may vary depending on whether you are trading CFDs. Always adhere to your trading plan when closing positions, steering clear of emotional decisions driven by fear or greed. It will also help you to avoid events such as the short squeeze.


Challenges and Risks of Spot Trading

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Price Volatility: While spot trading offers the advantage of quick execution, it is susceptible to price volatility. Rapid market movements can lead to substantial gains, but they also pose a risk of significant losses.

Counterparty Risk: In spot trading, participants face counterparty risk, especially in over-the-counter (OTC) markets. This risk arises from the possibility that the other party may default on the transaction.

Limited Hedging Opportunities: Spot trading may not provide the same level of hedging opportunities as derivatives markets. Traders looking to manage specific risks may need to explore alternative financial instruments.

Market Impact: Large transactions in the spot market can have a noticeable impact on prices. This is particularly relevant for institutional investors, whose substantial trades may cause temporary distortions in the market.



Spot trading, with its emphasis on immediacy and simplicity, plays a crucial role in the broader financial landscape. Whether you're an individual investor looking to capitalize on short-term opportunities or an institutional player adjusting your portfolio swiftly, spot trading provides a versatile platform. Understanding the dynamics, advantages, and risks associated with spot trading is essential for making informed decisions in the fast-paced world of financial markets. As with any form of trading, thorough research, risk management, and a strategic approach are key to navigating the complexities of spot trading successfully.