What is a Pip?
A pip is the smallest price increment in Forex trading - pip stands for percentage in point.
Prices are quoted to the fourth decimal point in the Forex market - for example EUR/USD might be bid at 1.1914 and offered at 1.1917. In this example we can see that the spread is 3 pips wide. The Japanese Yen (JPY) is an exception - it is quoted only to the second decimal point.
What is a lot?
The standard unit size of a transaction. Typically, one standard lot is equal to 100,000 units of the base currency, 10,000 units if it's a mini, or 1,000 units if it's a micro. Some dealers offer the ability to trade in any unit size, down to as little as 1 unit.
Trading with micro lot sizes, generally 1,000 units of the base currency. e.g. The pip value is $0.10 for EUR/USD.
Trading with mini lot sizes, generally 10,000 units of the base currency. e.g. The pip value is $1 for EUR/USD.
Trading with standard lot sizes, generally 100,000 units of the base currency. e.g. The pip value is $10 for EUR/USD.
To calculate the leverage used, divide the total value of your open positions by the total margin balance in your account. For example, if you have $10,000 of margin in your account and you open one standard lot of USD/JPY (100,000 units of the base currency) for $100,000, your leverage ratio is 10:1 ($100,000 / $10,000). If you open one standard lot of EUR/USD for $150,000 (100,000 x EURUSD 1.5000) your leverage ratio is 15:1 ($150,000 / $10,000).
What is a Spread?
The spread is the difference between the bid price (the price you sell at) and the ask price (the price you buy at), quoted in pips. (A pip is 1/100 of one percent.) For example, if the quote between EUR/USD at a given moment is 1.4222/1.4223 (sell vs. buy, sometimes expressed as 1.4222/223), then the spread is 1 pip. If the quote is 1.4222/1.4242, then the spread is 20 pips.
The spread is also how banks and brokers make money. Wider spreads mean a higher ask price and a lower bid price. As a consequence, you pay more when you buy and get less when you sell, making it more expensive for you. The difficulty lies in knowing whether a wider spread is based on market conditions (that is, when there is less market liquidity during critical news events or non-trading hours), or if it’s simply based on extra profit for the bank or broker.
The deposit required to open or maintain a position. Margin can be either "free" or "used". Used margin is that amount which is being used to maintain an open position, whereas free margin is the amount available to open new positions. With a $1,000 margin balance in your account and a 1% margin requirement to open a position, you can buy or sell a position worth up to a notional $100,000. This allows a trader to leverage his account by up to 100 times or a leverage ratio of 100:1. If a trader's account falls below the minimum amount required to maintain an open position, he will receive a "margin call" requiring him to either add more money into his or her account or to close the open position. Most brokers will automatically close a trade when the margin balance falls below the amount required to keep it open. The amount required to maintain an open position is dependent on the broker and could be 50% of the original margin required to open the trade.
Leverage is the ability to gear your account into a position greater than your total account margin. For instance, if a trader has $1,000 of margin in his account and he opens a $100,000 position, he leverages his account by 100 times, or 100:1. If he opens a $200,000 position with $1,000 of margin in his account, his leverage is 200 times, or 200:1. Increasing your leverage magnifies both gains and losses.
A spot transaction is generally due for settlement within two business days (the value date). The cost of rolling over a transaction is based on the interest rate differential between the two currencies in a transaction. If you are long (bought) the currency with a higher rate of interest you will earn interest. If you are short (sold) the currency with a higher rate of interest you will pay interest. Most brokers will automatically roll over your open positions allowing you to hold your position indefinitely.
Support is a technical price level where buyers outweigh sellers, causing prices to bounce off a temporary price floor.
Resistance is a technical price level where sellers outweigh buyers, causing prices to bounce off a temporary price ceiling.
Common Order Types
An order to buy or sell at the current market price.
An order to buy or sell at a pre-specified price level.
An order to restrict losses at a pre-specified price level.
Limit Entry Order
An order to buy below the market or sell above the market at a pre-specified level, believing that the price will reverse direction from that point.
An order to buy above the market or sell below the market at a pre-specified level, believing that the price will continue in the same direction.
One Cancels Other. An order whereby if one is executed, the other is cancelled.
Good Till Cancelled. An order stays in the market until it is either filled or cancelled.
Common Trade Types
A position in which the trader attempts to profit from an increase in price. i.e. Buy low, sell high.
A position in which the trader attempts to profit from a decrease in price. i.e. Sell high, buy low.
A style of trading that involves analyzing price charts for technical patterns of behavior.
A style of trading that involves analyzing the macroeconomic factors of an economy underpinning the value of a currency and placing trades that support the trader's long or short-term outlook.
A style of trading that attempts to profit from riding short, medium or long term trends in price.
A style of trading that attempts to profit from buying and selling currencies between a lower level of support and an upper level of resistance. The upper level of resistance and the lower level of support defines the range. The range forms a price channel where the price can be seen to oscillate between the two levels of support and resistance.
A style of trading that involves frequent trading seeking small gains over a very short period of time. Trades can last from seconds to minutes.
A style of trading that involves multiple trades on an intra-day basis. Trades can last from minutes to hours.
A style of trading that involves seeking to profit from short to medium term swings in trend. Trades can last from hours to days.
A style of trading that involves taking a longer term position that reflects a longer term outlook. Trades can last from weeks to months.
A style of trading that uses human judgment and decision making in every trade.