Approaching the Stock Market
Before jumping into the markets, it’s a good idea to make sure you know exactly what stocks trading online involves. In this section, we’ll cover the fundamentals of the stock market and the different options you have for investing and trading.
What are stocks?
Stock – often referred to as shares – is effectively a fraction of a corporation that is sold off to raise capital. In its purest form, ownership of stock entitles the owner to a proportion of the corporation’s assets and profits relevant to how much stock they have acquired.
There are different ways you can invest and trade in stocks, but traditionally they are sold on stock exchanges, like the FTSE 100, NASDAQ or Nikkei. However, there have been many innovations when it comes to financial instruments and stock derivatives are now a hugely popular alternative to traditional stock ownership.
As we have touched upon above, there are now several ways you can get involved with stocks trading online, so let’s take a look at some of the most popular approaches.
Investing in the Stock Market
The most basic way of investing in the stock market is by buying shares in a company through a broker, speculating that the value of the company will increase over time and so too will the value of your stocks. There are plenty of advantages to this kind of investment and stocks have shown to be one of the best investment vehicles overall.
However, traditional investing also has its limitations. For one thing, you can generally only profit if a stock increases in value, rather than speculating on downward price movements. In addition, investing in this sense requires a specialist brokerage account, which can be time-consuming and expensive to set up when compared with the average online stock trading platform in the UK.
Stocks trading online
Many people use the terms trading and investing synonymously. However, they represent two different approaches to the stock market. Whereas investors look to profit by holding shares in a company over the long term, traders generally seek to exploit market fluctuations with much more frequent buying and selling of assets or derivatives.
Stocks trading online is all about getting in and out quickly – taking smaller profits as prices inch up and down throughout the trading day. Most stocks trading platform UK allow traders to either enter long positions, when they believe the price of an asset will increase, or short sell, when they think prices will move downward.
Traders also rely on margin to maximise their profits. This is effectively borrowing money from the broker to gain greater market exposure.
Often, a stocks trading account online will also allow access to other markets, such as gold trading UK or forex trading platforms in the UK. Whilst we suggest initially focusing on one asset class, it’s always nice to have options later down the line.
Stocks Spread betting
Stock market betting is a form of derivatives trading that effectively means placing a bet on whether a company’s value will increase or decrease. Traders open a position and their profit and loss is then the value of their position multiplied by the extent of the market movement in whichever direction. In this sense, stocks spreads betting is very similar to traditional sports betting.
Spread betting is popular with traders as it offers the chance to make faster trades with predictable potential returns. As with other forms of short-term trading, stocks spread betting usually involves trading on margin to boost returns.
Another key feature of spread betting on stocks is that there is no commission or stamp duty to pay when trading. What’s more, the use of leverage means you can gain a much bigger position with relatively little outlay.
How to Start Stocks Trading Online
Before you open a stocks trading account, it’s worth spending some time researching the markets and learning a little terminology to make sure you know what it is you are getting involved with – investing a little time now will pay dividends later.
It’s also a good idea to outline a basic strategy. This might include your trading budget, how and when you plan to make transactions and what markets you intend to focus on.
When you’re actually ready to start trading stocks, then the first thing you’ll need is a good stocks trading platform in the UK. This will give you access to the markets, as well as plenty of analytical and trading tools.
Finding a Stocks Trading Platform in the UK
So how do you find the right stocks trading account? Every trader will have different priorities when it comes to choosing a good stocks trading platform in the UK – for some, the overall look and feel of a platform may be the most important feature, whilst others may have a specific list of tools or features they require.
Fortunately, help is at hand. Here at Betting.co.uk, we have put together a comprehensive list of top platforms that can offer you a stocks trading account to match your requirements. We also have plenty of guides to help you get an overview of the markets before you get started.
Finding the rights stocks trading platform in the UK is the first step in what could be an exciting and lucrative journey into trading – so it’s important to spend time conducting a little research and finding the right platform for you.
How We Test the Best Stocks Trading Websites
Each of our reviews presents an unbiased and in-depth view of the top stocks trading websites on the market. To identify the best platforms, our experts use a specific criteria to consider the most important factors. These include:
Usability, Look and Feel
You’ll want your stocks trading platform UK to have all the tools and analytics you need to play the markets, but it’s also important to choose a platform that has the right feel and an intuitive interface. As such, we take a look at how each platform is presented as an overall package.
There’s no doubt about it, stocks trading online can be a complicated business. There’s also plenty to learn about setting up a stocks trading account. As such, it’s important that each platform offers adequate customer support so you can get assistance if you need it.
Fees and Charges
Even the best online broker will charge fees, but many differ on exactly what these are and how they are applied. No trader wants to see their profits eaten into by excessive platform fees, so our reviews include a thorough breakdown of each platform’s fee structure.
Before you can actually open positions, you’ll need to fund your stocks trading account. Most platforms will offer plenty of choice in this department and support the most popular payment methods, such as Visa/Mastercard and PayPal. However, those who prefer to use other e-Payment methods will need to ensure their preferred option is supported.
As we’ve mentioned, there are several stock markets, both domestically and around the world, and platforms may differ on which ones they have listed on their exchanges. Naturally, you’ll want to make sure your stocks trading account allows you to enter the market of your choice, so we include which markets a platform lists as part of our reviews.
Licensing and Regulation
It’s essential to ensure your chosen stocks trading platform in the UK complies with all rules stipulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. A thorough evaluation of a platform’s licensing and regulation forms a key part of our reviews – so you can confidently choose your provider knowing everything is above board.
Tips & Tricks for Beginners
When it comes to stocks trading online, it can seem like there is a lot to learn – and there is. Before signing up for a stocks trading account, it’s important to conduct plenty of research and learn as much as you can about trading before committing any funds. That being said, everyone has to start somewhere and experience is everything when it comes to trading.
To give you the best possible start, we have put together the following list of tips and tricks for beginners. Whilst we cannot guarantee returns, following the advice given below will provide you with a solid foundation from which to start your journey into stocks trading online.
Find a Good Stocks Trading Platform in the UK
As we’ve already touched upon, it’s important that your stocks trading account has everything you need. Having a good platform is the first step in a successful entry into the world of trading and it’s worth taking some time to choose wisely.
Every stocks trading platform UK review we carry out will tell you everything you need to know about a given platform – including a thorough list of its key features and any relevant regulatory credentials. By reading our reviews, you’ll be able to build an idea of what features and functions are important to you.
It’s also important to consider your future trading objectives. Often, you will find a stock broker, an ETF trading UK and a bond trading online platform all in one. However, some traders may prefer a separate account for each derivative.
There’s only so much you can learn about stocks trading online without actually getting involved for yourself. However, novice traders need to build their experience gradually – the fastest way to lose money is to start out making overly ambitious, reckless trades.
Stocks trading online is about making small, successful trades not taking big risks for one-hit payouts. If you’re new to the financial markets then you should start off making smaller trades, using only a small amount of your trading budget until you’ve learnt the ropes. This will allow you to get a feel for how things work without risking too much capital.
You should also start small in terms of trading scope. Don’t try to learn too much too quickly by randomly dipping in and out of different markets. Instead, focus on a single market and perhaps even a single industry and learn the basics of watching price movements and when to get in and out of trades.
Keep an eye on the price
Stocks trading is all about volatility. The value of a stock will move up and down throughout the trading day – sometimes significantly – and this can be hard to keep track of. Whilst there are many tools to monitor a stocks price movement, the reality is no one can accurately predict how a stock’s value will change. Most stocks appreciate over time, but for the trader, the small fluctuations in price can lead to losses if not carefully monitored.
Fortunately, a good stocks trading account will offer customers tools to get in and out of positions at certain points. These are commonly known as limit orders or stop orders. These tools allow you to have a position close automatically if the price of an asset moves beyond a certain point. The importance of limit orders will become more apparent as you increase your trading volume.
Build your strategy
Trading strategies can initially seem very complex – but they don’t have to be. From the very outset of your trading journey, you should have a plan in place. Initially, this may be as simple as setting a daily, weekly or monthly trading budget; allocating time for making trades; or simply building a list of what markets and/or stocks you are going to focus on.
As you get better acquainted with the trading landscape and your chosen stocks trading account, then you can start exploring some of the common strategies employed by top traders. These include scalping, fading, trend trading or news trading – all of which are explored in our guide to trading strategies.
Stocks Trading Online – Our Final Words
Stocks trading can provide an exciting and lucrative way into the financial markets and the huge array of online brokers means it has never been easier to get started. However, as with any form of investment, there is risk involved and novice traders should take the time to learn the ropes and only commit funds they can afford to lose.
As we’ve discussed, the first step in a successful trading career is researching the right platform – which we have hopefully made a much easier process with our extensive broker reviews. Once you’re up and running you’ll find you’ll quickly get a feel for how things work and with careful planning and strategy, you’ll be giving yourself the best possible entry into the markets.
Stocks Trading Account FAQ
♟️ Where can I trade stocks online?
There are plenty of brokers and exchanges online offering access to stock markets around the world. If you’re looking to start trading, then our list of comprehensive reviews will help you find the right platform for you. We’ll also give you plenty of helpful tips on how to get started.
🤔 What is stocks trading?
Many people are confused by exactly what stocks trading involves and how it differs from other types of investment. Fortunately, we’ve put together a handy guide and review that will give you an overview of what stocks trading involves and how you can enter the markets yourself.
⚙️ What’s the difference between trading and investing?
Despite the terms often being used interchangeably, investing and trading are actually very different. Whilst they both involve speculating on the movement of an asset’s price, trading and traditional investing differ in how they are carried out and what strategies are used. If you’d like to find out more, feel free to check out our comparison on stocks trading online.
🤓 How do I choose a good online stock broker?
Choosing a good online broker is a decision that requires some thought and research. You’ll need to decide what features are most important to you, based on your trading goals, before looking into the different brokers available to see what they can deliver. This is why we have put together our comprehensive broker reviews – to help you find the best platform for you.
❓ Can anyone trade stocks?
Thanks to the plethora of online brokers and platforms, trading stocks online has never been so accessible. However, you’ll need to find a broker that is licenced to operate in your location and meets all the necessary legal requirements, which is why our reviews include thorough details of each platform’s regulatory credentials, to ensure everything is above board.