How to trade or invest in the FTSE 100
The FTSE 100 – the UK’s most popular index – offers plenty of opportunities for traders and investors. In this guide, you’ll learn how to gain exposure to FTSE 100 price movements with CFDs on cash indices and index futures.
Interested in trading the CFDs on FTSE 100 with IG?
If you’re ready to open a position on the CFDs on FTSE 100, here are three steps to follow:
1. Decide whether you want to trade
Get exposure to the CFDs on FTSE 100 – trading on the index’s value via CFDs on cash indices and index futures.
2. Make a trading plan
Before taking a position on CFDs on FTSE 100, you'll need to decide whether you're a short- or long-term trader – and how you're going to manage your risk.
Find out the difference between investing and trading the FTSE 100, we explain each method in detail below.
Difference in trading or investing in the FTSE 100
Depending on your personal preference and risk tolerance, you can gain exposure to the FTSE 100 by trading with IG.
|Trading the FTSE 100||Investing in the FTSE 100|
|Ways to trade||CFDs||Buying shares outright|
|Market hours||24 hours1||-|
|Deposit required||20% of trade size||100% of trade size|
|Timeframe||Shorter term||Longer term|
|Liquidity||Higher liquidity offered by trading the index than investing|
Trading the FTSE 100
Trading is the only way to get direct exposure to the FTSE 100’s price movements. If you want to gain exposure to the FTSE 100, you can use CFDs to speculate on price movements.
When trading, you can gain full exposure with only a small deposit (called margin) and you do not take ownership of any assets.
Ways to trade the FTSE 100
When trading with IG, you can get exposure to an index’s price by trading the following:
Trading cash indices means dealing at the current price of the underlying market. Cash indices are popular with short-term traders because they offer some of our tightest spreads. However, if you keep cash index positions open overnight, an additional funding charge will apply.
Trading index futures means you agree to trade the index at a specific price on a specific date. Index futures are popular among longer-term traders because the overnight funding charge is included in the spread – enabling you to hold positions for a long time without this additional cost.
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What moves the FTSE 100’s price?
The FTSE 100’s price is moved by factors including:
- Economic events - Events such as Brexit, can have a significant impact on the price of an index. Since the 2016 referendum, the FTSE 100 has tended to move inversely with the pound.
- Exchange rates - Fluctuating exchange rates can affect the FTSE 100’s price because its constituents earn a lot of their income in other countries.
- News releases - Certain news releases are generally followed by a period of volatility in the market. If the news pertains to any of the industries or constituents of the FTSE 100, its price may be affected.
- Earnings reports - Changes to FTSE constituents’ valuations can have a substantial impact on the index price, depending on the weight of the stock.
- Commodity prices - Because around 15% of companies on the FTSE 100 are commodity stocks, commodity price fluctuations can influence the index’s price quite heavily.
FTSE 100 trading strategies and tips
- Decide on your trading style: There are four main trading styles – scalping, day trading, swing trading and position trading. Each trading style describes how often you place a trade, and how long you keep those trades running
- Study charts and price action: Daily and weekly charts can help you to gauge market sentiment, while price action can help you get a feel of what the market might do next
- Use technical analysis and indicators: It can be helpful to use technical analysis and trading indicators as part of your trading strategy to identify certain signals and trends within the market
- Look for FTSE trading signals: By looking at the FTSE 100 chart, you should be able to tell if it is in a trend. You can confirm trading signals with momentum indicators such as the stochastic oscillator or RSI
- Set trading alerts: Trading alerts enable you to set specific criteria for the FTSE 100 price and be notified immediately once the criteria have been met
- Follow news: Every time news about a company, such as earnings, is released, it can affect share prices. Keep a close eye on the economic calendar to help you trade according to the latest events
FTSE 100 calculation and trading hours
The FTSE 100 is an index of the UK’s largest 100 public companies by market capitalisation. It has become a popular way to gain exposure to the UK stock market and track the performance of the country’s economic health.
The market capitalisation of the index has grown significantly since its inception in 1984, as its constituents have experienced success and growth.
How is the FTSE 100 calculated?
The FTSE 100 is calculated by weighing all stocks listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) by market capitalisation. The 100 companies with the highest market cap make it onto the index. Companies with a higher market capitalisation will represent a higher weight in the index and stocks with higher weightings have a bigger effect on the FTSE 100’s price.
What are the FTSE 100’s trading hours?
The FTSE 100’s trading hours are 8am to 4.30pm UK time.
You can trade CFDs on FTSE 100 via cash indices or index futures.
To get onto the FTSE 100, a company must be listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and it must be one of the top 100 companies by market capitalisation on the exchange. If its market capitalisation drops drastically, a company might lose its listing on the FTSE 100.
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1 Where indicated, indices are available for dealing 24 hours a day, between 23.02 Sunday and 22.15 Friday (London time) each week. This will be between 07.02 Monday and 06.15 Saturday (Singapore time) on non-Daylight Savings periods and between 06.02 Monday and 05.15 Saturday (Singapore time) during Daylight Saving periods. Other indices are offered only when the underlying market is open. Please ask dealers for information about public holidays.