How to trade or invest in the HS50

The Hang Seng 50 (HS50) is a measure of the performance of the 50 largest companies on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK). Here, we explain how to trade CFDs on HS50 and cover some trading strategies and tips.

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If you’re ready to open a position on CFDs on HS50, here are three steps to follow:

1. Decide whether you want to trade

Get exposure to the CFDs on HS50 – trading on the index's value via CFDs on cash indices, index futures, stocks and ETFs.

2. Make a trading plan

Before taking a position on CFDs on HS50, you'll need to decide whether you're a short- or long-term trader – and how you're going to manage your risk.

3. Open a live account

To open your CFD account – CFD trading – fill in our simple application form.

Find out the difference between investing and trading the HS50, we explain each method in detail below.

Difference in trading or investing in the HS50

Depending on your personal preference and risk tolerance, you can gain exposure to the HS50 by trading with IG. The differences between the two methods are summarised in the table below:

Trading the HS50 Investing in the HS50
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 HS50

If you want to get direct exposure to the Hang Seng 50’s price movements, you may choose to trade, rather than invest. You can trade the index via CFDs, which enable you to speculate on upward or downward price movements.

To open a position, you’ll need a deposit – called margin. This deposit gives you exposure to the full value of the trade, which means your profits and losses will be magnified.

Ways to trade the Hang Seng 50

You can trade the Hang Seng 50 with CFDs via:

Cash indices

By choosing to trade cash indices, you trade the current price of the underlying market, known as the spot price. Cash indices offer narrower spreads than other markets, which is why they are often preferred by short-term traders. However, if these traders do not close their positions by the end of the trading day, they will be charged an overnight funding fee.

Index futures

When you trade HS50 futures, you agree to trade the index at a specific price at a fixed date in the future. Index futures are preferred by longer-term traders because they can hold positions without incurring overnight funding charges, as these are included in the spread. Index futures are always settled in cash, as there’s no physical underlying asset to deliver.


You can go long or short on the share price of constituents within the HS50 without owning them. You can take advantage of markets that fall in price as well as those that rise. If you think the share price will go up, you go long (buy) and if you think it will fall, you go short (sell). You will make a profit if the market moves in your favour.


You can capitalise on short-term price movements across all 50 companies on the Hang Seng 50 by trading an ETF, which imitates the composition of the index. ETFs are traded in a similar way to stocks, but they track an underlying asset or basket of assets. When you trade HS50 ETFs with CFDs, you can get amplified exposure because you’re trading using leverage.

What moves the HS50’s price?

The HS50 index's price is moved by factors such as :

  • Economic events - Given the proximity to China and the large number of Chinese companies dominating the HS50, one can expect the economic and political backdrop in the country (including trade wars) to play the key role in the index’s price movements.
  • News - News, such as reports surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, can have a significant impact on the price of the HS50 index. For example, between February and March 2020, at the height of the pandemic, the index declined by about 10.3%.
  • Earnings reports - When constituents of the Hang Seng 50 release their earnings reports, it’s important to note if there are any big changes to each company’s market capitalisation. If so, and the company has significant weight in the HS50, it can sway the index’s price.
  • Interest rate decisions - Generally, when interest rates go down, markets tend to rise and when interest rates go up, the market reacts negatively. This can also be true for the HS50, but it is not a guarantee. Stay abreast of interest rate decisions by major central banks as it can cause some short-term volatility in the market.
  • Currency rates and fluctuations - The strength of currencies, such as HKD, CHD and JPY have a direct impact on the performance of the companies within the HS50, and thus the index itself. This is because the constituents of the HS50 do business with countries across the world, which means their income is dependent on various exchange rates. If these rates fluctuate often, the index’s price will also be affected.

Traders should always use a combination of fundamental analysis and technical analysis before trading CFDs on HS50 and follow their trading plan and risk management strategy.

HS50 trading strategies and tips

  • Choose your trading style: Decide how you want to trade the index by choosing a trading style based on your risk appetite and how much time you have available. There are four main trading styles , suited to different types of traders.
  • Examine charts and price action: Use CFDs on HS50 price charts to assist in determining market sentiment. Knowing how to use charts when trading can help you to estimate what the index price might do next
  • Conduct technical analysis and indicators: Learn how technical analysis and trading indicators can help you to identify chart patterns, trading signals and trends in the markets.
  • Set trading alerts: Set criteria for the CFDs on HS50 and get notified when the criteria are met. This way, you can trade instantly if you think the market has reached the right price

HS50 overview

The HS50 is a capitalisation weighted-index, made up by the 50 largest and liquid companies on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK). This means that the larger component stocks will find a greater influence upon the overall index.

Representation for each stock is capped at 10% to avoid any single stock dominating the index. The 50 component stocks can be grouped into four categories forming their own sub-indices: finance, utilities, properties, and commerce and industry. A review of the index is conducted quarterly.

How is the HS50 calculated?

The HS50 is calculated by measuring the market capitalisation of all the companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK). The calculation takes various factors into account, such as the current value of each stock, the closing price of the previous day, and number of shares available.

Constituent stocks must be among the top 90% of the total turnover on the SEHK and have a listing history of at least two years. The index is calculated in real-time at two-second intervals during the trading hours of the exchange. The 50 companies that qualify are listed on the HS50.

What are the CFDs on HS50 trading hours?

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.


You can trade CFDs on HS50 via cash indices or index futures. When trading cash indices, you deal at the current price of the underlying market and when trading index futures, you choose to trade the HS50 at a specific price on a specific date.

Before trading CFDs on Hang Seng 50, do your research and understand how the index works – how it’s calculated and what affects it price. Then, decide whether you want to trade or invest in the index. Try out IG’s demo platform or open a live trading account if you’re ready to take on the live markets.

Companies get onto the HS50 by having a market capitalisation that is among the top 50 on the SEHK. If the share price of a company drops significantly, negatively affecting its market capitalisation, it could drop off the HS50 list. The opposite is true if share prices go up. A new company could make it onto the HS50, causing another company to lose its place.

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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.