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Three Reasons to Start Derivatives Trading

Aug 17, 2007
If you are looking for a trading option outside of traditional stocks and bonds, derivatives trading may be a good option. Derivatives pay off over a period of time based on the performance of assets, interest rates, exchange rates, or indices. The payoff can be in cash or assets and vary, of course, by performance and timing. In addition to stocks and bonds, derivatives can also be traded through in the money market, foreign exchange (forex), and credit. Indicators affecting a derivative's performance are varied, and depending on the type of derivative. These can range from the stock market index to the consumer price index to weather conditions and fluctuations in currency exchange rates. The following reasons provide information on why it may be a good idea to begin derivatives trading.

1. Less Risk than other Trades
When you trade in derivatives, you are not purchasing the underlying product or buying into the company, although in some cases you are agreeing to purchase assets in the future, also known as futures trading. Instead, your risk is on the performance. There are two main types of derivatives: futures and options, which allow someone the option to buy or sell at a prearranged price. There are three main types of firms that use derivatives. These are investment banks, commercial banks, and end users, such as floor traders, corporations, and hedge and mutual funds.

While you can still lose money in derivatives trading, the risk is much less of an investment. Further, you can get involved in derivatives trading for a much lower initial investment, something that may appeal to those who cannot or do not want to invest as much as is required to purchase stock. Derivatives can also be a good way to add balance to your total portfolio, thereby spreading risk throughout a variety of investments rather than in only a few.

2. They Can be a Good Short Term Investment
If you are looking for an investment opportunity that can pay off in a shorter time frame, derivatives may be a good option. While some stocks and bonds are long-term investments over the course of many years, derivatives can be days, weeks, or a few months. Because of the shorter turnaround time, they can be a good way to break into the market as well as a good way to mix short and long-term investments. If you have a portfolio consisting of long-term investments, such as some stocks, and want an option to put your money to work now, derivatives may be an option.

Making derivatives work for you requires careful research and consideration just like any other investment opportunity. However, in a fast-paced world, investors have the option to see results much sooner in options or futures trading that are not available through other means.

3. Variety and Flexibility
The nature of derivatives essentially means that the opportunities for trading this type of investment are limited only by the imagination. The other side of this is that someone interested in entering the derivatives trading market needs to either have a trusted financial representative, or learn as much about the business as possible. Doing both is the best option, as you can then work with a financial representative in a much more involved way and have a better handle on what your money is doing and where. Numerous resources are available on the Internet for learning more about derivatives trading and the many options available. Those interested in derivatives training may want to begin by focusing on a particular area, such as currency trading. Some types of trading options are available around the clock, on a global scale. This is another reason some investors are drawn to derivatives trading. Getting involved in the global economy can be exciting, and it opens international options that may not be available through the traditional stock market (particularly given the regulations placed on foreign companies to comply with U.S. laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley).

In short, derivatives trading can be an excellent way to either break into the trading market or to round out an existing portfolio. It offers a wide range of options, including international opportunities. Finally, with some skill, research, and a bit of luck, it can be a good way to make your money work for you.
About the Author
Mike Singh is a finance enthusiast who writes articles about variety of fiscal topics. Checkout more Forex-related articles at Forex made easy .
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