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Setting Yourself Up For Futures Trading

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I've noticed that a lot of new traders are a little confused about the process of setting up and opening a trading account through an agent. It's not a problem if you have the ability to manage your banking online setting up and running an account with a brokerage trading company is an easy task.

It is the first thing to do: locate your broker. If you are a trader then you need an effective electronic platform that can help you manage your account and trade online in an interactive manner. The most important aspects to consider include:

  • The cost of execution is very low on the contract you want to trade. Prices are quoted either as"per side" "round trip" or "per side". Since a future trade requires two distinct transactions that are Buy to Open and Sell to close or reverse the "round trip" price covers both sides. If you come across ads with a price of $5, you are aware that trading could cost you $10.
  • Speedy execution of the orders you make. When I say "fast" I mean virtually instant execution of market orders. The trading platform should offer an immediate electronic interface with the marketplace. Don't consider a two-stage process whereby orders are sent to brokers, who then forward them to exchanges. Click Here and get the best trading company in INDIA.
  • Support for all the common kinds of orders. At a minimum, you must be able to market order, stop, and limit orders. If you do not want to be dependent on the screen for the entire session, make sure you be able to have orders like "one cancels other" or "one triggers other" available in order that your strategy can be automatized.
  • A chart is a trading analyst's primary tool and well-established brokers provide high-quality charts in their offerings. It should be able to show market data in a variety of formats and timeframes. The software must allow for the display of standard indicators and chart studies.
  • Real-time data feeds are crucial for traders on a day-to-day basis. You must be able to see your charts changing on your monitor in real-time. It is also possible to view "market depth" information. (This indicates the number of transactions that are on the market at different bid/ask rates.) In general, there's an annual fee for this service. This charge is usually waived when you complete a certain amount of transactions.
  • Access to markets across the world. Electronic markets have made it possible for brokers to offer direct interfaces with exchanges across the globe. Alongside being able to trade in the US Markets, you want to be able to trade in European or Asian markets. This is crucial for investors from countries other than the US.
  • 24/7 support is vital. In most cases, you won't need to reach your broker via telephone, and you can conduct all of your trading transactions on the internet. If something goes off, you should be assured that someone is ready to resolve the issue promptly. In a market that is constantly changing the speed of action can be crucial.
  • Last, but certainly not least, it's helpful when your trading platform permits the trading of futures options in addition to pure contracts for futures. As your trading progresses you might want to use option strategies, and it can be a hassle when you need to change brokers.

Over the course of my career, I've employed two futures brokers: Xpresstrade as well as Interactive Brokers. Both offered excellent service. Xpresstrade utilizes a browser-based trading platform, which means there is no need to download any particular software on your PC. I found it easy to use, and with strong features, and the assistance was excellent.


Interactive Brokers (IB) is my current broker, and I am very pleased with their service. All of their processes are automated and there is a myriad of services that are available through their platform for trading. For instance, you can enter orders via a standard screen for entering orders, or directly from the "book trader" screen, or through graphic tools directly on charts.

IB offers excellent support. They are however geared towards traders with experience and know-how and don't offer "hand-holding" support. Those who are new to trading may find their interface to be more difficult than others like Xpresstrade.

For a rough idea of the pricing you can expect, Xpresstrade charges $5 per side for the most common electronic contracts; IB charges $2.40. Both offer discount structures for volume traders.

As I write this, I am watching the Corn market on the Chicago Board of Trade. You can click this link to view my basic trading screen.

Two windows are open. On the right side is the charting window that is set to follow the session with 2-minute candlestick bars. There is the volume displayed at the bottom. It is simple to display your studies or draw trends across the charts.

To the left of the screen on the left side is to the left is the "book trader" window which shows market depth at different prices, and allows the entry of one click for the most common types of orders. For instance, left-clicking on a specific price level will trigger an order called a Limit, while the right click triggers the stop order. The Buy/Sell buttons located at right at the very top will open market orders that are immediate. 

This is an excellent setup for Stock Trading on a daily basis. Screens are simple to modify and each trader is able to set up their own system in accordance with their personal preferences as well as the instruments they prefer to employ.

I've noticed that traders from other countries are often uneasy about opening accounts with US brokerage companies. Naturally, they feel more secure in and "connected" working with a brokerage that is based in their country.

But I suggest you consider international perspectives in this industry. The US futures markets are huge and the industry that manages these markets is well-established and well-developed. Choose your "best" brokerage, not necessarily one with a local presence. Keep in mind that your interactions are entirely online which means it does not matter where their office is located.

Another concern I've been hearing from new traders from offshore is that their funds are not secure and could become difficult to get access to. The only thing we can tell you is over more than ten years of experience in trading, I have found the process of depositing and withdrawing funds to be simple as well as completely reliable. US Futures brokers are highly controlled, and perhaps more so than brokers from your country.


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