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If you’re looking to trade The UK FTSE 100 (FTSE 100), we’ve compiled a list of the best brokers for trading the UKX. All brokers in this list are authorised and regulated by the FCA. Ensure that you are using the best platforms for trading indices and choose a brokers from our comparison list of the best brokers for trading The UK FTSE 100 (FTSE 100):

Types of broker that offer UK FTSE 100 (FTSE 100) Trading


Compare Index Brokers For Trading The UK FTSE 100 (FTSE 100)

All the index brokers are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority where client funds are segregated and protected under FSCS. Note: If you want to convert one currency to another and send money abroad you need a currency broker.

Featured Forex BrokerWhat Forex pairs can you trade?How much does Forex trading cost?CEO InterviewMore Info

IG

With IG, you can choose to trade more than 80 currency pairs – from majors, such as GBP/USD to exotics such as HUF/EUR. You can trade these forex pairs via CFDs or spread bets. Get spreads from just 0.6 points on pairs like EUR/USD with the UK’s No.1 FX provider.

June Felix, IG CEO

Read June Felix CEO Interview

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IG Reviews
Your capital is at risk. 76% of retail CFD accounts lose money

CMC Markets

Trade forex on over 300 forex pairs, including EUR/USD, GBP/USD and AUD/USD, plus our customised range of 12 forex indices​. Spreads on EUR/USD, AUD/USD and USD/JPY start from just 0.7 points. CMC USD Index​ spreads from 0.25.

Read Peter Cruddas CEO Interview

Visit CMC

CMC Reviews

Pepperstone

Trade 61+ currency pairs with deep liquidity with pricing from multiple sources. Get some of the lowest forex spreads on the market with raw spreads from 0.0 pips on Razor accounts Tamas Szabo Pepperstone CEO Read Tamas Szabo CEO Interview Visit Pepperstone

Pepperstone Reviews
Fineco Trade 50+ Global Forex pairs Forex pairs with Fineco Fineco Forex spread are as low as, GBP/USD 1, EUR/USD 0.8, EUR/GBP 1

Paolo Di Grazia, Fineco General Manager Paolo Di Grazia, Fineco GM

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Fineco Reviews

Saxo Capital Markets

Access 182 FX pairs across majors, minors and exotics, plus spot metals, from only 0.4 pips Ultra-competitive FX spreads and trade major FX pairs from 0.4 pips. Competitive entry prices and even lower rates for active forex traders. Andrew Edwards Saxo Capital Markets UK CEO Read Andrew Edwards CEO Interview Visit Saxo

Saxo Reviews

XTB XTB Brokers

Trade 48 currency pairs, 24 hours, 5 days a week, micro-lot trading available Low forex spreads from 0.1 pips on EURUSD, 0.3 pips on GBPUSD and 0.02 on AUDUSD.

Arnaout Omar Omar Arnaout

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XTB Reviews

Spreadex Financials

Spreadex

Speculate on over 60 currency pairs with advanced technical analysis tools including Pattern Recognition, ProTrend Lines and advanced indicators plus drawing tools Low spreads from 0.6 pts on EUR/USD and 0.9 pts on GBP/USD with 24 hour trading on most FX markets

Jonathan Hufford

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Spreadex Reviews

Plus 500

Trade FX CFDs on 60+ Forex Pairs like EUR/USD, GBP/USD and EUR/GBP with up to 1:30 leverage Variable Forex spreads on currency markets. Plus500 does not charge additional Forex dealing commissions. Coming Soon Visit Plus 500

Plus 500 Reviews

City Index

Trade on 84 global FX pairs like EUR/USD, GBP/USD and USD/JPY at City Index with fast execution and tight spreads Trade forex CFDs, DFT or spread bets with tight spreads from 0.5pts on major FX pairs Coming Soon Visit City Index

City Index Reviews

eToro

Trade CFDs on 47 of the most popular currency pairs with trades based in USD with eToro Forex Forex spreads are variable and trading costs are built into the price. Daily finance is charged on overnight positions.

Yoni Assai Interview

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eToro Reviews

Best CFD Brokers For Trading The UK FTSE 100 (FTSE 100)

Use our comparison tables to compare CFD brokers authorised and regulated by the FCA. Choose or switch to a CFD broker that offers the most markets, best pricing and client security.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. 

Featured CFD BrokerWhat can you trade via CFDs?What are the CFD trading costs?CEO InterviewMore Info

IG

IG clients can trade a range of over 17,000 CFD markets Trade CFDs on interest rates, bonds, sectors, forex, indices, global shares, commodities and cryptocurrencies Opening an account is free, and charges are competitive. Trade spreads from 0.6 points on key FX pairs like EUR/USD, 1 point on major indices like the Germany 30 and FTSE 100, and 0.3 points on Spot Gold.

June Felix, IG CEO

Read June Felix CEO Interview

Visit IG

IG Reviews
Your capital is at risk. 76% of retail CFD accounts lose money

CMC Markets

Trade contracts for difference (CFDs) and access over 9,500 instruments with competitive spreads. Trade CFDs on forex, indices, cryptocurrencies, commodities, shares and treasuries. Trade CFDs on major forex pairs from 0.7 points and popular indices from 1 point. When trading UK shares a commission is charged from 0.1% or 2 cents per unit for US.

Read Peter Cruddas CEO Interview

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CMC Reviews

Pepperstone

150+ instruments across FX, indices, equities, cryptos, energy and commodities, and more, across three, free powerful platforms During liquid times, CFD spreads can go as low as 0 pips on the EURUSD on the Pepeprstone Razor account Tamas Szabo Pepperstone CEO Read Tamas Szabo CEO Interview Visit Pepperstone

Pepperstone Reviews
Fineco Trade Fineco CFDs on thousand of asset classes Equity, Indices, Commodities, bond and Interest Rates Share CFDs have no additional spreads, indices have spread as low as 0.4pips on S&P 500 and 0.6pip on Nasdaq 100 and FTSE 100. FX spreads on 50+ pairs from 0.8pips.

Paolo Di Grazia, Fineco General Manager Paolo Di Grazia, Fineco GM

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Fineco Reviews

Saxo Capital Markets

Access 9,000+ CFDs and trade CFDs on single stocks, indices, forex, commodities, options and bonds. Ultra-competitive pricing for trading UK stock CFDs from GBP 8, and US 30 Wall St. from 2 points. Andrew Edwards Saxo Capital Markets UK CEO Read Andrew Edwards CEO Interview Visit Saxo

Saxo Reviews

XTB XTB Brokers

Trade over 1500 global CFD markets including Forex, Cryptocurrencies, Indices, Commodities, Share CFDs and ETFs. Low forex spreads from 0.1 pips, stock CFD commission from 0.08%

Arnaout Omar Omar Arnaout

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XTB Reviews

Spreadex Financials

Spreadex

Trade one of the widest ranges of CFD markets including shares, indices, forex, commodities, bonds and interest rates. CFD spreads start from just 0.6 pts on EUR/USD, 1pt on UK 100 and 0.4 pts on Gold

Jonathan Hufford

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Spreadex Reviews

eToro

Trade CFDs in USD on eToro on a wide range of stocks, forex, indices, commodities and copy other CFD traders Cost are based in USD and eToro CFD trading costs are built into the spread.

Yoni Assai Interview

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eToro Reviews

Plus 500

Trade CFDs on a wide range of Indices, Forex, Commodities, Crypto, Shares, Options and ETFs Plus 500 CFD spreads are variable, yet competitive for new traders. There is no commission. Overnight funding is charged on positions. Coming Soon Visit Plus 500

Plus 500 Reviews

City Index

CFD Trading with City Index gives you access to over 4000 global markets including Indices, Shares, FX, Commodities and Bonds. Fixed and variable CFD spreads from 0.5 points with benchmark UK financing is LIBOR +/-2.5% Coming Soon Visit City Index

City Index Reviews

ETX Capital

Trade CFDs on ETX on over 5,000 instruments in all major asset classes including FX, Indices, Shares and Commodities.. Trade CFDs low commissions through ETX's pooled liquidity from a range of sources to deliver the best prices and narrowest spreads. Phil Adler CEO Interview ETX Reviews

Best Spread Betting Brokers For Trading The UK FTSE 100 (FTSE 100)

Use our comparison reviews to compare spread betting broker costs, spreads, offers and features. Only Spread Betting Brokers authorized and regulated by the FCA where client funds are protected under the FSCS are featured.

Spread betting carries a high level of risk and losses can exceed your deposits. Featured brokers appear first.

Featured Spread BettingBrokerWhat markets can you spread bet on?How much are the spread betting fees?CEO InterviewMore Info

IG

Go long or short and spread bet on more than 17,000 markets with with IG, the world’s No.1 provider Spread bet from 0.6 points on key FX pairs like EUR/USD, 1 point on major indices like the Germany 30 and FTSE 100, and 0.3 points on Spot Gold.

June Felix, IG CEO

Read June Felix CEO Interview

Visit IG

IG Reviews
Your capital is at risk. 76% of retail CFD accounts lose money

CMC Markets

Spread bet on the price movements of thousands of financial instruments, including indices, currencies, cryptocurrencies, commodities, shares and treasuries. Competitive spreads on our spread betting instruments, including major FX pairs from 0.7 points, major indices from 1 point and crude oil from 3 points.

Read Peter Cruddas CEO Interview

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CMC Reviews

Pepperstone

Spread bet on 150+ instruments across FX, indices, equities, cryptos, energy and commodities, and more, across three, free powerful platforms Spreads on our MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms are variable, with prices coming from many providers and sources to ensure you're getting the best price. Tamas Szabo Pepperstone CEO Read Tamas Szabo CEO Interview Visit Pepperstone

Pepperstone Reviews

Spreadex Financials

Spreadex

Trade one of the widest ranges of spread betting markets including large and small cap shares, indices, forex, commodities, bonds and interest rates. Spread betting spreads start from just 0.6 pts on EUR/USD, 1pt on UK 100 and 0.4 pts on Gold

Jonathan Hufford

Visit Spreadex

Spreadex Reviews

City Index

Spread Betting with City Index provides a tax-free* way to trade over 8000+ global markets. Fixed and variable spreads from 0.5 points with benchmark UK financing is LIBOR +/-2.5% Coming Soon Visit City Index

City Index Reviews

ETX Capital

Trade over 5,000 markets with Profits exempt from both Stamp Duty and Capital Gains tax within the UK. ETX offer competitive spread betting costs with major FX pairs from 0.6 pips and spreads on major Indices from 1 pt. Phil Adler CEO Interview ETX Reviews

Best DMA Brokers For Trading The UK FTSE 100 (FTSE 100)

Compare brokers that offer Direct Market Access (DMA) who are authorised and regulated by the FCA.  Use DMA to get inside the price and reduce your trading costs by getting better prices.

DMA BrokerDMA AccessDMA ExecutionAccount TypesCEO InterviewMore Info

IG

Stocks:
FX:
Index:
Commodities:
Voice:
Online:
Strategy:
Prime:
DMA:
Futures:
CFD
Spreadbetting:

June Felix, IG CEO

Read June Felix CEO Interview

Visit IG

IG Reviews
CEO Interview
Your capital is at risk. 76% of retail CFD accounts lose money

Saxo Capital

Stocks:
FX:
Index:
Commodities:
Voice:
Online:
Strategy:
Prime:
DMA:
Futures:
CFD
Spreadbetting:
Andrew Edwards Saxo Capital Markets UK CEO Read Andrew Edwards CEO Interview Visit Saxo

Saxo Reviews
Fineco Stocks:
FX:
Index:
Commodities:
Voice:
Online:
Strategy:
Prime:
DMA:
Futures:
CFD
Spreadbetting:

Paolo Di Grazia, Fineco General Manager Paolo Di Grazia, Fineco GM

Visit Fineco

Fineco Reviews
Interactive Brokers Interactive Brokers Stocks:
FX:
Index:
Commodities:
Voice:
Online:
Strategy:
Prime:
DMA:
Futures:
CFD
Spreadbetting:

Thomas Peterffy

IBKR Services

Best MT4 Brokers For Trading The UK FTSE 100 (FTSE 100)

MT4 or MetaTrader 4 is currently offered by over 600 brokers worldwide. Compare the top MT4 brokers to ensure you get the best pricing, tools, analysis and features.

Featured MT4 BrokerWhat can you trade on MT4?How much does MT4 trading cost?CEO InterviewMore Info

IG

IG’s MetaTrader 4 package delivers instant access to 18 free add-ons and indicators, giving you an edge in your trading. You’ll also have the option to download thousands more from inside the MetaTrader 4 platform. Take advantage of minimum spreads of 0.6 on a host of forex pairs with IG. The minimum lot size on MT4 is 0.01 lots, helping you manage the risks of high-volume trading.

June Felix, IG CEO

Read June Felix CEO Interview

Visit IG

IG Reviews
Your capital is at risk. 76% of retail CFD accounts lose money

CMC Markets

Trade CFDs on 30 currency pairs including EUR/USD, GBP/USD and USD/JPY, major indices like the UK 100 and US 30, plus popular commodities such as Gold, Silver and Crude Oil Trade Forex from 0.7 pips on MT4, indices from 1 point and Gold from 0.3.

Read Peter Cruddas CEO Interview

Visit CMC

CMC Reviews

Pepperstone

Trade 85 pre-installed MT4 indicators available on the desktop app for greater insight into market trends During liquid times, MT4 spreads can go as low as 0 pips on the EURUSD through the Razor account Tamas Szabo Pepperstone CEO Read Tamas Szabo CEO Interview Visit Pepperstone

Pepperstone Reviews

Saxo Capital Markets

With Saxo Capital Markets' MT4 you can trade DMA on over 25+ tier 1 liquidity providers with professional-grade execution and liquidity models. Saxo MT4 spreads range from 0.3 pips on EURUSD 0.1 on USDJPY with prices derived from a wide range of Tier 1 institutions or choose Saxo’s own highly competitive pricing. Andrew Edwards Saxo Capital Markets UK CEO Read Andrew Edwards CEO Interview Visit Saxo

Saxo Reviews

XTB XTB Brokers

Trade over 1,500 markets through MT4. Test and optimise your trading strategies with the MT4 Strategy Tester Low forex spreads from 0.1 pips, stock CFD commission from 0.08%

Arnaout Omar Omar Arnaout

Visit XTB

XTB Reviews

ETX Capital

Trade over 60 FX pairs including majors, minors and a range of exotics currency pairs with ETX. ETX offer low FX trading costs on spread betting and CFDs with spreads on EURUSD from only 0.6 pips, and GBPUSD from 0.9 pips. Phil Adler CEO Interview ETX Reviews

City Index

With City Index’s MetaTrader4 platform, you can trade over 80 Forex pairs, including majors, minors and exotics. Ultra-tight spreads, fast trade executions and unique trading tools. Coming Soon Visit City Index

City Index Reviews

Best Options Brokers For Trading The UK FTSE 100 (FTSE 100)

Use our comparison tables to compare the best UK based options brokers authorised and regulated by the FCA. Choose or switch to an option broker that offers the most markets, best pricing and client security.

Featured BrokerFutures & OptionsServicesAccount TypesCEO InterviewMore Info

Saxo Capital

Stocks:
FX:
Index:
Commodities:
Voice:
Online:
Strategy:
Prime:
DMA:
Futures:
Options:
CFD
Spreadbetting
Andrew Edwards Saxo Capital Markets UK CEO Read Andrew Edwards CEO Interview Visit Saxo

Saxo Reviews

IG

Stocks:DMA
FX:
Index:CFD
Commodities:CFDs
Voice:
Online:
Strategy:
Prime:
DMA:
Futures:
Options:
CFD
Spreadbetting

June Felix, IG CEO

Read June Felix CEO Interview

Visit IG

IG Reviews
Fineco Stocks:DMA
FX:
Index:CFD
Commodities:CFDs
Voice:
Online:
Strategy:
Prime:
DMA:
Futures:
Options:
CFD
Spreadbetting

Paolo Di Grazia, Fineco General Manager Paolo Di Grazia, Fineco GM

Visit Fineco

Fineco Reviews

Linear Investments

Stocks:
FX:
Index:
Commodities:
Voice:
Online:
Strategy:
Prime:
DMA:
Futures:
Options:
CFD
Spreadbetting

Jerry Lees

Linear Services
Interactive Brokers Interactive Brokers Stocks:
FX:
Index:
Commodities:
Voice:
Online:
Strategy:
Prime:
DMA:
Futures:
Options:
CFD
Spreadbetting

Thomas Peterffy

IBKR Services

Use our comparison tables to compare the best UK based UK FTSE 100 (FTSE 100) futures brokers authorised and regulated by the FCA. Choose or switch to a futures broker that offers the most markets, best pricing and client security.

Futures trading carries a high level of risk and can result in losses that exceed your deposits. Featured brokers appear first.

Here is a list of futures brokers based in the UK that are regulated by the FCA

Prime BrokerDMA AccessExecutionAccount TypesCEO InterviewMore Info

Saxo Capital Markets

Stocks:
FX:
Futures:
Options:
Voice:
Online:
Strategy:
Prime:
DMA:
Omnibus:
Liquidity
White Label:
Andrew Edwards Saxo Capital Markets UK CEO Andrew Edwards Visit Saxo

Saxo Services

IG

Stocks:
FX:
Futures:
Options:
Voice:
Online:
Strategy:
Prime:
DMA:
Omnibus:
Liquidity
White Label:

June Felix, IG CEO

Read June Felix CEO Interview

Visit IG

IG Services

Linear Investments

Stocks:
FX:
Futures:
Options:
Voice:
Online:
Strategy:
Prime:
DMA:
Omnibus:
Liquidity
White Label:

Jerry Lees

Linear Services
Interactive Brokers Interactive Brokers Stocks:
FX:
Futures:
Options:
Voice:
Online:
Strategy:
Prime:
DMA:
Omnibus:
Liquidity
White Label:

Thomas Peterffy

IBKR Services

What is the FTSE 100 Index?

The FTSE Index stands for Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index. This is the primary blue chip stock index of the London Stock Exchange, often referred to as the 'Footsie' Index. The number of stocks in the index is capped at 100.

The index is a very popular stock market index in the UK. Formed in 1984, the index is currently maintained by the FTSE Group. The index is calculated throughout a trading session regularly.

The FTSE 100 Index is capitalisation weighted, meaning that larger stocks have a larger impact on the index movements.  Below is a snapshot of the 10 largest stocks in the FTSE 100 Index.

The largest stock in the LSE right now is the banking giant HSBC Holdings, with a market cap of £117 billion. This is followed by the oil producer BP at £98 billion. The biotech behemoth AstraZeneca is valued at £97 billion.

FTSE 100 Companies (top 10)

HSBC Holdings577.75p£117.38b
BP487.14p£98.90b
AstraZeneca7,475.00p£97.97b
Royal Dutch Shell 'A'2,238.50p£93.80b
BHP Group1,735.20p£92,40b
GlaxoSmithKline1,757.80p£87,62b
Royal Dutch Shell 'B'2,221.00p£82,91b
Diageo3,182.50p£74,64b
British American Tobacco3,041.50p£69,64b
Rio Tinto4,245.50p£53,49b
Unilever4,551.50p£53,07b

Source: London Stock Exchange (see this FTSE Link for a calculation)

Can you trade the FTSE 100 Index?

Yes, you can. There are multiple financial products derived from the underlying FTSE 100 Index that you can trade with, including:

  • Index Futures (formerly LIFFE, now at ICE)
  • Options (ICE)
  • Exchange-Traded Funds (GMG Guide on ETFs)
  • Investment Funds
  • Spread trading

Read the GMG Guide on Index Trading.

The biggest ETF based on the FTSE 100 Index is the FTSE 100 ETF (ticker: ISF). This ETF is gaining popularity because of the ease of trading, unlike futures or options where there are rollover costs and expiry dates.

On index futures, they usually expire on March, June, September, and December.

What is the attraction of FTSE 100 Index?

FTSE stock Indices (100 and FTSE 250) are closely watched. The index is attractive to investors and traders alike because:

  • FTSE 100 stocks are highly international and these companies derived their earnings globally
  • FTSE 100 offers good liquidity - as some of the FTSE stocks are huge (e.g. HSBC, BP, and GSK)
  • FTSE 100 pays relatively good dividend yields compared to the UK bond yields

The City of London is a globalised arena and many companies choose to list there. Investors can get a good spread of stocks from across the world.

What drives the FTSE 100?

Stock markets are often driven by a wide variety of factors.

For the UK market, the number one factor is obviously Brexit. However, bear in mind that many FTSE 100 stocks are globalised. Brexit is one only factor impacting their businesses. The primary and instant impact that Brexit can hit FTSE 100 stocks is through the Sterling exchange rate.

Other important factors include:

  • Macro factors (e.g. GDP, unemployment, business indicators etc)
  • Monetary factors (e.g., Quantitative Easing, rates movements, yield curve etc)
  • Technical factors (e.g., new highs or lows)
  • Earnings factors (e.g., profitability and earnings momentum)

Another important factor to watch for is commodity prices. Why? Because the FTSE 100 Index has large mining and energy sectors. BP, Royal Dutch Shell, BHP, Rio Tinto, Anglo American, and Glencore are some of the largest energy and mining groups in the world. And they are all in the FTSE 100 index.

Seven-Point Guide on Trading the FTSE 100

To trade the FTSE 100 profitably requires a good trading strategy. The following tips may help you to maximise your chances of trading the FTSE 100 successfully over the long term.

  1. Understand your requirements for trading the FTSE 100. Are you an intra-day or positional trader? Do you invest for the long term? Are dividends important?
  2. Research various technical (or fundamental) indicators to support the trading objective. There are many technical indicators that you can use, including
  3. Backtest these indicators if they are profitable over time. Select a few that you can understand. Check their pitfalls and signal variations over time. Put these indicators into a trading software and backtest. Can you withstand the drawdown?
  4. Select the indicators that best suit the objective. Once the initial backtest research is completed, setup a mock testing period of, say, six weeks. Assess the results. Are they good? Which type of indicators works better?
  5. Include risk management factors in your assessment. Important factors like position sizing, leverage levels, stop loss levels and risk-reward ratios must be specified. Trading without risk management is like driving without brakes and safety belts.
  6. Select trading platforms that support your operations. Capital requirements, platform fees, and trading capability are all important factors to look for. See the comparison table above.
  7. Commit capital and go live. Make sure that you drip feed capital into new strategies because there may be many things to iron out before you're comfortable with it.

Live UK FTSE 100 (FTSE 100) CFD Prices From Plus 500

FTSE 100 FAQ:

The FTSE 100 is what is known as an equity index. It is a measure of the performance of the top 100 UK shares. These are typically the largest listed companies in the UK, that meet specific selection criteria. The index was created in 1984 and replaced the FT30 index as the leading UK equity benchmark. The original value of the index at inception was 1000 index points, over its lifetime the index has risen in value sevenfold.

Index membership is reviewed quarterly with demotions and promotions into the index, taking place after the review. Index membership can also change as a result of takeovers of constituent companies or business failures.

Who are the best brokers for trading FTSE 100

It very much depends on what you are looking for from your from your broker if it’s 24 hour pricing and tight spreads plus access to thousands of other products then you will probably want to trade with one of the larger brokers such as IG Group or Saxo Bank. But if you want a more personalised service then you might prefer a smaller broker such as Spreadex.

Your choice of broker will also be influenced by the products you want to trade for example, Pepperstone have a reputation for excellent customer service but they don’t currently offer spread betting. So if you want to bet on the FTSE rather than trade it they won’t be for you.

You can compare brokers and decide which one is the best fit for you by using our comparison tables, either through a general trading account, CFD broker or Spread betting or if you are interested in investing in a FTSE 100 tracker through ETFs.

Trading on indices has always been a solid choice, offering the obvious advantage of constant, 24-hour movement as well as good liquidity. The FTSE 100 is a popular index to trade for a number of reasons, notably its smaller tick size, particularly when compared to other European indices such as the Dax - £5 per point versus €25 per point respectively.

FTSE 100 futures explained

Futures contracts are derivatives that allow traders to speculate on the future price of a given commodity or instrument; in this case, the future value of the FTSE100 index.

The FTSE 100 futures contracts trade on a quarterly expiry cycle of December, March, June and September. Each of these contracts reflects the market's expectations for the value of the FTSE100 index at that future point in time. As a contract month expires, so another is added into the cycle.

As is common to many financial futures contracts, the FTSE 100 futures are cash-settled. Meaning buyers and sellers of the contract pay or receive money based on the outcome of their trade. Without the need for delivery of the stocks that make up the index.

All trades are cleared and settled through a central clearing house which becomes the counterparty to those trades. Trades are placed on a margin basis with an initial margin or deposit required at the outset of the trade and variation or maintenance margin provided as needed through the trades lifetime.

You can compare futures brokers here

FTSE 100 CFD trading explained

All cash-settled financial and commodity contracts are in effect CFDs or Contracts For Differences. In which, the counterparties to a trade (the buyer and the seller) pay or receive money, at the settlement of their trade, rather than making or taking delivery of the underlying instruments.

A CFD on the FTSE 100 is no exception, such contracts closely resemble the futures contracts described above, but there are some key differences.

Firstly FTSE 100 CFDs trade OTC or Over The Counter and not on a dedicated exchange.
Nor are they centrally cleared which means that the counterparties to a trade are the customer and their CFD provider.

CFDs do not have a fixed expiry date and are not subject to fixed contract sizes.
The FTSE 100 futures contract size is £10.00 per index point. Such that when the index is valued at 7000 points, the futures contract value is £70,000.

However, CFD traders can typically deal in much smaller sizes, for example, at £1 per point, or a tenth of the value of the futures contract.

Use our CFD comparison tables to find a CFD brokers here

FTSE 100 spread betting explained

A FTSE 100 spread bet is very similar to both the futures contract and the FTSE 100 CFD. There is one key difference though, and that is that the deal is structured as a bet and not a trade.

Spread bettors trade in pounds or pennies per point and bet on the rise or fall of the FTSE 100 index. Their bookmaker is the counterparty to their bet.

Bookmakers can offer a range of bet durations, for example, daily, monthly or quarterly bets. Perhaps the most significant difference between a spread bet on the FTSE 100 and CFD trade on the index is the tax treatment of any profits made.

Under current UK legislation profits made from betting by individual UK taxpayers are not subject to tax. However, losses arising from betting cannot be offset against capital gains made elsewhere. Profits resulting from CFD trades are subject to tax, though CFD losses can be offset.

The tax treatment of spread betting has made it very popular among retail traders. Unlike fixed-odds betting, however, your potential losses are not limited to your initial stake when you spread bet.

Find the best spread betting broker in our comparison tables here

FTSE 100 ETFs explained

ETFs or Exchange Traded Funds are simply open-ended funds that aim to replicate the performance of a given index, sector or investment style.

For the most part, ETFs offer what is known as passive investing that is they aim to track a particular benchmark rather than outperform it. ETFs are tradeable in the same way that individual shares are.

As such ETFs offer a low-cost way for investors to replicate index or sector performance, and they allow traders to quickly gain exposure to groups of stocks or market themes.

The ETFs, which track the FTSE 100, aim to mirror its performance and will typically own a basket of FTSE 100 shares or derivative contracts over the same or similar stocks to do so.

Investors and traders who are bullish of the index buy an ETF while those who are bearish of the FTSE would sell it. It is possible to sell short of an ETF, i.e. sell it in the hopes of repurchasing the position at a lower price for a profit, but it's best to check the requirements for doing so with your broker before proceeding.

There are more than half a dozen ETFs which track the FTSE 100 index, though the Ishares FTSE 100 ETF (ticker ISF) is probably the best known and most widely followed among them.

Find a broker for investing in ETFs here

Where to get live streaming FTSE 100 charts

The trading platforms of most major brokers will offer users a FTSE 100 chart; however, you may wish to consider alternatives, and there are a variety of sources for this.

One of the most straightforward sources is Google, which displays real-time prices and charts for the FTSE 100 and other UK indices. To find this data for the FTSE 100 type UKX into the search bar in google and hit return. Google provides live line charts over a variety of time frames, and you can make comparisons between the FTSE and other instruments.

Markets Insider, part of the Business Insider stable, is another useful resource that offers configurable live charts of the FTSE 100 as well as price data for its components, alongside news headlines etc.

However, if you are looking for something more sophisticated in terms of charting functionality, then you might like to consider Tradingview a dedicated charting platform and community. There are free and paid plans on the service, as well as fully featured or simple charts.

Note that free plans are supported by advertising. Tradingview does not have a live price for the FTSE 100 index itself, but it does carry both the prices and charts of FTSE 100 ETFs and selected FTSE 100 CFDs.

What is FTSE 100 swing trading

Swing trading is a trading style that aims to identify the beginning or end of trends within the price action of an index or instrument; in this case, the FTSE 100 index or derivatives thereof.

Swing trading can be a day trading style without positions held open overnight, though some swing traders will run positions over more than one trading day if they believe the momentum in the index justifies it.

The FTSE 100 swing trader is looking for signals within price action to help determine what the medium-term move in the index will be. For example, an ongoing series of higher highs and higher lows, on say the five and fifteen-minute charts, after a period of consolidation, could suggest there is upside momentum and a new uptrend is in the offing.

While a series of lower highs and lower lows over various time frames, after a good run, could well mean that that move in the FTSE100 has come to an end and move lower is now likely.

Swing traders will look to identify these trend changes as early as possible. However, they tend to use indicators to provide confirmation and to avoid false breakouts. Swing traders use stop losses to manage their risk and will often trail these behind profitable positions and may add to these as and when the strength of a trend develops or increases.

FTSE 100 trading systems - any good?

Trading systems are only as good as the rules that govern them and given the number of variables in play on any given trading day, it's unlikely that anyone system will be effective all of the time. After all, even the most advanced quantitative hedge funds find it difficult to make money consistently in the current climate.

That said, having a rule-based system that you follow, particularly around money management and position sizing is a sensible idea, as is being aware of the factors that can and do influence the FTSE 100 index.

The index is what is known as market-cap-weighted, that means that the biggest companies within the index have the largest influence over changes in its value. Such that if the shares of the largest half a dozen companies in the index are moving higher, then it's likely the index will be doing the same and vice versa.

The FTSE 100 also contains many overseas earners, (as much as 70% of FTSE 100 revenues come from abroad) whose share prices are sensitive to fluctuations in UK exchange rates and global trade. A weaker pound has historically benefitted these overseas earners and therefore the index, while barriers to trade or geopolitical instability are seen as a negative influence.

How to invest in the FTSE 100

Investing in the FTSE 100 implies taking a long term view with time horizons that extend over months or years. As such short-term speculative instruments such as spread bets and CFDs may not be suitable.

ETFs are becoming increasingly popular among investors who wish to take a longer-term view on a particular index or sector. That's because ETFs offer a low cost, efficient way to gain market exposure. Moreover, as we noted earlier an index tracking ETF such as ISF (the IShares FTSE 100 ETF) only tries to mirror the performance of the underlying index rather than outperform it, which is much harder to achieve.

Investors can hold ETFs on the FTSE 100 within stocks and shares ISAs and self-invested pension plans or SIPPS as they are known. However, as with any investment strategy, it's important to assess your risk concentration and individual requirements in terms of income versus capital growth and to seek professional advice.

FTSE 100 trading hours

The FTSE 100 index itself is calculated daily in real-time from the opening auction at 08.00 am in London until the closing auction at 16.35pm, Monday to Friday, excepting UK Bank Holidays.

However, FTSE 100 futures are traded in London over a much longer period, which runs between 01.00 am to 9.00 pm. What's more many CFD and spread betting providers offer prices in the FTSE 100 24 hours per day, five days a week. Prices within standard UK market hours will typically be tighter and will see more activity than those made out of hours. As a rule of thumb the farther you are away from the home session then, the wider the prices are likely to be.

FTSE 100 liquidity & volatility

The FTSE 100 is one of the most widely traded and recognised stock indices in the world and contains some of its best known and largest companies, many of which trade very freely.
The index itself does not trade but instruments based on it such as the FTSE 100 futures, CFDs and ETFs which track it, do.

Liquidity in the index constituent stocks and the instruments that track the index is at its highest during the trading day in London, the opening and closing auctions are among the busiest and most liquid points of the day alongside mid-morning and the period after lunchtime in London, just ahead of the opening of Wall Street.

As UK and European markets close up for the day volumes and liquidity both fall away though it's still possible to trade relatively freely while US Markets are open.

However, spreads can widen and liquidity fall away after the US close. Prices are available during the Asian sessions however they maybe wider than those found in London trading and can be made in smaller sizes. Larger trades can, therefore, have an outsize effect on price movements.

On a historical basis, the FTSE 100 is not a particularly volatile index with its mean 30-day volatility. since the year 2000 coming in at 21.5% on a scale of 0 to 100, according to data from FTSE Russell who manage the index.

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