What is the difference between foreign exchange trading and trading stock markets?
1) 24 Hour Markets: Forex is an over the counter market meaning that it is not transacted over a traditional exchange. Trading is facilitated through the interbank market. This means that trading can go on all around the world during different countries business hours and trading sessions. Therefore, the forex trader has access to trading virtually 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. Major stock indices on the other hand, trade at different times and are affected by different variables.
2) Minimal or no commission:
Most forex brokers charge no commission, instead they make their margin on the spread – which is the difference between the buy price and the sell price. When trading equities (stocks) or a futures contract, or a major index like the S&P 500, often traders must pay the spread along with a commission to a broker.
3) Volume: One of the biggest differences between forex and stocks is the sheer size of the forex market. The forex market volume dwarfs the dollar volume of all the world’s stock markets combined, which average roughly $200 billion per day.
4) Liquidity: A market that trades in high volume generally has high liquidity. Liquidity leads to tighter spreads and lower transaction costs. Forex major pairs typically have extremely low spreads and transactions costs when compared to stocks and this is one of the major advantages of trading the forex market versus trading the stock market.