Forex vs. Stocks

There are approximately 4,500 stocks listed on the New York Stock exchange. Another 3,500 are listed on the NASDAQ. Which one will you trade? Got the time to stay on top of so many companies?

In spot currency trading, there are dozens of currencies traded, but the majority of market players trade the four major pairs. Aren’t four pairs much easier to keep an eye on than thousands of stocks?

Mr. Forex is so confident and sexy. Mr. Stocks is so puny.

Look at Mr. Forex. He’s so confident and sexy. Mr. Stocks has no chance!

That’s just one of the many advantages of the forex market over the stock markets. Here are a few more:

24-Hour Market

The forex market is a seamless 24-hour market. Most brokers are open from Sunday at 4:00 pm EST until Friday at 4:00 pm EST, with customer service usually available 24/7. With the ability to trade during the U.S., Asian, and European market hours, you can customize your own trading schedule.

Minimal or No Commissions

Most forex brokers charge no commission or additional transactions fees to trade currencies online or over the phone. Combined with the tight, consistent, and fully transparent spread, forex trading costs are lower than those of any other market. Most brokers are compensated for their services through the bid/ask spread.

Instant Execution of Market Orders

Your trades are instantly executed under normal market conditions. Under these conditions, usually the price shown when you execute your market order is the price you get. You’re able to execute directly off real-time streaming prices (Oh yeeeaah! Big time!).

Keep in mind that many brokers only guarantee stop, limit, and entry orders under normal market conditions. Trading during a massive alien invasion from outer space would not fall under “normal market” conditions. Fills are instantaneous most of the time, but under extraordinarily volatile market conditions, like during Martian attacks, order execution may experience delays.

Short-Selling without an Uptick

Unlike the equity market, there is no restriction on short selling in the currency market. Trading opportunities exist in the currency market regardless of whether a trader is long or short, or whichever way the market is moving. Since currency trading always involves buying one currency and selling another, there is no structural bias to the market. So you always have equal access to trade in a rising or falling market.

No Middlemen

Centralized exchanges provide many advantages to the trader. However, one of the problems with any centralized exchange is the involvement of middlemen. Any party located in between the trader and the buyer or seller of the security or instrument traded will cost them money. The cost can be either in time or in fees.

Spot currency trading, on the other hand, is decentralized, which means quotes can vary from different currency dealers. Competition between them is so fierce that you are almost always assured that you get the best deals. Forex traders get quicker access and cheaper costs.

Buy/Sell programs do not control the market.

How many times have you heard that “Fund A” was selling “X” or buying “Z”? The stock market is very susceptible to large fund buying and selling.

In spot trading, the massive size of the forex market makes the likelihood of any one fund or bank controlling a particular currency very small. Banks, hedge funds, governments, retail currency conversion houses, and large net worth individuals are just some of the participants in the spot currency markets where the liquidity is unprecedented.

Analysts and brokerage firms are less likely to influence the market

Have you watched TV lately? Heard about a certain Internet stock and an analyst of a prestigious brokerage firm accused of keeping its recommendations, such as “buy,” when the stock was rapidly declining? It is the nature of these relationships. No matter what the government does to step in and discourage this type of activity, we have not heard the last of it.

IPOs are big business for both the companies going public and the brokerage houses. Relationships are mutually beneficial and analysts work for the brokerage houses that need the companies as clients. That catch-22 will never disappear.

Foreign exchange, as the prime market, generates billions in revenue for the world’s banks and is a necessity of the global markets. Analysts in foreign exchange have very little effect on exchange rates; they just analyze the forex market.

Advantages Forex Stocks
24-Hour Trading YES No
Minimal or no Commission YES No
Instant Execution of Market Orders YES No
Short-selling without an Uptick YES No
No Middlemen YES No
No Market Manipulation YES No

It looks like the scorecard between Mr. Forex and Mr. Stocks shows a strong victory by Mr. Forex! Will it go for 2-0 with Mr. Futures?

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  1. Advantages of Forex
  2. Forex vs. Stocks
  3. Forex vs. Futures