Buying and selling shares through a stockbroker is not the only way to play the stock market. Spread betting allows you to gamble on the movement of indexes, such as the FTSE100, or on the price of individual shares.
The bookmaker quotes you a price for a certain date in the future and you bet on whether the actual share price or index will be higher or lower. You can also gamble on exchange rates and commodities.
Financial spread betting started in the 1970s when investors wanted to speculate on the price of gold without having to find large amounts of money to buy the metal.
As with any form of investment, it is important to be aware of the risks associated with spread betting. Volatile market conditions can bring substantial gains or losses, so bookmakers advise their clients to speculate only with money they can afford to lose. W88.com
Is spread betting right for you? And what are the important points to consider?
1. What is a spread bet and how does it work?
You contact the bookmaker and ask for a quote on a particular index or share. For example, you may ask for the FTSE 100 in June. You will then be quoted a spread of, say, 6,870 to 6,880. If you think the market will be lower, you sell points. If you think it will be higher you buy points. You then bet anything upwards of Pounds 2 a point. If the market closed at 7,100 and you had bought at Pounds 5 a point, you would win Pounds 1,100. If it closed at 6,800 you would lose Pounds 350.
2. What advantage do bets have over shares?
You do not pay tax on any winnings and there is no stockbroker’s fee or stamp duty.
You can also spread bet on shares that have yet to float, such as internet firms.
For example, IG Index initially offered 350p-360p for Lastminute.com, but revised the spread sharply upwards when investors bought enthusiastically. At one point the spread was quoted at 620p- 630p before settling back to 570p-580p last week.
The other big advantage is that you can make much more money from rises or falls in share prices.