For most investors or traders with stock market experience, there has to be a shift in attitude to transition into or to add currencies as a further opportunity for diversification.
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1. Currency trading has been promoted as an “active trader’s” opportunity. This suits the brokers because it means they earn more spread when the trader is more active.
2. Currency trading is also promoted as leveraged trading, and therefore, it is easier for a trader to open an account with a small amount of money than is necessary for stock market trading.
Besides trading for a profit or yield, currency trading can be used to hedge a stock portfolio. If, for example, one builds a stock portfolio in a country where there is potential for the stock to increase value but there is downside risk in terms of the currency, for example in the U.S. in recent history, then a trader could own the stock portfolio and sell short the dollar against the Swiss franc or euro. In this way, the portfolio value will increase, and the negative effect of the declining dollar will be offset. This is true for those investors outside the U.S. who will eventually repatriate profits back to their own currencies.
With this profile in mind, opening a forex account and day trading or swing trading is most common. Traders can attempt to make extra cash utilizing the methods and approaches elucidated in many of the articles found elsewhere on this site and at brokers’ or banks’ websites.A second approach to trading currencies is to understand the fundamentals and the longer-term benefits, when a currency is trending in a specific direction and is offering a positive interest differential that provides a return on the investment plus an appreciation in currency value. This type of trade is known as a “carry trade.” For example, a trader can buy the Australian dollar against the Japanese yen. Upon the original publication of this article, the Japanese interest rate is .05% and the Australian interest rate last reported is 4.75%, so a trader can earn 4% on this trade.
However, such a positive interest needs to be seen in the context of the actual exchange rate of the AUD/JPY before an interest decision can be made. If the Australian dollar is strengthening against the yen, then it is appropriate to buy the AUD/JPY and to hold it in order to gain in both the currency appreciation and the interest yield.
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