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CFDs come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% of accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should understand how CFDs work and consider if you can take the risk of losing your money.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

Trading Terms

Open position: meaning & example in trading

Open option: Screens displaying various data types for open option in trading.

As a trader, your success hinges on the interplay of a diverse range of financial tools and strategies. One of these vital elements is the concept of an open position. What does it mean to have a position open in the market, and how can you harness its potential to achieve your trading goals? 

Want to practise opening a position without risking real money? Try our Skilling demo account for free. Access 1200+ instruments (Forex, Stocks, Cryptos, Indices and Commodities).

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What is an open position in trading?

When you open a trade in the market, you create an open position. This position stays active until an equal and opposite trade - known as a 'close position' - is executed, or it is liquidated due to an option or futures contract expiration. An open position means you currently hold a contract in a financial instrument and you will either profit or experience loss from any changes in the price of that financial instrument until you decide to close the trade.

Example of an open position

Imagine you decide to trade CFDs (Contracts for Difference) on the stock market. You believe that Company ABC's stock, currently trading at $100, is undervalued and likely to increase in price. You decide to 'go long' on ABC's stock by opening a CFD position to buy 100 shares.

A CFD allows you to speculate on future market movements in the price of the asset, without actually owning or purchasing the underlying asset. In the case of ABC's stock, your open buy CFD position effectively means you will make a profit if the stock's price increases, and a loss if the stock price decreases.

Suppose the stock price of Company ABC indeed rises to $120 after a time. You stand to make a profit of $20 per share on your CFD position, which translates to a $2,000 profit. However, if the stock price falls to $90, you would incur a loss of $10 per share, resulting in a $1,000 loss when the position is eventually closed.

Pros and cons of holding open positions

Pros:

  1. The potential for more gains: The most significant advantage of holding open positions is the ability to capitalise on larger market movements over time. By keeping a position active for an extended period, you might benefit from substantial price shifts in your favour.
  2. Flexibility in trading timing: Open positions can offer traders the flexibility to enter and exit the market at times of their choosing. This freedom allows traders to wait patiently for optimal market conditions without the pressure of time-sensitive trades.
  3. Tax efficiency: In some jurisdictions, holding open positions instead of frequently trading can lead to tax benefits. Long-term capital gains tax rates are often more favourable than short-term rates applicable to frequent traders.

Cons:

  1. Exposure to overnight risk: Market conditions could change dramatically overnight or during the weekend when trading is closed. These sudden changes, such as economic announcements or geopolitical events, could lead to significant price gaps that affect open positions when the market reopens.
  2. Margin requirements: Open positions, particularly leveraged positions, require a portion of the full contract value as margin. If the position moves against you, you may face margin calls to deposit additional funds or have the position forcibly closed at a loss.
  3. Psychological pressures: Holding open positions could also place psychological pressure on a trader, particularly if the position is in a loss. Emotional decision-making could influence the management of these positions and lead to suboptimal trading outcomes.
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Managing risk in your open position

One of the most critical aspects of trading is managing risk, and open positions are no exception. Effective risk management could protect your capital and is essential to long-term trading success. Here’s what to consider:

  1. Setting stop-loss orders: A stop-loss order is a risk management tool that closes your open position automatically at a predetermined level. By setting a stop-loss, you can control the maximum amount you are willing to lose on a trade, thus limiting potential downside risk.
  2. Take-profit orders: Similarly, a take-profit order automates the closing of a position when the market reaches a specified profit level. This tool helps to lock in profits and can be crucial for disciplined trading.
  3. Keeping position sizes within limits: Determine the appropriate size of your open positions in relation to your overall trading account size and risk tolerance. This will help ensure that no single trade can overly impact your account balance.
  4. Regularly analysing market conditions: Stay informed about the market environment in which your open positions exist. Economic data, news events, and technical analysis can provide insights that help you manage and potentially adjust your positions.

Conclusion

Remember, each open position presents an opportunity and a risk. As you navigate the trading world, make it a priority to understand, manage, and ultimately leverage your open positions effectively. 

If you're looking to delve deeper into the world of open positions and advanced trading strategies, consider visiting our comprehensive Skilling trading course. From market analysis, to trading psychology, to technical indicators, our materials are designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate the markets.

FAQs

What exactly is a 'long' and 'short' position in trading?

In trading, a "long position" means you're betting the price will go up, while a "short position" means you expect it to fall. When you buy an asset with the intention of selling at a higher price, it's a long position. Conversely, selling an asset you don't own, aiming to buy it back at a lower price, is a short position.

Does an open position incur any costs in trading?

Yes, holding on to an open position often involves keeping funds on margin, which could incur financing costs. Additionally, brokers may charge overnight fees for keeping positions open past a certain time.

How do you decide when to close an open position?

The decision to close an open position is highly subjective and relies on various factors, including your trading strategy, analysis of the market, your financial goals, and potential risks. Many experienced traders use a combination of technical and fundamental analysis, as well as intuitive knowledge of market psychology, to make this pivotal decision.

What happens if I don't close my open position before the market closes?

If you don't close your position before the market closes, it will remain open, and you will continue to have exposure to the market. This can lead to significant price gaps if market conditions change while trading is inactive.

Can I hold an open position indefinitely?

In some types of trading, such as spot Forex, you can theoretically hold an open position for an indefinite period. However, market conditions, margin requirements, and other factors may necessitate the closure or management of positions over time.

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Should I keep multiple open positions at the same time?

The decision to keep multiple open positions simultaneously should be based on your trading strategy, risk management plan, and market conditions. While it can be a way to diversify, it can also lead to increased complexity and risk if not managed carefully.

Past performance does not guarantee or predict future performance. This article is offered for general information and does not constitute investment advice. Please be informed that currently, Skilling is only offering CFDs.

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