Is CFD Trading Profitable? - ifa

Trading in the UK is no longer limited to stocks and shares. Now, traders can speculate on other assets, such as options contracts and contracts for difference (CFDs). Although these two products are different in some respects, they share many similarities that make them attractive choices for investors. 

Options trading and CFD trading are popular instruments among traders who want to gain exposure to various financial markets. Both types of trading offer tax advantages, the potential for profits from price movements in underlying assets, and various levels of risk management opportunities. Additionally, they both require an understanding fundamental market forces such as supply and demand and an awareness of technical analysis.

What are the options?

One may wonder – what are options in trading? Options are derivative instruments that can speculate on an underlying asset’s price movements. These options allow the holder to buy or sell a specific amount of an asset or stock at a set price within a set timeframe, but they are not required to do so. This makes them ideal for traders who want to benefit from short-term changes in market prices without taking on too much risk.

What are CFDs?

CFDs, or Contracts for Difference, are derivative trading instruments allowing the holder to speculate on an asset’s price movements without owning it. CFDs allow traders to take advantage of both rising and falling prices to make profits. The key difference between options and CFDs is that the holder can close out their position at any time before the expiration date if they no longer wish to keep it open.

Similarities between options and CFDs

When comparing options and contracts-for-difference (CFD), some similarities should be discussed:

Risk management tools

One similarity between options and CFDs is that they offer risk management tools. Both instruments allow traders to limit their risk exposure by setting notional limits or stop-losses, which can be adjusted per their risk appetite. It makes them attractive for those wanting to take on more capital while keeping a tight grip on risks.

Underlying asset

Another similarity between options and CFDs is the underlying assets they are based upon. Options can be exercised on various assets, such as stocks, commodities, indices, and currency pairs; however, CFDs only have one underlying asset, whatever you decide to trade against. If you’re trading an option contract on a stock index, you can benefit from any price changes in the underlying stocks.


A fundamental similarity between options and CFDs is leverage. Both instruments offer traders increased buying power, allowing them to gain exposure to a more prominent position size than what their actual capital would allow. It can benefit those who want to make more money by taking on more significant risks, but traders should be aware that it can also lead to significantly higher losses if the market does not move as predicted.

Differences between options and CFDs

While there are similarities between options and contracts-for-difference (CFD), some differences should also be discussed:


The most significant difference between these instruments lies in the timeframe of each instrument’s offering. Options have an expiration date, meaning the option must be exercised before it expires. Conversely, CFDs can remain open until the trader closes their position. CFDs are ideal for those looking for more flexibility when trading in the financial markets.

Exercise preferences

Another difference between options and CFDs is their exercise preferences. Options are either European or American-style instruments, with American-style options allowing traders to exercise them at any point during their lifespan. On the other hand, CFDs typically offer Cash Settlement only; this means that if you wish to close out your position before expiration, you will receive cash instead of a physical asset.

Other investment products favoured by UK traders

In addition to options and CFDs, UK traders can access other investment products such as futures contracts, spread betting, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Futures contracts are financial instruments allowing traders to trade an asset at a predetermined price in the future. Spread betting is another popular form of derivative trading; it allows traders to bet on the direction of the price movements in stocks or indices without owning them. Finally, ETFs offer exposure to multiple assets through one product, allowing traders more excellent diversification opportunities with lower risk.

All in all

Options and CFDs are two popular instruments among traders seeking exposure to various financial markets. Although they share many similarities, such as risk management tools, underlying assets, and leverage, they differ. Options have an expiration date, while CFDs can remain open until the trader decides to close out their position; furthermore, options are either European or American-style instruments, while CFDs offer cash settlement only. Ultimately, it’s up to the trader to assess their risk profile and the market conditions before deciding which instrument is best suited for them. Professional advice may be necessary to make the most informed decisions when trading options or CFDs. Familiarising oneself with each instrument’s ins and outs is essential to make the right decisions.

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