I have just moved to IB from a SB broker and although their trading platform is a bit antiquated, it is refreshing to see the actual market price reflected in the quote, rather than the SB price, which imo is subject to slight bias.
SB prices (for indices, anyway) are based on the underlying futures price, which account for some of the fluctuations in SB prices : ie when the futures start to move, they move faster than the cash price, and this is reflected in the bookies quotes, but not of course in the cash chart of that instrument, which is always a little late.
However, I would not recommend that you jump into using IB without some good knowledge of the industry, as you will most likely get your fingers quite badly burnt. Probably best to learn the ropes using a SB broker for either SB or CFD's.
The tax benefits are clear : there is no tax applied to SB's as they are "a bet", there are taxes applied to CFD's and from futures trading.
Peedee - yes, I would probably say that for any time frame, but especially short-term (ie intraday) then IB or another direct access broker would be the best bet because there is no spread - if you go long at 9050 (or whatever) then you're in profit at 9051, less commission and taxes. However, as I said, I would wholeheartedly recommend NOT jumping straight into trading futures without some good market knowledge, and I'm sure others on the site would concur.
I have been trading for nearly ten months via SB initially, and finally saw the light. However, I've done nothing but study and learn and most importantly practise (ie lose money) for those 10 months. Regardless, I think that money was probably as well spent as doing a couple of courses somewhere. I'm a firm believer in finding your own groove, although using other peoples experience and techniques will help you to accomplish this.
I don't know about the "average" points move for the Dow during the day - it can range from anything lately, 70 points up to 200 on a good day - so 140-150 on average I'd guess.
Cheers Rossored, i like the setting fire to your house bit(nice one!). The questions id like to ask is, what is an average commision i would pay using IB and what is an average minimum amount i would have to trade/point? PeeDee.
If you're trading the e-minis then it's $2.40 to open a contract, and another $2.40 to close it, whether you make or lose on it. I dont know about other stuff but it's all listed on the website.
The mini dow trades in $5 contracts (about £3-odd), and you can obviously trade any amount from 1 lot upwards, depending on how much money you have / how big your gonads are, but trading single lots (as I am currently doing) has got to be the way to start.