I use IG Index and I'm happy with the service though I can't compare it with others.
There is a very good book called Market Speculation by Andrew Burke that I read (several times) before opening account. The book highlights some of the pitfalls and differences about using this type of instrument.
Just one word of warning - this may not be the time to start going short. If you believe that a bull market is beginning then the tech stocks have already been trodden into the ground and will likely trade sideways rather than drop a lot more.
i hold an IG index account however they ain't the best, IMHO.
The best by far at the moment is http://www.finspreads.com
Why is it the best you ask?
1. The internet interface is simple to use. and quicker than IG
2. You do not have to set a stop loss and then find that the market goes against you leaving you automatically stop lossed out.
For example with IG you may decide to give yourself a 200 point stop loss and find then you find that the market drops 201 points in this case you are out.
With finspreads you have to put up a margin ( ie dow is X 500 what ever per point you place the bet as ) with that case if it drops 201 points you get a letter saying send more money for the margin cover or sell. The control is with you.
3. This is the best bit you can bet as little as 1p per point. Ig is minimum of £1 This is excellent as it means you can start your account of with £25 and practise your art.
P.S. If you become a good spread better you ain't concerned which way the market moves you trade it up and down.
1. Be prepared to loose ( you will not always win )
2. Have stop losses ( if the market moves against you admit you were wrong, get out, lick your wounds, be ready to fight again )
3. Look very carefully at the trend of the market your betting. What do you think it will go to, what is the consensus of opinion. As always let the trend be your freind. This is the best site for Dow and Nas http://www.signalwatch.com/
4. Watch for markets with large point moves. IE the dow is 8 point spread and moves very quickly and some days can be 100, 200, 300. so you can make alot ( and lose alot ) of points. The betting on stocks is less likely to give such big movements.
5. Remember spread betting gives you the freedom to bet on falling markets or rising markets.
I'm a Fin' spreads fan, their site is simple to use, you can trade using smaller stakes than most other firms - usefull when first starting, I also found that their aplication process to trade on margin was much easier than the likes of IG.
However like most things in life its really down to your personal preference, I know plenty of people who use IG and are happy with the service on other.
Good advice from Sefty well worth taken on board..My personal advice would be try Fin spreads on margin, then you don't have any initial outlay, keep your stakes small at the start untill you are happy with the set up.
If trading the Index's remember they can move very quickly, personally I dont bother with the fste untill after the US open, basically for me the Dow and the Nasdaq other the best liquidity and govern our markets on the whole anyway at the moment.Also if day trading remember the spread, if you are using real time I have found that signals seen on the 1 to 5 min chart (AIQ) are often to short a time frame and any price move is useually not enough to cover your spread.
So good luck with which ever firm that you decide to go with, but remember there is no route to easy money and spread betting can be particually high risk.
I currently use IG, but am going to switch to CMC (www.deal4free.com) as a result of a recommendation from a friend.
Spreads are less than IG and not subject to arbitrary movement caused by other bets.
Internet dealing service gives real time prices (none of this waiting for a dealer to answer the phone, meanwhile the price has moved).
You can bet as little as 1p a point via the internet. (Recommended if you are starting spread betting for the first time.)
The price shown is the price you get.
You can place conditional orders to anticipate a breakout (and place stop loss if the bet is activated).
Normal stop losses and limits can be placed.
By the way what has happened to everybody. There are far fewer posters on this board than a while ago.
This turned into a nice and useful thread thanks to all the contributors...I suggest we keep it going as trading indices thread, maybe if we all post who we trade with (+ and - points), what we trade (daily, cash, futures, etc), clues, tips, experiences, useful links, etc. we can even make it more informative...
Thankyou- I shall be downloading the finspread application form and printing out a copy of this thread for guidance.
Yet again the quality of postings on this board never ceases to amaze me - dont worry about the number of posters, I'd rather read one quality post here rather than 100 ramps and unqualified rantings on other boards. When things pick up so will T2W I'm sure.
PS Just received recommendation from Hemscott Analyst
(ART) Artisan and (WIE) Winchester Entertainment - Results next week expected positive..