Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Finding a Forex Broker in a Crowded Marketplace

investments & trading

Finding a Forex Broker in a Crowded Marketplace By J. Foley

So you want to get involved in the foreign exchange market, or forex. You’re itching to trade one currency for another and make some profit. But you can’t just barge into Citigroup of Merrill Lynch and start throwing euros and yen around. To participate, you need a forex broker.

The preeminent forex broker for day traders (i.e., average Joes) is Advanced Currency Markets, or ACM. To many people, the Swiss company, founded in 2002, is synonymous with “forex broker,” trading about $70 billion a month.

There are dozens of other brokers, though, who service day traders. It’s done almost exclusively online, and in fact ordinary citizens rarely got involved with forex trading at all until the computer boom of the 1980s, and then exponentially more with the advent of the Internet in the 1990s. Since then, forex brokers have proliferated.

As you might expect, levels of reliability and competence vary from one broker to another. The Internet is rife with unsavory types seeking to take advantage of suckers, so you would do well to investigate thoroughly any broker you’re planning to use. Does their Web site look professional and reassuring, or is it riddled with dead links and spelling errors? Google the broker to see if they’ve been mentioned in news articles. Ask about their track record. And above all, avoid anyone who promises things that sound too good to be true, or who downplay the financial risk involved in forex trading.

Look for a broker that seems to genuinely want your business. Does the firm have customer service representatives available? Is there a phone number you can call to speak to a live person? The Web site should explain things clearly. If the site is full of language that seems designed to go over your head, look for a different broker.

If you set up an account with an online forex broker, it will work like this. First, you must apply for an account, which most brokers allow you to do online. This is to verify your identity and the validity of your bank accounts and financial records. Some brokers also require you to download their forex trading software, while others let you use whatever software you prefer. You will also have to transfer a minimum deposit to your account with your new broker. The minimum can be anywhere from $100 to $2,500.

Ideally, the broker you choose should offer service and support when you need it but should mostly simply stay out of the way and let you conduct your business. If you can find a forex broker who is professional and helpful, your experience in the forex market should be full of smooth sailing.

Article Written By J. Foley

Monday, April 07, 2008

Online Forex Forums Connect Traders Around The World

Investments& Trading

Online Forex Forums Connect Traders Around The World By J. Foley

Most forex trading is done online, with investors looking at forex charts, considering trends, and making decisions. There’s very little interaction, even via the Internet, with other human beings. That’s one of the reasons that many traders also spend time in forex forums, chatting with other investors and sharing tips.

There are dozens of forex-related forums and message boards on the Internet. Some are tied to brokerage firms, while others are just freestanding forums on forex-related sites. Since the market is active 24 hours a day, you can usually count on the forums being busy at all hours too.

As mentioned, one of the reasons for visiting forex forums is simply psychological: Humans like to interact with other humans, especially when their day jobs require them to be alone with a computer for hours at a stretch.

Furthermore, there are a lot of emotions involved in trading. It’s real money, after all, and often large amounts of it. Online forums give traders a place to discuss the psychological effects of long-term trading, how it can become addictive and nerve-racking, and what impact it has on everyday life. You could think of message boards as being a sort of support group for traders, or the equivalent of the office water cooler.

Forex forums have more practical uses, too, of course. Traders find the tips and strategies offered by their fellow traders to be invaluable. Forums are often rife with people more seasoned and experienced than the average person, which benefits the newcomers. And many experienced traders enjoy visiting the forums because it gives them a chance to share their wisdom with others.

Forex forums are also useful for gauging the general mood of the marketplace. The charts and rates give you the cold, hard facts. But many times making a decision to buy or sell comes from the gut, based not just on the numbers but on how the market FEELS. The forums are a place to see what other traders are thinking right now. Do they feel optimistic? Pessimistic? Are things looking up? Are they discouraged? All of this information can be taken into account when considering a trade.

ForexFactory.com and ForexForum.net are two very popular, widely visited message boards. There are dozens of others out there, too. All forex forums give traders a chance to connect with their colleagues and to learn from one another.

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Article Written By J. Foley