The MT4 Alternative
The MetaTrader4 (MT4) is one of the dominant trading platforms in the retail market. Easy to use, fast executions and automated trading features, better known as Expert Advisors (EA’s). While the MT4 is designed for both new and experienced traders, we would like to suggest an alternative for seasoned traders that allows a greater portfolio diversification in multiple markets.
The Plus500 trading platform (regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority) provides a direct access to the Foreign Exchange market, Commodities, Indices, ETF’s, Bitcoin and Litecoin. Although these asset classes may be found in many platforms we are impressed with the number of instruments the broker provides per asset class, which is essential for diversifying your trading portfolio.
Forex Pairs and Crosses
In the FX markets, as widely expected, we have the standard currency pairs we would expect from a decent broker. Aside the majors, we also found the Mexican Peso (MXN), Russian Rouble (EUB), Polish Zloty (PLN), Lithuanian Litas (LTL), South African Rand (ZAR), Romanian Leu (RON), Czech Koruna (CZK), Turkish Lira (TRY), Croatian Kuna (HRK), Danish Krone (DKK), Swedish Krona (SEK), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), Norwegian Krone (NOK) and offshore Yuan (CNH). The offered leverage for FX pairs and crosses is 1:200. Of course, we do not suggest to fully exercise due to the risks involved of over-leveraging your assets.
Plus500 offers trading in Gold, Silver, US oil, Brent, Natural Gas, Wheat, Corn, Cocoa, Sugar, Copper, Soybeans and more. The offered leverage for trading commodities is 1:152. So far Plus500 appears to be a standard trading platform without any exceptional instruments. The surprising part is the offered Stocks, Indices and Exchange-Traded-Funds (ETF’s).
Global Stocks and Indices
Starting with stocks, traders have access to well-over +200 stocks from 11 different countries, US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, Spain, Poland, Hong Kong, Portugal and Ireland. Some of the stocks you will find are SolarCity, Netflix, Equity Residential, Debenhams, ITV, Lonmin, Sainsbury, BlueScope Steel, Vossloh, China Railway and more. The extensive amount of instruments enable global traders to fully diversify their trading portfolio, spreading the risk of multiple asset classes. The offered leverage for stocks is 1:20.
Under ‘Indices’ you will find the SP500, NASDAQ100, DJ30, FTSE100, CAC40, NIKKEI225, DAX30, FTSEMIB40, EUROSTOXX50, GERMAN MCAP, HANG SENG, WIG20 and S&P/ASX200. Rather than the indices themselves, the offered leverage is higher than usual, 1:294. We highlight that over-leveraging your assets can pose a great risk to your invested capital and we at DDMarkets do not encourage such activities.
Plus500 offers more than +50 ETF’s in its trading platform. Amongst the offered financial products traders will find the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF), VIX Short-Term Futures ETN Ipath (VXX), iShares MSCI South Korea (EWY), iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (EEM), iShares iBoxx $ Invest Grade Corp Bond (LQD), Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) and more. The offered leverage for ETF’s is 1:20.
Plus500 Trading Platform Features
In total there are over +1,500 financial instruments in the trading platform, providing global trades with the opportunity to fully diversify their trading portfolio in multiple markets. Aside the instruments we would also like to discuss some of the features Plus500 provide in their trading software.
Upon selecting a financial instrument, a new window opens and provides the trader with the full details of the chosen financial product. Trading hours, margin requirements, leverage, minimum trade size, expirations (when applicable such as trading specific commodities) and rollover fees (presented as premium). Having all the information presented each time before placing a trade is always beneficial.
Upon placing a trade, the margin requirement/securities are displayed in your trading account’s currency (USD, EUR etc.) as well the expected stop loss (if selected, which we do recommend using for all trades) and take profit (likewise, if selected) in the form of percentage. Trailing stop and entry orders are available for usage.
Being a Contract For Difference (CFD) broker, Plus500 offers for a ‘Guaranteed stop’ for all its majors (pairs and crosses) in the Forex market, all its commodities and all listed indices. The guaranteed stop means your open trades will be unexposed to slippage, which often means incurring a higher loss as your stop is triggered at a worse price. The guaranteed stop feature does come with a small fee that is deducted from the spread, meaning, a wider spread. The guaranteed stop is completely optional. It is up to trader’s discretion when to use this feature if at all.
Like many platforms traders have the ability to book partials of open trades. To clarify, if I am holding a trade of 500,000 I am able to liquidate just 100,000 (for example) and leave the remaining 400,000 in the market.
Price Alerts via SMS
The price alarm system allows the trader to set an alert when the price of a preselected instrument (such as EURUSD, Gold, SP500 etc.) reaches a certain price. For example, if the trader wishes to be alerted when SP500 reaches 1,850, the alarm is set through the trading platform and the trader will be notified when the SP500 reaches the targeted price. Plus500 enhanced the price alert system by providing the trader with an option to be notified via email and/or SMS.
Mobile App and Regulations
The trading platform is available on the App store and Play store, as expected from any decent broker. As we have mentioned earlier, Plus500 is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). We believe market regulations are extremely important in today’s markets. Plus500 is also listed in the London Stock Exchange. Please note that due to the European regulations the broker does not accept US traders.
To conclude, Plus500 offers access to over +1,500 different instruments in multiple asset classes, guaranteed stops and fast executions ensure traders possess the ability to fully diversify their trading portfolio, which is an essential part in trading the market.
Unlike the standard registration procedure, in Plus500 you begin by downloading the trading platform to your computer and follow the steps, which are relatively minimal. The platform is designed for experienced traders but we believe if you have done your market research you may try the trading software.
Digital Derivatives Markets is a global leader in trade alerts and market education.