Trading The FTSE

UK stock traders of all experience levels should have a good understanding of the FTSE. Knowledge about how the FTSE index works will help inform decisions about which shares to buy and whether to invest in tracker funds. This guide will provide you with all the information you need to start trading the FTSE. Our report also includes a brief history lesson, a breakdown of the different indexes and their purposes, plus trading preparation tips.

Stock Brokers

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Found 73 Brokers
Leading forex and CFD broker since 2006, regulated in Ireland, Australia, Canada, Japan, Abu Dhabi, and South Africa. AvaTrade offers multiple trading platforms, including MT4/5, Web Trader, Mobile App, Vanilla options and Social Trading. +1250 Financial Instruments, Educational content and multilanguage customer support active 24/7. 20% Welcome bonus available on allowed countries.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
CBoI, ASIC, FSB, ESMA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$100
Min. Trade
$.01
Crypto
No
RoboForex is a multi-asset online broker offering powerful trading aides.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
IFSC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$10
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
Forex.com boast a global reputation. Regulated in the UK, EU, US and Canada they offer a huge range of markets, not just forex, and offer very tight spreads and a cutting edge platform.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
CySEC, IIROC, NFA, CFTC, FCA, FSA, and CIMA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$100
Min. Trade
$1
Crypto
No
Eightcap is a multi-regulated FX & CFD broker offering the MT4 & MT5 platforms. Award winning platform, zero commission, free education and low spreads.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
ASIC, VFSC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
£/€/$100
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
No
XM.com Offer a range of Account types and a low minimum deposit to appeal to all levels of trader. With 1000+ markets and low spreads they offer a great service.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
IFSC, DFSA, CySEC, ASIC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
5 $/€/£
Min. Trade
0.01 Micro lots
Crypto
No
eToro is a multi-asset platform which offers both investing in stocks and cryptoassets, as well as trading CFDs.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA, CySEC
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
$200 ($50 in US, $10 in UK)
Min. Trade
$1
Crypto
Yes
Capital.com offer CFDs and Forex CFDs on a huge range of assets, with competitive spreads and zero commission on unique platforms, including the fully functional mobile app.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA, CySEC, ASIC, FSA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
£/$/€20 (Varies by payment method)
Min. Trade
Varies by asset
Crypto
No
IG offer spread betting, CFD and Forex trading across a range of markets. They are FCA regulated, boast a great trading app and have a 40 year track record of excellence.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA, MAS
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
£250
Min. Trade
£1
Crypto
No
Multi-Award winning broker. Specialising in Forex but also offering stocks and tight spreads on CFDs and Spread betting across a huge range of markets.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
CySec, DFSA, FCA, SCB, FSCA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$100
Min. Trade
0.01 Lots
Crypto
Yes
CMC Markets is headquartered in London and listed on the LSE (FCA Regulated). It offers competitive spreads on a global range of assets via its Next Generation platform.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA, MAS, ASIC, IIROC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
£0
Min. Trade
0.01 Lots
Crypto
No
Finq.com offer a great all round service with trading on 2100+ assets and immediate bonus offers. Up to $4000 in Deposit Bonuses.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FSA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$100
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
Trading in the Uphold environment offers a one-stop-shop for all your crypto requirements.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA, FinCEN
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
$0
Min. Trade
$1
Crypto
Yes
ZacksTrade: Built for the active trader. Stock & ETF trades from $3, 75¢ options contracts and 3.56% margin rate (lower on occasion)
Demo Account
No
Regulated By
SEC
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
$2500
Min. Trade
From $3
Crypto
No
RaceOption is a binary options and CFD platform offering trading contests and prize giveaways.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
$250
Min. Trade
$1
Crypto
Yes
TMGM is a competitive forex and CFD broker with a wide range of instruments, features and tools provided at low-cost.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
ASIC, FMA, VFSC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$100
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
Anzo Capital is a competitive global forex and CFD broker with ECN and STP accounts, both offering MT4 access and a wide range of assets.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
IFSC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$100
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
No
Rockfort Markets is a New Zealand broker with a competitive range of assets, trading platforms and educational services.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FSP, FMA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$200
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
Pocket Option is a global binary options broker with sleek proprietary trading platform and competitive range of assets.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
IFMRRC
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
$50
Min. Trade
$1
Crypto
Yes
Exinity provides flexible low-cost trading in FX, commodities, indices and equities alongside unique education and support provided by teams located across the world. Now operating in the Middle East, through regulation from the Financial Services Regulatory Authority in Abu Dhabi and the Financial Services Commission of Mauritius, Exinity provides a range of services to traders and investors looking for new opportunities in the financial markets.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FSRA, FCA, FSC, CMA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
Trader Pro: $10,000 Trader: $100 
World:$20
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
No
Pacific Union is a multi-asset broker offering trading via the MT4 and MT5 platforms.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) and Seychelles Financial Services Authority (SFSA)
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$50
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
AdroFX is a regulated, global broker offering forex, CFD and crypto trading with MT4 access and attractive welcome bonuses.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FSA, BSSLA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$25
Min. Trade
0.01 lot
Crypto
Yes
RoboMarkets is an award-winning broker offering flexible margin trading.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
CySEC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$/£/€100
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
No
Core Spreads offers CFD trading and spread betting across several asset classes on two top-tier platforms.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$0
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
No
TP Global FX offers a long list of popular financial assets with spreads from 0.1 pips. With a focus on innovation and transparency, they are a growing brand.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
SVG FSA, NFA, CAMA Nigeria
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$200
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
Global Prime is a multi-regulated trading broker offering 100+ markets.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
ASIC, VFSC, FSA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
AUD $200
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
Trade Nation is a top FX and CFD broker regulated in multiple jurisdictions including the UK and Australia. The firm offers tight spreads and no minimum deposit.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA, ASIC, FSCA, SCB
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$0
Min. Trade
0.1 lots
Crypto
No
Trade.com offers thousands of tradable assets on desktop and mobile platforms.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA, CySEC, FSCA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$100
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
Quotex offers a proprietary web platform that offers digital options and copy trading.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
IFMRRC
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
$10
Min. Trade
$1
Crypto
Yes
Just2Trade offer high tech trading on stocks and options with some of the lowest prices in the industry.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
CySEC, NFA, FINRA, Bank of Russia
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$100
Min. Trade
0.01
Crypto
Yes
ActivTrades offers online trading on the MT4, MT5 and ActivTrader platforms. Over 93.60% of orders are executed at the requested price.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA, SCB
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$500
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
BlackBull Markets offers forex and CFD trading on the MT4 & MT5 platforms.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FMA, FSA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$200
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
No
LQDFX offers online trading with multiple STP accounts and MT4 analysis tools.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$20
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
LiteForex Europe is an FX and CFD broker offering sophisticated trading tools.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
CySEC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$50
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
No
Swissquote is an FCA-regulated FX & CFD broker offering 160+ trading products.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA, FINMA, DFSA, SFC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$1,000
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
No
SimpleFX is a CFD broker offering its own SFX WebTrader platform & low fees.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$0
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
EagleFX is a popular trading broker offering forex, stocks, cryptos & commodities.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$10
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
Speculate on traditional and emerging financial markets via MT4, MT5 and cTrader. FXPrimus is multi-regulated and offers leverage up to 1:1000 alongside monthly promotions.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
CYSEC, MIFID, ICF, FCA, BaFin, VFSC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$15
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
FXChoice is an offshore retail broker offering MT4 and MT5 platform downloads plus online CFD trading.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FSC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$100
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
EZ Invest is a CySEC-licensed broker offering trading on the financial markets.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
CySEC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$500
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
FXCC is a trustworthy trading broker regulated by the CySEC. The brokerage offers ECN trade executions, leverage up to 1:500 and $0 commissions.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
CySEC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$0
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
Fortrade is a multi-asset broker offering a simple live account with advanced tools.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA, ASIC, CySEC, NBRB, IIROC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$100
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
FP Markets is a multi-asset broker offering a choice of trading platforms.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
ASIC, CySEC, ESMA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$100
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
IronFX offers online trading in forex, stocks, futures and commodities
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$100
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
No
Admiral Markets is leading Forex and CFD broker offering the MT4 & MT5 platforms
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA, CySEC, ASIC, JSC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$100
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
Spectre.ai is a blockchain-based binary options broker
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
$0
Min. Trade
$1
Crypto
Yes
Access global exchanges anytime, anywhere, and on any device. DEGIRO offer stock trading with low fees and a large range of markets. DEGIRO are not CFD brokers and do not offer CFDs
Demo Account
No
Regulated By
FCA, BaFin
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
0 $/€/£
Min. Trade
Varies by asset
Crypto
No
NordFX offer forex trading with specific accounts for each type of investor. Spreads start from 0.0 pips while minimum deposits start at $10.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
VFSC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$10
Min. Trade
$1
Crypto
Yes
Trade on the financial markets with low cost, leveraged products at HYCM.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA, DFSA, CIMA, CySEC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$100
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
Infinox is a UK-based broker offering MT4 trading with tight spreads.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
£1
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
No
Hantec Markets is a multi-regulated online FX broker offering MT4 and a tailored service providing flexibility to suit any trader.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA, ASIC, FSC, FMA, FSA, CGSE, VSFC, JSC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$10
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
Dukascopy is a Swiss-based forex, CFD, and binary options broker
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FINMA, FCMC, JFSA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$100
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
NinjaTrader offer investors futures and forex trading. Use auto-trade algorithmic strategies and configure your own platform while trading with the lowest costs.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
NFA, CFTC
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
$50
Min. Trade
Varies by asset
Crypto
Yes
GO Markets is an ASIC-regulated FX & CFD broker.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
ASIC, CySEC, FSC of Mauritius
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$200
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
A regulated bank, Saxobank offer Equities and Forex trading on 40,000+ markets via the SaxoTrader Pro and SaxoTrader Go platforms
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
DFSA, MAS, FCA, SFC
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
£500
Min. Trade
Vary by asset
Crypto
No
Spreadex offer spread betting on financials with low fees. The company is a popular and award winning UK regulated broker.
Demo Account
No
Regulated By
FCA
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
£0
Min. Trade
£0.01
Crypto
Yes
ThinkMarkets is a multi-regulated forex and CFD broker
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA, ASIC, FSCA, CySEC, JFSA, FSA Seychelles
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$0
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
Reliable and affordable trading since 2009. Join over 900,000 others trading on 400+ CFD products over assets like forex, gold, indices, cryptocurrency and shares from 0.0 spreads through TradingView, MT4 or MT5. Vantage is ASIC regulated and client funds are segregated. Open an account in under 5 minutes.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
ASIC, FCA, CIMA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$200
Min. Trade
0.01 Lots
Crypto
Yes
Trading 212 Offer a truly mobile trading experience. With tight spreads and a huge range of markets, they offer a dynamic and detailed trading environment. Recent customer care issues have severely damaged the reputation of the brand.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
€/£/$1
Min. Trade
0.01 Lots
Crypto
Yes
Pepperstone offers spread betting and CFD trading to both retail and professional traders. Clients can trade FX, indices, commodities and shares on MT4, MT5 and cTrader platforms.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA, ASIC, DFSA, CMA, BaFin
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$500 recommended
Min. Trade
0.01 Lots
Crypto
Yes
FXTM is a leading forex and CFD broker. Offering a huge range of markets and 6 account types, they cater to all levels of trader.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
CySec, ESMA, FCA and FSC of the Republic of Mauritius
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
From $50
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
No
LegacyFX is a multi-asset broker offering an MT5 download & free signals.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
CySEC, FCA, VFSC, NBRB
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
$500
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
Yes
PrimeXBT is a Bitcoin-based platform offering highly leveraged trading in FX, indices, commodities, & cryptocurrencies.
Demo Account
No
Regulated By
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
0.001 BTC
Min. Trade
0.01 contract
Crypto
Yes
easyMarkets.com - Simply Honest. Trade CFDs on Forex, Commodities, Indices, Shares & Cryptos With a Top Rated Forex Broker
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
CySec, ASIC, BVI
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
€100
Min. Trade
Varies by asset
Crypto
Yes
Fusion Markets are delivering low cost forex and CFD trading via low spreads and trading costs. Their message is - Stop paying too much to trade
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
ASIC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
$0
Min. Trade
0.01 Lots
Crypto
Yes
Fondex is an award-winning forex and CFD broker with industry low trading costs.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FSA, CySEC
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
$0
Min. Trade
0.01 lots
Crypto
No
Skilling are an exciting new brand, regulated in Europe and beyond, with a bespoke browser based platform, allowing seamless low cost trading across devices.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
CySec, FSA
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
100 £/€/$ or 1000 NOK, SEK
Min. Trade
0.01 Lots or 1 Share
Crypto
Yes
XTB is one of the largest stock exchange-listed FX & CFD brokers in the world, offering access to over 2000 instruments on their trading platforms.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
FCA, CySEC, IFSC, KNF, DFSA
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
$0
Min. Trade
0.01 Lots
Crypto
No
Deposit and trade with a Bitcoin funded account. BinaryCent offers binary options, FX and CFD trading. 1:100 leverage is also available.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
VFSC
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
$250
Min. Trade
$.10
Crypto
Yes
Videforex accepts deposits in a range of cryptos and fiat currencies. Payouts reach 95% per trade.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
$250
Min. Trade
$1
Crypto
Yes
IB Boast a huge market share of global trading. With a minimum deposit of $10,000 however, they remain an option for larger traders only.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
SEC, FCA, IIROC, SFC
MT4 Integration
No
Min. Deposit
$10000
Min. Trade
$100
Crypto
Yes
InstaForex provide Forex, CFDs, Stock and Cryptocurrency trading. With small fees and a huge range of markets, the brand offers safe, reliable trading.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
CySec
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
€100 to €50000 (Account choice dependent)
Min. Trade
0.01 Lots
Crypto
No
Zulutrade provide multiple automation and copy trading options across forex, indices, stocks, cryptocurrency and commodities markets
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
HCMC
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
Broker choice dependent but balance on ZuluTrade should exceed $100
Min. Trade
$1
Crypto
Yes
Established spread betting, forex and CFD broker with over 30 years in the business. Regulated around the globe.
Demo Account
Yes
Regulated By
ASIC, FCA, MAS
MT4 Integration
Yes
Min. Deposit
£/$100 (varies by location)
Min. Trade
0.01 Lots
Crypto
No

The FTSE Explained

The FTSE (pronounced ‘footsie’) is the main UK stock exchange consisting of 600+ companies across 50 countries. It’s the largest exchange in Europe and operates as a key reference point for other global markets. Each index, detailed further below, ranks the top publicly traded companies registered in the UK by market capitalisation.

Our timeline highlights critical moments in its history:

  • 1973 – Regional exchanges merge to become the Stock Exchange of Great Britain and Ireland, later renamed as the LSE, which stands for London Stock Exchange
  • 1984 – FTSE 100 is launched with a market value of £160 billion and an index level of 1,000
  • 1987 – On 20th October the market falls 12.22% in one day. This largest one-day percentage drop in the FTSE’s history is known as ‘Black Monday’
  • 1992 – FTSE 250 is launched with a market value of £98 billion
  • 1999 – The FTSE’s highest point of the 20th century is reached on 31st December owing to the dot-com boom
  • 2009 – On the 5th March, the FTSE falls to the lowest value since opening at 3,529.86 and closed at a high of 3,530.73
  • 2017 – On the 29th December, the FTSE reached the highest-ever closing and a record all-time high intra-value at 7,687.77 and 7,697.62 respectively

FTSE Indexes

  • FTSE 100 – The FTSE 100 is a leading global index and its stocks and shares are the most popular to buy. It is composed of the top 100 companies in the UK, ranked by market cap. The top 50 FTSE constituents come from many different sectors, for example, leading energy and oil companies like BP and mining companies like Glencore. There are several property businesses and banks in the top 100 list also.
  • FTSE 250 – This index comprises the next largest 250 companies. FTSE 250 companies tend to trade less internationally and therefore the index’s performance is a better reflection of the UK economy.
  • FTSE 350 – The FTSE 350 is a weighted index of the companies included in the FTSE 100 and 250. It, therefore, includes a list of the top 350 companies in the UK on the London Stock Exchange.
  • FTSE Small Cap – This index is a collection of small-cap companies ranking from 351st to 619th on the LSE sorted by market cap.
  • FTSE Aim All-Share – A weighted index with approximately 600 constituents out of 2,000 LSE listed companies. It is managed by FTSE Russel a subsidiary of the LSE. The FTSE Aim All-Share index tends to track closely to the FTSE 100 and often follows similar chart trends.

FTSE Russell also provides other indices, which are split by region and sector. A fact sheet for each can be found on their website.

To be listed by the FTSE Group, companies must adhere to specific conditions. These include having a full London Stock Exchange listing and providing proof of nationality, liquidity, and free-floating status.

Key Components Of FTSE Indexes

Weighting

All companies are weighted by market capitalisation in each index. Companies with a large market cap will influence the index more significantly than smaller companies. Market cap is calculated by the number of tradable shares multiplied by the share price.

To calculate the number of tradable shares, the total number of shares is multiplied by the free float adjustment factor. The free float adjustment factor is the percentage of tradable shares as a proportion of total shares (rounded to the nearest 5%). Any restricted stock such as shares held by employees is excluded.

Changes

FTSE Russell carry out a quarterly review of the list of companies in each FTSE index and their market cap ranking. The review dates are the Wednesday after the first Friday of each quarter. Each company’s valuation is based on the close market cap value of the night before the review. Based on this valuation, all companies are listed in league tables. The biggest market cap risers will be promoted, and the greatest fallers will be relegated.

Only companies in the top 90 can be promoted and any company lower than 111th will be relegated. It can therefore be expected that the top FTSE 250 risers will be included in the FTSE 100 the following quarter, similarly, the top FTSE 100 fallers may be included in the FTSE 250 index. All FTSE index changes are made by independent market experts.

There are many reasons why a FTSE 100 company’s value may change, often reflected in a change in share price. The most common reasons are mergers and acquisitions, responses to news stories, and consumer trends.

Purpose Of The FTSE

The FTSE 100 is most widely used as a UK stock market indicator. Despite this, many of the companies in the top 100 list are internationally focused meaning the index’s price, chart and forecast may not truly reflect the UK’s economic performance. It is impacted by international events, for example, falling 5.7% after the 9/11 attacks in New York.

The FTSE 250, 350, and All Share act in a similar fashion but may be less affected by international events due to increased domestic trade.

What is the FTSE

Many traders try to capitalise on FTSE index price movements by anticipating changes in market sentiment. This can be achieved by using a tracker. The index can be either ‘up’ or ‘down’. When there are more buyers than sellers the index is up, while when the reverse occurs, the index is down. These movements occur in real-time with live charts refreshing every 15 seconds during market hours.

The market opens at 08:00 and the close time is 16:30. The close value is taken at 16.35. (All times in UK Local time – GMT in winter, BST in summer)

How To Start FTSE Trading

Nowadays, many FTSE 100 investors are using day trading strategies to make money. Earnings can also be made by developing a system that focuses on the FTSE over a longer period. Regardless of your preferred method of trading, be sure to review our top tips for FTSE trading:

1. Select A Broker

A broker is a trader’s main route to market. Therefore, it is important to make the right choice. The key things to consider are:

  • Trading platform – Platforms available vary by broker, some are more comprehensive than others. Traders must understand the platform they are using and get the most out of the tools available for technical analysis. Some platforms offer multi-screen displays where traders can analyse different indexes, for example, comparing a FTSE All-Share Index chart vs a live FTSE 100 or 250 chart.
  • Fees applicable – There are fees applicable when trading, including commissions, deposit and withdrawal fees, plus transaction fees. When trading in high volumes these fees can add up and erode profits.
  • Customer service – Trading can be confusing and having strong customer service support is important, especially if something goes wrong. Most brokers now offer a range of customer options during trading hours, from live chatbots to email and telephone.
  • Additional features – The best brokers offer additional tools to improve the trading experience. Whilst this is not essential for FTSE trading, features such as a forum, live market news, and daily chart update notifications are a bonus.
  • Compare brokers – Reviews are a great source of information when choosing a broker in a competitive market. Reviews can provide clear and concise details which might not be transparent on the broker’s website. For broker recommendations, review our broker list.

2. Fund Your Account

Before you can start trading the FTSE you will need to fund your new account. Over time, brokers have increased the number of payment options, some now accept Bitcoin payments, for example. Make sure you have enough funds in your account to execute trades, not forgetting fees.

3. Choose Your Asset

All FTSE shares have different characteristics, with over 2,000 to choose from it would be impossible to have an understanding of them all. Despite this, all FTSE stocks share two common qualities: volume and volatility.

Volume

Volume is the number of shares being traded at a specific time. If a FTSE chart increases by 100 transactions today and decreases by 50 tomorrow, the total volume over the 2 days would be 50. The size of a market move is relative to the current trading volume. As a result, volume can be used as a quality factor to measure the size of a move. For example, a transaction of 1,000 FTSE 100 shares may not show a spike on a live chart due to the number of shares in that period, but a transaction of the same size for a FTSE Small Cap company may have a bigger impact.

Making use of a stock screener is essential, here traders will be able to pick stocks that align with their methodology by comparing volume, price, and other important factors. Popular stock screeners include Yahoo Finance, TradingView, or MarketWatch. Alternatively, most FTSE brokers offer a regular report on the top 10 stocks being traded as well as the biggest FTSE 100, 250 and 350 risers and fallers.

Volatility

Volatility is the rate of risk and a measure of unpredictability that a share price can experience over a period. If the price fluctuates in large swings it is considered to be highly volatile, while if the price does not fluctuate, it is considered to be stable. A trader’s appetite for volatility in the FTSE will inform their trading strategy, for example, a day trader would welcome volatile price movements whereas a position trader may wish for steady and stable movements over a longer period.

Traders may wish to use the beta value of a stock which indicates how volatile or risky a stock is compared to the market. The market beta is 1, any company with a beta above 1 is more volatile than the market and anything below is less volatile than the market.

Traders with a good grasp of trading volumes and volatility will have a solid foundation to start trading. However, before you do enter the market ensure you read our preparation guide below.

FTSE Trading Preparation

There are winners and losers in all financial markets trading. To give yourself the best chance at returning profit it is essential to prepare properly.

Wake Up Early

Starting your day right is key. The FTSE opening time is 08:00 GMT so be sure to give yourself enough time in the morning to wake up properly, grab a coffee, and check for overnight updates.

Read The News

All FTSE indexes are sensitive to news stories, whether that be financial market news (for example on Bloomberg News) or otherwise. News of new entrants or listings may also influence price movements.

The FTSE 100 will be impacted by major world events whereas the FTSE 250 and 350 may be more impacted by domestic issues. Make sure you’ve read the latest stories and thought about how this might affect your live FTSE trades. This may also allow you to set up a move as soon as the market opens off the back of that news.

A good example of this is the impact of Brexit on the FTSE value. The result of the Brexit vote was known on the night of the 23rd June 2016. When the market opened on 24th June the FTSE fell from 6,338.10 to 6,138.69. Well-prepared traders would have opened short positions on the FTSE to capitalise on this update.

Analyse Market Data

There are many different trading strategies that you can implement, some are FTSE specific and others can be adapted to other asset types like indices, futures, and options. Many traders investing in FTSE 100 or 250 companies use historical data or values to make future price predictions. This combined with chart, growth, and trend analysis can form the foundations of a good trading strategy.

Investing in the UK FTSE

Of course, there is no guarantee that the stock price rise last week will forecast gains the next week. A famous quote known in the investing world explained: “Past performance is no guarantee of future results”.

Set Up Your Charts

As discussed above, using charts are a key aspect of FTSE trading. Most platforms offer several customisable charts. This includes short-term charts such as 1 and 5-minute charts or charts which focus on the long-term. A FTSE chart with a longer time frame will provide an overview of market sentiment and a high-level summary of how a share is currently trending.

Traders may wish to implement specific trading strategies by drawing support and a resistance line on the graph. This will allow traders to judge at what price they want to enter or exit the market.

Alternatively, some platforms will offer automated FTSE trading which lowers the level of attention needed. A good example of this is a FTSE 100 day trading robot.

Start Trading

Once you have your charts set up and are comfortable with your strategy, you are ready to trade. Depending on your investing strategy, you should be able to identify when the market confirms your predictions. If you are day trading the FTSE, there may only be seconds between entering at a desired live price and missing the right rate, so you need to be ready. Longer-term investors like position traders may have to be patient for their share to hit the execute price. Regardless of your trading strategy, all investing should have an element of risk management.

Day trading the FTSE

Additional Tips

In addition to the steps above, FTSE traders can also do the following to capitalise on gainers and fallers:

  • Use FTSE forums and chat rooms to share trading ideas of future movers
  • Traders can order ebooks or download to PDF to increase knowledge of the financial markets
  • Watch online trading videos or enroll in courses. There are lots of FTSE educational materials that help traders cover topics such as how to read an index graph and how to review a dividend yield calculation to make a move.

Final Word On FTSE Trading

The outlook for the FTSE is hopeful. In the last 12 months, global financial markets have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, however, there is an expectation that the FTSE and other indexes will soon return to similar levels. The FTSE rankings will continue to change and there remains a good opportunity for traders to realise profits by following our guidance and making use of trading strategies and resources.

FAQ

What Are The Best Brokers To Trade The FTSE With?

There are many important qualities to consider when choosing a broker which have been listed above. More experienced traders may want a broker who offers a choice of platforms or additional features whereas beginners may want simplicity. Check out our list of broker recommendations here.

The UK FTSE, What Is It?

The FTSE is a collection of indexes that are made up of the top 600 companies (by market cap) traded on the London Stock Exchange. The main FTSE index is the FTSE 100 which includes the biggest 100 companies.

What Companies Are In The FTSE 100?

The top 100 companies on the LSE come from different sectors. The biggest players in the index typically include Shell, HSBC, British American Tobacco, and BP. These 4 companies account for more market capitalisation than the remaining 96.

How Do Companies Move From The FTSE 250 To The FTSE 100?

All companies are ranked by market cap every quarter. Companies are put into league tables and those in the top 90 will be promoted while those below 111th will be relegated.

Where Can I find The Biggest FTSE Risers And Fallers?

Brokers often provide a list of the biggest risers and fallers with relevant volume, volatility, and price data. Traders should also make use of stock screeners to compare different FTSE shares to trade.