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What is leverage trading?

Your capital is at risk if you invest. You could lose all your investment. Please see the full risk warning here.

Websim is the retail division of Intermonte, the primary intermediary of the Italian stock exchange for institutional investors. Leverage Shares often features in its speculative analysis based on macros/fundamentals. However, the information is published in Italian. To provide better information for our non-Italian investors, we bring to you a quick translation of the analysis they present to Italian retail investors. To ensure rapid delivery, text in the charts will not be translated. The views expressed here are of Websim. Leverage Shares in no way endorses these views. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment, please seek financial advice. View the original at

Many investors have come across the term leverage trading, a powerful investment tool used quite often not only in the financial but also in the mainstream media. However, do investors know how to fully utilize that weapon in their investing arsenal? Let’s explore this concept in detail.

WHAT IS LEVERAGE TRADING?

Investors can make far more money than they physically have by borrowing funds from their broker on top of their existing balances with the aim of maximizing their buying power and ultimately return. Put differently, it’s using borrowed capital on top of your own equity (cash) to magnify the potential returns of your bet.

WHAT IS A LEVERAGE RATIO?

In simple terms, it is the ratio between the amount of money you can trade over the amount of money you have. For instance, a 10:1 leverage ratio means you trading up to $10 000 for every $1 000 exposure to your broker. This will allow you to increase your equity (money) up to $10k. Now your buying power is up 10x allowing you to make much larger investments.

HOW DOES LEVERAGE TRADING WORK?

Leverage works by using a deposit, known as margin, to provide you with increased exposure. Let’s continue with our previous example. Suppose that you currently have $1000, but you feel that is not enough if you aim for 10% return or $100 gain. If you decide to use 10:1 leverage to boost the return of your initial investment, the broker will take your $1 000 and lend you the rest or $9 000. In essence, bumping up your buying power or equity to $10k. Now if you successfully achieved that same return your profit will be $1000 or ten times larger with the use of leverage. Hence, leverage is great as it increases your future profits but also can act as a double-edged sword leading to higher future losses. So, the next question that comes to mind is

HOW MUCH LEVERAGE SHOULD I USE?

Choose the leverage you are comfortable with depending on your experience, financial knowledge, and comfort level.

Obviously, beginner investors should be careful as leverage amplifies your potential gains as well as possible losses.

HOW LEVERAGE TRADING APPLIES TO MULTIPLE ASSET CLASSES

Leverage can be used across a variety of financial markets stocks, indices, forex, treasuries, CFDs, and ETPs. Also, you can use leverage in investing outside your margin account. Leverage exchange-traded funds (ETPs) use borrowed funds to deliver returns of 2x, 3x or even 5x vs their benchmark indices. There are many advantages of using ETPs in comparison to other investment vehicles that use leverage.

Benefits of using ETPs vs other financial instruments.

  • Max loss, in essence like a stop loss, up to your original investment
  • No need for a margin account, which requires a large sum to be deposited in advance in your broker account
  • Trade on an exchange – there are multiple maker makers providing liquidity – facilitating easily going in and out of a trade
  • Fees are quite low as these products are usually passively managed
  • Collateralized – covered by pledged collateral

BOTTOM LINE

Borrowing money enables you to make investments on a much larger scale.

The drawback being it is a double-edged sword as it magnifies your winner as well as possible losses.

ETPs unlike other financial products offer a practical and elegant solution to most problems created by the use of leverage.

Your capital is at risk if you invest. You could lose all your investment. Please see the full risk warning here.

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