Best Stock Brokers

Richard Montana | August 4, 2022

Stocks are a way for retail investors to own a share in some of the world’s largest companies. In turn, these companies can raise money from stock investors in order to fund their expansion, products and services. When you purchase a stock, you are investing in the company and their success. Stock traders can speculate on the price of a company stock to try and make a profit from the difference in price fluctuations.

If you believe the price of a stock would increase, you may look to buy it. If you felt that the price may fall, you may look to sell it. The difference in price from when you open and close your position, is the profit or loss minus any stock broker fees. You will need a stock broker if you want to buy and sell stocks.

Although more and more aspiring traders and investors are branching out into cryptocurrencies and trading forex, stock trading still remains one of the oldest and most prominent forms of online trading. Therefore, you can find literally thousands of stock brokers providing stock trading products and services. We have put this stock trading guide together to help you in your search.

Top 10 Stock Brokers

Here you will find our best stock brokers, based on thousands of hours of extensive research, testing and analysis across hundreds of brokers. Upon conclusion of each of our broker reviews, we have assigned each broker with a rating.

Some of the most important factors that contribute towards a good broker for trading stocks online have been considered including things such as the available stocks, other financial instruments, platforms, apps, tools, execution, liquidity, fees, education, funding options, regulation, customer service and more.

Each of our chosen stock brokers have undergone and passed our stringent broker reviews with flying colours, based on what we consider to be amongst the most important considerations when choosing a stock broker for trading online. These brokers are well-established within the online trading industry, providing top stock trading conditions to traders and investors of all experience levels.

Having the best stock brokers according to our findings listed in one place, can help you save time when looking for the best stock broker for your own individual needs.

Broker
Rating
Regulated
Min. Deposit
Founded
Max. Leverage
1.

ADGM FRSA, ASIC, BVIFSC, CBI, FFAJ, FSCA, IIROC, JFSA

Min $100 Deposit

2006

1:400

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
2.

ASIC, BaFin, CFTC, DFSA, FCA, FINMA, FMA, FSA, FSCA, JFSA, MAFF, MAS, METI, NFA

Min $250 Deposit

1974

1:200

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
3.

ASIC, BaFin, CMA, CySEC, DFSA, FCA, SCB

Min $200 Deposit

2010

1:400

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
4.

ASIC, CySEC, FSA, SCB

Min $200 Deposit

2007

1:500

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
5.

ASIC, CySEC, DFSA, IFSC

Min $5 Deposit

2009

1:888

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
6.

CySEC, DFSA, FCA, FSCA, IFSC

Min $1 Deposit

2004

1:500

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
7.

ASIC, FCA, MAS

Min $100 Deposit

1983

1:200

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
8.

DFSA, FCA, FINMA, MFSA, SFC

Min $1,000 Deposit

1996

1:100

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
9.

CySEC, FCA, NBRB

Min $20 Deposit

2016

1:30

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
10.

ASIC, FCA, FINMA, JFSA, MAS, SFC

Min $500 Deposit

1992

1:66

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

AvaTrade

AvaTrade make it into our best stock brokers list, offering online trading on over 75+ stock CFDS with ultra-low spreads and a range of powerful yet easy to use trading platforms that are compatible across desktop, web and mobile devices (iOS/Android). You can trade long or short on popular global stocks such as Adidas, Amazon, Apple, Google, Tesla, Walt Disney and many more.

They don’t just offer individual stock trading either, there is a large variety of additional CFD trading instruments including forex, commodities, indices, ETFs, bonds and cryptos such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Whatever your interests, there is something for everyone to trade and build a diverse portfolio.

AvaTrade Platforms & Tools

AvaTrade offer online stock trading via user-friendly and intuitive stock trading platforms. You can choose between the popular MetaTrader 4 platform from MetaQuotes or the proprietary AvaTradeGO platform. The platforms are compatible with desktop, web and mobile devices for trading stocks whilst on the go.

In addition to intuitive and flexible platforms for a smooth trading experience, clients also have a vast array of trading tools to choose from. This includes a range of stock market analysis tools, automated trading solutions and Autochartist which can help to identify potential trade opportunities.

AvaTrade Research & Education

AvaTrade have an abundance of free educational materials to help you get the best out of your online stock trading. This includes trading guides, tutorials, webinars and more.

There are useful trading tools which can help with trading decisions including stock market analysis from the AvaTrade experts and an economic calendar to help you stay up to date with the latest stock market news.

AvaTrade are an innovative broker that frequently introduce new and unique technologies. This includes the trading academy “Sharp Trader” and the social trading platform “DupliTrade” where stock traders can share analysis and copy trades.

These resources show that the broker wants to help traders improve their skills and knowledge in order for them to be able to make more informed decisions.

AvaTrade Trading Accounts

The AvaTrade standard account requires a modest deposit of $100 to get started and gives you full access to all of the stock trading instruments and brokerage services. This includes all platforms, tools, resources and industry leading trading environment.

If you would first like to practice your stock trading strategies, the broker also offers demo accounts which allow you to trade stocks online with virtual funds until you feel confident enough to open a real account.

AvaTrade cater to Muslim traders by offering swap free accounts that comply with Sharia law. There are also MAM accounts for money managers and investors along with professional accounts for those who qualify.

AvaTrade Account Funding

You can fund your AvaTrade broker account via numerous convenient options which include credit and debit cards, bank transfer and online payment processors that include Paypal, Skrill, NETELLER and WebMoney.

AvaTrade Customer Service

AvaTrade have an excellent customer service team that are available around the clock to answer any of your general, technical or account related questions. The brokers multilingual support team can be contacted in a variety of ways including phone, chat and email. They are prompt, polite and efficient in their responses with all traders treated the same no matter how big or small your stock portfolio is.

AvaTrade Regulation

AvaTrade has one of the widest range of regulators we have seen from any online stock broker. They are regulated by respected regulatory authorities that span across multiple continents. The brokers regulators include some top-tier regulators.

Such stringent regulation can give you the peace of mind that you are trading stocks with a broker who must follow strict rules and regulations that are put in place to protect investors. This can give your account protection in the unlikely event things were to go wrong.

AvaTrade Summary

As an established online brokerage and huge global brand, we are proud to include AvaTrade in our list of best stock brokers. They have won multiple brokerage awards, including for their best in class customer service team which provides multilingual live support along with a dedicated account manager.

In addition to a huge range of stocks and other trading instruments, AvaTrade also offer traders a selection of educational materials, innovative trading tools and daily updates to help expand their understanding of various financial markets and to improve their online trading skills.

With AvaTrade you can trade with confidence knowing that they are regulated in an impressive range of jurisdictions by some top-tier regulators.

Pros
  • Great selection of stock CFDS for trading long or short
  • Lots of financial instruments from other asset classes offered
  • Ultra-low spreads with commission free trading
  • User friendly trading platforms for web, desktop and mobile apps
  • Innovative trading tools for professional market analysis
  • Trading academy packed with quality content
  • Flexible account funding options for everyone
  • Self-directed trading and copy trading platforms
  • Free demo trading accounts
  • Excellent customer service
  • Award winning stock broker
Cons
  • Inactivity fees may apply
  • Cannot accept traders in the USA
  • No variable spread accounts
  • Minimum deposit of $100
  • CFD stock trading only

IG

Founded in 1974, IG are an absolute juggernaut in the online brokerage world. They are by far one of the biggest online brokers and easily make it into out best stock brokers. This is evident for the numerous awards that they have been honored with over the years for their brokerage services.

We consider them to be a top choice for stock traders located in the USA especially considering they are one of the few stock brokers who actually facilitate clients in the USA.

IG provide access to a huge range of over 18,000 markets with low margins and competitive commission on a wide range of popular global stocks. You can trade more international share CFDs than most will ever need access to with this broker. They have everything you need to speculate on price and go long or short on a wide range of popular UK, US and international stocks.

In addition to stocks trading, they have other markets you can trade online including forex, commodities, cryptocurrencies, bonds, precious metals, energies and more.

Not only do they have one of the largest product ranges we have seen from any online broker, IG provides have a generous selection of powerful trading platforms, advanced trading tools, and educational materials.

IG have industry leading trading conditions that includes competitive trading fees, tight spreads and reliable trade execution speeds. The broker sources prices from multiple venues to make sure that they give you the best prices available.

IG Platforms & Tools

IG have trading platforms for desktop, web and mobile devices. You can enjoy seamless trading with the browser-based platform and trading apps for when you are on the go.

IG clients can choose from an excellent range of advanced yet easy to use trading platforms, including their proprietary trading platform, ProRealTime (PRT), L2 Dealer, and the popular MetaTrader 4 (MT4) platform.

IG also have a vast array of additional trading tools to support traders with their daily activities. Some of the trading tools provided include trading alerts, trading signals, Autochartist, PIA-First, and automated trading tools.

When it comes to platform diversity, features, functionality and usability, we certinaly consider IG to be one of the best stock brokers we have researched.

IG Research & Education

Not only do IG have excellent trading platforms and tools, they have an absolute plethora of educational and research resources. There is something for traders of all different experience levels and trading styles. Whatever your stock trading background, chances are that you will find something to further improve your skills and knowledge of the stock market.

There is the IG Academy which includes interactive courses, videos, webinars, seminars, stock trading guides, stock trading strategies and a handy glossary of terms. The IG Academy App can be used for learning whilst on the go and has enough content for even the most novice of stock traders.

IG Trading Accounts

IG have trading accounts with different features and requirements to suit the demands of a wide variety of stock traders and investors. You can open an account with a minimum deposit of $250 which is not the lowest but they do provide free demo accounts if you want to give them a try before making a commitment. The primary difference between each of the account types are the features offered along with the fees.

The account types offered by IG are as follows:

  • IG Trading Account
  • IG Professional Account
  • IG Options Trading Account
  • IG Turbo24 Trading Account
  • Limited Risk Account
  • Share Dealing Account
  • Swap-free Account
  • Exchange Account (NADEX)
  • Islam-friendly Swap-free Account on request
  • Demo Practice Accounts

IG Account Funding

IG offer clients a choice of convenient account funding options for making quick deposits and withdrawals. You can fund your brokerage account to trade stocks online via bank wire, credit or debit card, and online payment processors inlcuding PayPal.

IG Customer Service

The broker’s customer support team can be contacted from Saturday 8 a.m. to Friday 10 p.m via email, phone, and online chat.

IG have a big support team with the knowledge to answer all of your stock trading questions. Whether you have a general, technical or account related questions, the team are available and happy to provide top class support. The brokers multilingual support can be reached via email, phone, and online chat. They are available from Saturday 8 a.m. to Friday 10 p.m. I have always found them to be very helpful and go above and beyond to solve my queries.

IG Regulation

The IG Group is strictly regulated in multiple jurisdictions and listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Along with AvaTrade, they have one of the most impressive list of regulators we have seen from any of the stock brokers that we have reviewed.

This emphasises the size of IG and can help to give investors that peace of mind they are using a stock broker which can be trusted and must adhere to strict rules and regulations.

IG is a brokerage brand used by many affiliates of the IG Group in different parts of the world, so they are regulated by financial authorities in many countries, including:

  • UK – Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • USA – Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and National Futures Association (NFA)
  • Europe – Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin)
  • Switzerland – Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA)
  • Australia – Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC)
  • New Zealand – Financial Markets Authority (FMA)
  • Singapore – Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
  • Japan – Japanese Financial Services Authority (JFSA)
  • South Africa – Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA)
  • UAE – Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)

IG Review Summary

After reviewing and comparing hundreds of stock broker over thousands of hours, IG easily made it into our list of the best stock brokers. They have a huge range of stock instruments available to trade online via some of the best trading platforms with a vast array of trading tools to improve efficiency.

In addition to this, the broker has an abundance of educational materials, great selection of account types, support for multiple account funding methods, regulation in multiple jurisdictions and excellent customer service.

IG are one of the few brokers we have reviewed that offer online stock trading to USA traders and have also won multiple awards for their brokerage services.

Pros
  • Advanced trading platforms for retail and institutional traders
  • Extensive range of over 18,000+ trading instruments
  • Tight spreads, low fees and reliable execution speeds
  • IG academy packed with educational content
  • Free premium tools for stock market analysis
  • Large choice of account types for all types of strategy
  • Free demo accounts to practice your stock strategies
  • Various convenient account funding options
  • Winner of numerous stock brokerage awards
  • Excellent multilingual support
Cons
  • Could offer some more account funding options
  • Inactivity fee after 2 years
  • No MetaTrader 5 platforms
  • Minimum deposit of $250 is not the lowest

Pepperstone

Pepperstone make it into our best stock brokers list. They are one of the most popular online brokers for many reasons. The Pepperstone Razor account offers some of the best trading conditions available to retail traders with superior trade execution speeds, tight spreads and competitively low commission fees.

Pepperstone offer hundreds of financial instruments across global markets including forex, CFDs and cryptocurrencies. There is 60+ top-quality stocks on offer, including Amazon, Boeing, IBM and Exxon. These assets are available to trade via flexible, powerful and user-friendly online trading platforms for desktop and mobile devices.

Traders can access a wide range of companies, such as Apple, Alphabet, Tesla and Alibaba, and take advantage of reporting season with after-market trading hours. They are one of the few stock brokers offering extended market hours on US equities. This includes when earnings are typically released so that you can take a position before the next day’s open.

Pepperstone have also won multiple online broker awards over the years, including awards for customer service, client satisfaction, value for money and more. I have had an account with them for many years and find them to be one of the best brokers all round when it comes to trading online.

Pepperstone Platforms & Tools

Pepperstone offer online stock trading via the powerful and intuitive MetaTrader 5 (MT5) platform for desktop and mobile. MT5 is for traders who need advanced financial trading functions and superior tools for analysis. For those new to MetaTrader, MT5 is one of the easiest platforms to understand.

To add stock CFDs to your trading portfolio, you can open a Pepperstone MT5 account and select stock CFDs from your market watch window. This will display real time price quotes of all the stocks which you can then trade on the user-friendly platform.

The platform has an abundance of useful trading tools built in which you can use to conduct in-depth analysis of all the stocks that you wish to trade. There is an economic calendar so you can keep up to date with the latest news that can move the stock market. The broker also offers clients the excellent Autochartist technical analysis tool free of charge.

The MT5 platform has many technical indicators and drawing objects to help spot stock trading opportunities on charts that you can view in different styles and timeframes. Whatever your trading strategy, the platform can be customised to suit your individual stock trading needs.

Pepperstone Research & Education

In addition to industry leading trading platforms and tools, Pepperstone supply client with a variety of educational materials to help increase your trading knowledge and skills thus ensuring they are supporting traders in making informed decisions. There is a range of stock trading guides, webinars and thorough market analysis.

Pepperstone Trading Accounts

The Pepperstone brokerage accounts give you access to some of the best trading technology that is commercially available to retail and institutional clients. This includes deep liquidity pools and interbank pricing which helps to ensure that the broker can process large trading volumes with minimal slippage at the best possible prices.

Stock traders from all around the globe can benefit from low cost trading, superior execution speeds and tight spreads. There are accounts to cater to each investment size and specific requirements. Professional stock traders can apply for the professional account which comes with some added benefits such as the ability to trade with higher leverage.

The minimum account size required by the broker is $200. You can choose between commission free accounts or opt for the Pepperstone Razor account that has some of the tightest spreads with a small commission charge.

You can choose to open a free demo trading account if you would like to practice trading stocks online until you feel confident enough to open a real account. They also have Islamic accounts for Muslim traders that are swap free and comply with Sharia law.

Pepperstone do offer Islamic accounts that comply with Sharia law and can cater to clients with significant trading volumes. If you are such a trader then Pepperstone has a vast amount of liquidity providers to help ensure that your large trading volume will be executed with minimal slippage and at the best possible prices.

With Pepperstone you can also quickly setup a free forex demo trading account to practice your trading strategies with virtual funds until you feel confident enough to open a real account.

Pepperstone Account Funding

Not only do Pepperstone have a variety of account types, they also have a generous selections of account funding options which can meet the needs of most traders. The funding methods include bank transfer, credit/debit card and convenient e-wallets such as Skrill, Neteller and UnionPay.

Pepperstone Customer Service

Another key reason we consider Pepperstone to be one of the best stock brokers is that they have an award-winning customer support team who you can reach 24 hours a day via phone, chat and email. The support team are multilingual and able to answer all of your general, technical and account related questions in a prompt, friendly and accurate manner.

Pepperstone Regulation

Pepperstone are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). This strict regulation can give traders protection and peace of mind that they are using a safe and secure online broker who must follow strict rules and regulations in place to protect investors.

Pepperstone Summary

Pepperstone is a very well established and respected brokerage that has offered stock trading to a global clientele for many years. They can provide the average retail stock trader with institutional grade trading without the usual complexities that can be involved to implement such technology. The brokers fees, spreads and execution speeds are amongst the best in the industry.

In addition to some of the best stock trading conditions, clients also get free access to powerful trading platforms, tools, educational resources, market analysis, variety of account types, multiple funding options and award-winning support.

Pros
  • Good selection of CFD stock instruments
  • Low trading fees and rapid trade execution speeds
  • Superb stock trading platforms packed with robust tools
  • Free premium trading tools for complex stock market analysis
  • Social trading platforms including DupliTrade and Myfxbook
  • Good variety of educational resources including guides and videos
  • No restrictions imposed on your stock trading strategies
  • Multiple quick and easy account funding options
  • Free demo trading accounts
  • Award winning customer support
Cons
  • Primarily CFD trading instruments offered
  • Do not have a proprietary trading platform
  • Cannot accept traders in the USA
  • Minimum deposit of $200 is not the lowest
  • Limited stock instruments compared to some brokers

IC Markets

IC Markets make it into our best stock brokers list for offering online stock trading on over 100 large-cap Stocks CFDs across the ASX, NYSE and NASDAQ stock exchanges with superior execution and tight pricing exclusively on the IC Markets MetaTrader 5 platform.

IC Markets single stock CFD give traders the ability to trade the world’s most popular companies such as Apple or BHP Billiton. You can access local and international shares of the world’s exchanges with IC Markets.

The broker has listed the most popular stocks across the Australian and US markets to give you the best trading opportunities. Alternatively, you can trade global macro themes with their special selection of US Exchange listed CFDs including a range of emerging markets Indices and popular such as the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners (GDX).

Stocks are available exclusively on the IC Markets MetaTrader 5 platform which offers advanced functionalities for both new and experienced traders who require world class execution and superior charting tools.

IC Markets Platforms & Tools

IC Markets provide online stock trading via the powerful and popular MetaTrader 5 (MT5) platform developed by MetaQuotes. MT5 is a multi-asset platform suitable for trading in the Forex, Stocks and Futures markets. Such versatility provides traders with a full selection of trading tools for an efficient and pleasurable trading experience on any financial market. It is freely available to IC Markets clients and is compatible with desktop and mobile devices.

MT5 implements advanced charting technology coupled with sophisticated order management tools that can help you to monitor and control your positions quickly and efficiently. The powerful platform is packed with an abundance of features that can help to deliver an exceptional trading experience.

In addition to some of the best stock trading platforms, IC Markets have partnered with technology companies in order to offer clients innovative tools including depth of Market (DOM), inbuilt spread monitoring, ladder trading, automated close of trades with custom order templates, and more.

IC Markets stock trading tools and apps can assist you with conducting in-depth market analysis and help to improve the overall trading experience. They have economic calendars for you to keep up to date with the latest stock market news, price alerts to notify you as required, technical indicators for identifying stock trends, market data, virtual private servers and much more.

IC Markets Research & Education

IC Markets clients get free access to a range of useful educational resources that includes trading guides and video tutorials for traders of all experience levels. These are geared towards supporting informed trading and cover a range of topics related to online stock trading such as how it operates, technical and fundamental analysis, market influences, trading platforms and more.

IC Markets Trading Accounts

You can open a brokerage account to trade stocks online with IC Markets from a deposit of $200. The account come with a generous 10 different funding currencies and flexible leverage. MT5 is available on both of the IC Markets account types: Raw Pricing and Standard.

The primary differences between the account types are the commissions and spreads that they have. The raw pricing account has tighter spreads with a small commission fee whereas the standard account has spread mark-ups but no commission fee. The account type that you opt for may depend on the assets that you wish to trade along with your trading strategies.

The ECN accounts offered by IC Markets can connect traders with over 50 liquidity providers (LP’s) which gives a deep pool of liquidity for superior pricing and trade execution speeds for traders of all different back grounds.

There is also an option to open a demo trading account with this broker and practice trading stocks online until you familiarise yourself with the platform and feel confident enough to open a real account. IC Markets offer Islamic swap free accounts that comply with Sharia law for Muslim traders.

IC Markets Account Funding

IC Markets have a selection of convenient methods for making deposits and withdrawals to and from your trading account including wire transfer, credit/debit card and online payment processors such as Neteller, PayPal and Skrill. Wherever you are in the world or whatever your preferred method, there is likely to be a funding option suitable for everyone.

IC Markets Customer Service

IC Markets have a multilingual support team on hand to answer all of your questions 24 hours a day 7 days a week, via phone, chat and email. We find them to always give prompt and accurate responses to all of the questions we have.

IC Markets Regulation

IC Markets is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). As an ASIC regulated entity, IC Markets is required to meet strict financial standards, including capital adequacy and audit requirements.

IC Markets acknowledges the importance of compliance with all relevant laws, rules, regulations, policies and standards. The broker is committed to having strict management discipline and first-class controls in their compliance environment.

IC Markets holds client money in client segregated trust accounts with Australian banks in Westpac and National Australia Bank (NAB). All client money is managed in accordance with the Australian Client Money Handling rules and held separately to IC Markets company funds. Client money is not used for any purpose other than to facilitate clients trading activity.

This strict regulation can help to give traders the peace of mind that you are using an online stock broker which must comply with strict regulatory requirements.

IC Markets Summary

IC Markets are one of the leading online stock brokers that have been providing stock brokerage services to clients all over the globe for many years. They are under strict regulation and have some of the best trading conditions available to retail and institutional traders alike. This includes tight spreads, low commissions and vast liquidity pools to ensure trades get filled with minimal slippage at the best possible prices.

The broker offers powerful and flexible trading platforms, trading tools, multiple account types, convenient account funding options, educational resources and excellent 24/5 support. I have held a few accounts with IC Markets over the years and have always found them to have excellent trading conditions and top-class support. There has never been any issue with withdrawals, all of which have been processed in a timely manner.

Pros
  • Powerful stock trading platforms for all of your devices
  • True ECN brokerage model delivers excellent trading conditons
  • Institutional grade liquidity with over 50 liquidity providers
  • Low fees, tight spreads and rapid execution speeds
  • Excellent stock trading tools for comprehensive market analysis
  • Different account types for every type of trader
  • Educational materials to help beginners get up to speed
  • Various convenient deposit and withdrawal options
  • Free demo trading accounts
  • Superb 24/7 support
Cons
  • Do not have a proprietary trading platform
  • Trading products can vary depending on your location
  • Minimum $200 deposit is not the lowest
  • Could add some more standalone tools
  • No fixed spread accounts

XM Group

XM Group are one of our best stock brokers for trading stocks online with low spreads, low fees and a no re-quote policy which ensures some of the best trade execution speeds possible.

They offer a very impressive selection of over 700+ stock CFDs for trading short or long and more than 1,000+ trading instruments overall. In addition to stocks they also offer markets including forex, commodities, metals, energies, cryptocurrencies and more.

XM Group are considered a trusted global brokerage as they are regulated by some of the top regulatory authorities in multiple jurisdictions. They have been recognised as one of the best stock brokers having won multiple awards for their online brokerage services including for offering the best trading platforms which can be used on desktop, web and mobile devices (iOS/Android).

XM Group clients have access to an extensive range of research and educational resources including seminars, webinars, trading tools and in-depth market research. This can help you to improve your trading knowledge and skills. There are also daily live trading sessions from Monday to Friday where you can learn from professional traders.

XM Group Platforms & Tools

You can trade stocks online with XM Group via the MetaTrader 4/5 platforms for desktop, web and mobile. The web version can run directly in most modern web browsers without needing to download or install any additional software. The mobile version can run on iOS and Android devices which makes it a popular choice for those who want to trade stocks whilst on the go.

The free to download MetaTrader is widely regarded as being one of the most intuitive online trading platforms and is used by millions of traders all over the globe. It is user-friendly which makes it a common choice for beginners whilst there are enough advanced functionalities for the more experienced traders.

The platform is packed with features to help you with your daily stock trading activities. This includes a plethora of built-in tools to analyse real time prices of over 1,000+ stocks and manage your positions in a quick and easy manner.

XM Group Research & Education

In addition to some of the best stock trading platforms and useful trading tools, the broker also grants clients with an abundance of free educational materials. Amongst these you will find trading guides and video tutorials to help improve your trading knowledge and skills. They also offer detailed stock market analysis which can help to inspire potential trade opportunities.

XM Group Trading Accounts

In order to trade stocks online with XM Group, you can choose between a variety of brokerage accounts depending on your individual requirements. Every account will give you access to multiple trading instruments, platforms, tools and other resources.

XM Group offer the micro, standard, ultra-low and zero accounts. The primary difference between the account types are the spreads and commissions. The zero account will tend to have the tightest spreads with a low commission whereas the other accounts have no commission but a small spread mark-up. The account type that you opt for can depend on your particular stock trading strategy.

The brokers minimum account deposit starts from just $5 whilst the minimum position size is 0.01 lots. This makes them easily accessible to traders of all investment levels.

There is the option of a free demo trading account if you would like to practice trading stocks online and test out the brokers services in the process. XM Group can also provide swap free accounts that comply with Sharia law making them a Muslim friendly broker.

XM Group Account Funding

XM Group have a range of ways to fund your stock trading account. The broker accepts credit and debit card, wire transfers and online payment gateways that include Skrill, Neteller and UnionPay. There is likely to be a quick and convenient accounting funding method for stock traders around the globe.

XM Group Customer Service

The broker has a large team of over 450 employees and offer multilingual support 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. The friendly and knowledgeable customer service team can be reached via phone, live chat and email. From our experience, they are very prompt and polite with their responses.

They have clients in almost 200 countries who rely on the excellent customer support that the broker provides. This helps to reiterate XM Groups position as a globally renowned stock broker.

XM Group Regulation

XM Group is regulated by some of the most respected regulatory authorities including the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They are also regulated with the International Financial Services Commission of Belize (IFSC).

Strict regulation means that the broker must implement rules and procedures that are put in place to help protect investors. Most professionals would only ever consider a regulated brokerage such as XM Group due to the fact that you have more protection in the unlikely event that something was to go wrong.

XM Group Summary

XM Group are easily considered as one of our best stock brokers for numerous reasons. Primarily because they offer top class stock brokerage services to stock traders worldwide with low costs, tight spreads and deep liquidity pools for superior trade executions speeds. They have a very impressive range of over 1,000+ financial instruments available to trade.

You can trade stocks on powerful and intuitive platforms with an array of tools to assist you with your analysis of the stock market. The broker also supplies clients with educational materials and analysis to help you get the most out of your trading activities.

XM Group are a multi-regulated broker with a variety of different account types and convenient funding methods. The support team is available 24/5 with personal account managers available should you need require.

Pros
  • Intuitive and versatile trading platforms and apps
  • Excellent selection of stock CFDs
  • Trade stocks short or long
  • Lots of robust trading tools
  • Expert market analysis
  • Good educational resources
  • Tight spreads, low fees and no-requotes policy
  • Good choice of account types
  • Convenient account funding options
  • Min deposit of just $5
  • Free demo trading accounts
  • 24/5 customer support
Cons
  • Cannot accept traders in the USA
  • Inactivity fees may apply
  • Only provide the MetaTrader platforms
  • No fixed spread accounts
  • Do not provide 24/7 support

XTB

XTB offer superior execution on a reliable, award-winning platform, being one of the largest stock exchange-listed stock CFD brokers in the world – dedicated to helping you at every stage of your trading journey. You can trade thousands of stock CFD instruments long or short on the award-winning station 5 trading platform with very good trading conditions including quick trade execution speeds, tight spreads and low commission fees.

Pros
  • Award-winning xStation trading platform
  • XTB is one of the largest stock exchange-listed FX brokers in the world
  • Trade over 2,100 global markets: Forex, Indices, Commodities and Shares
  • Tight spreads and rapid trade execution speeds
  • Commission free trading
  • Multiple deposit and withdrawal methods
  • Dedicated personal account manager
  • Excellent trading academy for beginners
  • Live market commentary
  • Powerful trading tools
  • Minimum $1 deposit
  • Fast and highly qualified support available 24/5
  • Islamic accounts
  • Free demo accounts
Cons
  • Inactivity fees
  • Funding fees
  • No MetaTrader platforms
  • No support for crypto funding
  • Cannot accept traders in the USA

City Index

City Index is a one of the world’s leading trading brokers offering over 12,000 markets to traders worldwide. They have over 35 years of experience, offering fast and reliable trade execution speeds, tight spreads and award-winning trading platforms. You can open a City Index trading account and speculate on thousands of global shares like Tesla, Amazon and Apple as a CFD trade or spread bet if you are in the UK.

Pros
  • User-friendly trading platforms
  • Huge selection of financial instruments
  • Tight spreads and fast execution speeds
  • Commission free trading
  • Large selection of trading tools
  • No deposit/withdrawal fees
  • Trading Central research tool
  • Expert market analysis
  • Real-time financial news from Reuters
  • Free trading signals
  • Dedicated client relationship manager
  • Educational trading academy
  • Free demo trading accounts
  • 24/5 customer support
Cons
  • Certain features restricted depending on your location
  • Inactivity fees if you do not trade for a sustained period of time
  • No Islamic accounts available
  • Limited digital wallet funding options

Swissquote

Swissquote is a leading online broker with multiple regulations, a large range of trading instruments, competitive spreads and zero commissions. They offer powerful and user-friendly trading platforms, flexible account types, advanced trading tools and educational materials. Swissquote has a very large selection of trading instruments, including an impressive 8,500+ individual stocks based on shares of AU, US, CA, UK and EU companies. I think they have a good selection of indices based on baskets of different blue-chip stocks. They have over 800+ ETFs based on exchange-traded funds containing various tradable assets.

Pros
  • Powerful trading platforms for all of your devices
  • Large range of trading instruments to choose from
  • Commission free trading accounts
  • Competitive spreads and quick execution speeds
  • Excellent Autochartist tool provided free of charge
  • Exclusive in-depth market research to help inspire ideas
  • Daily and weekly market analysis from experts
  • Free demo accounts
  • Islamic swap-free accounts
  • Good customer service
Cons
  • Minimum $1,000 deposit not the lowest
  • Limited choice of account funding options
  • No fixed spread accounts
  • Cannot accept traders in the USA

Capital.com

Capital.com is a regulated online broker serving clients all over the globe. Through their award-winning platform, you can trade stocks of some of the biggest companies around the world. There are up to 2,000 stocks available on the platform. You can take advantage of competitive spreads, zero commission fees and fast trade execution speeds. They also have a wide range of trading tools and an impressive collection of highly rated educational materials provided free of charge. These can be great to help with market analysis so that you can make informed trade decisions.

Pros
  • Proprietary desktop platform and trading app
  • Good selection of CFD instruments
  • Reliable trade execution
  • Zero commission fees
  • Great choice of funding options
  • Investmate educational app
  • Competitive fixed spreads
  • Free demo accounts
  • Minimum deposit of just $20
  • Swap-free accounts for Muslim traders
  • Excellent customer support
Cons
  • The MetaTrader platforms are not available
  • Not the lowest spreads as they have a mark-up
  • Cannot accept traders in the USA

Saxo Bank

Saxo Bank offers access to an extremely impressive selection of over 40,000+ instruments – across asset classes – to trade, hedge and invest from a single account. You can choose from popular products such as Stocks, Forex and CFDs, along with futures, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, forex options and listed options. Whether you want to invest in cash products, trade with leveraged products or let the experts manage your money, there is something for everyone to trade. You can access a great range of 19,000+ stocks across core and emerging markets on 37 exchanges worldwide, with the same Saxo Account. They have advanced stock trading platforms with prices that are very competitive. They also provide daily market analysis, powerful trading tools, educational materials and managed portfolios.

Pros
  • Access to trade a great range of over 42,000 trading instruments
  • Low spreads and rapid trade execution speeds
  • Very competitive trading conditions and commission fees
  • Modern trading platforms which are swift and replete with essential tools for traders
  • Market analysis from a team of analysts known as SaxoStrats
  • Abundance of powerful trading tools for indepth market analysis
  • API connectivity for institutional trading conditions
  • Third-party tools including TradingView, MultiCharts & Dynamic Trend
  • Managed portfolios
  • SaxoSelect trading strategies
  • Saxo rewards programme
  • Multilingual 24-hour customer support
Cons
  • They do not accept traders from some countries
  • Minimum $500 deposit is not the lowest
  • Perhaps overwhelming for beginners
  • Inactivity fees if you do not trade enough

Stock Trading Guide

What are Stocks?

In simplest terms, stocks are an investment within a company. The stock of a company is made up of all the shares from which the ownership is divided between shareholders. Investors can buy and sell shares of a particular company to speculate in the price fluctuation of the stock. A single share of the stock represents fractional ownership of the corporation in proportion to the total number of shares. A person that holds shares of stocks is called a shareholder. When you buy one or several stocks in a company, you are not lending the company money and expecting them to pay it back to you with interest. Instead, you are buying a piece of ownership in the company, with an interest in the company being successful which can increase the value of your stocks.

If the company does well, you can sell your stock at a higher price than that at which you bought it and make a profit. If the company does not do so well and you wish to sell your stocks at a lower price than you purchased it, you would suffer a loss. Some stocks also pay dividends which is a benefit from earnings based on how many stocks are held by an investor. Investors can own stocks in multiple companies if they wish. The stock market operates via a network of exchanges including The New York Stock Exchange, The NASDAQ Stock Exchange and The London Stock Exchange.

The total value of a companies issued stocks is known as market capitalisation. The price of a share can change depending on economic factors, company performance and investor sentiment. When a company goes public and offers its stock for the first time, this is referred to as an initial public offering (IPO). An IPO or stock market launch is a type of public offering in which shares of a company are sold to institutional investors and usually also retail investors. Once on the stock market, these company shares can be purchased and sold by investors. Stocks are often purchased from other investors who are selling a stock rather than from the company itself. If you are looking to sell a stock, chances are you will sell it to another investor looking to buy a stock in the company.

The company can then use the money that they have raised through a stock offering to expand the business, purchase new products, offer new services or to clear debt. Companies will often sell shares in their business in order to raise capital for growth, expansion or to clear debt. Any company profits can be shared between stockholders through the issuing of a dividend or they can use profits to reinvest. Stocks that frequently issue dividends are called income stocks whereas companies who reinvest profits are called growth stocks. Some of the most popular stocks trade online include Adidas, Apple, Amazon, Google, Nike, Netflix, NVIDIA, Tesla, Vodafone, Uber, Walt Disney, etc.

Owning Stocks

The majority of investors will own what is widely referred to as “common stock”. This type of stock ownership includes voting rights and will possibly pay dividends out to investors on a quarterly basis. There are also some other forms of stocks to be aware of such as preferred stocks. A preferred stock is a form of stock which may have any combination of features not possessed by common stock including properties of both an equity and a debt instrument, and is generally considered a hybrid instrument.

Owning a stock does not entail that you get to make the big business decisions or have conversations with the directors on a daily basis. It means that you own a share in the company profits and losses. If the value of the company goes up, then so does the value of your stock. If the value of the company goes down, then the value of your stock would decrease.

Whilst owning stocks has historically shown to produce consistent returns, there is also significant risks involved and the value of stocks in your portfolio can decline. It is possible for stock prices to fluctuate for various reasons such as market volatility, company events, incidents, reports and more. This is why it is important to choose stocks wisely and try to keep as informed as possible with the latest stock market news.

There are long-term investors who can keep hold of stocks for a number of years and see them fluctuate over time. These investors may see individual stocks go up and down in value but the goal is for the overall value of their portfolio to increase in the long-term. Some of these investors will own a collection of stocks through a mutual fund or index fund, which basically pools different investment together into one collective investment. The S&P 500 for example enables investors to own a stake in all companies listed within that fund.

This differs slightly with stock CFDs (contract for differences) where you speculate on the price of a stock rising or falling without actually owning the stock. Many online brokers provide CFD stock trading.

What is the Stock Market?

In a nutshell, the “stock market” will usually refer to one of the major stock market indexes, such as the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and Nasdaq Composite. It can also refer to individual stocks that make up the stock market as a whole.

Stock market indexes consist of a section of the stock market and the performance of these stocks combined is viewed as representative of the entire market. Whilst individual stocks within an index can increase or decrease in value, the overall movement of these stocks combined is what determines if the stock market has moved up or down. Investors who buy and sell stocks hope to turn a profit through this movement in stock prices.

How does the Stock Market Work?

The stock market operates via a network of exchanges including The New York Stock Exchange, The NASDAQ Stock Exchange and The London Stock Exchange. The stock market works in a similar way to an auction house where buyer and sellers can negotiate prices and trade stocks.

Companies can choose to list their stock on the stock market through an initial public offering (IPO). Investors purchase shares from a company’s stock which enables the listed company to raise capital and expand their business operations. Investors can then buy and sell these stocks among themselves, whilst the exchange tracks the supply and demand of each listed stock.

The supply and demand can help to determine the price for each company listed, or the levels at which participants in the stock market such as investors and traders are willing to buy or sell. The buy price is referred to as the “bid” whilst the sell price is referred to ask the “ask”. The difference between the bid and ask price is known as the “spread”.

When you buy or sell stocks through a broker, you will usually need to pay the spread and/or a small commission fee on top. Generally speaking, the lower the spreads and commissions, the more you could save on trading costs in the long-term.

It is much more convenient these days to trade stocks online due to the internet and choice of online stockbrokers. Before this, trading stocks would have commonly occurred in a physical marketplace.

Whilst each trade can happen on an individual stock basis, the overall stock prices frequently move together because of factors such as market news, political events, economic reports and other fundamentals. Investors will often track the stock market’s overall performance by looking at a broad market index like the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

What is Stock Market Volatility?

Trading stocks will always have an element of risk due to the nature of the stock market. These risks can be minimised by implementing smart money management and the right investment strategies according to your own individual goals and preferences. There are day traders who will look to buy and sell stocks on a daily basis whereas long-term investors can hold a stock for years to come.

Whilst the S&P 500 does have a historical average that is annualized to a total return of approximately 10% before adjusting for inflation, that does not mean the market will provide that on a yearly basis. Some years could be down greatly and some could be up just as significantly. These swings are primarily due to market volatility, or periods when stock prices rise and fall unexpectedly.

When you trade stocks, there is a chance you will get it wrong which can results in a loss. It is therefore imperative to ensure that you are investing safely and follow the markets as a whole. Never risk more than you can afford to lose.

What are Shares?

Stocks are divided up into shares which is the smallest denomination of a company’s stock. Each share indicates a portion of ownership in a particular company. Thus, each share of stock is equal to a piece of one particular company’s ownership.

A share is a unit of ownership in a company, mutual fund, financial asset, or trust – buying shares in a company provides the shareholder with equity in that company. Because you own a part of the company, as a shareholder you’re are entitled to a portion of the profits it makes, and these are paid out as dividends.

Companies issue shares as a means to raise money. This may be to finance company expansion, a new development, or to move into overseas markets. When you buy shares, you effectively become a part owner of the company. The bigger the investment you make, the bigger your stake will be in the company.

For example, if a company is worth $200 million, and there are 100 million shares, then each share is worth $2 (usually listed as 200c). Those shares can and do go up and down in value for various reasons, primarily due to supply and demand.

When someone says they have shares in a company, that are usually talking about owning stock in one particular company. However, when someone mentions that they have stocks, they can be referring to shares in multiple different companies that make up their portfolio as a whole.

Some of the large companies can have millions of shares which means that even if a person owns tens of thousands, it can still only amount to a small percentage share in the company of less than 1%. If there is a particular individual or entity that holds more than 10% of a company’s stock, they are defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a principal stockholder.

Generally, shares are freely negotiable and transferable. As a shareholder, you can decide at any time to sell all or some of your shares to other investors. You can sell them – or buy them – at a stock exchange if the company is listed on a regulated market or in a private exchange (in this case, the transaction takes place between the vendor and the buyer).

The stock market is driven by supply and demand. For any share dealing to take place, there must be investors willing to sell their shareholding (providing the supply) and buyers wanting to buy them (creating the demand).

If more people want to buy a stock (demand) than sell it (supply), then the price moves up. Conversely, if more people wanted to sell a stock than buy it, there would be greater supply than demand, and the price would fall.

Shares Investing

Investing in shares means buying and keeping them for a sustained period of time in order to try and earn a profit. There are two main ways of making profit from shares of a company:

  • If the company grows and becomes more valuable, the share is worth more – so your investment is worth more too.
  • Some shares pay you part of the company’s profits each year, called a dividend.

In comparison to investors, traders will tend to buy and sell shares over the short to medium term and focus more on smaller market movements.

Shares Trading

Shares trading differs slightly from investing in shares. When we talk about trading shares, we are referring to buying and selling shares in companies on a more frequent basis. Shares trading allows traders to speculate on both falling and rising share prices without having to actually physically own the shares. This is usually done via share CFDs (contract for differences).

A CFD is a contract to between two parties to pay the difference between the value of the current price and future price. Share CFDs have become popular in recent times, primarily due to the increase in online trading brokers that have given investors access to quickly and easily buy and sell shares online.

When you buy or sell a share CFD, you are speculating on the price movement, up or down. You just need to choose the share you would like to trade and place your orders. Share CFDs can be bought or sold at any time as they do not have an expiry date.

For example, you think Apple shares are going to appreciate and you want to open a long position to profit from this opportunity. You purchase 200 CFDs on Apple shares at $160, so the total value of the trade will be $32,000. If Apple appreciated to $170, you make $10 per share, which is a $2000 profit.

Shares trading is a popular product for some traders for a variety of reasons. These include:

  • Speculate long or short on rising or falling share prices
  • 24-hour trading
  • Way to diversify a trading portfolio
  • Trade shares with leveraged positions

Trading global shares with a broker allows you to go both long and short on price movements in major shares from the UK, US, Asia, Australasia and Europe.

Depending on exactly what you’re looking to get out of your involvement in the markets, shares can be a stable and time-tested way to potentially earn a profit from price variations, with an underlying value of their own that will ensure your product should continue to carry value going forward.

How do Shares Work?

Companies that wish to raise capital will list their shares through the process known as an initial public offering (IPO). Once their stock is public, individual investors and institutions can start to trade the shares.

Traders who believe that a company will see strong growth may consider buying shares, ideally for a low price so that they can sell shares at a later date for a profit. On the contrary, traders who think that a company could be facing trouble may look to sell shares, aiming to make a profit if the shares dropped in value. If the trader is wrong and the shares move in the opposite direction to which they anticipated, this will lead to a loss.

What Moves the Share Price?

Initially, a company will set a price at which it will list on a stock exchange, this is known as its IPO price. After that, fluctuations in the share price are caused by changes in the supply of and demand for the stock.

Individuals will always be able to buy and sell shares trading on the stock market. However, the price is determined by the supply and demand from prospective buyers and sellers at any particular time. When there is high demand and many buyers, it can drive up the share price. If there is low demand and more sellers, the share price can decline.

Supply factors that affect share prices include company share issues, share buybacks and sellers. Share prices are likely to come down when supply is greater than demand, and when more investors start to sell.

Demand factors that can affect share prices include company news and performance, economic factors, industry trends, market sentiment and unexpected events such as natural disasters. Demand gives shares value. If there is no demand for a company’s shares, they will have no value.

There is always a limited supply of a company’s stock. A company can make the decision to issue more shares, or buy back shares from investors if they wish to reduce supply. However, the number of shares that are in circulation is always known.

Investing vs. Trading Shares

Investors generally buy shares outright when they are looking to hold shares for a sustained period of time to hopefully sell for a profit at a later date should they increase in price. A common phrase used when trading shares is to “buy low and sell high”. Investors can take positions over the long term, attempting to profit from share price changes as well as dividend payments.

Traders use derivative products that take their value from the price of the underlying market. These do not require that traders actually physically own the shares. This means that traders can speculate on rising and falling share prices but do not have shareholder rights or receive dividends.

In comparison to investors, traders will tend to buy and sell shares over the short to medium term and focus more on smaller market movements. This is usually done via share CFDs (contract for differences).

A CFD is a contract to between two parties to pay the difference between the value of the current price and future price. Share CFDs have become popular in recent times, primarily due to the increase in online trading brokers that have given investors access to quickly and easily buy and sell shares online.

For example, you think Apple shares are going to appreciate and you want to open a long position to profit from this opportunity. You purchase 100 CFDs on Apple shares at $160, so the total value of the trade will be $16,000. If Apple appreciated to $170, you make $10 per share, which is a $1000 profit.

Stocks vs. Shares

While some people use the terms stocks and shares interchangeably, there are some key differences between them.

Someone who owns stocks may hold ownership in one or more companies; someone who owns shares in a company has ownership of just one particular company.

The term shares could refer to holding shares in limited partnerships, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), real estate investment trusts and mutual funds. In a mutual fund, you own shares, but not actual whole stocks. You own a portion or shares of the stock held in total by the mutual fund. Stocks on the other hand, refer specifically to corporate equities, a type of security traded on a stock exchange.

Someone who owns stocks may own two different stocks of different values. However, someone who owns shares in a particular company may own multiple shares of the same or equal value. Stocks are usually always fully paid up but shares can be either fully paid up or partially paid up.

Stocks can be issued at any time by a company or companies needing to raise capital whereas shares cannot. Shares tend to have a nominal value, such as $5 a share, whilst stocks have no nominal value. Shares also have a definite number known as a distinctive number, whereas a stock does not.

Investing in Stocks

When a retail trader buys stock of a particular company, they are basically purchasing a share of the company. Whilst this does not mean that you will be involved with the companies every day activities, shareholders can have a right to vote at meetings if they wish.

However, the main purpose for investors to buy stocks is because they are looking to make a return on their investment. The primary ways in which this happens is when either:

  1. The price of the stock appreciates in value and the stock can be sold for a profit.
  2. The stock pays shareholder dividends which are payments made from the company’s revenue. These dividends are usually paid on a quarterly basis. It should be noted that not all stocks pay dividends.

The historical returns as an average from the S&P 500 which is a collection of approximately 500 of the biggest US stocks, is around 10%, This equates to around 7-8% annually once inflation has been accounted for. In theory, a stock investment of $2,000 30 years ago could be worth $16,000 today.

These numbers of course depend on numerous factors, including what stocks are purchased, the company’s success and the economic situation. Not all stocks will deliver this type or return, some could earn more whereas some could be a complete failure. Historical performance is no guarantee of future performance.

This is why many stock experts believe that it is important to not just buy stocks in one company but rather to build a well-rounded portfolio that includes various company stocks from different industries and locations.

What is CFD Stock Trading?

Most online stock brokerages will offer trading on stock CFDs. A CFD is a contract to between two parties to pay the difference between the value of the current price and future price. Stock CFDs have become popular in recent times, primarily due to the increase in online trading brokers that have given investors access to quickly and easily buy and sell stocks online.

A stock CFD is a financial instrument that allows you to trade and try to take advantage of the movement in the price of stocks (e.g. Amazon, Apple, Barclays, Vodafone, Tesla) without actually purchasing or owning the underlying asset.

When you buy or sell a stock CFD, you are speculating on the price movement, up or down. You just need to choose the stock you would like to trade and place your orders. Stock CFDs can be bought or sold at any time as they do not have an expiry date.

If you think the price of a company’s stock will increase in value then you could buy the stock. If you anticipated that the stock would drop in value, you could sell the stock. In both instances you are trying to make a profit from the difference between the price that you enter and exit the trade.

For example, you think Apple shares are going to appreciate and you want to open a long position to profit from this opportunity. You purchase 50 CFDs on Apple shares at $160, so the total value of the trade will be $8,000. If Apple appreciated to $170, you make $10 per share, which is a $500 profit.

You can choose to set an upper or lower price level (stop loss & take profit) in which to close the CFD trade or exit manually. CFD trading brokerages will offer leveraged trading and you can go short (sell) if you think prices will go down or go long (buy) if you think prices will rise. Overall, CFD stock trading is much more accessible to anyone who has a trading account with an online stock broker.

CFDs have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially for day traders who like to enter and exit positions on a frequent basis. The leverage that is available and low costs associated with trading stock CFDs online make them an attractive proposition to both retail and institutional traders alike.

What is an Online Stock Broker?

An online stock broker acts as the intermediary between you the trader and the exchange where the stocks are traded. Most brokers will not just offer online stock trading but also other trading instruments such as forex, commodities, metals, energies, cryptocurrencies, bonds, options, ETFs and more. Online stock brokers enable traders around the world to buy and sell stocks of global companies directly from the stock trading platforms they provide that run on desktop, web and mobile devices. This makes online stock trading easily accessible to anyone. You just need an online stock brokerage account with a broker of your choice and to download their stock trading platform. Once you have opened an account, you can add funds to it using a choice of convenient funding options and speculate on if stock prices will go up or down by analysing charts, placing and managing trades via the stock trading platforms.

Choosing a Stock Broker

Following on from our best stock brokers list, we will now look at what factors we deem are amongst the most important when you are looking for an online stock broker. Some of the key factors that you should consider when choosing an online stock brokerage include:

Regulation

One of the most important things to be aware of is if the stock broker is regulated in the jurisdictions in which they offer their online trading services to. Not only is it vital to check that the broker is regulated, you should verify that the regulation is up to date by checking the brokers licenses number with the relevant regulator. Different regulators have a different set of rules and restrictions although most are put in place by the government to protect investors interests. Choosing an online stock broker that is regulated can give you account protection that you may not get with an unregulated offshore brokerage firm. Without regulation, there may be no help should the worst happen.

Platforms

There are a variety of different stock trading platforms available for trading stocks online. Some brokers will offer their own in house developed proprietary stock trading platforms whilst others will have licensed platforms such as the popular MetaTrader platform. It is imperative to choose a stock broker that either offers a stock trading platform which you are already familiar with or a platform that has an intuitive user interface so that it is easy to use. You will find that there are lots of MetaTrader brokers which gives convenient market access for manual and automated trading strategies

It would also be worth considering if all of the trading instruments that you wish to have in your trading portfolio are offered through the platform. You should make sure that it will be compatible with the devices you wish to use it on. Some online traders will need mobile stock trading platforms for trading on the go. If this is the case, ensure there is a version of the platform that is compatible with your mobile device.

Most stock brokers will provide traders with free online stock platforms although there are some who charge monthly and volume-based fees, usually for specialised trading platforms that have specific features a professional investor may need. That being said, the free stock trading platforms will most likely be sufficient enough for the average retail trader.

Finally, the best stock brokers will usually provide video and tutorial guides to help new traders learn how to use the trading platforms available to them.

Stocks

Online stock brokers will usually offer a range of individual stocks and stock indices for trading online. If you have any particular stock instruments in mind that you wish to include within your trading portfolio then you should ensure that it is offered by the broker. The more stocks that the broker has, the more choice you will have if you wish to trade other shares in the future. Some brokers will offer more instruments than others, thus it could be a good idea to consider if you wish to diversify in other stocks and markets (forex, cryptos, commodities, etc) they provide. You will find there are brokers who offer a combination of financial instruments.

Commissions

When trading stocks online through a stock trading platform, you may be required to pay commission fees for taking, maintaining and exiting your positions. It is worth noting that some online stock brokers will offer commission free trading but compensate for this by having other additional costs such as monthly fees for using their stock trading platforms or spread mark-ups. There may also be accounting fees and inactivity fees. Stock trading commission fees will need to be factored into your overall money management and trading strategy, along with other online trading costs. Discount brokers tend to have some of the lowest fees.

You should clarify all of the applicable commission charges and compare brokers to see which will save you the most in stock trading fees over the long term. It is important to be aware of all the broker fees to make sure they are providing good value.  These costs can vary significantly from broker to broker so it is important to consider the overall costs you will incur and the affect that will have on your money management.

Spreads

Most online stock brokers will charge a spread when you place trades on their stock trading platforms. The spread is the difference between the buy and sell price of the underlying asset that is being bought or sold. It is important to consider the cost of spreads in your trading strategy, especially if day trading stocks as the spreads can quickly add up. Some brokers offer fixed and variable spread accounts, some will offer commission free accounts but instead mark up the spread to make up for this. It is important to account for the spread when planning your stock trading strategy, especially if you are planning on using a scalping strategy.

Some stock brokers will get their spreads direct from liquidity providers (LPs) without any interference. Usually, the deeper and more diverse the brokers liquidity pools are, the tighter the spreads will be. Other online stock brokers act as market makers and will take the opposite side of your trade instead of putting it directly through to the LPs. This particular type of “dealing desk” stock broker will usually add a mark up to spreads in order to cover costs.

Swaps

If you hold a position with your online broker overnight then you will probably need to pay a swap fee. This is an interest fee for the procedure of moving open positions from one day to another, also known as the rollover. This is another cost to factor in to your money management planning. Some brokers offer swap free Islamic trading accounts that conform with Sharia law which allows Muslims to engage in online trading through their platforms.

Other Fees

Along with trading platform, spread, commission and swap fees, most stock brokers will charge additional fees that should be checked and clearly understood. Other fees that are worth considering include withdrawal and inactivity fees.

Leverage

Online stock brokerages will usually offer leveraged trading on stocks CFDs. Leverage basically enables you to enter a position larger than your account would be capable of opening without it. Whilst this can seem like an attractive proposition, trading leveraged stocks also increases risk. E.g. If your stock broker account has $5,000 of equity available and 1:5 leverage, you would be able to take a position size of $25,000 (5,000 x 5 = 25,000). You should opt for a leverage that you feel comfortable with as each stock trader will have a different risk appetite.

Order Types

Stock trading platforms should support a variety of different order types. Order types include market execution (instant), pending orders, limit orders, trailing stops, break evens, etc. If your online stock trading strategy requires specific order types, ensure that the broker you are considering supports these order types via their stock trading platforms.

Resources

Some of the best brokers will have an abundance of trading tools and educational resources to help traders of all experience levels with the efficiency of their online trading and to increase their overall stock trading knowledge. It is in the best interest of the brokers to offer the tools that will enable you to be successful and to keep using their online trading services.

Education

Some stock brokers also provide traders with educational resources such as videos and trading guides to help them improve their trading knowledge and skills. They may include detailed tutorials on how to use trading platforms which could be helpful for those who are new to online stock trading and need help to familiarise themselves with the different stock platforms available to them. If you are a beginner then you may want to look at our best brokers for beginners that have plenty of educational guides which can help you to familiarise yourself with stock market.

Tools

All stock platforms come with a good range of free built in trading tools to assist with your online trading, helping to improve overall efficiency and performance. These can include technical indicators for analysing charts such as a moving average, MACD, Bollinger Bands, RSI, CCI and many more. Some platforms offer fundamental analysis tools such as built in economic calendars to efficiently keep track of the latest market news releases. They may also have trading calculators to help with planning your trades. The more advanced stock platforms will have depth of market (DOM) with level 2 pricing and sentiment tools that show how many traders are buying/selling a particular instrument.

However, intermediate to advanced traders may require specialist trading tools for conducting thorough market analysis. If you require any additional tools, then it may be worth checking that they are provided by the broker. These tools can include specific technical indicators, economic reports, sentiment analysis, Trading Central, Autochartist, TradingView, stock screeners and more. If you require any specific tools or would find them beneficial, check that they are offered to traders by the stock broker and if they are free or come at an additional cost.

Funding Methods

You will find that different stock brokers will have different methods of making deposits and withdrawals from your online brokerage account. Whilst most will provide bank transfer and debit/credit cards, others will have online payment processor options such as Skrill, Neteller, PayPal, etc. Check that they have an account funding option that is convenient to you along with the costs to make deposits and withdrawals, if any.

Support

No matter how experienced the stock trader is, at some point they will need quick and efficient customer support for technical or general questions. Check what options are available to contact customer support along with the hours they are available and office locations. If you are located in Europe, you would ideally want them to have a European office or provide support 24 hours day if they are located outside of the EU. Ensure that support is available in your language and the different ways to contact them are suitable for your needs. The best stock brokers will usually offer online chat which can be more convenient to some traders rather than trying to reach them via telephone or email.

Signup

Each shares broker will have its own minimum deposit policy so check that you can meet this requirement. You may also need to provide some personal information in order to pass the brokers KYC and AML procedures. The sign-up process can be quicker at some brokers, especially if all of it is conducted online. During the sign-up process it is very important to make sure that you read all of the brokers terms and conditions, only proceeding if you understand and agree with them.

What is an Online Stock Trading Platform?

An online stock trading platform allows traders to access different global markets for speculating on the price movements of various trading instruments. This can include Forex, Commodities, Cryptocurrency, Stocks, Shares, Indices, Metals, Energies, Options, Bonds, ETFs and CFDs.

In the past, investors and traders would have had to go through an offline stock broker which meant that the markets were less accessible than they are today. As technology has improved over the years, there are now many stock brokerages to choose from. Anyone aspiring to be a successful trader can open a stock trading account with an online broker and gain access to the brokers stock trading platforms for online stock trading from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Most brokers provide these stock platforms free of charge and for use on desktop and mobile devices.

Through a stock trading platform, you can view real time bid/ask prices of various assets and load charts that show the historical and current prices of chosen assets over multiple timeframes ranging from tick to yearly charts. You can add technical indicators to these charts to help identify potential trending and ranging market conditions. These indicators can provide stock trading signals and are often used as part of an overall stock trading strategy that involves technical, fundamental, sentiment and price action analysis. When you find a suitable trading opportunity, you can execute, manage and close your buy or sell position directly through the stock platform.

How to Trade Stocks Online?

If you have taken the time to read through the above, you should hopefully have an understanding of the stock market and how to trade stocks. Here is a summary of the key steps:

1. Decide if stock trading is for you

Trading stocks online carries an element of risk and can take more time than other forms of investing. You will need to research stocks, manage your stock market positions, follow market news and decide how to react to them. It is important to understand the risks and dedication that comes with trading stocks online.

2. Educate yourself

Before trading stocks, it is imperative to learn as much as possible about investing and the stock market. Any mistake could prove to be costly. There is an abundance of free educational materials provided by many online stock brokers that can help you to improve your trading skills and knowledge.

Most stock brokerages provide a free demo trading account so that you can practice trading stocks online with virtual funds in order to familiarise yourself with the trading platforms and practice your trading strategies until you feel confident enough to open a real trading account.

3. Choose a stock broker

In order to trade stocks online, you will need a broker account and stock trading platform to execute your trade positions through to the stock market. When choosing a broker, there are a few important things to consider such as regulation, commission fees, platforms, tools, education, funding options and customer support.

4. Research stocks

If you have made it this far then you may be ready to start trading stocks online! The next step is to research the different companies to discover which stocks you have an interest in trading. Perhaps there is a particular industry, product or service that is already of interest to you.

Many brokers will allow you to filter stocks according to various criteria in order to narrow down your search if need be. You can also use a dedicated stock screener, which usually has more advanced features and customizability to let you screen for stocks that meet your criteria.

Many traders will begin by analysing different companies, studying public information such as finances, earnings and reports from professional analysts. The best brokers should have this information conveniently displayed for you within their trading platform.

5. Have a stock trading plan

Some of the most important factors that can help determine stock trading performance can be the trading plan and discipline. It is important to have a solid trading plan personalised to your own needs that includes the money management and trading strategy that you will use. Most experts and professional traders would try to not let negative emotions such as fear, anger and greed affect their trading strategy.

6. Buy and sell stocks

Once you know what stocks you want to trade online, you can analyse them to help decide if and when you will place your trades. After placing a stock trade, you will need to keep track of how it performs and manage it according to your stock trading plan. Some traders will keep hold of stocks for the long-term, whereas others may buy and sell stocks on a daily basis.

Conclusion

Now that you have had a brief overview of what stocks and shares are and what to look for when choosing a stock broker, you may be considering opening an online trading account to trade stocks online. To do so, you will need to choose a stock broker, follow the account opening process and you will then be able to start trading shares online through one of their stock trading platforms.

Shares trading is a popular choice for active investors who would like to trade some of the biggest global brands. The wide range of stocks means that there is ample opportunity to look for trades. Shares trading can be suitable for scalping, day trading and swing trading.

You can start trading stocks online with just $1 depending on the minimum deposit that your chosen online stock brokerage requires. Due to the risks involved with trading stocks online or any other trading instruments, you should only ever trade with what you can afford and feel comfortable with as there are no guarantees in trading online. Most experts would suggest trading on a demo account with virtual funds to begin with.

Successful online stock trading can take years of practice. Stock trading requires immense dedication, patience and discipline. According to our thousands of hours of in-depth research across hundreds of online stock brokers, most online stock traders actually lose money.

Take your time to research brokers and do your own due diligence, the above information is only for educational purposes and not advice. Please feel free to use our broker comparison tool if you need some further inspiration.

About the Author

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Richard Montana
Richard has many years of experience in broker research, testing, analysis and reviews. He knows what to look for through years of trading himself with different brokers and listening to the feedback of others.

Review Methodology

For all of our broker reviews, we research, validate, analyse and compare what we deem to be the most important factors to consider when choosing a broker. This includes pros, cons and an overall rating based on our findings. We aim to help you find the best broker according to your own needs. You can read more about our review process.