A contract for differences (CFDs) is a contract between a buyer and a seller that stipulates that the buyer must pay the seller the difference between the current value of an asset and its value at contract time. CFDs allow traders and investors an opportunity to profit from price movement without owning the underlying assets. The value of a CFD contract does not consider the asset's underlying value: only the price change between the trade entry and exit.
This is accomplished through a contract between client and broker and does not utilize any stock, forex, commodity, or futures exchange. Trading CFDs offers several major advantages that have increased the instruments' enormous popularity in the past decade.
Some advantages of CFDs include access to the underlying asset at a lower cost than buying the asset outright, ease of execution, and the ability to go long or short.
A disadvantage of CFDs is the immediate decrease of the investor's initial position, which is reduced by the size of the spread upon entering the CFD.