CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Long Position vs. Short Position: Stocks Trading Essentials

Uncover all the secrets of long and short positions in stock trading

Filip Dimkovski - Writer for Fortrade
By Filip Dimkovski
Edited by Lulu Mulambya

Updated February 2, 2024.

A trader taking notes from a holographic line graph measuring stock performance with long and short positions

Trading in the stock market serves as an avenue for investors to potentially grow their wealth. However, trading isn't as simple as buying low and selling high. Understanding the complexities of long and short positions is essential for both new and experienced traders.

Long positions reflect the traditional strategy of "buying low" in the hopes of closing your position at a higher price. Short positions involve selling an instrument you don't own and betting on the price dropping, thus earning you a potential profit. However, these strategies come with potential risks as well.

Note: Fortrade offers the ability to trade the price changes of instruments with CFDs and NOT to buy/sell ownership of the instrument itself.

» Struggling with positions? Learn more about position sizing

Exploring the Basics

Long Position in Stocks: The Optimistic Approach

A long position in stocks signifies your confidence in an instrument's future potential. It involves purchasing a stock at its current market price with the expectation that its value will increase over time. This strategy is a testament to optimism, where investors bet on a company's progress. Long positions rely on market analysis, financial forecasts, and the company's potential to innovate and excel.

However, venturing into a long position comes with inherent risks. The stock market is known for its volatility, subject to unpredictable events like economic downturns, poor company performance, or negative news. It's essential to balance your optimism with a realistic evaluation of risks and rewards.

» Experimenting with CFDs? See how long you can hold a CFD position

Short Position in Stocks: The Pessimistic Approach

Short selling, or a short position in the stock market, involves selling a borrowed instrument, usually shares of a stock. To potentially profit from a short position, you must anticipate a future decline in the stock's price. This strategy is inherently pessimistic, banking on the company's potential downturn or an overall market recession.

Investors executing a short position "borrow" stocks from a brokerage and sell them at the current price. They aim to repurchase them at a lower price in the future and pocket the difference as potential profit. But remember, this strategy carries significant risks, as a rising stock price can lead to losses.

» Learn more about opening an account with Fortrade

Insights for Traders: Making Informed Decisions

When considering a long position, look for favorable economic indicators, consistent company performance, and positive industry news.

Conversely, a short position might be ideal when indicators suggest a market downturn, a company's underperformance, or negative industry developments.

Extensive research and analysis are paramount. Technical and fundamental analyses, which delve into statistical trends and a company's intrinsic value, guide informed decisions.



Long and Short Positions in a Trading Account

In a trading account, you have the flexibility to execute both long and short positions based on your financial strategy and market outlook. Leverage and margin trading can amplify both potential profits and losses, so prudent management is crucial.

Effective risk management involves setting clear entry and exit points, using stop-loss orders to limit potential losses, diversifying your account, and closely monitoring market conditions and instrument performance.

» Dive deeper into trading strategies through the extensive Fortrade community

Balancing Long and Short Positions

Whether you opt for a long or short position, your choice hinges on market predictions, risk tolerance, and investment strategy. Trading achievements are about striking a balance and continually evaluating your approach to navigate the ever-evolving financial markets.