CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% 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 all your money. Read our full Risk Warning.
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.
Please Notice
Based on your current location/IP address, you will be provided services by Fortrade Cyprus. 76% of retail CFD client accounts lose money

Open P&L vs. Day P&L: What Should You Focus On?

Explores the differences between Open P&L and Day P&L and their significance in trading strategies.

Marcel Deer - Writer for Fortrade
By Marcel Deer
Joel Taylor - Editor for Fortrade
Edited by Joel Taylor

Updated April 10, 2024.

Trader taking notes on a notepad in front of stacks of coins showing a progressive increase in price

Investors used to rely on data derived from profit and loss (P&L) to track their investments' performance. These metrics are still widely used today, although specific strategies have shifted significantly.

The primary difference between open and day P&L is the period over which they are calculated. Let’s take a look at both metrics and explore why they are important.

» Ensure you understand the trading jargon with the basic forex terms everyone should know

Note: Fortrade offers the ability to trade the price changes of instruments with CFDs and NOT to buy/sell ownership of the instrument itself. This post is intended as a general guide and should not be taken as advice.



What Is Open P&L?

Open P&L measures the amount of money gained or lost from the beginning of the trade or the moment you opened the position.

As the market price of your position changes, so does your open P&L. It can shift dramatically in a single day, let alone over weeks or months.

How Do You Calculate It?

To calculate open P&L, use the following:

Open P&L = ( opening price — current price ) X position size

For example, if you opened a brand new position for $3, then the value of $3 is your opening price. You will then compute the succeeding days' potential profits and/or losses depending on any increase or decrease in your instrument's price since your opening trade.

What Is Open P&L Best Used For?

Open P&L provides a quick glimpse into the value of your open portfolio positions so you can assess if these trades are increasing or decreasing in value.

» Learn about the 4 types of pending orders in forex

What Is Day P&L?

Day P&L refers to money made or lost on a position from the previous night's closing price. This also includes any intraday profit and loss.

This metric computes potential profit and loss on a daily basis, allowing traders a granular look into their investments.

How Do You Calculate It?

To calculate Day P&L:

Day P&L = ( previous closing price — today's current price ) X position size

If the price of your instrument increases to $3.50 from $3 after one day, your Day P&L is $0.50, which multiplies with your total position size.

» Need more info? Check this free eBook on CFDs and stocks

What Is Day P&L Best Used For?

Day P&L quantifies your net gain or loss over one trading day, which is crucial for short-term traders.

» Learn the fundamentals of CFD stock trading

Open P&L vs. Day P&L: An Example

A trader opens a new BUY position in a volume of 100 shares at a price of $3. The next day, the price increased to $3.50. How would you calculate open and day P&L?

Remember: Open P&L measures the amount of money gained or lost from the beginning of the trade or the moment you opened the position, while day P&L refers to money made or lost on a position from the previous night's closing price, including any intraday profit and loss.

Calculating Day P&L

To calculate the day P&L, subtract the current price from the previous day's closing price and multiply it by the number of shares:

$3.50 - $3.00 = $0.50

$0.50 x 100 shares = $50

Day P&L = $50

Calculating Open P&L

For Open P&L, subtract the current price from the opening price, which will yield the same result:

$3.50 - $3.00 = $0.50

$0.50 x 100 shares = $50

Open P&L = $50

Should You Focus on Open P&L or Day P&L?

The difference between open and day P&L becomes more prominent the longer the position remains open. Day P&L measures the differences over a single day, while open P&L shows how much the price of an instrument has gained or lost in the long term. It's essential to look at both metrics to get a complete picture of your position's worth.

Some investors focus solely on open P&L because it provides a bird’s eye view of the position’s value. However, the importance of either metric depends entirely on your approach to trading. Whichever you decide to focus on, it’s worth keeping an eye on the other, as they can serve as valuable guides when making future investment decisions.

» Ready to start trading CFDs? Learn more about opening an account with Fortrade