Process of internationalization of financial markets is expanding. Stock, commodity and currency markets become more and more popular and friendly also increasing their liquidity. Not only accessibility of financial instruments for foreign capital became a serious achievement in development of modern financial markets, but also their accessibility for investors with a small capital. Anyone now can become a participant of trading at stock, commmodity or currency markets, even with a small deposit - starting from several hundreds dollars! Development of the Internet technologies and popularity of electronic stock exchanges have moved stock trading to a new level - an integrated international electronic space, giving anyone a chance to become its participant.
Now the investor is offered to open only one account, from which transactions can be carried out with financial instruments on absolutely different markets - Forex (currency market), securities (Stocks / Shares) or Commodity market.
The stock exchange is a market, where securities are sold and bought with value determined by demand and supply. The main function of the stock exchange is to provide opportunities to public companies and the state to attract investments by selling securities. The stock exchange also acts as a secondary market, allowing some investors to sell their securities to other investors, ensuring liquidity and reducing risks, associated with investment activity. Liquidity at a stock exchange is lower than at Forex exchanges. Money is money, and it is impossible that, for example, Great Britain or Japan declare their currencies invalid. Hence, liquidity of world currencies is 100%; however, bankruptcy of a commercial company is quite possible.
Operating time of stock exchanges usually does not exceed standard working hours, so time for trading is limited. If, for example, you chose stocks of American companies, traded at New York Stock Exchange, the period of transactions with them is from 14:30 (GMT) till 21:00. But there are certain advantages here - speculations at differences at opening. Such opportunity is absent at the currency market.
Marginal requirements at the stock exchange are higher than at the currency market. This is due to stronger fluctuations of stock price than that of currencies. For example, daily fluctuation of Microsoft stocks may reach $1-2 and more. With the market value $30, such fluctuation is quite big. That is why, leverage provided at such market has 1:10 ratio.
The commodity market is a market, where commodities are bought and sold. The commodity market differs from a regular market by a specific organizational form of trading according to established rules. The main function of the commodity exchange is assurance of regular communication between buyers and sellers, when transactions are carried out with available batches of goods. The exchange, while developing, started establishing trade customs, commodity standards, standard contracts, performing price quotations, resolving dispute, etc.
Items of international trade now are about 70 types of goods, having 30% of the international commodity turnover. They include metals (precious, base, rare), 'soft products' (coffee, cocoa, sugar, pepper), grain, seeds, livestock, energy sources (gas, raw materials, oil products).
Commodities are not present at the exchange, but sold and bought without presentation and examination. Transactions are concluded on the basis of standard exchange contracts, strictly regulating quality and terms of delivery. At the exchange they sell and buy not certain batches of goods, but stock contracts, specifying amounts of goods of certain sort, type, class, as established by the exchange. The seller at the exchange delivers to the buyer not commodities, but a document, confirming the title to goods. Most of the international exchange turnover takes place at the futures and options exchange, where they trade option and futures contracts.
Trading volume at such exchange has increased by several hundred times due to the fact, that almost all transactions are fictitious (only 1-2% of transactions end up with delivery of goods, all the rest - with payment of price difference). Prices at such exchanges are more volatile in comparison with the stock exchange, and the major risk is associated with the direction of price movement. Quotation fluctuations are mainly caused by speculative actions; that is why it is very difficult to maker forecasts for such markets. Therefore, beginners are not recommended to trade at commodity exchanges.