Some time later, the EUR/USD exchange SELL rate (the rate at which you can sell euros for US dollars) is 1.5500. You sell your €1 000 and get $1 550. Having started with $1 450, you now have $1 550 – you’ve made a profit of $100. Alternatively, the EUR/USD exchange SELL rate could be 1.3500. If you sell your €1 000, you’ll get $1 350. Having started with $1 450, you now have $1 350 – you’ve made a loss of $100.
Forex pairs trade in 1000, 10,000 and 100,000 units, called micro, mini and standard lots. When starting out in forex day trading it's recommended traders open a micro lot account. Trading micro lots allows for more flexibility so risk remains below 1% of the account on each trade. For example, a micro-lot trader can buy $6,000 worth of currency, or $14,000, or $238,000 but if they open a mini lot account they can only trade in increments of $10,000, so $10,000, $20,000, etc. If trading standard lots, a trader can only take positions of $100,000, $200,000, etc.
The foreign exchange ("forex" or "FX") currency market is not traded on a regulated exchange like stocks and commodities. Rather, the market consists of a network of financial institutions and retail trading brokers which each have their own individual hours of operation. Since most participants trade between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. in their local time zone, these times are used as the market open and close times, respectively.
If your FOREX broker offers you a leverage of 1:100 you can trade with a 100 times more money than you have in your deposit. This means that if you want to buy 100 000 EUR/USD you only need to have a 1 000 actual euros. With this kind of leverage you can take a position that is a 100 times larger in value and expect a 100 times bigger profits or losses, therefore great care is advisable when placing your trade. Equities, on the other hand, are traded without leverage.
Fluctuations in exchange rates are usually caused by actual monetary flows as well as by expectations of changes in monetary flows. These are caused by changes in gross domestic product (GDP) growth, inflation (purchasing power parity theory), interest rates (interest rate parity, Domestic Fisher effect, International Fisher effect), budget and trade deficits or surpluses, large cross-border M&A deals and other macroeconomic conditions. Major news is released publicly, often on scheduled dates, so many people have access to the same news at the same time. However, large banks have an important advantage; they can see their customers' order flow.