Hedging as an effective form of protection from loss

On the markets, it is used by both professional traders and big players such as banks, investment funds, and others. No wonder, because if you master hedging, it can help you to significantly reduce potential losses and keep you profitable. In this article, we'll show you how to hedge and which instruments are suitable for that.

What is hedging?

It is a kind of insurance in the form of a trading strategy. It is designed to mitigate potential risks. In hedging, traders (and also financial institutions) hold positions on assets/contracts that have an inverse relationship to each other and thus develop inversely. When one instrument falls, the other rises and vice versa.


There is one significant advantage to being "hedged". Namely, traders, with this form of insurance, are able to reduce the risks on their opened trading positions and thus better respond to adverse market developments that threaten these positions. At the same time, they have the comfort of being able to guess in advance the value of the maximum potential loss in the event that something goes wrong in the markets. Hedging is thus a really important tool in risk management.


Hedging is essentially a form of insurance. And as it happens, you have to pay for insurance. The same is true for investing in opposing instruments. By having one investment grow while the other declines, you lose a certain amount of potential profit.

A theoretical example of hedging

We have a trader who buys stock XY for $1000. He decides to hedge and to do so he chooses to buy a six-month put option for $100 with a strike price of $850. This means that our trader has half a year until the option expires to sell his stock at 850USD in case the market is unfavorable for him).

If the share price rises

A six-month put option is about to expire and the share price is higher than 850 USD (e.g. 1150 USD). The trader will therefore logically not exercise his option, thus losing 100 USD (the original price of his option). However, by keeping XY stock, which is now worth 1150 USD, his net profit is 1050 USD (1150 - 100). As we wrote above, the hedging in this case reduced the trader’s overall profit, but that is a tax he needs to pay for being “insured”. The following example will show you what would have happened if the trader had not hedged.

The share price plunges

In an alternate universe, our trader did not do well and the market gave him a slap in the face in the form of a drop in XY's share price to $600. However, our trader has hedged and exercises his still unexpired option. He can then sell his stock at the option price of the announced 850 USD. In this case, his total loss is 250 USD (850 - 600).

If we would take a look at our trader in yet another alternative universe where he has not hedged, his loss would be 400 USD (1000 - 600).

CFD hedging: the S&P500 and VIX index

The current market developments, influenced by high inflation and the war in Ukraine, are not good for the markets. According to the VIX index, nervousness in the markets will continue to rise and stock indices like the SP500 are currently heading in exactly the opposite direction. However, did you know that these 2 mentioned indices can now be traded in Purple Trading to get a rather effective hedging tool?

At Purple Trading, traders now have a unique opportunity to hedge using CFD futures contracts. Namely, we are now launching CFD futures symbols in the form of the VIX index and S&P500, which traders can find in their Purple Trading MT4 platforms. Both symbols have a highly inverse relationship with each other, which is why they are widely sought after when it comes to hedging.

Půlroční vývoj ceny S&P500

Chart 1: Six-month S&P500 price trend (note the apparent inverse relationship with the VIX chart below; source: Googlefinance.com)

Půlroční vývoj ceny VIX
Chart 2: Six-month VIX price trend (note the apparent inverse relationship with the SP500 chart above)

Relationship between VIX and S&P500

The VIX index is often called the fear or nervousness index. Its chart indicates the estimated future nervousness in the markets. This manifests itself in the form of volatility, i.e. sharp and seemingly random price fluctuations caused by nervous investors who are buying/selling more than usual. Thus, if the VIX index shows an increase, volatility/nervousness in the markets can be expected to increase.

The exact opposite is true for the S&P500. It outright hates volatility and nervousness in the markets and if it is announced, the S&P500 usually starts to fall. This is due to nervous investors withdrawing from the stock markets to seemingly safer havens, which is gold for example. Thus, if the VIX index (hence volatility) rises, the S&P500 falls and vice versa.

Effective hedging is one of the reasons why Purple Trading clients are among the most profitable in the EU


How does hedging work?
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Hedging is used to secure trading positions against possible adverse changes in market conditions and the risk of loss. Hedging is opening a position on the same trading instrument but in the opposite direction (e.g. for each buy order there should be a corresponding sell order).  Trading position can be hedged partially or completely. Every broker can set up its own conditions for hedging. In order to allow the traders the freedom of management of their trades, we have decided not to charge margin for these trades. However, more freedom means more responsibility. Since there is no margin used, it is impossible to reach stop-out, but in case the equity level decreases under 0, MT4 server automatically closes trading positions. It is impossible to have an opened loss larger than the account balance in the market. Hedging does not cause spontaneous deepening of losses, but there may be fluctuations because of the changing spread.    For the closing of hedged positions, Close-by or Multiple close by function may be used, which closes both hedged positions simultaneously (see the picture below). Completely hedged positions do not have any exposure between each other, therefore it is possible to close one position at the price of the second one. A side effect is spread saving.

CFD - contract for difference
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It is a trading instrument; its value is derived from its underlying instrument, which can be for example a stock index or a future contract. Settlement of this instrument type is always performed financially, therefore the client speculates on future value difference of the underlying instrument while he/she does not become the owner of it.

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A trading technique which consists of opening positions on the same instrument in opposite directions in order to lower or annulate required margin (“position netting” occurs) and to ensure present market exposition. For example, if a trading position of 1 lot BUY is open on EURUSD, then after opening a 1 lot SELL on EURUSD an annulation of required margin occurs and profit from these open positions will be fluctuating only in terms of  spread changes on EURUSD.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76.60 % of retail investors lose their capital 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.