• Written by

How to Short the FTSE

Quick Answer: How Can you Short the FTSE?

To short the FTSE, open a brokerage account with short-selling capabilities. Choose an ETF or stock that tracks the FTSE index. Sell shares you borrow, aiming to buy them back at a lower price. Profit from the price difference, minus fees and interest.

reflecting the concept of how to short the ftse, featuring a trader in front of a stock market board with a downward trend, ready to short the market.

Welcome to your one-stop guide on how to short the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index, commonly known as the FTSE 100. This market index represents the 100 largest companies by market capitalization on the London Stock Exchange. If you are looking to profit from a declining market or hedge against potential losses in your long-term investments, shorting the FTSE might be a suitable strategy for you. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the essentials of short selling the FTSE, the methods to consider, and the risks involved.


Step-by-Step Guide to Shorting the FTSE

  1. Open a Trading Account: Choose a reputable broker that allows short selling or offers inverse ETFs related to the FTSE 100. Complete the registration to set up your account.

  2. Deposit Funds: Add sufficient collateral to your trading account. Understand that you risk losses if the FTSE 100 rises in value.

  3. Identify Inverse ETF or Specific Stock: Use your funded account to search for an inverse FTSE 100 ETF or a specific FTSE 100 stock you expect to decline in value.

  4. Execute the Trade: Through your broker’s trading interface or app, execute the trade to short the selected ETF or stock. Confirm trade details before finalizing.

Key Takaways

Before diving into the details, here are the crucial points you should understand:

  • Understand the Basics Know what it means to short an index like the Dow Jones, or the FTSE and how it works.

  • Methods to Short: Familiarize yourself with the various ways to short the FTSE, including Contracts for Difference (CFDs), inverse Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), and options.

  • Market Timing: Learn how to time your entry and exit to maximize gains.

  • Risk Management: Be aware of the potential risks and how to mitigate them.

  • Choosing the Right Platform: Use the best reliable CFD trading platform that offers the tools you’ll need to short the FTSE effectively.

Finding a Broker to Short the Dow

CFD Broker Comparison
80% of retail CFD accounts lose money
71% of retail CFD accounts lose money
71% of retail CFD accounts lose money
74-89% of retail CFD accounts lose money
81% of retail CFD accounts lose money
Fee Score
Platform Score
Account Opening Score
Withdrawl/ Deposit Fee
Minimum Deposit
MT4 Available
FCA Regulated
No (CBI In Ireland)
FSCS Protection of £85K to UK Clients

Plus500 - Best Overall CFD Broker

Plus500 is one of the top CFD platforms that allows traders to trade on a wide range of financial instruments. The Plus500 platform is suitable only for experienced traders, and they should consider the risks involved with CFD trading. Beginners could practice trading with Plus500's free demo account. Join Plus500 today and enjoy the benefits of their powerful trading platform and exceptional customer service.

  • No commissions

  • Tight spreads

  • Guaranteed stop-loss orders

  • $100 minimum deposit

  • No deposit or withdrawal fees

  • Massive range of CFD broker assets and financial markets available

  • Funds Protected Up To £85k By FSCS (UK)

  • Negative balance protection

80% 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.

Starting with the positives, the fee structure at Plus500 was commendable. With a competitive EURUSD spread of just 0.8 and zero fees on both deposits and withdrawals, it’s clear that the company understands the importance of cost-efficiency for traders. The platform’s flexibility in payment methods, including Bank Transfer, PayPal, Wise, and Revolut, made the funding process incredibly smooth and user-friendly.

The Plus500 platform itself was a highlight. Its intuitive design, reflected in a high platform score of 4.9/5, ensured a seamless trading experience. The account opening process was flawless and deserving of its perfect score. As for customer service, I found it to be above average with a score of 4.1/5, ensuring that when I needed support, it was readily available.

From a regulatory standpoint, Plus500’s adherence to FCA regulations and the FSCS protection of £85K for UK clients instilled a sense of security and trust. Knowing that my capital was safeguarded to such an extent allowed me to trade with peace of mind.

However, the platform is not without its shortcomings. The absence of MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) platforms, which are the industry standard for advanced traders, was a significant limitation. These platforms offer a level of depth in analysis and customizability that I missed while trading on Plus500. The lack of these options might deter traders who rely on the advanced technical analysis tools and automated trading systems that MT4 and MT5 provide.

Additionally, while the fees score is high, the platform could benefit from more transparency around how they calculate these scores and what they entail, ensuring traders can make the most informed decisions possible.

In conclusion, my experience with Plus500 has been largely positive, marked by user-centric financial structuring and a robust, secure trading environment. Nevertheless, there is room for enhancement, particularly in offering advanced trading platform options like MT4 and MT5, which would cater to the needs of experienced traders looking for a more granular approach to the markets.



Understand the Basics of Short Selling

Short selling is essentially betting against an asset—hoping to profit when its price goes down. When you short the FTSE, you’re speculating that the index will decrease in value. If the index does fall, you stand to make a profit proportional to the decline. On the flip side, if the index rises, you’d incur losses.

Understanding the Mechanics of Shorting the FTSE 100

trader with 6 large screens

When it comes to shorting the FTSE 100, understanding the underlying mechanics is crucial. Shorting is essentially betting against an asset. In the context of the FTSE 100, you are speculating that the index will decline in value. Here’s how the process generally works:

  1. Identify the Opportunity: The first step is to identify a potential downtrend in the FTSE 100. You’ll typically do this by analysing market trends, economic indicators, and other relevant data.

  2. Choose Your Shorting Method: There are multiple vehicles for shorting the FTSE 100, including using Contracts for Difference (CFDs), inverse ETFs, or options.

  3. Execute the Short: After selecting the method, you place a short order through your trading platform. If you’re using CFDs, this means selling the FTSE 100 CFD. If you’re using options, you would buy a put option on the FTSE 100.

  4. Margin and Leverage: When you open a short position, you are usually required to maintain a margin account. Leverage can amplify your gains, but it can also significantly increase your losses.

  5. Exit Strategy: When the FTSE 100 index drops, your short position becomes profitable. You close the position by buying back the asset or executing the opposite of your original trade.

A Simple Guide to Shorting the FTSE 100 Effectively

Now that you understand the mechanics, let’s look at how to execute a short position effectively:

  1. Research and Analysis: Begin with thorough market research. Utilize technical analysis, fundamental analysis, and sentiment analysis to evaluate the FTSE 100’s potential price movement.

  2. Select a Reliable Trading Platform: Your trading platform should offer robust analytics, low fees, and a user-friendly interface. Make sure it’s regulated by a trustworthy financial authority.

  3. Plan Your Trade: Define your entry and exit points, set your stop losses, and decide on the amount you’re willing to invest.

  4. Execute the Short Position: Open your short position based on the method you’ve chosen—CFDs, inverse ETFs, or options.

  5. Monitor and Adjust: Once your position is open, monitor the market continuously. Be prepared to adjust your stop-loss orders or exit the position entirely if the market moves against you.

Using Inverse ETFs to Short the FTSE 100

Sign with Do's and Don'ts

Inverse Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) are a relatively simple and less risky way to short the FTSE 100. These financial instruments are designed to move in the opposite direction of the index they track. For instance, if the FTSE 100 drops by 1%, the inverse ETF designed to track it would increase by a similar percentage.

Advantages of Using Inverse ETFs:

  • Simplicity: They are easy to understand and trade. If you think the FTSE 100 is going to decline, you simply buy shares of the inverse ETF.

  • Lower Risk: Unlike CFDs, inverse ETFs don’t use leverage, which significantly reduces your risk.

  • Accessibility: These can be traded on most brokerage platforms just like any other stock.


  • Tracking Error: Inverse ETFs may not perfectly mirror the FTSE 100 due to management fees and other factors.

  • Not Suitable for Long-term: These are generally not suitable for long-term holdings due to their structure and the fees involved.

To trade an inverse ETF, you would simply purchase shares through your brokerage account, just as you would any other publicly-traded stock. Always remember to do your own due diligence before investing in any financial instrument.

Step-by-Step Process: How to Short the FTSE 100 Safely

Shorting the FTSE 100 can be risky, but there are ways to mitigate these risks and trade safely. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

  1. Initial Research: Start by analysing the FTSE 100 using various indicators and trends to determine if it’s likely to decline.

  2. Platform Selection: Choose a regulated, trustworthy trading platform that offers the financial instruments you’ll need for shorting, such as CFDs, options, or inverse ETFs.

  3. Risk Assessment: Identify your risk tolerance and decide how much capital you’re willing to risk. Then, consider setting stop-loss orders to protect against potential losses.

  4. Trading Plan: Outline your trading strategy, specifying entry and exit points and any conditions that might trigger these actions.

  5. Open Short Position: Depending on your chosen method, you’ll need to open a short position. This could be selling a CFD, buying a put option, or buying shares of an inverse ETF.

  6. Ongoing Monitoring: Keep track of the FTSE 100 index as well as any market news that could affect it. Be prepared to close your position or adjust your strategy as needed.

  7. Exit Strategy: Know when to close your position. This could be when you hit a profit target, when a stop-loss order triggers, or when your analysis indicates a change in market direction.

  8. Review and Learn: After exiting the trade, review the outcomes to understand what worked and what didn’t. Use these insights to improve your future trading endeavours.

Evaluating CFD Trading Accounts for Shorting the FTSE 100

Contracts for Difference (CFDs) are one of the most popular methods for shorting the FTSE 100. However, all CFD trading accounts are not created equal. Here’s what to look for when evaluating a platform:

  1. Regulatory Compliance: Ensure the platform is regulated by a reputable financial authority.

  2. Leverage and Margin Requirements: Understand the leverage offered and the margin requirements. More leverage increases both potential profits and potential losses.

  3. Trading Fees: Consider both the commission and spread costs, as these can eat into your profits.

  4. Trading Tools and Resources: Make sure the platform offers advanced trading tools, real-time data, and robust charting features.

  5. Customer Support: Check the availability and quality of customer support, as timely assistance can be crucial in trading.

  6. User Reviews and Recommendations: Always read reviews and seek recommendations before choosing a platform. This will give you insights into the platform’s reliability and performance.

FTSE 100 Performance Predictions: Is It the Right Time to Short?

Risk meter low to high

Determining the right time to short the FTSE 100 can be challenging. Here are some considerations:

  1. Economic Indicators: Keep an eye on macroeconomic indicators like GDP growth, employment rates, and inflation, as they can significantly impact the FTSE 100.

  2. Market Sentiment: Investor sentiment can often drive market movements. Tools like news analysis and sentiment indicators can help you gauge the market mood.

  3. Technical Analysis: Use tools like moving averages, RSI, and Fibonacci retracements to help predict future price movements.

  4. Global Events: Geopolitical events, natural disasters, and significant financial news can lead to market volatility.

  5. Current Trends: Are most of the companies in the index showing strong fundamentals, or are there widespread issues that could lead to a decline?

It’s crucial to amalgamate all this information to make an educated prediction on the FTSE 100’s performance. However, remember that predicting market performance is not an exact science. Always be prepared for the unexpected and manage your risks accordingly.

Risks and Considerations: What You Should Know Before Shorting the FTSE 100

Before diving into the world of shorting the FTSE 100, it’s essential to consider the associated risks and nuances:

  1. Infinite Loss Potential: Unlike buying an asset where your loss is capped at the initial investment, short selling can lead to unlimited losses if the asset’s price rises indefinitely.

  2. Margin Calls: Shorting is often done on margin, which means you borrow funds to facilitate the trade. If the trade moves against you, you may have to deposit additional money to maintain the position.

  3. Regulatory Risks: Regulations around short selling can change, affecting your ability to open or maintain a short position.

  4. Dividend Payments: When you’re shorting an asset that pays dividends, you are responsible for paying those dividends to the person or entity from whom you’ve borrowed the asset.

  5. Market Risk: Various unpredictable factors, such as economic indicators or geopolitical events, can impact the FTSE 100 and, by extension, your short position.

  6. Transaction Costs: The costs associated with shorting, such as spreads and commissions, can eat into your profits or exacerbate your losses.

  7. Leverage Risk: Using leverage can amplify both profits and losses. While it may be tempting to use high leverage for potentially higher returns, the risks are also magnified.

By understanding these risks, you can better prepare for the challenges of shorting the FTSE 100 and take measures to mitigate potential downsides.

An Overview of the FTSE 100 Index and Its Importance in Shorting

The Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index, commonly known as the FTSE 100, is one of the leading stock indices globally and represents the 100 largest companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. Understanding the composition and behaviour of the FTSE 100 is vital when planning to short it.

Why is the FTSE 100 Important?

  1. Benchmark for UK Market: The FTSE 100 serves as a barometer for the overall health of the UK stock market and, to some extent, the UK economy.

  2. Global Influence: Many companies in the FTSE 100 have a global footprint, making the index sensitive to international economic and political events.

  3. High Liquidity: Due to its prominence and the size of the companies it represents, the FTSE 100 is a highly liquid market, allowing for more straightforward entry and exit.

  4. Diverse Sectors: The FTSE 100 includes companies from various sectors, from finance and technology to energy and healthcare, offering a broad market view.

How Does This Impact Shorting?

  1. Volatility: Given its sensitivity to both domestic and international events, the FTSE 100 can be volatile, which can both provide opportunities and pose risks for short sellers.

  2. Information Availability: Because the FTSE 100 is closely followed, there is abundant information available for analysis, helping you make more informed decisions.

  3. Liquidity: The index’s liquidity allows for quicker position changes, which is crucial for managing risks when shorting.

Understanding the intricacies of the FTSE 100 can significantly influence your shorting strategy, providing both a context for your trades and potential clues as to future index movements.


Shorting the FTSE 100 can be a complex but potentially rewarding venture for those willing to do their due diligence. From understanding the mechanics of shorting to evaluating the right CFD trading accounts and timing your trades, each step is crucial to your success. Additionally, understanding the risks involved and having a deep knowledge of what the FTSE 100 represents will equip you with the tools needed to make informed decisions.

Remember, shorting involves betting against the market, a strategy that comes with its own set of unique challenges and risks. From the potential for infinite losses to the need for understanding the intricacies of trading on margin, it’s not a strategy for the faint of heart. However, with robust research, a well-planned strategy, and risk mitigation measures, you can navigate the ups and downs effectively.

Whether you choose to use CFDs, inverse ETFs, or another financial instrument, ensure that you are well-prepared and well-informed before taking the plunge. Financial markets are unpredictable, and while you can never eliminate risk entirely, being prepared will help you manage it better.


The underlying index when you short sell the FTSE is typically the FTSE 100 or FTSE 250, which are benchmarks for the UK equity market performance.

To short sell the FTSE, you would typically use financial instruments like CFDs or spread bets that allow you to trade on the current market price without owning the actual transferable securities.

Yes, investors from the European Union can short the FTSE, provided they comply with their local regulations and have access to a brokerage platform that offers this service.

The current market price is crucial as it determines the entry point of your short position. You aim to sell high and repurchase the shares at a lower market price to profit.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. Short selling based on a sharp decline due to past trends can be misleading for the average investor.

The average investor should understand the risks involved, the dynamics of the underlying benchmark, and have a strategy for market movements, including the reinvested dividends effect.

When dividends are reinvested, it impacts the equity value. Short sellers might owe dividend payments, affecting the profitability of the short sell.

Transferable securities are holdings that can be traded on the stock market, such as stocks or bonds. Shorting the FTSE involves betting against these securities’ future market price.

A sharp decline might be an opportunity to initiate a short sell; however, it is critical to assess the market conditions thoroughly before making such a move.

Short the Dow Jones via CFDs at Our #1 recommended CFD Broker in the UK.

80% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

  Author Thomas Drury Seasoned finance professional with 10+ years' experience. Chartered status holder. Proficient in CFDs, ISAs, and crypto investing. Passionate about helping others achieve financial goals.


Resize text-+=
Translate »