Contract for difference (CFD)

In finance, a contract for difference (CFD) is a contract between two parties, typically described as “buyer” and “seller”, stipulating that the seller will pay to the buyer the difference between the current value of an asset and its value at contract time (if the difference is negative, then the buyer pays instead to the seller). In effect CFDs are financial derivatives that allow traders to take advantage of prices moving up (long positions) or prices moving down (short positions) on underlying financial instruments and are often used to speculate on those markets.

For example, when applied to equities, such a contract is an equity derivative that allows traders to speculate on share price movements, without the need for ownership of the underlying shares.