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How to trade Asian stock markets

April 02, 2020 12:00 UTC
Reading time: 18 minutes

For many traders, Asian stock markets now provide a welcome addition to their daily watch lists. The Asia region and other emerging markets are home to 85% of the world's population and are considered to be the new engines of global growth. Whether it's trading the stock markets of the Asian Tigers - Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan - or the global powerhouses of Japan and China, the potential opportunities these can provide can no longer be ignored.

In this article you will learn:

  • The reasons why stock markets in Asia are exciting traders right now.
  • Why many traders are using CFDs (Contracts for Difference) on index futures to gain exposure to Asian stock markets.
  • What the best trading platform is to view real-time prices of Asian stock markets such as the China A50, Hang Seng 50, Taiwan 50 and Singapore Free indexes.
  • How you can start trading Asian stock markets through a free virtual trading account to practice your skills in a risk-free trading environment.
  • How to open a Trade.MT5 account with Admiral Markets UK Ltd to trade on global stock market indices commission-free!
  • How to open an Invest.MT5 account to buy stocks and ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) from 15 of the world's largest stock exchanges - including Japanese stocks like Sony, Toyota and Panasonic!

How to trade Asian stock markets

What are Asian stock markets and why should you trade them?

Global stock markets essentially run like an auction place. It's a place where traders, investors and hedge fund managers can buy and sell shares of publicly listed companies. You may already be familiar with stocks that are listed on the world's largest stock exchange, the New York Stock Exchange. It includes companies such as Disney, Nike and Walmart.

While the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ stock exchange are the two world's largest by market capitalisation, Asian stock markets are not far behind and comprise the next three largest. The third-largest is the Tokyo Stock Exchange (Japan), the fourth-largest is the Shanghai Stock Exchange (China) and the fifth-largest is the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (Hong Kong), as shown in the table below:

Asian stock markets market capitlisation

Source: Statista

It's clear to see from the data above that investing in Asia and trading Asian stock markets provides access to a large portion of the world's stock markets that cannot be ignored anymore. However, within the Asia region, there is a wide variety of different economies.

At one end, you have the highly developed countries which include Japan and the four countries also known as the Asian Tigers - Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Other major players in the region include China, India and others.

It was in the early 1960s that Asian economies started a period of industrialisation that has now led to most of them exporting mass-produced products (electronics, clothing, etc) to the rest of the world. With this growth the region's financial stability has increased which has attracted more foreign investment, helping to build some of the world's most innovative companies.

Let's have a look at some of the major Asian stock markets which are tradable from the Admiral Markets trading platform. To follow through on some of these examples and to see for yourself, it may prove useful to first download your FREE MetaTrader 5 trading platform provided by Admiral Markets. Click the banner below to start your free download and access real-time prices of Asian stock markets and many other asset classes.

Trade With MetaTrader 5

The best Asian stock markets to trade

One of the simplest ways to gain access to the best Asian stock markets is through stock market indices. A stock index represents the value of a group of stocks from one country's stock exchange. Charles Dow created the first stock index in May 1896 called the Dow Jones Index (DJI). Instead of following all the individual stocks in a country, traders and investors can follow the performance of a basket of stocks instead.

Many of the world's stock indices are traded on the futures market where contracts are traded via a futures exchange, much like a stock exchange. With Admiral Markets, users can speculate on the price direction of stock index futures using a product called CFDs or Contracts for Difference. This allows traders to potentially profit from rising and falling markets by trading long and short without ever owning the underlying instrument. You can learn more in the Futures vs CFD Trading article.

Through Admiral Markets users can trade 24 index futures CFDs and 19 index cash CFDs - commission-free - on some of the biggest Asian stock markets such as:

  1. China A50 Index Futures CFDs
  2. Hang Seng Index Futures CFDs
  3. India 50 Index Futures CFDs
  4. Singapore Free Index Futures CFDs
  5. Taiwan 50 Index Futures CFDs
  6. Nikkei 225 Index CFD (cash)

Let's have a look at these in a bit more detail.

Asian stock markets: China A50 Index

The China A50 Index is also known as the FTSE China A50 Index as it is operated by the UK FTSE Group. The index represents the value of companies from the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange which are both located in China. This includes Chinese companies such as the Bank of China, PetroChina and the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank.

Below is the long-term, weekly price chart of the China A50 Index Futures CFD:

MetaTrader showing Asian stock markets: China A50 Index


Source: Admiral Markets MetaTrader 5, #China50_J0, Weekly - Data range: from 16 February 2014 to 30 March 2020, accessed on 30 March 2020 at 2:15 pm GMT. Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

In the above image taken from the MetaTrader 5 trading platform provided by Admiral Markets, the Market Watch column is also open where you can see the different stock market index futures CFDs that are available to trade on.

Asian stock markets: Hang Seng Index

The Hang Seng Index is a free-float, capitalisation-weighted index of companies from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The companies in the index are divided into four sub-indices which include: Commerce and Industry, Finance, Properties and Utilities. Some of the companies that make up the index include Hang Seng Bank Ltd, Sands China Ltd and China Mobile Ltd.

Below is the long-term, weekly price chart of the Hang Seng Index CFD (cash):

MetaTrader showing Asian stock markets: Hang Seng Index

Source: Admiral Markets MetaTrader 5, HSI50, Weekly - Data range: from 2 April 2017 to 30 March 2020, accessed on 30 March 2020 at 2:45 pm GMT. Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

Did you know that you can open a FREE demo trading account with Admiral Markets so you can trade in a virtual trading environment, risk-free? It's a great way to build your trading skills until you are ready for a live account. Plus you get access to a range of benefits including free market analysis, access to advanced Trading Central indicators, tools and expert analysis and much, much more!

Get started today and open your FREE demo trading account by clicking on the banner below:

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Asian stock markets: India 50 Index

Also known as the NIFTY 50 (National Index Fifty), the India 50 Index is the flagship index on the NSE (National Stock Exchange of India). The index tracks the behaviour of a selection of blue-chip companies which are the largest and most liquid Indian securities that are domiciled in India and listed on the exchange. The index includes companies such as ICICI Bank, Reliance Industries and Tata Steel.

Below is the four-hour, intraday price chart of the India 50 Index Futures CFD:

MetaTrader showing Asian stock markets: India 50 Index

Source: Admiral Markets MetaTrader 5, _India50_J0, H4 - Data range: from 6 January 2020 to 30 March 2020, accessed on 30 March 2020 at 3:15 pm GMT. Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

Asian stock markets: Singapore Free Index

The Singapore Free Index is also known as the Singapore 25 Index as it tracks the performance of the 25 largest companies listed on the Singapore Exchange. However, the index itself follows the MSCI Singapore Free stock market index. The Morgan Stanley Capital International range of indices are well-known throughout the world and are regularly tracked by institutions and hedge funds. The index includes companies such as DBS Group Holdings, OCBC Bank and Singapore Airlines.

Below is the four-hour, intraday price chart of the Singapore 25 Free 50 Index Futures CFD:

MetaTrader showing Asian stock markets: Singapore Free Index

Source: Admiral Markets MetaTrader 5, Singapore25_J0, H4 - Data range: from 6 January 2020 to 30 March 2020, accessed on 30 March 2020 at 3:30 pm GMT. Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

Asian stock markets: Taiwan 50 Index

The Taiwan 50 Index tracks the performance of 50 companies listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange and was developed by the Taiwan Stock Exchange in collaboration with the FTSE Group. It is sometimes referred to as the FTSE TWSE Taiwan Index Series. It includes companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Chunghwa Telecom and MediaTek.

Below is the four-hour, intraday price chart of the Taiwan 50 Index Futures CFD:

MetaTrader showing Asian stock markets: Singapore Free Index

Source: Admiral Markets MetaTrader 5, _Taiwan50_J0, H4 - Data range: from 6 January 2020 to 30 March 2020, accessed on 30 March 2020 at 3:45 pm GMT. Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

Asian stock markets: Nikkei 225 Index

The Nikkei-225 Index is a price-weighted average of the 225 top-rated Japanese companies that are listed in the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The index was published in May 1949 and is different from other indices which use a company's market capitalisation for entry into the index. The index includes companies such as Nissan, Sony and Toyota.

Below is the long-term, weekly price chart of the Japan 225 Index CFD (cash):

MetaTrader showing Asian stock markets: Nikkei 225 Index

Source: Admiral Markets MetaTrader 5, JP225, Weekly - Data range: from 30 March 2014 to 30 March 2020, accessed on 30 March 2020 at 4:45 pm GMT. Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

With the Admiral Markets Trade.MT5 account you can also now trade Nikkei share CFDs, meaning you can speculate on rising and falling prices of some of the largest Japanese companies listed on the exchange. However, through an Invest.MT5 account you can also buy physical shares of 195 different Japanese companies.

If you are considering investing in Japanese shares or would like to invest in other stocks and ETFs from around the world, the Invest.MT5 offers:

  • The ability to invest in thousands of stocks and ETFs from 15 of the largest stock exchanges in the world.
  • Open an account with just €1 minimum deposit and invest from just $0.01 per share with minimum transaction fees of just $1 on US stocks.
  • Receive free real-time market data, with no delays, at no extra cost.
  • Create a stream of passive income by collecting dividend payouts.
  • Use the world's most popular multi-asset class trading platform, MetaTrader 5.

You can get started right now by clicking the banner below and enjoying all of the features above and more!

Invest in Stocks & ETFs

How to start trading Asian stock markets

Once you've opened your live, or demo trading account and downloaded your free MetaTrader 5 trading platform you can then start to make trading decisions on Asian stock market indices and other asset classes. To start trading, you must first find the symbol you wish to trade by following these steps:

  1. Open MetaTrader 5 provided by Admiral Markets.
  2. Open the Market Watch section from the View menu at the top or by pressing Ctrl+M on your keyboard. This will open up a list of market symbols on the left side of your chart.
  3. Right-click on the Market Watch window and select Symbols or press Ctrl+U on your keyboard.
  4. This will then open the window shown below which details all the markets available for you to trade on such as Index Futures CFDs and Cash Indices CFDs.
  5. Select either an individual symbol or the category group and click 'Show Symbol' and OK. The instruments selected will then be shown in the Market Watch window.

MetaTrader showing Asian stock markets symbols window

Disclaimer: Charts for financial instruments in this article are for illustrative purposes and does not constitute trading advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any financial instrument provided by Admiral Markets (CFDs, ETFs, Shares). Past performance is not necessarily an indication of future performance.

Now you can left-click on one of the symbols you would like to view and drag it on to the chart to view the current and historical price of the symbol you've chosen. From here you can now open up a trading ticket:

  1. Right-click on the chart.
  2. Select Trading.
  3. Select New Order, or press F9 on your keyboard.
  4. A trading ticket will open for you to input your entry price, stop loss and take profit levels and unit size (volume).

MetaTrader showing Asian stock markets trading ticket

Disclaimer: Charts for financial instruments in this article are for illustrative purposes and does not constitute trading advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any financial instrument provided by Admiral Markets (CFDs, ETFs, Shares). Past performance is not necessarily an indication of future performance.

To learn more on how to buy and sell Asian stock markets and indices, open your free Admiral Markets MetaTrader platform and then watch the video below on how to trade from it!

Asian stock markets trading strategy

A trading strategy is extremely important when trading the financial markets. This is because the right strategy helps traders streamline their decision-making process, resulting in higher quality trading decisions rather than emotional and rash trading decisions. Within any strategy, there are two common types of analysis:

  1. Fundamental analysis. This involves analysing a company, index or region at an economic level. For example, this could include analysing GDP, jobs and retail sales numbers among other data points.
  1. Technical analysis. This type of analysis is more common and involves analysing a company, index or region's historical trading price via a price chart. Trading patterns and technical trading indicators can often leave clues on the trend and possible turning points in the market.

Another great resource to help build your own trading strategy is from using the Trading Central Technical Insight™ indicator which provides actionable technical analysis for a wide variety of asset classes including Asian stock market indices. Let's have a look at an example by opening the FREE Trading Central indicator in the MetaTrader 5 trading platform provided by Admiral Markets.

If you haven't yet downloaded the Trading Central indicator you can do so by upgrading your MetaTrader 5 trading platform provided by Admiral Markets. This can be done by downloading the MetaTrader 5 Supreme Edition package which is completely free to do so! Click on the banner below to download it today:

Download MetaTrader 5 Supreme Edition

Once downloaded you can now open the Trading Central Technical Insight™ indicator. You can learn more about this in the ' How to Trade with Trading Central' article. Let's now search for an index such as the Nikkei 225 stock market index.

MetaTrader showing Asian stock markets in Trading Central

A screenshot of the MetaTrader 5 Supreme Edition trading platform provided by Admiral Markets showing the Trading Central Technical Insight™ indicator.

After clicking on 'Index' the first instrument available is the Nikkei 225 Index. The indicator now presents the trader with a range of different technical analysis events. These are filtered into Summary, Short-Term (2 - 6 weeks), Intermediate-Term (6 weeks - 9 months) and Long-Term (more than 9 months). After clicking on 'Short-Term' this provides the trader with active technical analysis events that have happened, as shown below:

MetaTrader showing Asian stock markets in Trading Central

A screenshot of the Trading Central Technical Insight™ section taken from the MetaTrader 5 Supreme Edition trading platform provided by Admiral Markets.

The above image shows technical analysis covering a wide range of different indicators such as moving averages, MACD, Stochastic, Commodity Channel Index and more. It also provides price action trading patterns such as inside bars and gap up setups. It's important to remember that these are just technical events that have occurred. When combined with your own analysis and risk management principles it could prove to be a powerful addition to your trading arsenal.

Why trade Asian stock markets with Admiral Markets?

  • Trade with a well-established, regulated company which includes regulation from the UK's Financial Conduct Authority.
  • Access the fastest and most popular online trading software, MetaTrader, for FREE which you can use on PC, Mac, Web, Android and iOS operating systems.
  • Open an Invest.MT5 investing account to buy shares and ETFs from 15 of the largest stock exchanges in the world.
  • Open an Admiral.Markets or Trade.MT5 trading account to trade via CFDs (Contracts for Difference) in order to go long and short a market to potentially profit from rising and falling markets.
  • Gain free access to the Trading Central indicator through the feature-rich MetaTrader Supreme Edition provided by Admiral Markets.

Get started today by opening a free demo trading account so you can trade in a virtual trading environment until you are ready to go live!

Trade With A FREE Demo Trading Account

About Admiral Markets

Admiral Markets is a multi-award winning, globally regulated Forex and CFD broker, offering trading on over 8,000 financial instruments via the world's most popular trading platforms: MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5. Start trading today!


This material does not contain and should not be construed as containing investment advice, investment recommendations, an offer of or recommendation for any transactions in financial instruments. Please note that such trading analysis is not a reliable indicator for any current or future performance, as circumstances may change over time. Before making any investment decisions, you should seek advice from independent financial advisors to ensure you understand the risks.