Points, ticks, and pips are ways of describing a change in asset prices. The use of these terms depends upon the market being discussed, and the amount of the price change in question.
Points and ticks are used in the futures market when discussing price movements.
Pips are used in the Contract For Differences (CFDs), Indices, Forex market for the same purpose.
Stock traders, for instance, may use the term
points when talking about how many dollars a stock has moved. If they bought at $5, and the stock is now at $8, they may say they are
up three points.
tick is also used in reference to tick charts. A tick chart tracks transactions, so in this context, a tick represents a transaction, not a monetary value. When someone refers to a tick chart, they are talking about a chart type that logs each transaction and plots it on a price and time graph.
CFDs are not permitted in a few countries
CFDs are not permitted in a number of other countries – most notably the United States, where, due to rules about over the counter products, CFDs cannot be traded by retail investors unless on a registered exchange and there are no exchanges in the US that offer CFDs.
The main reason why CFD trading is not available to US traders is because it is against US securities law. Over the counter financial instruments, such as CFDs, are heavily regulated through legislation like the Dodd Frank Act and enforced by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission).
However and for some weird reasons, futures, options and other derivatives financial product lines are still available in those countries.
A pip refers to currency pair price movements. A pip of movement occurs each time the fourth decimal place of the price moves by one. It applies to all CFDs indices, and all currency pairs except those which contain the Japanese yen (JPY).
For example, if the EUR/USD forex pair moves from 1.1608 to 1.1609, that is one pip of movement.
For forex pairs that contain the JPY, one pip of movement occurs at the second decimal place. If the USD/JPY moves from 109.16 to 109.15, that is one pip of movement.
Forex brokers now offer fractional pip pricing. It means a fifth decimal place is often quoted. If the price of the EUR/USD moves from 1.08085 to 1.08095, that is one pip of movement. If the price moves from 1.08085 to 1.08090, then it only moved half a pip. There are 10 fractional pips to a whole pip.
How much money a pip of movement is worth, called pip value, depends on the forex pair being traded. For pairs where the USD is listed second, like the GBP/USD, the value of each pip is fixed at $10 per $100,000 traded.
For pairs where the USD is not listed second, or if the trader is not using a USD account, the pip value fluctuates.
Points typically refer to futures trading. A point is the smallest price increment change that can occur on the left side of the decimal point.
For example, S&P 500 E-Mini (ES) futures might experience a price change from 1314.00 to 1315.00, which is a price change of one point.
If Crude Oil (CL) moves from 68.00 to 69.00, that is one point. Each point of movement has a dollar value attached to it, but the exact value varies by exchange.
For example, each point of movement in crude oil on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) is equivalent to $1,000.
A point is composed of ticks, which are the price movements that occur on the right side of the decimal when looking at the price of a futures contract. A tick is the smallest possible price change measured by markets. Markets have different tick sizes, and each tick's value varies by the futures contract.
The S&P 500 E-Mini has a tick size of 0.25, crude oil has a tick size of 0.01, and gold futures (GC) have a tick size of 0.10.
The size of the tick determines how many ticks it takes to increase the point. Since each tick in the S&P 500 E-mini is worth 0.25, there are four ticks to a point.
In gold futures, where the tick size is 0.10, there are 10 ticks to a point.
Since ticks are fractions of a point, their dollar value (or tick value) depends on the futures contract being traded. For crude oil on the CME, where each point is worth $1,000, the tick value is $10.
For the S&P 500 E-mini, the tick value is $12.50—which makes each point worth $50.
To find the tick value for other futures, find the contract on the CME Group website, click on the appropriate contract, and then click on the Contract Specs tab.
Another reliable one is the barchart contract specifications page