(3) my intent is not so much for active trading but to better understand the longer term fluctuations. my initial intent is more for purchasing foreign market stocks. my base currency is MYR
(4) where can i get more info on this and any good books to recommend?
(5) any other things to note? and any tip to better remember currency conversion? say for instance SGD/RM is 2.5543? how do traders remember whether higher or lower is stronger or weaker? of course i can do this if i spend some time dwelling on it but any quick short cuts to share?
Stocks and futures are typically traded at a centralized exchange. Your broker routes your order to the exchange, where it is executed. The FOREX markets are decentralized, which means that there are numerous electronic communication networks (ECN) which are used by banks for dealing currencies. If you trade FOREX your broker will either route your order to one of the ECNs, or will take the opposite side of your trade. Please get familiar with the different broker types: DD, NDD, STP, ECN Brokers types: ECN - STP - No Dealing Desk
The difference between FOREX and Futures: FOREX Spot is a financial commodity. It does not need any specification and can directly be transferred to your account. If you talk about futures, those are specificly designed contracts that can only be traded at a single exchange. A futures contract is a standardized forward contract where the buyer engages in buying and the seller engages in selling a commodity or a financial asset at a specific price at or after the expiry data of that contract. Your counterparty of the trade is the exchange itself. The market is highly regulated, and it is usually safer to trade futures compared to FOREX.
However, the FOREX markets attracts lots of undercapitalized traders, as FOREX retail traders offer higher leverage than the futures exchanges.
As the FOREX markets are decentralized, there are numerous datafeeds coming from the various networks. The data from those feeds is different, as the price discovery within the different networks will not lead to identical results. The four letters in the end of the currency pair allow you identify from which dataprovider or bank the quote is originating. For example .EUAM is the code used by TenforeX, one of the major dataproviders.
When you trade FOREX, it is important that the quote which you use comes from the same electronic network that you intend to trade. You can also use global quotes that take into account several networks.
I would prefer trading the major currencies and crosses, as the liquidity is much better compared to currency pairs with the Malaysian ringgit.
It is difficult to find good books on FOREX. You could try for example M.D. Archer: Getting Started in Currency Trading.
Just basically start up with any forex platform, where you will see all the currencies listed as actual forex crosses - as opposed to futures. The learning curve of the very basics - like which symbols are which currencies and what the order of the currencies mean - shouldn't bee too hard. And some basic videos on forex from youtube should help - maybe you'll come across dave from informedtrades. I remember watching some of his stuff back when I was all new myself.