What is futures trading in detail?

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Short Answer

Futures trading is an agreement to purchase or sell a particular quantity of a commodity or asset at a predetermined price at a future date. It is quite risky and so it is important for the investors to know about futures in detail, so that they do not end up losing money and time.

Detailed Answer


A derivative is essentially an agreement between two parties that aids in the calculation of the price of a financial main asset, with both parties agreeing to these contracts ensure the protection and/or a collection of assets. Unlike shares, it is seen as a more developed investment that also includes less risk, making it a more preferred option for businesses. They are mostly traded in hedge funds, with other investors attempting to gain more ownership. There are several benefits and drawbacks to the market, but it has remained quite steady in recent years. Futures, swaps, options, and forwards are the four fundamental types.

Introduction to Futures trading:

  • It is an agreement between the buyer and the seller to buy the predetermined asset in the future at a later period, at an agreed-upon price set on futures trading platforms in the market place.
  • Strictly, regardless of the prevailing market price at the expiry date, the buyer or seller must acquire or sell the asset at the predetermined price.
  • Futures contracts are pre-determined agreements that are often traded on a regulated exchange.
  • It is not necessary for the buyer to know about the seller and the vice-versa.
  • Futures contracts can be traded on a variety of assets, including equities, indexes, commodities, and currency pairings, etc.
  • A contract's buyer is known as the long position holder, while the seller is known as the short position holder.
  • Future trading is very risky, so it is essential to be well informed about the details and the contract so that there are no mis-happenings later.
  • Hedgers and Speculators are the two main participants in futures trading.
  • An investor can bet on the movement of an asset, commodity, or financial product via a futures contract.
  • Usually, future trading uses the high leverage i.e., the buyer merely pays a little margin value when the contract is initiated.
  • Futures contracts may only need a portion of the contract's value to be deposited with a trader.
  • Futures trading has no intrinsic value and is measured in order to determine the value of many other underlying securities.
  • A futures contract which you’ve bought is named as an open agreement if it has now not been squared off or if it has not yet expired.

Technical terms involved in Future trading:

  1. Spot price: It is the current or the immediate price of an asset or security which can be purchased or sold immediately at this amount.
  1. Future price: It is the price which will be charged for the underlying asset in the future. Basically, the price at which future trades will take place.
  1. Expiry date: It is the last day of trading for the futures contract on the market. The futures contract is therefore no longer applicable and comes to a halt at the completion of the expiration date.
  1. Cost of carry: It essentially helps in determining the future price of the underlying asset. The cost of carry for financial assets comprises interest and dividends. Adding the cost of carry to the spot price yields the fair futures value of an asset.
  1. FUT: It denotes that the trade is a future contract.
  1. Lot size: In a settlement it is the minimal number of inventories or derivatives. Far it's a standard quantity which can't be adjusted by the individual and is specified through the exchange. The lot size is uniform and varies from one protection to the other.

Tips for beginners:

  1. It is essential to formulate a trade plan so that the individual does not end up incurring losses or getting into a wrong deal.
  1. The interested trader should narrow the focus while trading as there is a lot to study and if too many markets are involved then it will become tough and the individual will end up losing the time, energy and money.
  1. As this is a very time consuming and energy taking process, it is important to be patient and not take actions with the changing market scenario. It is also necessary to monitor working orders, open positions, and account balances.
  1. The trader needs to be well aware of all the details as if they are unable to do anything like reading price action or something else, then it can become as one of the biggest disadvantages.
  1. Also, risk management is one of the most essential strategies so that individuals do not end up losing money. It is vital to be known by the beginners well so that they don’t lay back or get over conscious while trading.

Difference between Options and Futures:

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Future trading is one of the equity derivates and is quite popular in terms of trading. When it comes to future trading, it is vital to be aware of all the details and monitor it well as it is quite risky and requires proper understanding. Be sure to study all aspects specifically the downside associated with the futures or the agreement of the underlying asset so as to be sure about your investment. Futures are believed to be the most beneficial when used correctly but can turn around if imperfectly.

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Categories: Futures Trading
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Discussion (3)

Yes Indeed. Futures trading includes high risk. Although there are no formulae for regular profits, however, you can reduce the overall risk by hedging your position with the help of Options. For example, you can implement a 'Covered Call' strategy with the help of a 'Long Futures Contract' and 'Short Call Option' in the same asset. Creating a hedge by taking a contra position in options not only limits the overall risk but also gives margin benefit. Under this, you'll require less margin money to take the same trade, which can be used to manage the position later.

Future trading seems very risky, isn't it so? Any tips top earn decent profits in this, do share it.

This is an Informative read on the why and what of futures trading. Well explained!

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