Futures contract

A trader who expects a stock's price to increase can buy a call option to purchase the stock at a fixed price (

Rather than attempt to solve the differential equations of motion that describe the option's value in relation to the underlying security's price, a Monte Carlo model uses simulation to generate random price paths of the underlying asset, each of which results in a payoff for the option. A put is the option to sell a futures contract, and a call is the option to buy a futures contract.

Stock Options

A futures contract enables holder to buy or sell a particular quantity of a commodity over a certain time frame for a particular price. Commodities include oil, corn, wheat, natural gas, gold.

In general, the option writer is a well-capitalized institution in order to prevent the credit risk. Option types commonly traded over the counter include:. By avoiding an exchange, users of OTC options can narrowly tailor the terms of the option contract to suit individual business requirements.

In addition, OTC option transactions generally do not need to be advertised to the market and face little or no regulatory requirements. However, OTC counterparties must establish credit lines with each other, and conform to each other's clearing and settlement procedures. With few exceptions, [10] there are no secondary markets for employee stock options. These must either be exercised by the original grantee or allowed to expire. The most common way to trade options is via standardized options contracts that are listed by various futures and options exchanges.

By publishing continuous, live markets for option prices, an exchange enables independent parties to engage in price discovery and execute transactions. As an intermediary to both sides of the transaction, the benefits the exchange provides to the transaction include:.

These trades are described from the point of view of a speculator. If they are combined with other positions, they can also be used in hedging. An option contract in US markets usually represents shares of the underlying security. A trader who expects a stock's price to increase can buy a call option to purchase the stock at a fixed price " strike price " at a later date, rather than purchase the stock outright. The cash outlay on the option is the premium. The trader would have no obligation to buy the stock, but only has the right to do so at or before the expiration date.

The risk of loss would be limited to the premium paid, unlike the possible loss had the stock been bought outright. The holder of an American-style call option can sell his option holding at any time until the expiration date, and would consider doing so when the stock's spot price is above the exercise price, especially if he expects the price of the option to drop.

By selling the option early in that situation, the trader can realise an immediate profit. Alternatively, he can exercise the option — for example, if there is no secondary market for the options — and then sell the stock, realising a profit. A trader would make a profit if the spot price of the shares rises by more than the premium.

For example, if the exercise price is and premium paid is 10, then if the spot price of rises to only the transaction is break-even; an increase in stock price above produces a profit. If the stock price at expiration is lower than the exercise price, the holder of the options at that time will let the call contract expire and only lose the premium or the price paid on transfer. A trader who expects a stock's price to decrease can buy a put option to sell the stock at a fixed price "strike price" at a later date.

The trader will be under no obligation to sell the stock, but only has the right to do so at or before the expiration date. If the stock price at expiration is below the exercise price by more than the premium paid, he will make a profit. If the stock price at expiration is above the exercise price, he will let the put contract expire and only lose the premium paid.

In the transaction, the premium also plays a major role as it enhances the break-even point. For example, if exercise price is , premium paid is 10, then a spot price of to 90 is not profitable.

He would make a profit if the spot price is below It is important to note that one who exercises a put option, does not necessarily need to own the underlying asset. Specifically, one does not need to own the underlying stock in order to sell it. The reason for this is that one can short sell that underlying stock.

A trader who expects a stock's price to decrease can sell the stock short or instead sell, or "write", a call. The trader selling a call has an obligation to sell the stock to the call buyer at a fixed price "strike price". If the seller does not own the stock when the option is exercised, he is obligated to purchase the stock from the market at the then market price.

If the stock price decreases, the seller of the call call writer will make a profit in the amount of the premium. If the stock price increases over the strike price by more than the amount of the premium, the seller will lose money, with the potential loss being unlimited.

A trader who expects a stock's price to increase can buy the stock or instead sell, or "write", a put. The trader selling a put has an obligation to buy the stock from the put buyer at a fixed price "strike price". If the stock price at expiration is above the strike price, the seller of the put put writer will make a profit in the amount of the premium. If the stock price at expiration is below the strike price by more than the amount of the premium, the trader will lose money, with the potential loss being up to the strike price minus the premium.

Combining any of the four basic kinds of option trades possibly with different exercise prices and maturities and the two basic kinds of stock trades long and short allows a variety of options strategies.

Simple strategies usually combine only a few trades, while more complicated strategies can combine several. Strategies are often used to engineer a particular risk profile to movements in the underlying security. For example, buying a butterfly spread long one X1 call, short two X2 calls, and long one X3 call allows a trader to profit if the stock price on the expiration date is near the middle exercise price, X2, and does not expose the trader to a large loss. Selling a straddle selling both a put and a call at the same exercise price would give a trader a greater profit than a butterfly if the final stock price is near the exercise price, but might result in a large loss.

Similar to the straddle is the strangle which is also constructed by a call and a put, but whose strikes are different, reducing the net debit of the trade, but also reducing the risk of loss in the trade.

One well-known strategy is the covered call , in which a trader buys a stock or holds a previously-purchased long stock position , and sells a call. If the stock price rises above the exercise price, the call will be exercised and the trader will get a fixed profit. If the stock price falls, the call will not be exercised, and any loss incurred to the trader will be partially offset by the premium received from selling the call. Overall, the payoffs match the payoffs from selling a put.

This relationship is known as put-call parity and offers insights for financial theory. Another very common strategy is the protective put , in which a trader buys a stock or holds a previously-purchased long stock position , and buys a put. This strategy acts as an insurance when investing on the underlying stock, hedging the investor's potential loses, but also shrinking an otherwise larger profit, if just purchasing the stock without the put.

The maximum profit of a protective put is theoretically unlimited as the strategy involves being long on the underlying stock. The maximum loss is limited to the purchase price of the underlying stock less the strike price of the put option and the premium paid. A protective put is also known as a married put. Another important class of options, particularly in the U.

Other types of options exist in many financial contracts, for example real estate options are often used to assemble large parcels of land, and prepayment options are usually included in mortgage loans. However, many of the valuation and risk management principles apply across all financial options. There are two more types of options; covered and naked. Options valuation is a topic of ongoing research in academic and practical finance.

In basic terms, the value of an option is commonly decomposed into two parts:. Although options valuation has been studied at least since the nineteenth century, the contemporary approach is based on the Black—Scholes model which was first published in The value of an option can be estimated using a variety of quantitative techniques based on the concept of risk neutral pricing and using stochastic calculus.

The most basic model is the Black—Scholes model. More sophisticated models are used to model the volatility smile. These models are implemented using a variety of numerical techniques.

More advanced models can require additional factors, such as an estimate of how volatility changes over time and for various underlying price levels, or the dynamics of stochastic interest rates. The following are some of the principal valuation techniques used in practice to evaluate option contracts.

Following early work by Louis Bachelier and later work by Robert C. Merton , Fischer Black and Myron Scholes made a major breakthrough by deriving a differential equation that must be satisfied by the price of any derivative dependent on a non-dividend-paying stock.

By employing the technique of constructing a risk neutral portfolio that replicates the returns of holding an option, Black and Scholes produced a closed-form solution for a European option's theoretical price. While the ideas behind the Black—Scholes model were ground-breaking and eventually led to Scholes and Merton receiving the Swedish Central Bank 's associated Prize for Achievement in Economics a. Nevertheless, the Black—Scholes model is still one of the most important methods and foundations for the existing financial market in which the result is within the reasonable range.

Since the market crash of , it has been observed that market implied volatility for options of lower strike prices are typically higher than for higher strike prices, suggesting that volatility is stochastic, varying both for time and for the price level of the underlying security.

Stochastic volatility models have been developed including one developed by S. Once a valuation model has been chosen, there are a number of different techniques used to take the mathematical models to implement the models. In some cases, one can take the mathematical model and using analytical methods develop closed form solutions such as Black—Scholes and the Black model.

The resulting solutions are readily computable, as are their "Greeks". Although the Roll-Geske-Whaley model applies to an American call with one dividend, for other cases of American options , closed form solutions are not available; approximations here include Barone-Adesi and Whaley , Bjerksund and Stensland and others. Closely following the derivation of Black and Scholes, John Cox , Stephen Ross and Mark Rubinstein developed the original version of the binomial options pricing model.

The model starts with a binomial tree of discrete future possible underlying stock prices. By constructing a riskless portfolio of an option and stock as in the Black—Scholes model a simple formula can be used to find the option price at each node in the tree.

Trading on commodities began in Japan in the 18th century with the trading of rice and silk, and similarly in Holland with tulip bulbs. Trading in the US began in the mid 19th century, when central grain markets were established and a marketplace was created for farmers to bring their commodities and sell them either for immediate delivery also called spot or cash market or for forward delivery. These forward contracts were private contracts between buyers and sellers and became the forerunner to today's exchange-traded futures contracts.

Although contract trading began with traditional commodities such as grains, meat and livestock, exchange trading has expanded to include metals, energy, currency and currency indexes, equities and equity indexes, government interest rates and private interest rates.

Contracts on financial instruments were introduced in the s by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange CME and these instruments became hugely successful and quickly overtook commodities futures in terms of trading volume and global accessibility to the markets.

This innovation led to the introduction of many new futures exchanges worldwide, such as the London International Financial Futures Exchange in now Euronext. Today, there are more than 90 futures and futures options exchanges worldwide trading to include:. Most futures contracts codes are five characters. The first two characters identify the contract type, the third character identifies the month and the last two characters identify the year.

Futures traders are traditionally placed in one of two groups: In other words, the investor is seeking exposure to the asset in a long futures or the opposite effect via a short futures contract. Hedgers typically include producers and consumers of a commodity or the owner of an asset or assets subject to certain influences such as an interest rate.

For example, in traditional commodity markets , farmers often sell futures contracts for the crops and livestock they produce to guarantee a certain price, making it easier for them to plan. Similarly, livestock producers often purchase futures to cover their feed costs, so that they can plan on a fixed cost for feed. In modern financial markets, "producers" of interest rate swaps or equity derivative products will use financial futures or equity index futures to reduce or remove the risk on the swap.

Those that buy or sell commodity futures need to be careful. If a company buys contracts hedging against price increases, but in fact the market price of the commodity is substantially lower at time of delivery, they could find themselves disastrously non-competitive for example see: Speculators typically fall into three categories: With many investors pouring into the futures markets in recent years controversy has risen about whether speculators are responsible for increased volatility in commodities like oil, and experts are divided on the matter.

This gains the portfolio exposure to the index which is consistent with the fund or account investment objective without having to buy an appropriate proportion of each of the individual stocks just yet. When it is economically feasible an efficient amount of shares of every individual position within the fund or account can be purchased , the portfolio manager can close the contract and make purchases of each individual stock.

The social utility of futures markets is considered to be mainly in the transfer of risk , and increased liquidity between traders with different risk and time preferences , from a hedger to a speculator, for example. In many cases, options are traded on futures, sometimes called simply "futures options".

A put is the option to sell a futures contract, and a call is the option to buy a futures contract. For both, the option strike price is the specified futures price at which the future is traded if the option is exercised. Futures are often used since they are delta one instruments. Calls and options on futures may be priced similarly to those on traded assets by using an extension of the Black-Scholes formula , namely the Black—Scholes model for futures.

For options on futures, where the premium is not due until unwound, the positions are commonly referred to as a fution , as they act like options, however, they settle like futures.

Investors can either take on the role of option seller or "writer" or the option buyer. Option sellers are generally seen as taking on more risk because they are contractually obligated to take the opposite futures position if the options buyer exercises their right to the futures position specified in the option.

The price of an option is determined by supply and demand principles and consists of the option premium, or the price paid to the option seller for offering the option and taking on risk. The Commission has the right to hand out fines and other punishments for an individual or company who breaks any rules. Although by law the commission regulates all transactions, each exchange can have its own rule, and under contract can fine companies for different things or extend the fine that the CFTC hands out.

The CFTC publishes weekly reports containing details of the open interest of market participants for each market-segment that has more than 20 participants. These reports are released every Friday including data from the previous Tuesday and contain data on open interest split by reportable and non-reportable open interest as well as commercial and non-commercial open interest.

Following Björk [15] we give a definition of a futures contract. We describe a futures contract with delivery of item J at the time T:. A closely related contract is a forward contract. A forward is like a futures in that it specifies the exchange of goods for a specified price at a specified future date. However, a forward is not traded on an exchange and thus does not have the interim partial payments due to marking to market. Nor is the contract standardized, as on the exchange. Unlike an option , both parties of a futures contract must fulfill the contract on the delivery date.

The seller delivers the underlying asset to the buyer, or, if it is a cash-settled futures contract, then cash is transferred from the futures trader who sustained a loss to the one who made a profit.

To exit the commitment prior to the settlement date, the holder of a futures position can close out its contract obligations by taking the opposite position on another futures contract on the same asset and settlement date.

The difference in futures prices is then a profit or loss. While futures and forward contracts are both contracts to deliver an asset on a future date at a prearranged price, they are different in two main respects:. Forwards have credit risk, but futures do not because a clearing house guarantees against default risk by taking both sides of the trade and marking to market their positions every night.

Forwards are basically unregulated, while futures contracts are regulated at the federal government level. Futures are always traded on an exchange , whereas forwards always trade over-the-counter , or can simply be a signed contract between two parties.

Futures are margined daily to the daily spot price of a forward with the same agreed-upon delivery price and underlying asset based on mark to market. Forwards do not have a standard. They may transact only on the settlement date.

More typical would be for the parties to agree to true up, for example, every quarter. The fact that forwards are not margined daily means that, due to movements in the price of the underlying asset, a large differential can build up between the forward's delivery price and the settlement price, and in any event, an unrealized gain loss can build up.

Again, this differs from futures which get 'trued-up' typically daily by a comparison of the market value of the future to the collateral securing the contract to keep it in line with the brokerage margin requirements. This true-ing up occurs by the "loss" party providing additional collateral; so if the buyer of the contract incurs a drop in value, the shortfall or variation margin would typically be shored up by the investor wiring or depositing additional cash in the brokerage account.

In a forward though, the spread in exchange rates is not trued up regularly but, rather, it builds up as unrealized gain loss depending on which side of the trade being discussed. The result is that forwards have higher credit risk than futures, and that funding is charged differently. In most cases involving institutional investors, the daily variation margin settlement guidelines for futures call for actual money movement only above some insignificant amount to avoid wiring back and forth small sums of cash.

The situation for forwards, however, where no daily true-up takes place in turn creates credit risk for forwards, but not so much for futures. Simply put, the risk of a forward contract is that the supplier will be unable to deliver the referenced asset, or that the buyer will be unable to pay for it on the delivery date or the date at which the opening party closes the contract.

The margining of futures eliminates much of this credit risk by forcing the holders to update daily to the price of an equivalent forward purchased that day. This means that there will usually be very little additional money due on the final day to settle the futures contract: In addition, the daily futures-settlement failure risk is borne by an exchange, rather than an individual party, further limiting credit risk in futures.

This money goes, via margin accounts, to the holder of the other side of the future. That is, the loss party wires cash to the other party. A forward-holder, however, may pay nothing until settlement on the final day, potentially building up a large balance; this may be reflected in the mark by an allowance for credit risk. Thus, while under mark to market accounting, for both assets the gain or loss accrues over the holding period; for a futures this gain or loss is realized daily, while for a forward contract the gain or loss remains unrealized until expiry.

Note that, due to the path dependence of funding, a futures contract is not, strictly speaking, a European-style derivative: This difference is generally quite small though.

With an exchange-traded future, the clearing house interposes itself on every trade. Thus there is no risk of counterparty default. The only risk is that the clearing house defaults e. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Government spending Final consumption expenditure Operations Redistribution. Central bank Deposit account Fractional-reserve banking Loan Money supply.

Private equity and venture capital Recession Stock market bubble Stock market crash Accounting scandals. Further information on Margin: Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, chapter 1, pp. Many of the financial products or instruments that we see today emerged during a relatively short period. In particular, merchants and bankers developed what we would today call securitization. Mutual funds and various other forms of structured finance that still exist today emerged in the 17th and 18th centuries in Holland.

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