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Futures
(Chapter 19 Hirschey and Nofsinger)

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Forward Contracts

An agreement between two parties to exchange an asset at a specified price on a specified date Buyer is long, seller is short; symmetric gains and losses as price changes, zero sum game Contracts are OTC, have negotiable terms, and are not liquid Subject to credit risk or default risk Value realized only at expiration Popular in currency exchange markets

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Futures Contracts

Like forward contracts - Buyer is long and is obligated to buy - Seller is short and is obligated to sell Unlike forward contracts - Traded on an exchange - Standardized size, maturity - More liquidity - can reverse a position and offset the future obligation, other party is the exchange - Less credit risk - initial margin required - Additional margin needs are determined through a daily marking to market based on price changes
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Futures Contracts

Futures Quotations - One contract is for a fixed amount of the underlying asset 5,000 bushels of corn (of a certain grade) $250 x Index for S&P 500 Index Futures (of a certain maturity) - Prices are given in terms of the underlying asset Cents per bushel (grains) Value of the index - Value of one contract is price x contract amount

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Futures Contract

Futures contract: standardized agreement between two parties committing one to buy and the other to sell at a set price on or before a given date in the future - Margin: performance bonds or good-faith deposits to insure contract performance - Initial Margin: Minimum amount required to initiate a trade - Maintenance margin: Minimum amount required at all times to sustain a market position - Margin call: when margin level is lower than maintenance margin

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Mark-to-market

Daily settlement of gains and losses between buyers and sellers. - If spot price rises, sellers pay buyers in cash for the

change in price If spot prices falls, buyers owe sellers If a futures trader losses too much, more money will need to be put in the margin account.

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Payoff for futures positions

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Sugar Futures Contract Commodity Trading Example Contract Specifications
Size of the Contract Minimum Price Change Of one ounce Of one contract Initial Margin Level Maintenance Margin Level 112,000 lbs 1/100 cents/lb $11.20 $700 $500

Day 1 Investor buys 10 sugar futures contract at 5.29/lb. (Position value = 10 x 112,000 x $0.0529/lb = $59,248 Investor deposits initial margin Price rises to close at 5.32/lb.; investor loss of 0.03/lb. ($33.60 per contract) paid to clearinghouse Account balance at end of Day 1 Day 2 Opening Account Balance (from Day 1) Price rises further to close at 5.40/lb.; investor loss of 0.08/lb. ($89.60 per contract) paid to clearinghouse Account balance on Day 2, after loss is paid to clearinghouse 8

$7,000.00 -$336.00 $6,664.00

$6,664.00 $896.00 $5,768.00

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Day 3 Opening Account Balance (from Day 2) Price jumps to 5.52/lb.; investor loss of 0.12/lb. ($134.40 per contract) paid to clearinghouse Intraday account balance on Day 3, after loss is paid to clearinghouse Margin call of $2,576 made to restore the account to the initial margin level ($7,000) Account balance at end of Day 3, after the margin call is met Day 4 Opening Account Balance (from Day 3) Price falls 0.05/lb. to 5.47/lb.; investor gain of $56 per contract) Account balance Trader offsets the short futures position at 5.47/lb, and liquidates the account Account balance at the end of Day 4 Profit/Loss Summary

$5,768.00
$1,344.00 $4,424.00

$2,576.00
$7,000.00 $7,000.00

$560.00 $7,560.00
$7,560.00 0

Profit/Loss = 10 (Contract Selling Price - Contract Buying Price) = 10 (112,000 lbs (5.29/lb. - $5.47/lb.)) = -$2,016.00 (loss) Profit/Loss = Sum of Deposits (-) and Receipts (+) Day 1 Initial Margin Deposit -$7,000.00 Day 3 Margin Call Deposit -$2,576.00 Day 4 Account Liquidated Receipt +$7,560.00 Net Trading Loss 9 -$2,016.00

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Learning objectives
Understand futures contract characteristics Be able to compute profits and losses on futures positions

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