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2.1 Mechanics of Futures and Forward Markets Chapter 2.

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1 2.1 Mechanics of Futures and Forward Markets Chapter 2

2 2.2 Futures Contracts Available on a wide range of underlyings Exchange traded Specifications need to be defined: –What can be delivered, –Where it can be delivered, & –When it can be delivered Settled daily

3 2.3 Margins A margin is cash or marketable securities deposited by an investor with his or her broker The balance in the margin account is adjusted to reflect daily settlement Margins minimize the possibility of a loss through a default on a contract

4 2.4 Margins Initial Margin Maintenance Margin Variation Margin Clearing Margin Net Basis Gross Basis

5 2.5 Clearinghouse Intermediary in all futures transactions Assumes opposite position in all trades Default risk is therefore shifted to the clearinghouse Brokers are members or must channel business through members Brokers are required to maintain margin account with clearing house

6 2.6 Marking to Market Investors deposit margin into an account At the close of trading, all accounts adjusted based upon settlement prices In effect, each contract is replaced with a new contract for delivery at settlement price Account are adjusted up or down to make up the difference

7 2.7 Example of a Futures Trade An investor takes a long position in 2 December gold futures contracts on June 5 –contract size is 100 oz. –futures price is US$400 –margin requirement is US$2,000/contract (US$4,000 in total) –maintenance margin is US$1,500/contract (US$3,000 in total)

8 2.8 A Possible Outcome DailyCumulativeMargin FuturesGain AccountMargin Price(Loss) BalanceCall Day(US$) ,000 5-Jun397.00(600) 3, Jun393.30(420) (1,340) 2,6601, Jun387.00(1,140) (2,600) 2,7401, Jun (1,540) 5, = 4,000 3,000 + = 4,000 <

9 2.9 Other Key Points About Futures They are settled daily Closing out a futures position involves entering into an offsetting trade Most contracts are closed out before maturity

10 2.10 Delivery If a contract is not closed out before maturity, it usually settled by delivering the assets underlying the contract. When there are alternatives about what is delivered, where it is delivered, and when it is delivered, the party with the short position chooses. A few contracts (for example, those on stock indices and Eurodollars) are settled in cash

11 2.11 Some Terminology Open interest: the total number of contracts outstanding –equal to number of long positions or number of short positions Settlement price: the price just before the final bell each day –used for the daily settlement process Volume of trading: the number of trades in 1 day

12 2.12 Convergence of Futures to Spot Time (a)(b) Futures Price Futures Price Spot Price

13 2.13 Questions When a new trade is completed what are the possible effects on the open interest? Can the volume of trading in a day be greater than the open interest?

14 2.14 Normal Backwardation Hedgers tend to hold short positions Therefore, speculators must hold net long positions If speculators are risk averse, they want to be compensated for assuming risk Therefore, the futures price must be less than the expect future price Contango: futures prices are greater than expected future price

15 2.15 Traders Seat on Exchange is required to trade Commission Brokers execute trades for other people Locals trade for their own account Open-Outcry auction Bid is a proposal to buy Offer is a proposal to sell

16 2.16 Types of Orders Market Order - buy or sell at best price Limit Order - buy or sell at given price or better Stop Order - market order conditioned on stop price Stop Limit Order - limit order conditioned on stop price

17 2.17 Regulation of Futures Regulation is designed to protect the public interest Regulators try to prevent questionable trading practices by either individuals on the floor of the exchange or outside groups

18 2.18 Accounting & Tax If a contract is used for –Hedging: it is logical to recognize profits (losses) at the same time as on the item being hedged –Speculation: it is logical to recognize profits (losses) on a mark to market basis Roughly speaking, this is what the treatment of futures in the U.S.and many other countries attempts to achieve

19 2.19 Forward Contracts A forward contract is an agreement to buy or sell an asset at a certain time in the future for a certain price There is no daily settlement. At the end of the life of the contract one party buys the asset for the agreed price from the other party

20 2.20 How a Forward Contract Works The contract is an over-the-counter (OTC) agreement between 2 companies No money changes hands when first negotiated & the contract is settled at maturity The initial value of the contract is zero

21 2.21 The Forward Price The forward price for a contract is the delivery price that would be applicable to the contract if were negotiated today (i.e., it is the delivery price that would make the contract worth exactly zero) The forward price may be different for contracts of different maturities

22 2.22 Example Investor A enters into a long forward contract to buy US$/£ in 90 days Investor B enters into a long futures contract to buy US$/£ in 90 days The exchange rate is US$/£ in 90 days Investor A makes a profit of $21,900 on day 90 Investor B makes a profit of $21,900 over the 90 day period

23 2.23 Profit from a Long Forward Position Profit Price of Underlying at Maturity

24 2.24 Profit from a Short Forward Position Profit Price of Underlying at Maturity

25 2.25 Forward Contracts vs Futures Contracts Private contract between 2 partiesExchange traded Non-standard contractStandard contract Usually 1 specified delivery dateRange of delivery dates Settled at maturitySettled daily Delivery or final cash settlement usually occurs Contract usually closed out prior to maturity FORWARDSFUTURES

26 2.26 Forward Price vs Futures Price In theory, the futures price for a contract should be almost the same as the forward price for a contract with the same maturity on the same asset.


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