Futures Trading: What Is It And How to Get Started


A futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell an asset at a future date at an agreed-upon price. All those funny goods you’ve seen people trade in the movies — orange juice, oil, pork bellies! — are futures contracts.

Futures contracts are standardized agreements that typically trade on an exchange. One party agrees to buy a given quantity of securities or a commodity, and take delivery on a certain date. The selling party to the contract agrees to provide it.

The futures market can be used by many kinds of financial players, including investors and speculators as well as companies that actually want to take physical delivery of the commodity or supply it. To decide whether futures deserve a spot in your investment portfolio, consider the following:

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