Futures are an agreement to buy or sell a set amount of a commodity or financial instrument at a set price in the future. The price is agreed on by the buyer and seller and included in a contract.  The investor is required to make only a small deposit to control a much greater amount of the commodity. The small deposit, typically around 10 percent, is called a margin payment.

Types of Futures

There are two main types of futures trading contracts: those traded for physical delivery and those which end in a cash settlement.

How Do Futures Work?

See concrete examples of futures trading in action.

Profit & Loss

How is money made and lost through futures trading?

Futures at NYSE Euronext

See all the futures contracts available via NYSE Liffe.


One of the major advantages of futures trading is that they offer leveraged market positions.

Why Investors Use Futures

Offering leverage, liquidity and a relatively low cost per trade, futures are a useful tool for knowledgeable investors.