Characteristics of Different Types of Futures Contracts

In this article, we will discuss the characteristics and conventions for different types of futures contracts.

T-bill Futures Contracts

  • Face value: $1 million
  • Underlying asset: 90-day T-bills
  • Quotation: 100 minus annualized discount rate
  • Settlement: Settled in cash

Eurodollar Futures

  • Face value: $1 million
  • Underlying: 90-day LIBOR (add-on yield)
  • Quotation: 100 minus annualized LIBOR(%)
  • Settlement: Settled in cash
  • Minimum price change: 1 tick ($25 per $1 million contract)

In Eurodollar futures, the long gains when interest rates decline, and vice verse.

Treasury Bond Futures

  • Face value: $100,000
  • Underlying: Treasury bonds with maturity greater than 15 years
  • Quotation: Quoted as percent and fraction of 1% (1/32) of face value
  • Settlement: Deliverable contracts

The short can deliver from many bonds that meet the delivery terms. Generally, the cheapest-to-deliver bond will be delivered. 

Stock Index Futures

  • Face value: 250 times the level of index
  • Underlying: Stock index
  • Quotation: Index value
  • Settlement: Cash settlement (in multiples of 250)
  • Gain/loss: Each index point represents a gain/loss of $250 per contract

The above figures assume the example of S&P 500 Index Futures.

Currency Futures

  • Face value: Depends on the currency (A euro contract is on EUR 125,000). This is in the US with USD as the domestic currency.
  • Settlement: Delivery
  • Gain/Loss: A change of 0.0001 USD translates to $12.50 on a Euro contract.

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