What is an Index Future?

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Overview

Equity Index futures are “futures contracts” on equity indices. They are cash settled contracts and the majority have quarterly expiration dates scheduled for the months of March, June, September, and December.

Equity Index futures provide market participants with tools to efficiently hedge or express an opinion on an equity index market, practically 24 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Benchmarks: The Backbone of Equity Index Futures

CME Group focuses on many of the widely followed and globally recognized equity index benchmarks. CME Group Equity Index products include both equity index futures and options on equity index futures. Currently, this represents 59 equity index futures and 29 equity index options. CME Group Equity Index products include a number of well-known indices.

Some of these are available in a variety of different sizes to accommodate different trading needs. For example, we offer  E-mini S&P 500® futures contracts, which are one-fifth the size of standard S&P 500®futures.

Spanning the globe, our Equity Index suite includes US dollar-based products such as the S&P 500®, the Nasdaq 100, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average as well as products covering other key markets, such as the FTSE Russell 100, a UK-based index; the Nikkei 225, a Japanese-based index; and the FTSE China 50, a China-based index.

As the world’s largest derivatives exchange, CME Group offers equity traders a deep and liquid marketplace to speculate or hedge their portfolio. What does all this mean? In short, CME Group offers a variety of Equity Index products suitable for many types of end users.