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Home  > Article

Understanding Futures Trading

By Joseph Kenny

The practice of trading commodities is known as futures trading. Experience combined with patience can make such a transaction very lucrative.

Futures trading involves the trading of tangible items, like silver, gold, oil or even crops. This practice is based on your ability to predict the future price of a commodity. Companies and individuals alike make investments in futures trading. The wisest way to begin futures trading is to set your financial goals and conduct a well-planned research, before you get into it. Consider hiring a professional broker because even though it may be initially expensive, the expertise of the broker will help you to avoid the common novice mistakes.

Future trading endeavors can either be very beneficial or utter failures. Everything depends on how smart your moves and decisions are. You can be on your way to success, once you get an idea of the operations involved in this trade.

These are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Remember that the prices at which the commodity futures are sold is not determined by the commodity exchanges. Prices are established on the demand and supply conditions. If the sellers are more than the buyers, the prices will decrease and vice versa. They are also determined by the buy and sell orders.
  • Futures markets are considered clearing houses for the current demand and supply information. Buyers and sellers of financial instruments, agricultural commodities, petroleum products and metal meet in these markets.
  • The primary purpose of a futures market is to provide an efficient method to manage the price risks.
Hedgers and Speculators are the two groups of futures traders.
  • Hedgers: They place their interest in underlying commodities and try to avoid the risk included in the change of the commodity prices. You can be protected against the fluctuations that take place in market prices by hedging. Transferring the risk to a professional risk taker is involved. For instance, if you are a manufacturer, you can protect yourself from the fluctuations in the price of raw materials by hedging in the futures market. Hedging includes hedge sale and hedge purchase. You can buy and sell futures of the same quantity, as a protection against the risk in price change, while you still hold the stocks.
  • Speculators: They predict market moves and buy commodities of no practical use to them. They purchase these commodities "on paper" and make a profit out of it.
  • If you do not have the required experience or resources, it is advisable for you not to attempt speculating or predicting the market. Future performance results cannot be based on the results of your past performance.
  • Futures contracts are traded on a futures exchange. They are standardized contracts that help in the buying and selling of a certain commodity, at a certain pre-set price and date. This contract gives the right to buy and sell, unlike the options contract that does not.

The advancement in technology and electronic communication has introduced new and better tools for futures trading. However, you could end up losing thousands of dollars if you do not execute the procedures involved correctly.

Joe Kenny writes for Card Guide, offering the latest information on UK credit cards, and several articles on online trading and start clearing credit card debt today.

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