Friday, July 29, 2005

Futures, Options and Contracts

Futures and Forwards
As the name suggests, futures are derivative contracts that give the holder the opportunity to buy or sell the underlying at a pre-specified price some time in the future.
They come in standardized form with fixed expiry time, contract size and price. Forwards are similar contracts but customisable in terms of contract size, expiry date and price, as per the needs of the user.
Options
Option contracts give the holder the option to buy or sell the underlying at a pre-specified price some time in the future. An option to buy the underlying is known as a Call Option.
On the other hand, an option to sell the underlying at a specified price in the future is known as Put Option.
In the case of an option contract, the buyer of the contract is not obligated to exercise the option contract. Options can be traded on the stock exchange or on the OTC market.

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