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Wednesday
May152013

Emini Futures Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

(QQQ)(DIA)(SPY)(GLD)(SLV)

 

 

Emini Futures - Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions

 

The following has been compiled from information made available by participating regulatory agencies and major brokerage firms. You may submit additional questions to the author.

 

1) How do Emini Futures Contracts differ from their full size counterpart?

  • Emini contract values are 1/5th the size of the pit traded contract.
  • Emini contracts are traded electronically as opposed to open out cry.
  • Tick increments are smaller as well. Example: Emini S&P = $12.50 Large S&P = $25.00
  • Margin requirements are substantially higher. 

2) What are the margin requirements for trading Emini Futures? 

  • S&P 500  $3,850.00
  • Dow        $2,750.00
  • Russell    $5,280.00
  • Nasdaq   $2,200.00

3) Are reduced "Day Trading" rates available?

  • Yes, most brokers offer reduced rate for trades placed between the opening bell (9:30AM Eastern) and the closing bell (4:15PM Eastern). Rates vary, but can be as low as $500 per contract traded. Trades which are not closed by the end of the session are subject to full margin requirements which may result in a margin call or liquidation of open trades. 

4) What hours are Emini Contracts traded?

  • Sunday Night - The week begins at 6:00PM Eastern.
  • Weekdays - Each new daily session opens at 6PM Eastern and trades until 4:15PM Eastern the following day. At 4:15PM Eastern the market closes for 15 minutes and then resumes the current session at 4:30PM Eastern. The daily session ends at 5:15PM Eastern and remains closed for 45 minutes. 

5) Is there sufficient liquidity to trade overnight on Globex?

  • The S&P500 Emini enjoys almost 24-hour liquidity for all but the largest of traders. Other Emini Contracts have limited liquidity outside of their corresponding open out-cry, pit sessions. Market conditions are subject to change. Volume figures are available via the CME, CBOT and ICE. 

6) Are their educational or special licensing requirements to trade Emini Futures?

  • If you are an individual trader who will be trading your own account there are licensing requirements. Brokers and CTA's (Commodity Trading Advisor) are subject to both educational and licensing requirements. 
  • As an individual trader it is recommended that you pursue some type of formal training program before you begin trading outside of a demo or simulation account.

7) Are Emini Traders subject to Pattern Day Trader Rules set forth by the SEC?

  • No. Pattern Day Traders are defined by Exchange Rule 431 as any customer who executes 4 or more round-trip day trades within 5 successive business days.  However, this rule does not apply to Emini Futures Trading.  (Source: Wikipedia)
  • Pattern Day Traders are required to maintain a minimum $25,000 account balance. Emini Futures Traders are allowed to open and maintain an account with as little as $2,000 on deposit. 

8) Is Short Selling allowed? Does the Up-tick rule apply?

  • Emini traders are allowed to sell short both to open and close positions. Unlike equities, there is no uptick rule, nor is there a negative stigma associated with short selling in Emini Futures. 

9) Is there sufficient volatility available to make Emini Trading  a full time job?

  • Daily ATR (average true range) for the S&P 500 Emini Futures averages 20 points per 24 hour session. Each point has a dollar value of $50 per contract traded. Full time income is based on a Traders ability to capture a portion of the ATR as well as trade multiple contracts. 

10) Are profits taxed as income or short term capital gains? 

  • Emini contracts are taxed differently than stocks, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds. 
  • Section 1256 of the U.S. tax code states that Futures contracts fall under the 60/40 rule. 60% of gains are treated as long-term capital gains while 40% are treated as short-term capital gains. 
  • Tax savings and reduced record keeping can be quite significant for active traders.
  • Always consult with a licensed tax professional.

 

 

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