Participants in a futures contract are required to post performance bond margins in order to open and maintain a futures position.
Futures margin requirements are set by the exchanges and are typically only 2 to 10 percent of the full value of the futures contract.
Margins are financial guarantees required of both buyers and sellers of futures contracts to ensure that they fulfill their futures contract obligations.
Before a futures position can be opened, there must be enough available balance in the futures trader's margin account to meet the initial margin requirement. Upon opening the futures position, an amount equal to the initial margin requirement will be deducted from the trader's margin account and transferred to the exchange's clearing firm. This money is held by the exchange clearinghouse as long as the futures position remains open.
The maintenance margin is the minimum amount a futures trader is required to maintain in his margin account in order to hold a futures position. The maintenance margin level is usually slightly below the initial margin.
If the balance in the futures trader's margin account falls below the maintenance margin level, he or she will receive a margin call to top up his margin account so as to meet the initial margin requirement.
Let's assume we have a speculator who has $10000 in his trading account. He decides to buy August Crude Oil at $40 per barrel. Each Crude Oil futures contract represents 1000 barrels and requires an initial margin of $9000 and has a maintenance margin level set at $6500.
Since his account is $10000, which is more than the initial margin requirement, he can therefore open up one August Crude Oil futures position.
One day later, the price of August Crude Oil drops to $38 a barrel. Our speculator has suffered an open position loss of $2000 ($2 x 1000 barrels) and thus his account balance drops to $8000.
Although his balance is now lower than the initial margin requirement, he did not get the margin call as it is still above the maintenance level of $6500.
Unfortunately, on the very next day, the price of August Crude Oil crashed further to $35, leading to an additional $3000 loss on his open Crude Oil position. With only $5000 left in his trading account, which is below the maintenance level of $6500, he received a call from his broker asking him to top up his trading account back to the initial level of $9000 in order to maintain his open Crude Oil position.
This means that if the speculator wishes to stay in the position, he will need to deposit an additional $4000 into his trading account.
Otherwise, if he decides to quit the position, the remaining $5000 in his account will be available to use for trading once again.
Buying straddles is a great way to play earnings. Many a times, stock price gap up or down following the quarterly earnings report but often, the direction of the movement can be unpredictable. For instance, a sell off can occur even though the earnings report is good if investors had expected great results....[Read on...]
If you are very bullish on a particular stock for the long term and is looking to purchase the stock but feels that it is slightly overvalued at the moment, then you may want to consider writing put options on the stock as a means to acquire it at a discount....[Read on...]
Also known as digital options, binary options belong to a special class of exotic options in which the option trader speculate purely on the direction of the underlying within a relatively short period of time.....[Read on...]
If you are investing the Peter Lynch style, trying to predict the next multi-bagger, then you would want to find out more about LEAPSÂ® and why I consider them to be a great option for investing in the next MicrosoftÂ®.... [Read on...]
Cash dividends issued by stocks have big impact on their option prices. This is because the underlying stock price is expected to drop by the dividend amount on the ex-dividend date....[Read on...]
As an alternative to writing covered calls, one can enter a bull call spread for a similar profit potential but with significantly less capital requirement. In place of holding the underlying stock in the covered call strategy, the alternative....[Read on...]
Some stocks pay generous dividends every quarter. You qualify for the dividend if you are holding on the shares before the ex-dividend date....[Read on...]
To achieve higher returns in the stock market, besides doing more homework on the companies you wish to buy, it is often necessary to take on higher risk. A most common way to do that is to buy stocks on margin....[Read on...]
Day trading options can be a successful, profitable strategy but there are a couple of things you need to know before you use start using options for day trading.... [Read on...]
Learn about the put call ratio, the way it is derived and how it can be used as a contrarian indicator.... [Read on...]
Put-call parity is an important principle in options pricing first identified by Hans Stoll in his paper, The Relation Between Put and Call Prices, in 1969. It states that the premium of a call option implies a certain fair price for the corresponding put option having the same strike price and expiration date, and vice versa.... [Read on...]
In options trading, you may notice the use of certain greek alphabets like delta or gamma when describing risks associated with various positions. They are known as "the greeks".... [Read on...]
Since the value of stock options depends on the price of the underlying stock, it is useful to calculate the fair value of the stock by using a technique known as discounted cash flow.... [Read on...]
Risk Warning: Stocks, futures and binary options trading discussed on this website can be considered High-Risk Trading Operations and their execution can be very risky and may result in significant losses or even in a total loss of all funds on your account. You should not risk more than you afford to lose. Before deciding to trade, you need to ensure that you understand the risks involved taking into account your investment objectives and level of experience. Information on this website is provided strictly for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as a trading recommendation service. triangleflightofhonor.com shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
General Risk Warning:
The financial products offered by the company carry a high level of risk and can result in the loss of all your funds. You should never invest money that you cannot afford to lose.