Connect with us

S&P 500 Futures

S&P500 futures — another way to make money on indices

The S&P 500 index of the largest U.S. companies essentially reflects the situation in the world’s leading economy. No wonder that so much attention is paid to its growth or decline forecasts. In turn, SP500 futures are a settlement contract for the index quotations by a certain date. “Estimated” means that there are no transactions with a transfer of rights of ownership in its execution.

This instrument first appeared on the Chicago Stock Exchange in 1982. Its ticker is SP. To find out the current price one has to multiply the value of the S&P 500 index by $250. Initially the 500 ratio was used, but over time it was reduced. As a result: to make deals with this asset in 2020, you need to have on your account about $23 thousand just to guarantee one contract. Which makes it inaccessible to private investors.

But due to the growing capitalization of the U.S. market, this contract is already too expensive for the average trader. Below you can see an interactive chart of the instrument where you can see its dynamics over all years:

To keep a small-cap audience, the S&P 500 micro e-mini was created in 2019. It represents 1/10th of an e-mini contract. To find out its price, you have to multiply the value of the index by just $5. The ticker of the instrument is SPX. This is the chart we usually see on investor websites. 

Introduction to the S&P 500 futures 

The SP contract is the underlying market contract for trading the S&P 500 futures. Multiplying the value of the S&P 500 by $250 determines the price. For example, if the S&P 500 is at 2500, the market value of the futures contract is 2500 x $250 or $625,000.

E-mini futures were created to broaden the range of investors by reducing the contract. S&P 500 E-Mini futures are one-fifth the value of a large contract. If the S&P 500 level is 2500, then the market value of the futures contract is 2500 x $50 or $125,000.

The “E” in E-mini stands for “electronic.” Many traders prefer the S&P500 E-Mini ES over the SP not only for its smaller investment size, but also for its liquidity. The E-Mini ES is traded only electronically, which can be more efficient than traditional exchange trading for the SP. As with all futures, investors only need a part of the contract to open a position.

A full-size contract is no different than an E-mini. Both are tradable instruments that investors use to speculate and hedge. The only difference is that smaller players can participate with smaller cash commitments using the E-mini.

All futures strategies are possible with E-mini, including spread trading. And E-minis are now so popular that their trading volumes far exceed those of full-size futures contracts. This means that institutional investors also typically use E-mini because of its high liquidity and ability to trade a significant number of contracts. Alternatively, you can use the S&P 500 index for spot trading. 

How to trade SP futures live chart

On the Chicago Stock Exchange, e-mini S&P 500 futures are traded virtually around the clock. All S&P 500 futures are quarterly. Close occurs in March, June, September and December on the third Friday of the month. The minimum “tick” of the contract is 0.25 index points. This means that if you trade the e-mini S&P 500 and the price changes by one tick for the day, the variation margin will be $12.5. Description and mode of trading on the CME exchange:

SP futures live investing outlook

Support factors for the S&P 500 today could be:

  • The abundance of near free money in the U.S. market;
  • rising inflation expectations as evidence of reviving business activity;
  • growth of investors’ appetite for risk in the stock market.

At the same time, in the mid-term prospect corrections should not be excluded. Risk factors still exist:

  • the probability of a second lockdown due to COVID-19;
  • deterioration of relations between America and China;
  • military conflicts around the world;
  • the lag between the pace of recovery of companies’ profits and the speed of market growth;
  • the presidential elections in the United States.

Experts’ opinions about the market situation in the future differ. But the arguments of those who believe in further growth of S&P 500 look more convincing in my eyes. In any case, it is worth remembering that futures are one of the riskiest instruments. You can’t sit out a situation where the market has gone against your position. And the presence of built-in leverage increases not only profits, but also potential losses.

S&P 500 futures are a type of derivative contract that provides the buyer with an investment price based on the expected future value of the S&P 500 index. S&P 500 futures are followed by all investors and the financial media, using it as an indicator of market movements. 

Investors can use S&P futures to speculate on the future value of the index by buying or selling SP stock futures. Investors have two options when trading the S&P 500 Index. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) offers the S&P 500 futures contract, known as the “big contract,” with the SP symbol. There is also an E-mini contract with the symbol ES.

Benefits of SP futures live price 

One of the often proclaimed benefits of trading S&P futures analysis is that each contract represents an immediate, indirect investment in the performance of 500 stocks. Investors can open long or short positions depending on their expectations of future prices. Large institutions can use SPy futures to hedge positions in the index. 

With this approach, SP futures after hours are often used to offset downside risks. Many investors use SP futures live prices for speculation because the index follows market trends and is strongly influenced by broad systemic factors.

S&P 500 Options

In addition to the basic SP 500 futures contracts, CME also offers derivatives in the form of options contracts on the S&P 500. Like the S&P futures live index, S&P 500 options have a full product and a mini. The full product has an SPX ticker symbol with a $100 multiplier. The mini has an XSP ticker symbol with a multiplier that is one-tenth of SPX. S&P 500 option contracts are also paid in cash.

S&P 500 futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell an underlying asset, where participants agree on the price and settlement dates.

S&P 500 futures stock price: Basic concepts

Futures contracts differ from one another regarding the underlying asset, the time of circulation, the underlying security, and the closing date. There are also S&P 500 mini futures. The S&P 500 futures chart has specifications or parameters, which are set by the exchange and published on its website.

Futures are called futures contracts for a reason. This is because it is impossible to buy and forget about them, like in the case of stocks or currencies. Any contract has a start and an end date, and so do futures. There are several such contracts: during the year trading does not stop, the investor can switch to the next contract, following the executed one.

There may be several contracts for one and the same underlying asset; that is why contracts have a special code.

Clearing is a system of non-cash settlements; at this time there are mutual settlements between the buyer and the seller. It is even simpler: if the investor’s position is in the plus, he receives the profit, if he is in the deficit — he is written off. 

S&P 500 futures live: what you need to know.

Futures, unlike stocks, cannot be held indefinitely. First, stocks don’t have an expiration date. Second, when you buy stocks, you begin owning them and may hold or sell them at any time, with a profit or loss being recorded only when the position is closed.

S&P 500 futures stock price: How to earn?

Futures are assets with higher risk. We can say that the same risks are characteristic of stocks. But if they are not leveraged, one can wait out the drawdown and wait for the S&P 500 futures stock price to grow. The worst-case scenario is that the company goes bankrupt or has no prospects and is in a permanent downward trend. Also you can see euro fx futures stock price and gold futures.

Simply put, futures are not investments. A position in them needs to be checked. They are not assets in the form of stocks. That means you won’t get dividends, and you can’t participate in shareholder meetings.


This is one of the main advantages of the futures market. Let’s imagine a situation where you own shares and they begin to fall in value. The stock has been owned for more than 3 years — you can get a benefit for long-term ownership of the securities. To avoid losing it when the stock falls, you can use futures.


The futures market is very volatile in many assets, making contracts subject to large price fluctuations. If you follow a speculative (short-term) trading tactic, then futures will be more profitable than stocks because they require less investment.

E-mini S&P 500 futures historical prices: opportunities

Various exchange-traded assets serve as the underlying asset for futures. Among them, one can find those which an investor cannot use otherwise than through futures. 

With the help of futures, one can construct, and test trading systems, play out important events, hedge investments in the stock market, as well as reduce the influence of dividend gaps.

There are so many parameters to know, how do you figure it all out?

With experience, you’ll find that there are a few of them and it’s not hard to find. On the S&P website, you can open the S&P 500 futures you are interested in, and its page describes all the main important parameters. And don’t forget to keep an eye on e-mini S&P 500 futures historical prices

©2021-2023 Letizo All Rights Reserved