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These are standardized contracts that allow you to bet on the future price of assets - commodities, stocks etc You can even buy a right to purchase a stock on a certain date or the reverse, force someone else to buy it (call and put). The assets aren't being traded directly - rather the contracts are.

Since they are standardized they must have names and types - wanted to know what those names/types were?

As an example: typically, in the shipping industry you see 'Freight on Board' and 'Delivery Duty Paid' being used - these are called Incoterms and they are also standardized contracts to enable importer, exporter and banks to do business. Similarly, I want to know the names being used for the Options and Futures markets.

Here's another example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-stock_futures

In finance, a single-stock future (SSF) is a type of futures contract between two parties to exchange a specified number of stocks in a company for a price agreed today (the futures price or the strike price) with delivery occurring at a specified future date, the delivery date. The contracts are traded on a futures exchange.

What are the contracts? Do they have any distinguishing nomenclature?

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    Have you considered going to a market website and doing some basic research yourself? They all are listed on whatever exchange they trade, you know. – TomTom Nov 4 '18 at 14:12
  • Do you mean like "GC3" and so on ??? – Fattie Nov 4 '18 at 19:56
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For a list of US exchanges, google "List of futures exchanges"

For a list of contract symbols, google "Futures contracts symbols"

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I don't know why this question was voted down because it is a valid question. If you mean "Is there a set of standardized textual names that can be used to refer to specific contracts?", then the answer is no. Even if some futures contracts have an ISIN (ISIN is the best universal standard for securities identifiers) not all do. Unfortunately there isn't a universal standardized identification scheme. Some exchanges (that offer futures contracts) do offer an internal symbology that is unique and consistent across their offered contracts, but these are not guaranteed to be unique across exchanges. The best universal symbology that I know of is the bloomberg initiative https://www.openfigi.com/

There is however fairly good consistency across the industry for common terms like 'futures contract', 'expiry', 'delivery' etc. Investopedia usually does a good job of explaining these.

Ultimately, you should understand that these standardized contracts are only standardized within one set of contract terms offered by an exchange (for example oil futures on the ICE exchange). Another (different) exchange may offer similar terms, but they are not guaranteed to be identical. They are ultimately whatever the specific exchange says they are, and therefore could be subtley different. Buyer beware!

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