# What do single quotation marks in the price of futures mean?

What are those single quotation marks in the price, and how to read them?

• They look like thousand separators (raised to further distinguish them from decimal points?), but the resulting price seems far too high. Commented May 24, 2021 at 15:42
• I don't see any double quotes in the screenshot.
– Flux
Commented May 24, 2021 at 15:50
• @Flux in the screenshot there isn't but I saw them somewhere
– huab
Commented May 24, 2021 at 17:15

Cash bonds and futures based on U.S. Treasury securities do not trade in decimal format but in full percentage points, plus fractions of a 1/32 of par value.

(Source: Calculating U.S. Treasury Pricing)

The part after the apostrophe (single quote) is the fractional part of the price.

Let's take the bid price of 10-Year U.S. Treasury Notes Futures (ZN) as an example: 132'205. In decimal: 132 + (20.5 / 32) = 132.640625.

An example used to be provided on ZN's contract specifications page (archived webpage from June 2018):

For example, 126-16 represents 126 16/32 and 126-165 represents 126 16.5/32.

According to ZN's contract specifications, the minimum price fluctuation of ZN is 1/2 of 1/32 of one point. The smallest increment would result in a decimal price of 132 + ((20.5 + 0.5) / 32) = 132.65625, and the smallest decrement would result in a decimal price of 132 + ((20.5 - 0.5) / 32) = 132.625.

• So it's always 3 digits (i.e., really some number of three-hundred-twentieths of par)? Or could more digits be a finer-grained fraction of a thirty-second. (Like, would "132'2065" be 132 + 20.56/32?) Commented May 24, 2021 at 16:38
• @chepner I'm not sure. ZF's minimum price fluctuation is 1/4 of 1/32 of one point, but its quote uses three digits (124'087) instead of four (124'0875). ZT's minimum price fluctuation is 1/8 of 1/32 of one point, but its quote uses three digits (110'131) instead of five (110'13125). I guess three digits for the fractional part is sufficiently unambiguous.
– Flux
Commented May 24, 2021 at 17:19
• Thanks. I found it notationally interesting; don't really care too much about how it works in practice, so didn't think it was worth a separate question on its own :) Commented May 24, 2021 at 17:21
• @huab Please post a separate question and include a screenshot that shows the double apostrophe. I'm also interested. :-)
– Flux
Commented May 24, 2021 at 17:28
• @Rycochet "Several of those have 2 digits, and the bottom entry has 4 digits in the Open column" — chepner is not talking about the decimal values in the screenshot. chepner is only referring to the prices of TN, ZN, ZF, and ZT (all of which have 3 digits in the fractional part).
– Flux
Commented May 25, 2021 at 11:07