Understanding E-mini S&P 500 Futures

CME E-mini S&P 500 futures contract, ticker symbol ES, is one of the most liquid futures contracts in the world and one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to gain market exposure to the S&P 500 index.

The S&P 500 is a broad-based, market capitalization weighted index that tracks 500 of the largest companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy and serves as a key indicator of the health of the U.S. stock market. E-mini S&P 500 futures allows you to take positions on the performance of the S&P 500 Index electronically at a reasonable price. 

Contract Specs

The futures contract trades Sunday through Friday, from 5 p.m. to 4 p.m. Central Time (CT).

ES futures expire on a quarterly basis, settling in cash to the spot value of the S&P 500 Index on the 3rd Fridays of March, June, September, and December.  In addition to the quarterly expirations, the E-Mini S&P Futures offer weekly options for Wednesday and Friday expirations. Currently, ES futures require approximately 5% as initial margin, resulting in over 20x leverage on their position.

Trading E-mini S&P 500 Futures

E-mini S&P 500 futures allow you to hedge your macro exposure or capitalize on anticipated movement in the S&P 500 Index, especially around major market-moving events. Some data releases with special importance to the ES market include the U.S. Jobs Report, quarterly earnings reports, and any releases or statements made by the FOMC.

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