Why Trade Futures and Options

Serving the needs of a global investment community

CME Group is where the world comes to manage risk ‒ using our global benchmark futures, options on futures, and cleared OTC solutions to mitigate risk, seize opportunities, and grow profitability.

Built on more than 165 years of market experience and expertise across our exchanges – CME, CBOT, NYMEX, and COMEX – CME Group has transformed from a floor-based agricultural business into the leading diversified electronic derivatives marketplace.

Our markets are traded by a diverse set of customers: individual investors, banks, commercials, hedge funds, asset managers, and proprietary trading firms.

CME Group leverages operational capabilities, premier clearing services, regional reporting solutions, technology, and infrastructure to better serve the unique needs of organizations and individuals accessing our products.

Benefits of trading futures

Around-the-clock access

Our markets are open nearly 23 hours a day, six days a week.

Deep liquidity

Tighter pricing and lower costs, which means more efficiency.

Ease of going short

Take short positions as easily as long positions.

Multi-asset class offering

Discover opportunities using our global benchmark offerings.

Transparent markets

See the same prices, quotes, and trades as everyone else – a fair and open market you can trust.

Maximize capital efficiency

Control a large contract value with a relatively small amount of margin.

How futures compare with other financial products

Futures offer many advantages over other popular ways of trading. Compare them side-by-side to see if futures are right for you.

Compare Futures vs. ETFs

Key Characteristic



Annual Management Fees



Potential Cost Efficiencies*

Yes - Can have significantly lower fees

Depends - Time horizon, direction & holding costs will impact

Nearly 24-Hour Access,
6 days a Week



Deep Liquidity


Yes - But core futures can trade many times more notionally per day

Pure Price Exposure
to Underlying

Yes - Designed to tightly track underlying

No - Funding levels, fees, other factors can affect price

 Can Go to Delivery

Yes - But only a small percentage take delivery


Offers Portfolio Diversification



Tax Efficiencies**

Yes - Blended 60% long term, 40% short-term U.S. capital gains treatment

No - Could trigger relatively expensive short-term capital gains tax

* Depends on your time horizon, direction and holding costs

**Depends on holding period and time horizon. The information provided should not be considered tax advice. Consult your tax advisor before making any investment

Compare Futures vs. Over-the-Counter (OTC)

Key Characteristic FUTURES Over the counter (OTC)
Regulated, Central Limit Order Book (CLOB) Yes No
Standardized Derivatives Contracts Yes – Volume, Price and Delivery Date are known at the time of trading No - Privately negotiated so trading terms can be variable
Transparency of prices Futures prices are shown throughout the trading day to all participants Less visible pricing is available on a trading screen with liquidity and pricing available via the brokers
Counterparty Credit Risk Mitigation Risk is largely mitigated when trading futures Some counterparty credit risk issues remain for OTC trading.

Compare Futures vs. Physical Commodities

Regulated, Centralized Market Yes - CFTC regulated; centralized trades No – Typically cash brokers are unregulated entities.
Nearly 24-Hour Trading, 6 Days a Week Yes Cash market trading tends to occur in much shorter periods of the day
Transparent Market Yes - See same prices, quotes, trades Cash market prices are made available via the cash brokers, but this is not usually broadcast widely to the market
Subject to Storage Costs Yes – rent is paid through the Exchange’s Clearing system Yes – rent is handled between the customer and facility
Capital Efficiency Trading futures are typically considered cost efficient from a margining perspective as the margin generally represents a smaller percentage of the notional value of the contract. Cash trades can be conducted in a variety of different ways from fixed price, to index linked and this will also include long term contract business that is generally agreed on a fixed price basis. Trades may be initiated using credit lines, with full value of material paid upon completion of the transaction.
Favorable U.S. Tax Treatment* Yes - Blended 60% long term /40% short term capital gains treatment No - Ordinary income tax if held less than or equal to 1 year

*The information provided should not be considered tax advice. Consult your tax advisor before making any investment.

Futures vs. CFDs (For clients outside the United States)

Key Characteristic FUTURES CFDs
Regulated, Centralized Market Yes Broker dependent
Standardized contracts Yes Variable
Counterparty risk No Yes
Deep liquidity Yes Yes
Potential cost efficiencies* Yes Broker dependent
Regulated Yes Country dependent
Price Transparency Yes Country dependent
Nearly 24-hour access,
six days a week
Yes Yes
Cost Efficient Yes Broker dependent

*Market participants should check their local regulations regarding CFDs.

Interest rates

Futures, options on futures, and cleared OTC. The world’s leading interest rate derivatives on US Treasuries, Eurodollars, alternative reference rates including SOFR & SONIA, plus cleared OTC.

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Equity indices

Futures and options on futures. Key equity index benchmarks including Micro and E-mini S&P 500, Micro and E-mini Russell 2000, Micro and E-mini NASDAQ-100, Nikkei 225, TOPIX, cryptocurrencies (i.e. Bitcoin), and more.

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Futures and options on futures. Home of WTI ‒ the world’s most liquid crude oil benchmark ‒ as well as Brent, North American Crude Blends, DME Oman, RBOB Gasoline, Henry Hub Natural Gas, European Gas, and more.

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Futures and options on futures. The world’s leading grain, oilseed, and livestock benchmarks, including Chicago SRW & HRW Wheat, Black Sea Wheat and Corn, Soybeans, Corn, Live Cattle, Lean Hogs, and more.

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Futures, options on futures, and cleared OTC. All the major currencies you want to trade, including EUR, JPY, GBP, CAD, AUD, CHF, and more ‒ in listed contracts plus cleared OTC.

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Futures and options on futures. Home of the global metals marketplace, including Gold, Silver, Platinum, Copper, Aluminum, Steel, Micro Gold, Micro Silver and more.

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Options on futures

The suite of options on futures available at CME Group exchanges offer the liquidity, flexibility, and market depth that you need to achieve your trading objectives.

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How We Ensure Safety & Security

Every trade in our markets is CFTC-regulated, scrutinized, and backed by CME Clearing to ensure market integrity. Every trade also must pass multiple safeguards before, during, and after the trade takes place ‒ further reducing risk. Market Regulation works to protect market integrity, to enforce rules that protect all market participants, and to act proactively to mitigate risks to prevent damage to the marketplace.

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