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How do I set a strike price for a future?

Modified on: 2018/07/11
A:

Strike prices can be set for put and call options, but investors engaged in futures contracts are obligated to trade the underlying asset at the expiration date, regardless of price. Most stock futures do not make it to the expiration date – for a variety of reasons – but there is very little flexibility on futures price execution once they are agreed upon. In short, you cannot set the strike price for a future.

There can be options on futures contracts. A strike price may be placed on the future's option, not on the future itself. The option on a futures contract transfers the right to buy or sell the underlying futures contract at a given price.

Prices and Futures

Futures contracts are part hedge against risk and part gamble. In a standard futures contract, the buyer and seller agree to trade a specified amount of an asset either at an agreed upon price or, more commonly, before a given date in the future.

Futures shift the risk of future uncertainty across different parties. There are lots of ways to price this uncertainty, including the price change limit and margin amounts. There is not a strike price as with an option.

Price Change Limits

The closest futures contract function to a classic strike price is probably the price change limit. This limit determines the range between which contracts can trade daily.

For example, the price change limit on a commodity future might be $1. If the commodity's price had previously closed at $10, then the new upper price boundary would be $11 and the lower price boundary would be $9. These can be considered the strike price range where allowable contracts can be entered into at the exchange.


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