A Future Contract is a contract between two parties where both agrees to buy or sell the underlying asset at a predetermined price and the specified date in future. It’s also known as a derivative because future contracts derive their value from an underlying asset. The underlying asset in the future contract could be commodities ,stocks, currencies, interest rates and bond. The future contract is a standardized agreements which held at a recognized stock exchange. A futures contract provides both a right and an obligation to buy or sell a standard amount of a commodity, security or currency on a specified future date at a price agreed when the contract is entered into.
There are two types of people who trade whether buy or sell, future contracts: Hedgers and Speculators. In simple words Hedging means reduction of risk. An investor who is looking at reducing his risk is known as a Hedger. A Hedger would typically look at reducing his asset exposure to price volatility and in a derivative market, would usually take up a position that is opposite to the risk he is otherwise exposed to. Speculators are those class of investors who willingly take price risks to profit from price changes in the underlying.
Futures contracts are considered an alternative investment, as they typically do not have any positive correlation with stock market prices. Commodity futures trading offers investors access to another asset class of investments. Futures trading offers advantages such as low trading costs, but carries greater risk associated with higher market volatility. Futures contracts are useful for risk-tolerant investors. Investors get to participate in markets they would otherwise not have access to. Margin requirements for most of the commodities and currencies are well-established in the futures market. Thus, a trader knows how much margin he should put up in a contract.