Ease Off: A minor and/or slow decline in the price of a market.
ECN: Electronic Communications Network, frequently used for creating electronic stock or futures markets.
Economically Deliverable Supply: That portion of the deliverable supply of a commodity that is in position for delivery against a futures contract, and is not otherwise unavailable for delivery. For example, Treasury bonds held by long-term investment funds are not considered part of the economically deliverable supply of a Treasury bond futures contract.
Efficient Market: In economic theory, an efficient market is one in which market prices adjust rapidly to reflect new information. The degree to which the market is efficient depends on the quality of information reflected in market prices. In an efficient market, profitable arbitrage opportunities do not exist and traders cannot expect to consistently outperform the market unless they have lower-cost access to information that is reflected in market prices or unless they have access to information before it is reflected in market prices. See Random Walk.
EFP: See Exchange for Physical.
Electronic Trading Facility: A trading facility that operates by an electronic or telecommunications network instead of a trading floor and maintains an automated audit trail of transactions.
Eligible Commercial Entity: An eligible contract participant or other entity approved by the CFTC that has a demonstrable ability to make or take delivery of an underlying commodity of a contract; incurs risks related to the commodity; or is a dealer that regularly provides risk management, hedging services, or market-making activities to entities trading commodities or derivative agreements, contracts, or transactions in commodities.
Eligible Contract Participant: An entity, such as a financial institution, insurance company, or commodity pool, that is classified by the Commodity Exchange Act as an eligible contract participant based upon its regulated status or amount of assets. This classification permits these persons to engage in transactions (such as trading on a derivatives transaction execution facility) not generally available to non-eligible contract participants, i.e., retail customers.
Elliot Wave: (1) A theory named after Ralph Elliot, who contended that the stock market tends to move in discernible and predictable patterns reflecting the basic harmony of nature and extended by other technical analysts to futures markets; (2) in technical analysis, a charting method based on the belief that all prices act as waves, rising and falling rhythmically.
E-Local: A person with trading privileges at an exchange with an electronic trading facility who trades electronically (rather than in a pit or ring) for his or her own account, often at a trading arcade.
E-Mini: A mini contract that is traded exclusively on an electronic trading facility. E-Mini is a trademark of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Emergency: Any market occurrence or circumstance which requires immediate action and threatens or may threaten such things as the fair and orderly trading in, or the liquidation of, or delivery pursuant to, any contracts on a contract market.
Enumerated Agricultural Commodities: The commodities specifically listed in Section 1a(3) of the Commodity Exchange Act: wheat, cotton, rice, corn, oats, barley, rye, flaxseed, grain sorghums, mill feeds, butter, eggs, Solanum tuberosum (Irish potatoes), wool, wool tops, fats and oils (including lard, tallow, cottonseed oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, and all other fats and oils), cottonseed meal, cottonseed, peanuts, soybeans, soybean meal, livestock, livestock products, and frozen concentrated orange juice.
Equity: As used on a trading account statement, refers to the residual dollar value of a futures or option trading account, assuming it was liquidated at current prices.
Euro: The official currency of most members of the European Union.
Eurocurrency: Certificates of Deposit (CDs), bonds, deposits, or any capital market instrument issued outside of the national boundaries of the currency in which the instrument is denominated (for example, Eurodollars, Euro-Swiss francs, or Euroyen).
Eurodollars: U.S. dollar deposits placed with banks outside the U.S. Holders may include individuals, companies, banks, and central banks.
European Option: An option that may be exercised only on the expiration date. See American Option.
Even Lot: A unit of trading in a commodity established by an exchange to which official price quotations apply. See Round Lot.
Exchange: A central marketplace with established rules and regulations where buyers and sellers meet to trade futures and options contracts or securities. Exchanges include designated contract markets and derivatives transaction execution facilities.
Exchange for Physicals (EFP): A transaction in which the buyer of a cash commodity transfers to the seller a corresponding amount of long futures contracts, or receives from the seller a corresponding amount of short futures, at a price difference mutually agreed upon. In this way, the opposite hedges in futures of both parties are closed out simultaneously. Also called Exchange of Futures for Cash, AA (against actuals), or Ex-Pit transactions.
Exchange of Futures for Cash: See Exchange for Physicals.
Exchange of Futures for Swaps (EFS): A privately negotiated transaction in which a position in a physical delivery futures contract is exchanged for a cash-settled swap position in the same or a related commodity, pursuant to the rules of a futures exchange. See Exchange for Physicals.
Exchange Rate: The price of one currency stated in terms of another currency.
Exchange Risk Factor: The delta of an option as computed daily by the exchange on which it is traded.
Excluded Commodity: In general, the Commodity Exchange Act defines an excluded commodity as: any financial instrument such as a security, currency, interest rate, debt instrument, or credit rating; any economic or commercial index other than a narrow-based commodity index; or any other value that is out of the control of participants and is associated with an economic consequence. See the Commodity Exchange Act definition of excluded commodity.
Exempt Board of Trade: A trading facility that trades commodities (other than securities or securities indexes) having a nearly inexhaustible deliverable supply and either no cash market or a cash market so liquid that any contract traded on the commodity is highly unlikely to be susceptible to manipulation. An exempt board of trade’s contracts must be entered into by parties that are eligible contract participants.
Exempt Commercial Market: An electronic trading facility that trades exempt commodities on a principal-to-principal basis solely between persons that are eligible commercial entities.
Exempt Commodity: The Commodity Exchange Act defines an exempt commodity as any commodity other than an excluded commodity or an agricultural commodity. Examples include energy commodities and metals.
Exempt Foreign Firm: A foreign firm that does business with U.S. customers only on foreign exchanges and is exempt from registration under CFTC regulations based upon compliance with its home country’s regulatory framework (also known as a “Rule 30.10 firm”).
Exercise Price (Strike Price): The price, specified in the option contract, at which the underlying futures contract, security, or commodity will move from seller to buyer.
Exotic Options: Any of a wide variety of options with non-standard payout structures or other features, including Asian options and lookback options. Exotic options are mostly traded in the over-the-counter market.
Expiration Date: The date on which an option contract automatically expires; the last day an option may be exercised.
Extrinsic Value: See Time Value.
Ex-Pit: See Transfer Trades and Exchange for Physicals.
FAB (Five Against Bond) Spread: A futures spread trade involving the buying (selling) of a five-year Treasury note futures contract and the selling (buying) of a long-term (15-30 year) Treasury bond futures contract.
Fannie Mae: A corporation (government-sponsored enterprise) created by Congress to support the secondary mortgage market (formerly the Federal National Mortgage Association). It purchases and sells residential mortgages insured by the Federal Home Administration (FHA) or guaranteed by the Veteran's Administration (VA). See Freddie Mac.
FAN (Five Against Note) Spread: A futures spread trade involving the buying (selling) of a five-year Treasury note futures contract and the selling (buying) of a ten-year Treasury note futures contract.
Fast Market: Transactions in the pit or ring take place in such volume and with such rapidity that price reporters behind with price quotations insert "FAST" and show a range of prices. Also called a fast tape.
Feed Ratio: The relationship of the cost of feed, expressed as a ratio to the sale price of animals, such as the corn-hog ratio. These serve as indicators of the profit margin or lack of profit in feeding animals to market weight.
FIA: See Futures Industry Association.
Fibonacci Numbers: A number sequence discovered by a thirteenth century Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci (circa 1170-1250), who introduced Arabic numbers to Europe, in which the sum of any two consecutive numbers equals the next highest number—i.e., following this sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, and so on. The ratio of any number to its next highest number approaches 0.618 after the first four numbers. These numbers are used by technical analysts to determine price objectives from percentage retracements.
Fictitious Trading: Wash trading, bucketing, cross trading, or other schemes which give the appearance of trading but actually no bona fide, competitive trade has occurred.
Fill: The execution of an order.
Fill or Kill Order (FOK): An order that demands immediate execution or cancellation. Typically involving a designation, added to an order, instructing the broker to offer or bid (as the case may be) one time only; if the order is not filled immediately, it is then automatically cancelled.
Final Settlement Price: The price at which a cash-settled futures contract is settled at maturity, pursuant to a procedure specified by the exchange.
Financial Instruments: As used by the CFTC, this term generally refers to any futures or option contract that is not based on an agricultural commodity or a natural resource. It includes currencies, equity securities, fixed income securities, and indexes of various kinds.
Financial Settlement: Cash settlement, especially for energy derivatives.
First Notice Day: The first day on which notices of intent to deliver actual commodities against futures market positions can be received. First notice day may vary with each commodity and exchange.
Fix, Fixing: See Gold Fixing.
Fixed Income Security: A security whose nominal (or current dollar) yield is fixed or determined with certainty at the time of purchase, typically a debt security.
Floor Broker: A person with exchange trading privileges who, in any pit, ring, post, or other place provided by an exchange for the meeting of persons similarly engaged, executes for another person any orders for the purchase or sale of any commodity for future delivery.
Floor Trader: A person with exchange trading privileges who executes his own trades by being personally present in the pit or ring for futures trading. See Local.
F.O.B. (Free On Board): Indicates that all delivery, inspection and elevation, or loading costs involved in putting commodities on board a carrier have been paid.
Forced Liquidation: The situation in which a customer's account is liquidated (open positions are offset) by the brokerage firm holding the account, usually after notification that the account is under-margined due to adverse price movements and failure to meet margin calls.
Force Majeure: A clause in a supply contract that permits either party not to fulfill the contractual commitments due to events beyond their control. These events may range from strikes to export delays in producing countries.
Foreign Exchange: Trading in foreign currency.
Forex: Refers to the over-the-counter market for foreign exchange transactions. Also called the foreign exchange market.
Forwardation: See Contango.
Forward Contract: A cash transaction common in many industries, including commodity merchandising, in which a commercial buyer and seller agree upon delivery of a specified quality and quantity of goods at a specified future date. Terms may be more “personalized” than is the case with standardized futures contracts (i.e., delivery time and amount are as determined between seller and buyer). A price may be agreed upon in advance, or there may be agreement that the price will be determined at the time of delivery.
Forward Market: The over-the-counter market for forward contracts.
Forward Months: Futures contracts, currently trading, calling for later or distant delivery. See Deferred Futures, Back Months.
Freddie Mac: A corporation (government-sponsored enterprise) created by Congress to support the secondary mortgage market (formerly the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation). It purchases and sells residential mortgages insured by the Federal Home Administration (FHA) or guaranteed by the Veterans Administration (VA). See Fannie Mae.
Front Month: The spot or nearby delivery month, the nearest traded contract month. See Back Month.
Front Running: With respect to commodity futures and options, taking a futures or option position based upon non-public information regarding an impending transaction by another person in the same or related future or option. Also known as trading ahead.
Front Spread: A delta-neutral ratio spread in which more options are sold than bought. Also called ratio vertical spread. A front spread will increase in value if volatility decreases.
Full Carrying Charge, Full Carry: See Carrying Charges.
Fund of Funds: A commodity pool that invests in other commodity pools rather than directly in futures and options contracts.
Fundamental Analysis: Study of basic, underlying factors that will affect the supply and demand of the commodity being traded in futures contracts. See Technical Analysis.
Fungibility: The characteristic of interchangeability. Futures contracts for the same commodity and delivery month traded on the same exchange are fungible due to their standardized specifications for quality, quantity, delivery date, and delivery locations.
Futures: See Futures Contract.
Futures Commission Merchant (FCM): Individuals, associations, partnerships, corporations, and trusts that solicit or accept orders for the purchase or sale of any commodity for future delivery on or subject to the rules of any exchange and that accept payment from or extend credit to those whose orders are accepted.
Futures Contract: An agreement to purchase or sell a commodity for delivery in the future: (1) at a price that is determined at initiation of the contract; (2) that obligates each party to the contract to fulfill the contract at the specified price; (3) that is used to assume or shift price risk; and (4) that may be satisfied by delivery or offset.
Futures-equivalent: A term frequently used with reference to speculative position limits for options on futures contracts. The futures-equivalent of an option position is the number of options multiplied by the previous day's risk factor or delta for the option series. For example, ten deep out-of-money options with a delta of 0.20 would be considered two futures-equivalent contracts. The delta or risk factor used for this purpose is the same as that used in delta-based margining and risk analysis systems.
Futures Industry Association (FIA): A membership organization for futures commission merchants (FCMs) which, among other activities, offers education courses on the futures markets, disburses information, and lobbies on behalf of its members.
Futures Option: An option on a futures contract.
Futures Price: (1) Commonly held to mean the price of a commodity for future delivery that is traded on a futures exchange; (2) the price of any futures contract.
Gamma: A measurement of how fast the delta of an option changes, given a unit change in the underlying futures price; the “delta of the delta.”
Ginzy Trading: A non-competitive trade practice in which a floor broker, in executing an order—particularly a large order—will fill a portion of the order at one price and the remainder of the order at another price to avoid an exchange's rule against trading at fractional increments or "split ticks."
Give Up: A contract executed by one broker for the client of another broker that the client orders to be turned over to the second broker. The broker accepting the order from the customer collects a fee from the carrying broker for the use of the facilities. Often used to consolidate many small orders or to disperse large ones.
Gold Certificate: A certificate attesting to a person's ownership of a specific amount of gold bullion.
Gold Fixing (Gold Fix): The setting of the gold price at 10:30 a.m. (first fixing) and 3:00 p.m. (second fixing) in London by representatives of the London gold market.
Gold/Silver Ratio: The number of ounces of silver required to buy one ounce of gold at current spot prices.
Good This Week Order (GTW): Order which is valid only for the week in which it is placed.
Good 'Till Canceled Order (GTC): An order which is valid until cancelled by the customer. Unless specified GTC, unfilled orders expire at the end of the trading day. See Open Order.
GPM: See Gross Processing Margin.
Grades: Various qualities of a commodity.
Grading Certificates: A formal document setting forth the quality of a commodity as determined by authorized inspectors or graders.
Grain Futures Act: Federal statute that provided for the regulation of trading in grain futures, effective June 22, 1923; administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture; amended in 1936 by the Commodity Exchange Act.
Grantor: The maker, writer, or issuer of an option contract who, in return for the premium paid for the option, stands ready to purchase the underlying commodity (or futures contract) in the case of a put option or to sell the underlying commodity (or futures contract) in the case of a call option.
Gross Processing Margin (GPM): Refers to the difference between the cost of a commodity and the combined sales income of the finished products that result from processing the commodity. Various industries have formulas to express the relationship of raw material costs to sales income from finished products. See Crack Spread, Crush Spread, and Spark Spread.
GTC: See Good 'Till Canceled Order.
GTW: See Good This Week Order.
Guaranteed Introducing Broker: An introducing broker that has entered into a guarantee agreement with a futures commission merchant (FCM), whereby the FCM agrees to be jointly and severally liable for all of the introducing broker’s obligations under the Commodity Exchange Act. By entering into the agreement, the introducing broker is relieved from the necessity of raising its own capital to satisfy minimum financial requirements. In contrast, an independent introducing broker must raise its own capital to meet minimum financial requirements.