Futures and Options Glossary M - O


Macro Fund: A hedge fund that specializes in strategies designed to profit from expected macroeconomic events.

Maintenance Margin: See Margin.

Managed Account: See Controlled Account and Discretionary Account.

Manipulation: Any planned operation, transaction, or practice that causes or maintains an artificial price. Specific types include corners and squeezes as well as unusually large purchases or sales of a commodity or security in a short period of time in order to distort prices, and putting out false information in order to distort prices.

Many-to-Many: Refers to a trading platform in which multiple participants have the ability to execute or trade commodities, derivatives, or other instruments by accepting bids and offers made by multiple other participants. In contrast to one-to-many platforms, many-to-many platforms are considered trading facilities under the Commodity Exchange Act. Traditional exchanges are many-to-many platforms.

Margin: The amount of money or collateral deposited by a customer with his broker, by a broker with a clearing member, or by a clearing member with a clearing organization. The margin is not partial payment on a purchase. Also called Performance Bond. (1) Initial margin is the amount of margin required by the broker when a futures position is opened; (2) Maintenance margin is an amount that must be maintained on deposit at all times. If the equity in a customer's account drops to or below the level of maintenance margin because of adverse price movement, the broker must issue a margin call to restore the customer's equity to the initial level. See Variation Margin. Exchanges specify levels of initial margin and maintenance margin for each futures contract, but futures commission merchants may require their customers to post margin at higher levels than those specified by the exchange. Futures margin is determined by the SPAN margining system, which takes into account all positions in a customer’s portfolio.

Margin Call: (1) A request from a brokerage firm to a customer to bring margin deposits up to initial levels; (2) a request by the clearing organization to a clearing member to make a deposit of original margin, or a daily or intra-day variation margin payment because of adverse price movement, based on positions carried by the clearing member.

Market-if-Touched (MIT) Order: An order that becomes a market order when a particular price is reached. A sell MIT is placed above the market; a buy MIT is placed below the market. Also referred to as a board order. Compare to Stop Order.

Market Maker: A professional securities dealer or person with trading privileges on an exchange who has an obligation to buy when there is an excess of sell orders and to sell when there is an excess of buy orders. By maintaining an offering price sufficiently higher than their buying price, these firms are compensated for the risk involved in allowing their inventory of securities to act as a buffer against temporary order imbalances. In the futures industry, this term is sometimes loosely used to refer to a floor trader or local who, in speculating for his own account, provides a market for commercial users of the market. Occasionally a futures exchange will compensate a person with exchange trading privileges to take on the obligations of a market maker to enhance liquidity in a newly listed or lightly traded futures contract. See Specialist System.

Market-on-Close: An order to buy or sell at the end of the trading session at a price within the closing range of prices. See Stop-Close-Only Order.

Market-on-Opening: An order to buy or sell at the beginning of the trading session at a price within the opening range of prices.

Market Order: An order to buy or sell a futures contract at whatever price is obtainable at the time it is entered in the ring, pit, or other trading platform. See At-the-Market Limit Order.

Mark-to-Market: Part of the daily cash flow system used by U.S. futures exchanges to maintain a minimum level of margin equity for a given futures or option contract position by calculating the gain or loss in each contract position resulting from changes in the price of the futures or option contracts at the end of each trading session. These amounts are added or subtracted to each account balance.

Maturity: Period within which a futures contract can be settled by delivery of the actual commodity.

Maximum Price Fluctuation: See Limit (Up or Down) and Daily Price Limit.

Member Rate: Commission charged for the execution of an order for a person who is a member of or has trading privileges at the exchange.

Mini: Refers to a futures contract that has a smaller contract size than an otherwise identical futures contract.

Minimum Price Contract: A hybrid commercial forward contract for agricultural products that includes a provision guaranteeing the person making delivery a minimum price for the product. For agricultural commodities, these contracts became much more common with the introduction of exchange-traded options on futures contracts, which permit buyers to hedge the price risks associated with such contracts.

Minimum Price Fluctuation (Minimum Tick): Smallest increment of price movement possible in trading a given contract.

Minimum Tick: See Minimum Price Fluctuation.

MOB Spread: A spread between the municipal bond futures contract and the Treasury bond contract, also known as munis over bonds.

Momentum: In technical analysis, the relative change in price over a specific time interval. Often equated with speed or velocity and considered in terms of relative strength.

Money Market: The market for short-term debt instruments.

Multilateral Clearing Organization: See Clearing Organization.


Naked Option: The sale of a call or put option without holding an equal and opposite position in the underlying instrument. Also referred to as an uncovered option, naked call, or naked put.

Narrow-Based Security Index: In general, the Commodity Exchange Act defines a narrow-based security index as an index of securities that meets one of the following four requirements (1) it has nine or fewer components; (2) one component comprises more than 30 percent of the index weighting; (3) the five highest weighted components comprise more than 60 percent of the index weighting, or (4) the lowest weighted components comprising in the aggregate 25 percent of the index’s weighting have an aggregate dollar value of average daily volume over a six-month period of less than $50 million ($30 million if there are at least 15 component securities). However, the legal definition in Section 1a(25) of the Commodity Exchange Act, 7 USC 1a(25), contains several exceptions to this provision. See Broad-Based Security Index, Security Future.

National Futures Association (NFA): A self-regulatory organization whose members include futures commission merchants, commodity pool operators, commodity trading advisors, introducing brokers, commodity exchanges, commercial firms, and banks, that is responsible—under CFTC oversight—for certain aspects of the regulation of FCMs, CPOs, CTAs, IBs, and their associated persons, focusing primarily on the qualifications and proficiency, financial condition, retail sales practices, and business conduct of these futures professionals. NFA also performs arbitration and dispute resolution functions for industry participants.

Nearbys: The nearest delivery months of a commodity futures market.

Nearby Delivery Month: The month of the futures contract closest to maturity; the front month or lead month.

Negative Carry: The cost of financing a financial instrument (the short-term rate of interest), when the cost is above the current return of the financial instrument. See Carrying Charges and Positive Carry.

Net Asset Value (NAV): The value of each unit of participation in a commodity pool.

Net Position: The difference between the open long contracts and the open short contracts held by a trader in any one commodity.

NFA: National Futures Association.

Next Day: A spot contract that provides for delivery of a commodity on the next calendar day or the next business day. Also called day ahead.

NOB (Note Against Bond) Spread: A futures spread trade involving the buying (selling) of a ten-year Treasury note futures contract and the selling (buying) of a Treasury bond futures contract.

Non-Member Traders: Speculators and hedgers who trade on the exchange through a member or a person with trading privileges but who do not hold exchange memberships or trading privileges.

Nominal Price (or Nominal Quotation): Computed price quotation on a futures or option contract for a period in which no actual trading took place, usually an average of bid and asked prices or computed using historical or theoretical relationships to more active contracts.

Notice Day: Any day on which notices of intent to deliver on futures contracts may be issued.

Notice of Intent to Deliver: A notice that must be presented by the seller of a futures contract to the clearing organization prior to delivery. The clearing organization then assigns the notice and subsequent delivery instrument to a buyer. Also notice of delivery.

Notional Principal: In an interest rate swap, forward rate agreement, or other derivative instrument, the amount or, in a currency swap, each of the amounts to which interest rates are applied in order to calculate periodic payment obligations. Also called the notional amount, the contract amount, the reference amount, and the currency amount.

NYMEX Lookalike: A lookalike swap or lookalike option that is based on a futures contract traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).

NYMEX Swap: A lookalike swap that is based on a futures contract traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).


OCO: See One Cancels the Other Order.

Offer: An indication of willingness to sell at a given price; opposite of bid, the price level of the offer may be referred to as the ask.

Off Exchange: See Over-the-Counter.

Offset: Liquidating a purchase of futures contracts through the sale of an equal number of contracts of the same delivery month, or liquidating a short sale of futures through the purchase of an equal number of contracts of the same delivery month. See Closing Out and Cover.

Omnibus Account: An account carried by one futures commission merchant, the carrying FCM, for another futures commission merchant, the originating FCM, in which the transactions of two or more persons, who are customers of the originating FCM, are combined and carried by the carrying FCM. Omnibus account titles must clearly show that the funds and trades therein belong to customers of the originating FCM. An originating broker must use an omnibus account to execute or clear trades for customers at a particular exchange where it does not have trading or clearing privileges.

On Track (or Track Country Station): (1) A type of deferred delivery in which the price is set f.o.b. seller's location, and the buyer agrees to pay freight costs to his destination; (2) commodities loaded in railroad cars on tracks.

One Cancels the Other (OCO) Order: A pair of orders, typically limit orders, whereby if one order is filled, the other order will automatically be cancelled. For example, an OCO order might consist of an order to buy 10 calls with a strike price of 50 at a specified price or buy 20 calls with a strike price of 55 (with the same expiration date) at a specified price.

One-to-Many: Refers to a proprietary trading platform in which the platform operator posts bids and offers for commodities, derivatives, or other instruments and serves as a counterparty to every transaction executed on the platform. In contrast to many-to-many platforms, one-to-many platforms are not considered trading facilities under the Commodity Exchange Act.

Opening Price (or Range): The price (or price range) recorded during the period designated by the exchange as the official opening.

Opening: The period at the beginning of the trading session officially designated by the exchange during which all transactions are considered made "at the opening."

Open Interest: The total number of futures contracts long or short in a delivery month or market that has been entered into and not yet liquidated by an offsetting transaction or fulfilled by delivery. Also called open contracts or open commitments.

Open Order (or Orders): An order that remains in force until it is canceled or until the futures contracts expire. See Good 'Till Canceled and Good This Week orders.

Open Outcry: A method of public auction, common to most U.S. commodity exchanges, where trading occurs on a trading floor and traders may bid and offer simultaneously either for their own accounts or for the accounts of customers. Transactions may take place simultaneously at different places in the trading pit or ring. At most exchanges outside the U.S., open outcry has been replaced by electronic trading platforms. See Specialist System.

Open Trade Equity: The unrealized gain or loss on open futures positions.

Option: A contract that gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a specified quantity of a commodity or other instrument at a specific price within a specified period of time, regardless of the market price of that instrument. Also see Put and Call.

Option Buyer: The person who buys calls, puts, or any combination of calls and puts.

Option Writer: The person who originates an option contract by promising to perform a certain obligation in return for the price or premium of the option. Also known as option grantor or option seller.

Option Pricing Model: A mathematical model used to calculate the theoretical value of an option. Inputs to option pricing models typically include the price of the underlying instrument, the option strike price, the time remaining till the expiration date, the volatility of the underlying instrument, and the risk-free interest rate (e.g., the Treasury bill interest rate). Examples of option pricing models include Black-Scholes and Cox-Ross-Rubinstein.

Original Margin: Term applied to the initial deposit of margin money each clearing member firm is required to make according to clearing organization rules based upon positions carried, determined separately for customer and proprietary positions; similar in concept to the initial margin or security deposit required of customers by exchange rules. See Initial Margin.

OTC: See Over-the-Counter.

Out of Position: See In Position.

Out-Of-The-Money: A term used to describe an option that has no intrinsic value. For example, a call with a strike price of $400 on gold trading at $390 is out-of-the-money 10 dollars.

Outright Futures: An order to buy or sell only one specific type of futures contract; an order that is not a spread order.

Out Trade: A trade that cannot be cleared by a clearing organization because the trade data submitted by the two clearing members or two traders involved in the trade differs in some respect (e.g., price and/or quantity). In such cases, the two clearing members or traders involved must reconcile the discrepancy, if possible, and resubmit the trade for clearing. If an agreement cannot be reached by the two clearing members or traders involved, the dispute would be settled by an appropriate exchange committee.

Overbought: A technical opinion that the market price has risen too steeply and too fast in relation to underlying fundamental factors. Rank and file traders who were bullish and long have turned bearish.

Overnight Trade: A trade which is not liquidated during the same trading session during which it was established.

Oversold: A technical opinion that the market price has declined too steeply and too fast in relation to underlying fundamental factors; rank and file traders who were bearish and short have turned bullish.

Over-the-Counter (OTC): The trading of commodities, contracts, or other instruments not listed on any exchange. OTC transactions can occur electronically or over the telephone. Also referred to as Off-Exchange.

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