DEFINITION of 'Actuals'

The physical commodity that underlies a futures contract or is traded in the physical market. This is the homogeneous commodity that is the basis for trade, either through the physical market or a derivative contract such as oil, corn or gold.


Actuals are traded in either the physical market or the futures market. In the physical market, two parties enter into a private agreement to exchange the commodity for cash or another commodity, and delivery almost always occurs. In the futures market, two parties enter into an exchange-traded contract in which one party agrees to deliver a set quantity and quality of the underlying commodity while the other party agrees to purchase the commodity. In this case, delivery is not certain and parties can sell their positions before delivery.

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  2. How do hedge funds use equity options?

    With the growth in the size and number of hedge funds over the past decade, the interest in how these funds go about generating ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Can mutual funds invest in options and futures?

    Mutual funds invest in not only stocks and fixed-income securities but also options and futures. There exists a separate ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can mutual funds invest in commodities?

    Mutual funds can invest in commodities. In fact, mutual funds may provide a better way for investors to gain exposure to ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do futures contracts roll over?

    Traders roll over futures contracts to switch from the front month contract that is close to expiration to another contract ... Read Full Answer >>
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