Underlying Asset

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DEFINITION of 'Underlying Asset'

A term used in derivatives trading, such as with options. A derivative is a financial instrument whose price is based (derived) from a different asset. The underlying asset is the financial instrument (e.g., stock, futures, commodity, currency, index) on which a derivative's price is based.

BREAKING DOWN 'Underlying Asset'

For example, an option on a stock gives the holder the right to buy or sell the stock for a specified amount (strike price) at a certain date in the future (expiration). The underlying asset for the stock option contract is the company's stock.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. Why is the initial value of a forward contract set to zero?

    Forward contracts are buy/sell agreements that specify the exchange of a specific asset and on a specific future date but ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How do the investment risks differ between options and futures?

    Futures and options contracts are commonly used by investors who are interested in leveraging movement within the stock or ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. 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 >>
  4. How does a forward contract differ from a call option?

    Forward contracts and call options are different financial instruments that allow two parties to purchase or sell assets ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Why do companies enter into futures contracts?

    Different types of companies may enter into futures contracts for different purposes. The most common reason is to hedge ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What does a futures contract cost?

    The value of a futures contract is derived from the cash value of the underlying asset. While a futures contract may have ... Read Full Answer >>

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