Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - Rollover Dates And Expiration
AAA
  1. Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - Introduction
  2. Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - Popular E-Mini Contracts
  3. Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - Volume And Volatility
  4. Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - Margin
  5. Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - Rollover Dates And Expiration
  6. Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - E-Mini Brokers
  7. Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - Tax Advantages
Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - Rollover Dates And Expiration

Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - Rollover Dates And Expiration

A contract month is the month in which a futures contract expires. All of the e-mini stock index futures contracts trade on the March quarterly expiration cycle (March, June, September and December). Each month is represented by a single letter:

  • H = March
  • M = June
  • U = September
  • Z = December
Each contract is known by its ticker symbol, the contract month and the year in which the contract is traded. The complete name for the March 2012 TF contract, for example, would be "TFH12" (see Figure 4).


Figure 4 - Each futures contract is known by its ticker symbol, contract month and year in which the contract is traded.


E-mini contracts are similar to other futures contracts in that they have a defined length and specified expiration. The e-mini stock index futures expires at the same time and to the same price as their larger counterpart contracts (for example, the e-mini S&P 500 contract expires at the same time as the standard, full-sized S&P 500 contract). The expiration date (or final trading day) is the last day that a futures contract is valid. Since futures contracts have delivery months (or contract months, such as H, M, U and Z), the expiration is the time and the day that the particular contract stops trading. The final settlement price for the contract is also determined. Expiration for the e-minis stock index futures contracts (including ES, NQ, YM and TF) occurs at 9:30 am EST on the third Friday of the delivery months, such as the third Friday in March for a March contract, or the third Friday in December for a December contract.

When a contract expires, it does not expire worthless (like an options contract would). Instead, an open position rolls over to the new contract.

Rollover
Contract Rollover occurs on the Thursday a week before the expiration Friday - for the e-minis, this is the second Thursday of March, June, September and December (if the Rollover month starts on a Friday, the Rollover is the first Thursday of the month). The next contract becomes the "lead contract" or the "front month". Even though the previous contract continues to trade until expiration, the majority of trading moves to the next contract. For example, if the TFU12 contract expires on September 21, the rollover date would be the previous Thursday, or September 13, in this case. The majority of trading would switch to the December contract (TFZ12) as of market open (9:30 am EST) on the rollover date.

Figure 5 illustrates the increase in volume that switches to the next contract as of the Rollover date. In the example, the June and September ES contracts are shown. The Rollover (June 7) date is indicated by the yellow arrows, along with the June contract's expiration. Notice the increase in volume for the September contract that coincides with the Rollover date. Trading for the June contract ceases as of the expiration.

Figure 5 - These daily charts show the June and September 2012 ES contracts. The Rollover (June 7) dates are indicated by the yellow arrows, along with the June contract\'s expiration. Notice the increase in volume for the September contract that coincides with the Rollover date. Chart created with TradeStation.


Trading the Contract Rollover
Many active traders will trade the "old" contract on Rollover day, and then switch to the "new" contract on the next day, or make the switch on the actual Rollover day. Figure 5 shows that after Rollover, the volume of the current contract (June) wanes, while the volume of the upcoming contract (September) increases. In general, traders should move into the new contract as volume moves from one to the other. Some traders avoid Rollover day altogether because it is considered by many to be choppy and challenging to trade. It is important to do your own homework and research to determine if your trading strategy is affected by Rollover trading.

Continuous Contracts
The continuous contract is a combination of the various delivery months of a contract. It allows traders and investors to view the historical price movement (and historical technical analysis) over multiple contracts. The continuous contract is vital to strategy development and backtesting, since it accounts for years of trading data. Often, the symbol for the continuous contract is the contract's ticker symbol, preceded by the "@" symbol. The continuous NQ contract, for example, would be designated "@NQ."

Figure 6 shows a weekly chart of the continuous NQ contract. Notice that the chart appears as seamless as that of a regular stock chart. Typically, the continuous contract is used for analysis purposes only and not for actual trading.

SEE: Backtesting: Interpreting The Past

Figure 6 - The continuous NQ contract, shown on a weekly chart.
Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - E-Mini Brokers

  1. Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - Introduction
  2. Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - Popular E-Mini Contracts
  3. Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - Volume And Volatility
  4. Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - Margin
  5. Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - Rollover Dates And Expiration
  6. Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - E-Mini Brokers
  7. Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - Tax Advantages
Intermediate Guide To E-Mini Futures Contracts - Rollover Dates And Expiration
RELATED TERMS
  1. Cash-And-Carry Trade

    A trading strategy in which an investor buys a long position ...
  2. ISDA Master Agreement

    A standard agreement used in over-the-counter derivatives transactions.
  3. Circus Swap

    A combination of an interest rate swap and a currency swap in ...
  4. Domestic Box Office Receipt (DBOR) Futures Contracts

    Futures contracts based on movie receipts at the box-office. ...
  5. Range Forward Contract

    A zero-cost currency forward contract that uses a range of exchange ...
  6. Howard-D'Antonio Strategy

    An algorithm designed to maximize the expected return of a portfolio. ...
  1. What's the best way to play backwardation in the futures market?

    Backwardation is a market condition in which a futures contract far from its delivery date is trading at a lower price than ...
  2. Is there ever a bad time to invest in gold?

    Gold has been a stellar performer so far in this millennium, having racked up 11 straight years of gains since 2000 and appreciating ...
  3. How can I invest in a foreign exchange market?

    The foreign exchange market, also called the currency market or forex (FX), is the world's largest financial market, accounting ...
  4. What is a derivative?

    A derivative is a contract between two or more parties whose value is based on an agreed-upon underlying financial asset, ...
Related Tutorials
  1. Top ETFs And What They Track: A Tutorial
    Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Top ETFs And What They Track: A Tutorial

  2. Introduction to Stock Trader Types
    Active Trading Fundamentals

    Introduction to Stock Trader Types

  3. Beginner's Guide To Trading Futures
    Options & Futures

    Beginner's Guide To Trading Futures

  4. Advanced Guide To NinjaTrader
    Trading Systems & Software

    Advanced Guide To NinjaTrader

  5. Applying The MACD Indicator With MetaTrader 4
    Trading Systems & Software

    Applying The MACD Indicator With MetaTrader 4

Trading Center