Instruction to Read Futures Quote

2260 Words Nov 3rd, 2013 10 Pages
Instructions
1)
Get a handle on the naming and quoting conventions for your commodity product.
If you find your data through a news provider such as The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, you do not have to worry about what the bizarre ticker codes stand for, since the products are listed without them. Even the CME itself displays price quotes without the special notation so you need not struggle to see that "CZ10.CBT" stands for the December 2010 CBOT contract for corn. Yahoo Finance lists ticker symbols as well as the product name.
For the exact product and month symbols for your commodity, refer to contract specifications posted by the exchanges or resources such as FuturesKnowledge.com, which provides a legend of contract
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If you were looking at prices for a Live Cattle contract, for example, you would see the size of the contract and the cost per unit instead of the index multiplier. With Live Cattle, a contract represents 40,000 pounds of cattle. The prices quoted are listed as cents per pound, so 67.85 would mean 67.85 cents per pound). Each contract maturity or delivery month is listed downward along the left margin. In the sample S&P 500 chart below, the June contract appears first because it is the most nearby contract traded. As you go down the margin, you see future delivery months in the calendar year for 2000 and beyond, eventually ending in September, 2001. S&P Months Traded | June | Sept | Dec | Mr01 | June | Sept |
Interpreting the numbersNow let's look at the price listings on the sample selected below - the June 2000 S&P 500 contract. As you read across, you see a number of prices that provide a kind of "mini" price history for that contract. For the June contract, the first price - " Open" (144260) - is the opening price for this day's trading. If you're confused because you didn't think the S&P 500 Index was that large, it's understandable. Quote vendors present Index prices differently - some include decimal points, and others don't. This sample is shown in Wall Street Journal style, with the decimal "understood" but not shown. (If it were shown,

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