Index futures are leveraged products that allow you to hedge, trade or gain exposure to an underlying index. On ASX, the most popular index future is the ASX SPI 200™ index futures contract over the S&P/ASX 200.
Index futures are mainly traded by institutions to achieve one of the following:
- protect a domestic equity portfolio from short term market falls,
- arrange cost-effective exposure to an index whilst purchasing the underlying shares,
- to take a trading view on the direction of the market.
Benefits and risks of trading ASX index futures
Trading ASX index futures offers specific benefits of exchange traded markets, such as:
- Price transparency and liquidity
- Lower transaction fees than those incurred when buying or selling the basket of securities making up the index.
- Immediate execution and confirmation
- Reduction of counter-party risk
- Centralised clearing supported by a clearing guarantee.
Trading ASX futures incurs a number of risks, such as:
- The potential for losses to be magnified through the use of leverage basis risk. This is where the hedge provided by the future does not exactly match the change in the underlying asset.
Types of ASX index futures
ASX Trade24™ platform:
- ASX SPI 200™ index futures
- ASX Mini SPI 200™ index futures - launches 12 October 2015
- S&P/ASX 200 VIX futures
- S&P/ASX 200 Resources index futures
- S&P/ASX 200 Financials-x-A-REIT index futures
- S&P/ASX 200 A-REIT index futures