E mini Futures

5paisa Research Team Date: 09 Jan, 2024 02:58 PM IST


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E-mini futures have become increasingly popular among traders looking for a more efficient and cost-effective way to participate in the stock market. They are electronically traded futures contracts that are a smaller version of the standard futures contract. In addition, these contracts are significantly cheaper and allow traders to take profit from changes in the price of different assets, including stocks, currencies, and commodities. To know more about E-mini futures, read on. 

What are E mini futures?

E-mini futures are smaller versions of significant indices as well as commodities that are traded on varied stock exchanges like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. They are used to trade numerous types of assets, such as currencies and commodities, but the most commonly traded assets are indexes. E-mini futures were introduced in 1997 by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and have since become the most popular futures contract in the world.

Unlike traditional futures contracts, which represent a larger quantity of the underlying asset, E-Mini futures are smaller. This miniaturization makes them more accessible to individual traders, as the capital required to participate is significantly lower.

Origins of E mini futures: Start of Trading

Introduced in September 1997 in response to increasing demand for accessible trading options, E-mini futures revolutionized the market. The original S&P futures of 1982 had hefty contract sizes, restricting participation to institutional players. As the S&P 500 index surged, entry for smaller institutions and retail individuals became challenging. The game-changer came with electronic trading platforms and E-mini S&P 500 futures launch on CME's GLOBEX platform. 

With smaller contract sizes and extended trading hours, E-mini S&P 500 futures became immensely popular, emerging as the world's most liquid equity derivative. Today, E-mini futures encompass commodities and currencies, offering diverse trading opportunities with ES, NQ, YM, and RTY leading the pack.

How do I trade E mini futures?

In order to trade in E-mini futures or to get the answer of how to trade micro E-mini futures it is necessary to understand the contract requirements and utilization of correct strategies. The steps to start trading in E-mini futures are: -
• Select a reliable trading platform that delivers E-mini futures, like The CME GLOBEX, as it allows around 24-hour trading.
• Next is to understand the E-mini contract specifications. This means futures are ⅕ the size of standard contracts having quarterly settlements.
• Calculate the contract value and tick size.
• After that, set the initial margin, typically 5% of the total contract value, but the day trading margins will be as low as 1-2%.
• The final step is to implement risk management, which will protect the capital.

Why trade E mini futures?

Trading E-mini futures is favored for several reasons:

1. Accessibility: E-minis allow smaller investors to participate in markets traditionally dominated by institutional players.

2. Liquidity: They're highly liquid, meaning buying or selling is easy without significantly impacting prices.

3. Diverse Options: E-minis cover a range of assets, from equity indices to commodities and currencies, providing diverse trading opportunities.

4. Flexibility: With extended trading hours and smaller contract sizes, E-minis offer flexibility, enabling trading at various times and accommodating different risk appetites.

E mini Futures Gain Traction in India.

E-mini futures are now available in India through the NSE International Exchange since September 2011. Indian traders and NSE members can easily trade these futures in US dollars without requiring extra paperwork or permits. This makes it convenient for traders in India to tap into global markets without any hassle.

What is the future of E mini futures?

The future of E-mini futures appears promising. As technology advances, these futures are likely to become even more accessible and efficient. With increasing global interest in diverse trading opportunities, E-minis could expand to include new asset classes. 

Additionally, regulatory developments may further enhance market transparency and stability. The convenience of smaller contract sizes and extended trading hours will likely continue attracting a wide range of traders, fostering liquidity. Overall, the future of E-mini futures seems characterized by continued innovation, adaptability to market demands, and sustained popularity among institutional and retail investors.

Advantages of trading E mini Futures

Trading E-mini futures offers distinct advantages to traders. Firstly, accessibility is enhanced, allowing participation from smaller investors. Secondly, these futures are highly liquid, ensuring easy buying and selling without major price impact. Thirdly, diversity is a key benefit, covering various assets like equity indices, commodities, and currencies. Lastly, flexibility is provided through extended trading hours and smaller contract sizes, accommodating different trading styles and risk preferences. Overall, the advantages lie in inclusivity, market efficiency, diverse opportunities, and adaptability, making E-mini futures a choice for a broad spectrum of traders.

Disadvantages of Trading E mini Futures

Unlike any other financial instrument, E-minis also has some downsides. Firstly, their leverage amplifies gains and losses, posing a risk for inexperienced traders. Secondly, market volatility can lead to rapid price changes, making it challenging to predict outcomes. 

Thirdly, continuous monitoring is crucial due to extended trading hours, demanding more time commitment. Lastly, dependence on technology exposes traders to potential technical glitches and connectivity issues. Despite these disadvantages, many traders find success by carefully managing risks and staying informed, recognizing that, like any investment, E-mini futures trading requires diligence and a thoughtful approach.


E-Mini futures present a compelling avenue for traders seeking exposure to diverse assets in an electronically traded and accessible format. From the flexibility of contract sizes to the benefits of liquidity and advanced technology, E-Mini futures have carved out a significant niche in financial markets.

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Frequently Asked Questions

They are electronically traded futures contracts of smaller sizes of now-delisted standard S&P futures. However, its futures and options are entirely based on the underlying S&P 500 stock index.  It also consists of 500 individual stocks that show the overall market cap of many large companies.

The overall cost of the E-mini S&P 500 is around 50 times the value of the S&P 500. This means if the current price of the S&P 500 is Rs 3,500, then the contract's value will be 50*3,500, which is 17,5000.

Unlike stocks, there's no legal minimum balance for day trading futures, but you need enough to cover trading margins and position fluctuations. Broker requirements vary; some allow account openings with as little as $500. Ensure your balance meets the broker's criteria for smooth day trading.

It offers traders or investors cheap futures contracts as compared to E-minis. This means the E-mini S&P 500 comes with a contract price of 50 times the S&P 500, and the micro mini's price is 5 times the index.

E-mini futures might suit you if you seek accessible market exposure with lower capital. With smaller contract sizes and electronic trading, they offer flexibility for diverse assets. E-mini futures could be a fit if you're comfortable with risk and want potential profits through leveraged positions. However, ensure you understand the fast-paced nature, leverage risks, and have a strong risk management strategy. If you value liquidity, quick execution, and diverse trading options, E-mini futures may align with your trading goals.