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Futures vs Options: What’s the Difference?

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Forward contracts (futures) have predetermined expiration dates at which the underlying asset can be traded. Several dates are offered during the year, each of them active only during a certain period. For example, index futures usually expire on the third Friday of the month. After expiration, a futures contract can no longer be used to invest in the underlying market and must be settled.

Option contracts have daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly expiration dates. If you believe that the underlying price will be above or below the strike price at the day’s market close, you choose a daily option. We are market makers for daily options contracts and they may not be available from other brokers.1

Weekly, monthly and quarterly options work similarly and expire on the following Friday (weekly option) or the third Friday of the month (monthly option). The expiration date of quarterly options depends on the market being traded. When an option contract expires, it can be extended or terminated.

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