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Financial Futures Markets 13 Chapter Objectives Explain how financial futures contracts are valued Explain the use of futures to speculate or hedge based on anticipated interest rate changes

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Chapter objectives l.jpg
Chapter Objectives

  • Explain how financial futures contracts are valued

  • Explain the use of futures to speculate or hedge based on anticipated interest rate changes

  • Explain the use of stock index futures to speculate or hedge based on anticipated stock price movements

  • Describe how financial institutions participate in futures markets


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Background on Financial Futures

  • Futures are a derivative security

  • Derivatives

    • Securities whose value is derived from the value of some underlying asset or financial instrument

    • Derivative security prices related to factors affecting prices in the spot market

    • For example, bond futures prices are related to what is happening in markets where bonds are bought and sold for immediate delivery


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Background on Financial Futures

  • Standardized agreement to deliver or take delivery of a financial instrument at a specified price and date

  • Price is determined by traders for standardized contracts

    • The underlying financial instrument

    • Settlement date

    • Form of delivery for underlying asset

  • Trading on organized exchanges provides liquidity and guaranteed settlement


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Background on Financial Futures

  • Exchange members trade contracts in trading pits

  • Organized exchanges include Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange

  • Only members or those leasing privileges can transact business on the floor of the exchange

    • Commission brokers

    • Floor traders

  • Regulated by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission or CFTC


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Background on Financial Futures

  • Establish account and initial margin

  • Maintenance margin and margin call

  • Order to trading floor

  • Open outcry trading

  • Clearinghouse function

  • Daily market-to-market of contracts

Steps Involved in Trading Futures


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Background on Financial Futures

  • To Speculate

    • Take a position with the goal of profiting from expected changes in the contract’s price

    • No position in underlying asset

  • To Hedge

    • Minimize or manage risks

    • Have position in spot market with the goal to offset risk

Purpose of Trading Financial Futures


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Interpreting Financial Futures Tables

  • Futures contract prices reported in the financial press

  • Columns of information for each maturity month that is trading

    • Open, high, low and the settlement or closing price

    • Change in the closing price from the previous day

    • Open interest or how many contracts are outstanding for a particular maturity


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Valuation of Financial Futures

  • Futures contract price related to the price of the underlying asset

  • Inverse relationship between debt contract prices and interest rates applies to futures prices

  • Futures contract price reflects the expected price of the underlying asset or index as of the settlement date

  • Anything that affects the price of the underlying asset affects the futures price

  • Impact of opportunity costs or benefits


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Bond Futures Contract Price Changes

  • Prices of Treasury bond futures move with spot market

  • Correlation of price movements in spot and futures important to hedgers and speculators

  • Market participants in futures monitor the same kinds of economic indicators and interest rate information as

    • Investors who own bonds

    • Investors who expect to buy bonds

    • Borrowers who might plan on issuing debt


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International

U.S.

U.S.

U.S.

Economic

Fiscal

Monetary

Economic

Conditions

Policy

Policy

Conditions

Long-Term

Short-Term

Risk-Free

Risk-Free

Interest

Interest

Rate

Rate

(Treasury

(Treasury

Bill Rate)

Bond Rate)

Required

Return

Required

Return

on Treasury

on Treasury

Bond

Bill

Price of

Price of

Treasury

Treasury

Bond

Bill

Expected

Expected

Price of

Price of

Movements in

Movements in

Treasury

Treasury

Treasury

Treasury

Bond

Bond Prices

Bill Prices

Bill

Futures

Not Embedded

Not Embedded

Futures

in Existing

in Existing

Prices

Prices

Exhibit 13.3 Framework for Futures Price Changes Over Time

a


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Speculating with Interest Rate Futures

  • Long position; purchase futures contracts

  • Strategy to use if speculator anticipates interest rates will decrease and bond prices will increase

  • Buy a futures contract and if rates drop the contract’s price rises above what it cost to purchase and exchange adds gain with daily settlement to investor’s account

  • If interest rates rise instead of fall, futures contract price drops and investor’s account is reduced by daily loss


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Market

Market

V

alue

V

alue

of the

of the

Futures

Futures

Contract

Contract

as of the

as of the

Settlement

Settlement

Date

Date

Exhibit 13.4 Potential Payoff From Speculative Futures Position

Profit or

Profit or

Loss from

Loss from

Purchasing

Selling

a Futures

a Futures

Contract

Contract

0

0

S

S

a

a


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Speculating with Interest Rate Futures

  • Short position; sell futures contracts

  • Strategy to use if speculator anticipates interest rates will rise and contract prices drop

  • Sell (short) a futures contract and close the position by buying a contract to offset short

  • If rates rise, the price to buy the contract and close the position is less than the price received for the initial sale of the contract

  • Speculator loses money if rates drop


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Closing out the Futures Position

  • Most buyers and sellers of futures contracts do not actually make or take delivery of the underlying asset

  • Can close position any time before contract expiration date

  • Offset or close out their positions in the futures market by the settlement date

  • Trade the same contract and maturity month to open and close the position

  • Obligations net out when traders close


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Closing out the Futures Position

  • Examples

    • Open with the sale of a June maturity T-bill, close with the purchase of a June maturity T-bill

    • Open with the purchase of a June maturity T-bill and close with the sale of the same kind of contract and maturity--June T-bill

  • Gain or loss on a position depends on purchase price compared to the selling price

  • Daily settlement with exchange


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Hedging with Interest Rate Futures

  • Using interest rate futures to create a short hedge

  • Hedger adversely affected by an interest rate increase

    • Bank using primarily short-term funds to finance longer-term assets

    • Hurt by rising rates; must refinance funding before investment re-priced


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Hedging with Interest Rate Futures

  • The short hedge

  • Sell futures contracts with characteristics similar to the securities being hedged

  • If rates increase, hedger closes out the position at a profit in the futures market to offset spot market position opportunity loss (reduced interest margin)

  • If rates decrease, hedger’s spot market gains (wider interest margin) offset by losses on the futures position


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Hedging with Interest Rate Futures

  • Using interest rate futures to create a long hedge

  • Examples of adverse effects of a decrease in interest rates

    • Plan to purchase debt securities in a few months and if rates decline, the purchase price of bonds increases—long futures position locks in price of bonds

    • Bank finances loans whose rates adjust every six months with CDs that have a two-year term—long futures position locks in loan rates to maintain spread

  • Hedger uses futures position to offset spot losses and gains—locks in a price or spread


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Hedging with Interest Rate Futures

  • Hedging net exposure

    • Futures hedges have transaction costs

    • Net exposure is the difference between asset and liability positions


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Bond Index Futures

  • Bond index futures

    • Muni-bond index futures (MBI)

    • Bond buyers index

  • Uses of bond index futures to hedge

    • Insurance company using future cash inflows to buy municipal bond in near future; interest rate decreases will raise bond prices

    • Investment banking firm underwriting bonds; hurt if interest rates rise, decreasing bond prices

  • Position to gain in futures if loss occurs in spot


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Stock Index Futures

  • Types of index futures contracts

    • Several different index contracts traded on the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange

    • Securities underlying the contract not deliverable-- cash settlement

    • Contract’s price is the index times the dollar value given in the contract’s specifications

    • For example, Chicago Merc S&P contract is the index value times $250


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Stock Index Futures

  • Value of futures contract highly correlated with the value of the underlying index

  • Differences or advantages and disadvantages to owning the actual index versus futures

  • Under some circumstances, arbitrage profits are possible

  • Indicators monitored by the market include anything affecting the underlying index


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Stock Index Futures

  • Speculating with stock index futures

    • Capitalize on expectations without having sufficient cash to buy the actual stocks in index

    • Expect an increase in stock prices, buy index futures; gain/losses leveraged with small investment

  • Hedging with stock index futures

    • Hedge market risk of an existing portfolio

    • Pension fund manager with reasonable return for year sells index futures contracts to lock in return


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Stock Index Futures

  • Hedging issues

    • Hedge is more effective if investor’s portfolio is diversified like the the underlying index for the futures contract

    • Portfolio managers do not necessarily hedge the entire portfolio

  • Dynamic asset allocation with stock index futures

    • Portfolio manager uses stock index futures to vary risk/return position of portfolio without restructuring existing stock portfolios

    • An efficient risk management technique


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Stock Index Futures

  • Prices of stock index futures versus stocks

    • Differ to some degree

    • Index futures prices may be higher or lower than the underlying index

    • Stock index futures can more rapidly change as expectations change—investors watch as indicator of market direction

    • Differentials reduce hedging effectiveness

  • Test of suitability of stock index futures


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Stock Index Futures

  • Arbitrage with stock index futures

    • Institutional investors capitalize on differences between price of index futures and stock prices

    • Simultaneous buy/sell program trading when there is a profitable difference between index futures and stocks represented in the underlying index

    • Serves to “tie” the index value to that of the corresponding stock portfolio used by other investors to hedge or speculate


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Stock Index Futures

  • Circuit breakers on stock index futures

    • Suspends trading on specific stocks or stock indexes after a specified market decline

    • Gives investors a chance to evaluate information or meet margin calls before trading resumes

    • Impacts program trading which has been linked to market volatility


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Risks of Trading Futures Contracts

  • Market risk

    • Speculators win or lose based on changing market value of futures contracts

    • Hedgers, with a position in the underlying asset, are not significantly impacted by contract price volatility

  • Basis risk

    • Futures contract prices do not vary in exactly the same way as the underlying asset’s price

    • Price correlation of contract and underlying asset impacts the ability to hedge market risk


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Risk of Trading Futures Contracts

  • Dealing with basis risk

    • Identify futures contract with price changes closely related to the underlying asset

    • Cross hedging involves using a futures contract with an underlying asset different from the asset to hedge, for example, hedge commercial paper rate exposure with T-bills futures

  • Liquidity risk

    • Price distortions if a contract is not widely traded

    • Need a counterparty to close position


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Risk of Trading Futures Contracts

  • Credit risk

    • Counterparty defaults

    • Not a risk on exchange-traded contracts where exchange serves as the counter-party

  • Prepayment risk

    • Assets (e.g. loans) prepaid sooner than their designated maturity

    • Leaves hedger without an offsetting spot position in a speculative position


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Risk of Trading Futures Contracts

  • Operational risk

    • Inadequate management or controls

    • For example, hedging firm’s employees do not understand how futures contract values respond to market conditions

    • Lack of controls may result in speculative positions


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Regulation in the Futures Markets

  • More awareness about systemic risk given recent events in the markets

  • Problems at one firm can affect other firm’s ability to honor contractual agreements

  • Regulators want participants to have sufficient collateral to back their positions

  • Accounting regulators goal is disclosure so risks are clear


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Institutional Use of Futures Markets

  • Most activity is for hedging, not speculating

  • Many kinds of institutions uses futures

    • Commercial banks

    • Savings institutions

    • Securities firms

    • Mutual funds

    • Pension funds

    • Insurance companies


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Globalization of Futures Markets

  • Non-U.S. participation in U.S. futures contracts

  • Foreign stock index futures on foreign stock indexes and markets

  • Financial futures also available for selected foreign debt instruments

  • Currency futures contracts for few large country currencies


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