Spdr gold options trading
There are significant differences in the liquidity, leverage and costs of futures and ETFs that need to be understood before any investment decision is made. Gold has historically served as both a legitimate hedge against inflation and as an integral part of a diversified investment portfolio.
Today, more than any other time in history, active investors have available to them a variety of ways to invest in the performance of gold. From gold bars to mining stocks or derivatives, individuals have flocked into gold-related investments in an attempt to benefit from the renewed interest in gold. In many cases either the futures or ETFs are a suitable choice, but there are significant differences in the liquidity, leverage and costs of each that need to be understood before any investment decision is made.
Originally founded inthe SPDR ETF was specifically developed to track the price of gold and become an inexpensive alternative to owning physical gold. Investors can purchase a share in the ETF which represents one tenth of an ounce of gold.
In comparison, the average daily volume for COMEX Gold futures is overcontracts which equates to approximately 20 million ounces changing hands on a daily basis with an additional 48 million ounces or 1, metric tons held in open positions.
Over 90 percent of these futures contracts are traded electronically. This, combined with the large number of market participants and the significant daily volume, has the effect of making the futures markets very efficient. And all transactions, as well as the best bids and best offers, are publicly available in real-time which further enhances liquidity and provides what is known as transparent price discovery.
Many securities brokers will loan you 50 percent of the money to purchase stocks or ETFs, but similar to any loan there are costs associated with this. A unique feature of futures contracts is the ability to use leverage, which is built into each contract via a system of margin rules and regulations. Brokerage firms extend the exchange enforced minimum margin requirements along to their customers and manage the daily margining of their customer accounts. Margin can sometimes represent as little as three percent of the notional value of the contract.
This is a tremendous advantage for investors who wish to use leverage to take advantage of a specific opportunity in the market.
This money is placed on deposit to guarantee that each participant has the ability to perform to the terms of the contract and withstand the average daily price fluctuation of the underlying asset. Brokerage firms constantly monitor margin balances and update account balances to reflect changes in market prices at the end of each day. If market conditions change, so may the exchange required margin required to trade that market, but there is never a need to borrow money from a broker nor are there fees associated with using this margin.
This strategy can provide more than 25 times the potential to make profits from the same move in gold miNY and E-mini Gold futures contracts can also be traded which are smaller in size and require less margin. Of course, there is no need to utilize all of the leverage available. Each investor can tailor the leverage they use to meet their individual investment goals.
This is done by simply adjusting the amount of margin on deposit in relation to the value of the contract. The benefit of leverage is tempered by the fact that leverage magnifies both profits and losses. This means that investors that choose to use leverage should additionally protect themselves by using prudent money management techniques.
Many of the costs involved with owning an ETF revolve around management fees and the associated taxes. These sometimes hidden costs can affect the pricing of the ETF itself and have very little to do with the actual price of gold. By virtue of the asset class, gold a physical commodity produces no income. This presents a problem for the ETF manager since the fund generates ongoing administrative expenses. Whether it is management fees normally about 40 basis pointsmarketing fees, or general expenses, gold bullion from the fund must be sold to cover these expenses.
When the fund does so, they may incur additional transactional costs. This sale of gold diminishes the overall holdings of the ETF and over time will erode its value, which results in what is known as a tracking error.
In contrast, gold futures contracts do not experience any of these issues. Investors are able to buy or sell gold on the open market at their discretion and avoid the related management fees. Therefore, COMEX Gold futures, that are in many cases used for investment instead of acquiring physical bullion, can be arbitraged against gold bullion and have no measurable tracking error.
Long-term investors should note futures positions may need to be rolled forward exiting one contract and entering into a new one to a contract with a deferred expiration to maintain a position longer than the length of the original contract, which may result in an additional brokerage cost.
Another cost associated with owning shares in gold ETFs, as opposed to investing in futures, is the tax implication. Gold futures may also present tax advantages for certain investors. This is not intended to be advice regarding tax treatment and we advise that you contact your tax attorney or accountant for information that is applicable to your situation. Both the futures and gold ETFs provide a mechanism for the physical delivery of gold.
Investors interested in obtaining gold through the purchase of COMEX Gold futures or gold ETFs should recognize that there are standard procedures and quantities used for delivery and redemption. This trustee does not deal directly with the public, so any individual investor wishing to exchange shares for physical gold would have to come to the appropriate arrangements with a broker.
In contrast, COMEX Gold futures troy ounces are available for delivery, in accordance with the details of the contract, from an exchange licensed New York City depository. When the goal is to simply benefit from a rise or fall of the price of gold, COMEX Gold futures are the logical choice. COMEX Gold futures offer the investor a fast and accurate pricing mechanism, the ability to leverage their trading strategies and the security of doing business on an exchange that has guaranteed the performance of each of its transactions for over years.
The information herein has been compiled by CME Group for general informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute trading advice or the solicitation of purchases or sale of any futures, options or swaps. All examples discussed are hypothetical situations, used for explanation purposes only, and should not be considered investment advice or the results of actual market experience.
The opinions expressed herein are the opinions of the individual authors and may not reflect the opinion of CME Group or its affiliates. Current rules should be consulted in all cases concerning contract specifications.
Although every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information herein, CME Group and its affiliates assume no responsibility for any errors or omissions. All data is sourced by CME Group unless otherwise stated. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Neither futures trading nor swaps trading are suitable for all investors, and each involves the risk of loss.
Futures and swaps each are leveraged investments and, because only a percentage of a contract's value is required to trade, it is possible to lose more than the amount of money deposited for either a futures or swaps position.
Therefore, traders should only use funds that they can afford to lose without affecting their lifestyles and only a portion of those funds should be devoted to any one trade because traders cannot expect to profit on every trade.
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