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Interactive Brokers is a comprehensive trading platform that gives you access to a massive range of securities at affordable prices. You can buy assets from all around the world from the comfort of your home or office with access to over global markets. The brokerage provides a gateway to over markets worldwide as well as access to market data 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. A host of free trading tools allow you to spot market opportunities, manage your account and analyze results.
Over order types help you execute virtually any trading strategy. TradeStation is for advanced traders who need a comprehensive platform. The brokerage offers an impressive range of investable assets as frequent and professional traders appreciate its wide range of analysis tools. TradeStation is for seasoned traders who are looking for a comprehensive platform with professional-grade tools, fully-operational app and a vast array of tradable securities. You can choose from two different platforms one basic, one advanced.
The brokerage is synonymous with pro-level tools that let you trade futures along with other asset classes, formulate trading strategies with over technical studies and directly trade, modify or cancel orders. Its Futures Research Center lets you get trading insights from seasoned professionals as well as explore real-time futures market data. To trade futures, you need an eligible IRA account or margin-enabled brokerage account. There are no minimum funding requirements.
Both futures are great trading tools. The main difference is that you may commit to smaller amounts of money by trading E-minis rather than the traditional futures. To help you better understand E-minis and traditional futures, we describe the similarities and differences for more insight.
Tailored to the retail investor and trader, E-mini contracts offer a host of benefits which include:. They are part of the chain of futures options — which are getting smaller — starting from regular futures to E-minis to micro E-mini futures. Are you interested in learning more about futures? The term E-mini future refers to an electronically traded future contract that is an off spring of a standard future contract.
These contracts are usually a fraction of the size of a standard contract. Want to advertise with us? Send us a message. Table of contents [ Show ]. Best For Advanced Futures Trading. Overall Rating. Read Review. Pros Powerful analysis tools Free download and simulated trading Open source trading apps to enhance experience. Cons Can only trade derivatives like futures and options. Best For High-volume Traders. Best For Experienced and intermediate futures investors High-volume traders Mobile traders.
Pros Free trading platform packed with unique features Community tab allows users to connect with other traders Tiered pricing structure Easy to use out of the box for experienced futures traders. Cons Currently only supports futures trading Platform can be overwhelming for new traders. Best For Trading Micro Futures. Pros Unlimited simulated trading Low day trading margins Highly experienced and competent technical support Customizable data fees and order clearing. Cons Limited to derivatives trading like futures The selection of data feeds and clearing firms can be overwhelming for newer traders.
Best For Options Trading. Best For Novice investors Retirement savers Day traders. Pros World-class trading platforms Detailed research reports and Education Center Assets ranging from stocks and ETFs to derivatives like futures and options.
Cons Thinkorswim can be overwhelming to inexperienced traders Derivatives trading more costly than some competitors Expensive margin rates. Cons Beginner investors might prefer a broker that offers a bit more hand-holding and educational resources.
Best For Futures Trading. Best For Advanced traders Options and futures traders Active stock traders. Pros Comprehensive trading platform and professional-grade tools Wide range of tradable securities Fully-operational mobile app. Best For Desktop Trading. Best For Active traders Derivatives traders Retirement savers. Pros Sophisticated trading platforms Wide range of tradable assets Exceptional customer service. Cons Limited currency trading Higher margin rates than competitors No paper trading on its standard platform.
What are E-Mini Futures? All futures are financial contracts that obligate the holder to buy or sell an asset, such as a physical commodity or a financial instrument, at a predetermined future date and price. Futures contracts detail the quality and quantity of the underlying asset and are standardized to facilitate trading on a futures exchange. Some futures contracts may call for physical delivery of the asset, while others are settled in cash.
Futures contracts were typically only accessible to institutional investors because of their size, which was often too large for small investors. The CME launched the first E-mini contract in to draw in average traders who were keen on taking part in this alternative investment.
Its value was set at one-fifth of the full-sized contract. The E-mini quickly became a success and led to other similar contracts. There are now E-mini contracts that cover a variety of assets, including:. Just like other futures contracts, traders can use a single E-mini contract to hedge or speculate on broad market moves. Because they are traded electronically, E-mini futures contracts trade almost 24 hours a day between Sunday and Friday. Investors are required to open an account with a brokerage firm in order to begin E-mini futures trading.
E-mini contracts aren't that much different than full-sized futures contracts. These smaller contracts also allow investors to hedge or speculate on price movements of the underlying asset, whether it's an index, commodity, or currency. As such, investors can achieve their trading strategies with E-minis, including spread trading. And E-minis are so popular that their trading volumes eclipse those of full-sized futures contracts.
As noted above, the E-mini contract was created to be one-fifth of the size of the standard-sized contract. The contract size is the value of the contract based on the price of the futures contract times a contract-specific multiplier.
This means that a 0. ET with a temporary trading halt between 5 p. Contracts are quarterly March, June, September, December and are listed for nine consecutive quarters as well as three additional December contract months. IRS Form stipulates that any gains from futures contracts traded on a U. E-minis are ideal trading instruments for active traders because they offer round-the-clock trading, low margin rates, volatility, liquidity , and greater affordability than standard contracts.
Another benefit is that the fees associated with trading E-minis are typically lower than those linked to the buying and selling of regular securities. As with any financial instrument, E-minis also have their downsides. For example, because of their round-the-clock and electronic trading component, the price of E-minis can move very quickly. Another downfall to these alternative investments is their limited scope.
The selection of available e-mini contracts can be limited and doesn't necessarily span as wide an array of assets as, say, an exchange-traded fund ETF or mutual fund. There is no legal minimum on what balance you must maintain to day trade futures, although you must have enough in the account to cover all day trading margins and fluctuations which result from your positions.
As the name suggests, micro E-mini futures offer investors an even cheaper futures contract than E-minis. Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Federal Reserve Bank of New York. CME Group. Internal Revenue Service. Financial Futures Trading. Trading Skills. Stock Trading.
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An E-mini is an electronically traded futures contract that is a fraction of the value of a standard futures contract. Read about E-mini investing here. The E-mini S&P is an electronically-traded futures contract representing one-fifth of the value of the standard S&P futures contract. Micro E-mini contracts allow investors to trade index futures. Options include contracts for the S&P , Dow 30, Russell , the Nasdaq , and others.