Welcome to E-mini S&P 500 Futures

ES futures provide one of the most efficient, liquid and cost-effective ways to gain market exposure to the S&P 500 Index. A broad-based, capitalization-weighted index, the S&P 500 tracks 500 of the largest companies of the U.S. economy, and is a key indicator of the stock market's health. With ES futures, you can take positions on S&P 500 performance electronically.

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Why Trade ES?


  • Deep liquidity & tight bid-ask spreads can reduce your costs
  • Nearly 24-hour access helps you act as events unfold
  • Flexible execution gives you multiple ways to find liquidity
  • Use leverage to trade a large contract value with a small amount
  • Save on margin offsets with other equity index futures
  • Trade a global equity index portfolio from one marketplace
  • Central clearing helps mitigate your counterparty risk
  • Get 60/40 blended U.S. tax treatment on capital gains

Compare E-mini S&P 500 with Other Trading Methods


ES versus ETFs

In nearly every trading scenario, ES futures offer a more cost-efficient way to manage S&P 500 exposure compared to ETFs.

  • Pay no management fee when you trade ES futures vs. S&P 500 ETFs
  • Fully-funded institutional investors can save 8.9 - 13.3bps trading ES vs. ETFs*
  • Day traders can save between $80 - $119 using ES futures vs. ETFs over a one-day holding period*
  • Nearly 24-access means no waiting for the ETF market open when market events (Brexit, U.S. elections) happen post-close
  • ES futures offer significantly more daily liquidity, at 8x the value of all S&P 500 ETFs combined, including SPY, IVV and VOO*
  • Diversify your risk versus other holdings in your portfolio

*All scenarios are hypothetical and should be treated as such. Data is as of October 31, 2016, and calculations are based on the framework found at cmegroup.com/thebigpicture.

ES versus Basket of Stocks

ES futures give you an easier, faster, more flexible way to harness S&P 500 performance.

  • Trade and track one ES future vs. 500 stocks to get nearly identical exposure
  • Nearly 24-hour access means your hands aren't tied when off-hour news and events occur
  • ES gives you 60x buying power of cash stocks - less capital, to control a larger value
  • Easily sell short with ES - no uptick rule or special requirements
  • Spread trading vs. another sector like small caps takes less time, capital and trades

Manage Market Event Risk with ES Futures


Because ES futures trade nearly 24 hours a day, you can act on global news and surprise market events as they unfold - adjusting exposure instead of missing out and watching from the sidelines.

Key Economic Reports


  • Non-Farm Payroll
    Monthly report showing changes in U.S. jobs. Drives Fed policy and indicates economic growth.
  • Unemployment reports
    Presents U.S. unemployment rate as percentage. Drives Fed policy and indicates economy's strength.
  • Earnings releases
    Lists changes in earnings of publically traded companies, which can move the market
  • FOMC
    Determines U.S. monetary policy and whether to move the key interest rate. Drives stock market movements.
  • CPI (Consumer Price Index)
    Measures inflation or cost-of-living changes through average price of a basket of goods and services.
  • Federal Reserve open market operations
    Indicates the buying and selling of securities by U.S. central banks as a tool of monetary policy.
  • Inventory reports
    Tracks changes in oil and natural gas supplies. Impacts energy prices paid by consumers.
  • Industrial production
    Tracks change in monthly raw volume of industrial goods produced.

Learn to Trade ES Futures


CME Institute Ready to learn more about trading E-mini S&P 500 futures? Get started with introductory courses, trading tools and simulators, research and market commentary:

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This article originally appeared on CME Group.