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E-minis are futures contracts traded primarily on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's Globex electronic trading platform and on the New York Board of Trade, that represent a fraction of the value of normal futures contracts. E-mini contracts were first launched in 1997 for the S&P 500 index with great success, and are now available on a wide range of stock market indexes, commodities and currencies. As of April, 2011, CME lists 44 unique E-mini contracts

Some E-mini contracts provide trading advantages, including high liquidity (and therefore tight spread), greater affordability for individual investors due to lower margin requirements than the full-size contracts, and round-the-clock trading 23.25 hours a day from Sunday afternoon to Friday afternoon. Under U.S. tax law, E-minis may qualify as 1256 Contracts, and benefit from several tax advantages as well.

The risk of loss is also amplified by the higher leverage.


Most E-mini futures expire quarterly (with the exception of agricultural products), in March, June, September, and December. An E-mini future symbol is formed by starting with the root symbol and adding the expiration month letter (the same as for futures) and the last digit of the expiration year. For example, the E-mini S&P 500 expiring in...
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