Derivatives Trading: Strategies and Tips

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think much about derivatives trading. But derivatives are a powerful tool that can help you make money – and protect your investments.

What are Derivatives?

Derivatives are contracts that derive their value from an underlying asset or security. They allow traders to speculate on the price movement of an underlying asset without actually owning the asset. For example, a trader might purchase a derivative contract that guarantees the buyer will receive $100 worth of oil at a set price on January 1st, 2020. If oil prices rise above this guarantee, the trader would profit; if oil prices fall below this guarantee, the trader would lose money.

There are many different types of derivatives, including options and futures contracts. Options give traders the right to buy or sell an underlying security at a set price for a certain period of time (known as the option’s expiration date). Futures contracts are similar to options but allow traders to bet on future changes in prices rather than buying or selling an actual security.

Derivatives can be extremely useful in hedging risk and providing financial stability in volatile markets. For example, banks use derivatives to protect themselves from potential losses on assets such as investments in sovereign debt or commodities. In addition, derivatives can help smooth out short-term fluctuations in stock prices and commodity prices so that investors can more accurately make investment decisions.

If you’re interested in learning more about derivatives trading, be sure to consult a professional. There are a variety of resources available online, including online courses and certification programs from reputable institutions such as the FINRA Investor Education Foundation (IEF). Additionally, many financial firms offer free educational materials for their customers.

How Do Derivatives Work?

Derivatives are financial contracts that derive their value from an underlying security or commodity. The most common derivatives are options, which give the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a security at a set price within a certain time period. Futures contracts allow buyers and sellers to agree to purchase or sell a particular security at a predetermined future date and price.

Risks of Derivatives Trading

There are a few risks when trading derivatives:

  • You could lose money if the price of the underlying security or commodity goes down.
  • You could be exposed to financial risks if the derivatives contract doesn’t meet its terms.
  • You could be subject to counterparty risk – meaning that you could lose money if the other party to the contract doesn’t live up to their end of the deal.

What are some tips for trading derivatives?

Here are a few tips to help you trade derivatives safely and profitably:

  • Do your research – understand the risks involved in each derivative contract that you are considering.
  • Stay consistent with your trading – keep to the same trading plan, and don’t overreact to small changes in the market.
  • Use limit orders – this will help you avoid entering into derivatives contracts that you can’t afford to lose.
  • Use margin – this will help you protect your investment if the market goes against you.


Derivatives trading is a powerful tool that can help you make money – and protect your investments. Be sure to understand the risks involved, and use tips like margin and limit orders to make sure that you are making the most of your investment.