Mastering the Market: Advanced Futures Trading Techniques

3 minutes, 13 seconds Read

Futures trading is a high-stakes game where fortunes are made and lost by the tick of a clock. For those who have already dipped their toes into the futures market and emerged with a taste for more, there’s a world beyond basic strategies and tactics. It’s a domain where sophisticated techniques come into play, employing a combination of art and science alongside an intimate understanding of market dynamics. Here, we’ll explore some of the advanced trading methods that can give you a considerable edge in the unforgiving world of futures trading review.

Spread Trading

At its core, spread trading is the art of playing the difference between two prices. It involves taking simultaneous long and short positions in related instruments, aiming to profit from changes in the relative prices that those positions reflect. This strategy minimizes risk due to changing market conditions — it can be thought of as hedging with a profit motive by your side. Calendar spreads, inter-market spreads, and commodity spreads are just a few spread trading methods that advanced traders leverage.

Calendar Spreads

Also known as time or horizontal spreads, calendar spreads involve buying and selling futures contracts with the same index, but different expiration dates. This technique hones in on contrasting scenarios where the near-term contract might be priced lower or higher than its long-term counterpart, aiming to profit as the two converge or diverge. Traders can play seasonality, anticipated market trends, or economic events that fall within or outside the time frame of their selected contracts.

Inter-Market Spreads

These spreads are transactions undertaken between correlated assets in different markets. A classic example is the gold-silver spread, with the relationship often influenced by interest rates and inflation. Traders can take advantage of misalignments in the spread by buying one asset in one market and selling the other asset in another market when the spread is wider or narrower than historical averages or fundamental analysis suggest it should be.

Options on Futures

Option trading carries a level of complexity that can be daunting, but when handled well, it can offer a palate of strategies not available to simple future contracts. Options on futures extend the horizon of futures trading by offering more flexible ways to manage risk, speculate, or increase profit potential.

Straddles and Strangles

These strategies involve buying a call and a put on the same underlying futures contract. In the case of straddles, they have the same strike price and expiration date. With strangles, the options have the same expiration date but different strike prices. These strategies profit from significant future price volatility without any preference in the direction of that price change.

Technical Analysis

While basic technical indicators like moving averages and MACD are useful, advanced traders often layer several indicators to form a more comprehensive view of market trends and potential signals. This may include more sophisticated indicators like Bollinger Bands, Relative Strength Index (RSI), or On-Balance Volume (OBV). They also account for market sentiment and sound chart pattern recognition to empower their trading decisions.

Chart Patterns and Candlestick Analysis

Chart patterns, such as head and shoulders, flags, triangles, and cup and handles, often signal potential price movements to the aware observer. Advanced traders interpret them within the context of volume and time, and combine them with candlestick analysis, which provides insight into the psychological battle between buyers and sellers at critical price levels.


Advanced futures trading techniques require a formidable skill set and a relentless commitment to analyzing, learning, and evolving. They also demand a degree of finesse and a healthy respect for market uncertainty. Before plunging into these advanced methods, it’s crucial to approach them with caution. Paper trading or using a simulator can be a wise move to test strategies and understand their real-world implications. Remember, the best traders are not unyielding, but those who constantly adapt while sticking to their principles.


David Cohen

Rachel Cohen: Rachel is a sustainability consultant who blogs about corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices.

Similar Posts