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Definition of Future

Future Image 1


A term used to designate all contracts covering the sale of financial instruments or physical
commodities for future delivery on a commodity exchange.

Related Terms:

Currency future

A financial future contract for the delivery of a specified foreign currency.

Deferred futures

The most distant months of a futures contract. A bond that sells at a discount and does not
pay interest for an initial period, typically from three to seven years. Compare step-up bond and payment-inkind

Expected future cash flows

Projected future cash flows associated with an asset of decision.

Expected future return

The return that is expected to be earned on an asset in the future. Also called the
expected return.

Financial future

A contract entered into now that provides for the delivery of a specified asset in exchange
for the selling price at some specified future date.

Future investment opportunities

The options to identify additional, more valuable investment opportunities
in the future that result from a current opportunity or operation.

Future-Oriented Financial Information

Information about prospective results of operations, financial position and/or changes in financial position, based on assumptions about future economic conditions and courses of action. future-oriented financial information is presented as either a forecast or a projection.

Future Image 2

Future value

The amount of cash at a specified date in the future that is equivalent in value to a specified
sum today.

Future Value

The amount a given payment, or series of payments, will be worth
at the end of a specified time period, if invested at a given rate

future value

the amount to which one or more sums of
money invested at a specified interest rate will grow over
a specified number of time periods

Future value

The value that a sum of money (the present value) earning
compound interest will have in the future.

future value

Amount to which an investment will grow after earning interest.

Future Value

The amount to which a payment or series of payments will grow by a given future date when compounded by a given interest rate. FVIF future value interest factor.


A term used to designate all contracts covering the sale of financial instruments or physical
commodities for future delivery on a commodity exchange.

Futures commission merchant

A firm or person engaged in soliciting or accepting and handling orders for
the purchase or sale of futures contracts, subject to the rules of a futures exchange and, who, in connection
with such solicitation or acceptance of orders, accepts any money or securities to margin any resulting trades
or contracts. The FCM must be licensed by the CFTC. Related: commission house , omnibus account

Futures contract

Agreement to buy or sell a set number of shares of a specific stock in a designated future
month at a price agreed upon by the buyer and seller. The contracts themselves are often traded on the futures
market. A futures contract differs from an option because an option is the right to buy or sell, whereas a
futures contract is the promise to actually make a transaction. A future is part of a class of securities called
derivatives, so named because such securities derive their value from the worth of an underlying investment.

Future Image 3

futures contract

Exchange-traded promise to buy or sell an asset in the future at a prespecified price.

Futures Contract

A contract in which the seller agrees to provide something to a buyer at a specified future date at an agreed price.

Futures contract multiple

A constant, set by an exchange, which when multiplied by the futures price gives
the dollar value of a stock index futures contract.

Futures market

A market in which contracts for future delivery of a commodity or a security are bought or sold.

Futures option

An option on a futures contract. Related: options on physicals.

Futures price

The price at which the parties to a futures contract agree to transact on the settlement date.

London International Financial Futures Exchange (LIFFE)

A London exchange where Eurodollar futures
as well as futures-style options are traded.

London International Financial Futures Exchange (LIFFE)

London exchange where Eurodollar futures as well as futures-style options are traded.

Most distant futures contract

When several futures contracts are considered, the contract settling last.
Related: nearby futures contract

National Futures Association (NFA)

The futures industry self regulatory organization established in 1982.

Nearby futures contract

When several futures contracts are considered, the contract with the closest
settlement date is called the nearby futures contract. The next futures contract is the one that settles just after
the nearby futures contract. The contract farthest away in time from settlement is called the most distant
futures contract.

Net present value of future investments

The present value of the total sum of NPVs expected to result from
all of the firm's future investments.

Next futures contract

The contract settling immediately after the nearby futures contract.

Spot futures parity theorem

Describes the theoretically correct relationship between spot and futures prices.
Violation of the parity relationship gives rise to arbitrage opportunities.

Theoretical futures price

Also called the fair price, the equilibrium futures price.


The physical commodity underlying a futures contract. Cash commodity, physical.


One who uses statistical information to evaluate the probability of future events and prices insurance products.

Advance commitment

A promise to sell an asset before the seller has lined up purchase of the asset. This
seller can offset risk by purchasing a futures contract to fix the sales price.


Probable future economic benefit that is obtained or controlled by an entity as a result of
a past transaction or event.


Using past data to predict future data.

Average life

Also referred to as the weighted-average life (WAL). The average number of years that each
dollar of unpaid principal due on the mortgage remains outstanding. Average life is computed as the weighted average time to the receipt of all future cash flows, using as the weights the dollar amounts of the principal


A market condition in which futures prices are lower in the distant delivery months than in
the nearest delivery month. This situation may occur in when the costs of storing the product until eventual
delivery are effectively subtracted from the price today. The opposite of contango.

basic earnings per share (EPS)

This important ratio equals the net
income for a period (usually one year) divided by the number capital
stock shares issued by a business corporation. This ratio is so important
for publicly owned business corporations that it is included in the daily
stock trading tables published by the Wall Street Journal, the New York
Times, and other major newspapers. Despite being a rather straightforward
concept, there are several technical problems in calculating
earnings per share. Actually, two EPS ratios are needed for many businesses—
basic EPS, which uses the actual number of capital shares outstanding,
and diluted EPS, which takes into account additional shares of
stock that may be issued for stock options granted by a business and
other stock shares that a business is obligated to issue in the future.
Also, many businesses report not one but two net income figures—one
before extraordinary gains and losses were recorded in the period and a
second after deducting these nonrecurring gains and losses. Many business
corporations issue more than one class of capital stock, which
makes the calculation of their earnings per share even more complicated.


Regarding a futures contract, the difference between the cash price and the futures price observed in the
market. Also, it is the price an investor pays for a security plus any out-of-pocket expenses. It is used to
determine capital gains or losses for tax purposes when the stock is sold.

big bath

A street-smart term that refers to the practice by many businesses
of recording very large lump-sum write-offs of certain assets or
recording large amounts for pending liabilities triggered by business
restructurings, massive employee layoffs, disposals of major segments of
the business, and other major traumas in the life of a business. Businesses
have been known to use these occasions to record every conceivable
asset write-off and/or liability write-up that they can think of in
order to clear the decks for the future. In this way a business avoids
recording expenses in the future, and its profits in the coming years will
be higher. The term is derisive, but investors generally seem very forgiving
regarding the abuses of this accounting device. But you never
know—investors may cast a more wary eye on this practice in the future.

Big Bath

A wholesale write-down of assets and accrual of liabilities in an effort to make the
balance sheet particularly conservative so that there will be fewer expenses to serve as a drag on future earnings.


Usually a fixed interest security under which the issuer contracts to pay the lender a fixed principal amount at a stated date in the future, and a series of interest payments, either semi-annually or annually. Interest payments may vary through the life of bond.


A plan expressed in monetary terms covering a future period of time and based on a defined
level of activity.


a financial plan for the future based on a single level
of activity; the quantitative expression of a company’s commitment
to planned activities and resource acquisition and use


A set of interlinked plans that quantitatively describe a company’s projected
future operations.


An option that gives the right to buy the underlying futures contract.

Callable bond

A bond that allows the issuer to buy back the bond at a
predetermined price at specified future dates. The bond contains an embedded
call option; i.e., the holder has sold a call option to the issuer. See Puttable


a) Physical capital: buildings, equipment, and any materials used to produce other goods and services in the future rather than being consumed today.
b) Financial capital: funds available for acquiring real capital.
c) Human capital: the value of the education and experience that make people more productive.

capital budgeting

a process of evaluating an entity’s proposed
long-range projects or courses of future activity for
the purpose of allocating limited resources to desirable

Capital budgeting

The series of steps one follows when justifying the decision to purchase
an asset, usually including an analysis of costs and related benefits, which
should include a discounted cash flow analysis of the stream of all future cash flows
resulting from the purchase of the asset.

capital investment analysis

Refers to various techniques and procedures
used to determine or to analyze future returns from an investment
of capital in order to evaluate the capital recovery pattern and the
periodic earnings from the investment. The two basic tools for capital
investment analysis are (1) spreadsheet models (which I strongly prefer)
and (2) mathematical equations for calculating the present value or
internal rate of return of an investment. Mathematical methods suffer
from a lack of information that the decision maker ought to consider. A
spreadsheet model supplies all the needed information and has other
advantages as well.

Capitalization Rate

A discount rate used to find the present value of a series of future cash receipts. Sometimes called discount rate.

Capitalized Cost An expenditure or accrual that is reported as an asset to be amortized against

future-period revenue.

Capitalized Expenditures

Expenditures that are accounted for as assets to be amortized
against income in future periods as opposed to current-period expenses.

Cash and carry

Purchase of a security and simultaneous sale of a future, with the balance being financed
with a loan or repo.

Cash commodity

The actual physical commodity, as distinguished from a futures contract.

Cash delivery

The provision of some futures contracts that requires not delivery of underlying assets but
settlement according to the cash value of the asset.

Cash settlement contracts

futures contracts, such as stock index futures, that settle for cash, not involving
the delivery of the underlying.

Cash transaction

A transaction where exchange is immediate, as contrasted to a forward contract, which
calls for future delivery of an asset at an agreed-upon price.


The Commodity futures Trading Commission is the federal agency created by Congress to regulate
futures trading. The Commodity Exchange Act of 1974 became effective April 21, 1975. Previously, futures
trading had been regulated by the Commodity Exchange Authority of the USDA.

Change in Accounting Estimate

A change in accounting that occurs as the result of new information
or as additional experience is acquired—for example, a change in the residual values
or useful lives of fixed assets. A change in accounting estimate is accounted for prospectively,
over the current and future accounting periods affected by the change.

Cheapest to deliver issue

The acceptable Treasury security with the highest implied repo rate; the rate that a
seller of a futures contract can earn by buying an issue and then delivering it at the settlement date.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)

A not-for-profit corporation owned by its members. Its primary
functions are to provide a location for trading futures and options, collect and disseminate market information,
maintain a clearing mechanism and enforce trading rules.

Child Insurance Rider (CIR)

Insurance or insurability provided on current or future children of insured.

Clearing house / Clearinghouse

An adjunct to a futures exchange through which transactions executed its floor are settled by a
process of matching purchases and sales. A clearing organization is also charged with the proper conduct of
delivery procedures and the adequate financing of the entire operation.

Commission house

A firm which buys and sells future contracts for customer accounts. Related: futures
commission merchant, omnibus account.


A trader is said to have a commitment when he assumes the obligation to accept or make
delivery on a futures contract. Related: Open interest

Commodities Exchange Center (CEC)

The location of five New York futures exchanges: Commodity
Exchange, Inc. (COMEX), the New York Mercantile exchange (NYMEX), the New York Cotton Exchange,
the Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa exchange (CSC), and the New York futures exchange (NYFE). common size
statement A statement in which all items are expressed as a percentage of a base figure, useful for purposes of
analyzing trends and the changing relationship between financial statement items. For example, all items in
each year's income statement could be presented as a percentage of net sales.


A commodity is food, metal, or another physical substance that investors buy or sell, usually via
futures contracts.

Constant-growth model

Also called the Gordon-Shapiro model, an application of the dividend discount
model which assumes (1) a fixed growth rate for future dividends and (2) a single discount rate.


A market condition in which futures prices are higher in the distant delivery months.

Contingent Liability

An obligation that is dependent on the occurrence or nonoccurrence of
one or more future events to confirm the existence of an obligation, the amount owed, the payee,
or the date payable.

continuous budgeting

a process in which there is a rolling
twelve-month budget; a new budget month (twelve months
into the future) is added as each current month expires

Continuous Discounting

The process of calculating the present value of a stream of future
cash flows by discounting over a continuous period of time


A term of reference describing a unit of trading for a financial or commodity future. Also, the actual
bilateral agreement between the buyer and seller of a transaction as defined by an exchange.

Contract month

The month in which futures contracts may be satisfied by making or accepting a delivery.
Also called value managers, those who assemble portfolios with relatively lower betas, lower price-book and
P/E ratios and higher dividend yields, seeing value where others do not.

Convenience yield

The extra advantage that firms derive from holding the commodity rather than the future.

Conventional project

A project with a negative initial cash flow (cash outflow), which is expected to be
followed by one or more future positive cash flows (cash inflows).


The movement of the price of a futures contract toward the price of the underlying cash
commodity. At the start, the contract price is higher because of the time value. But as the contract nears
expiration, the futures price and the cash price converge.

Conversion factors

Rules set by the Chicago Board of Trade for determining the invoice price of each
acceptable deliverable Treasury issue against the Treasury Bond futures contract.

Conversion Right

Term life insurance products are offered as non-convertible or convertible to a certain time in the future. The coversion right has a time limit, usually to the policy holder's age 60 or possibly even age 70. This right means that the policy holder has the right to convert their existing policy to another specific different plan of permanent insurance within the specified time period, without providing evidence of insurability. There is a slightly higher cost for a term policy with the conversion priviledge but it is a valuable feature should a policy holder's health change for the worst and continued insurance coverage becomes a necessity.
Most often this right is also granted to individuals covered under employee group benefit policies where individuals leaving the employee group have a limited amount of time, usually anywhere from 30 to 90 days, to convert to a specific permanent individual policy without evidence of insurability.

Cookie Jar Reserves

An overly aggressive accrual of operating expenses and the creation of
liability accounts done in an effort to reduce future-year operating expenses.

Creative Acquisition Accounting

The allocation to expense of a greater portion of the price
paid for another company in an acquisition in an effort to reduce acquisition-year earnings and
boost future-year earnings. Acquisition-year expense charges include purchased in-process research
and development and an overly aggressive accrual of costs required to effect the acquisition.


Buying or selling goods or services now with the intention of payment following at some time in
the future (as opposed to buying or selling goods or services for cash).

Credit analysis

The process of analyzing information on companies and bond issues in order to estimate the
ability of the issuer to live up to its future contractual obligations. Related: default risk

Cross hedging

The practice of hedging with a futures contract that is different from the underlying being

Current Ratio

Current assets divided by current liabilities. This ratio indicates the extent to which the claims of short-term creditors are covered by assets expected to be converted to cash in the near future.

Debt Capacity

An assessment of ability and willingness to repay a loan from anticipated future cash flow or other sources.

Deferred Annuity

An annuity providing for income payments to commence at a specified future time.

Deferred Tax Asset

future tax benefit that results from (1) the origination of a temporary difference
that causes pretax book income to be less than taxable income or (2) a loss, credit, or other
carryforward. future tax benefits are realized on the reversal of deductible temporary differences
or the offsetting of a loss carryforward against taxable income or a tax-credit carryforward against
the current tax provision.

Deferred Tax Liability

future tax obligation that results from the origination of a temporary
difference that causes pretax book income to exceed taxable income.

Deliverable instrument

The asset in a forward contract that will be delivered in the future at an agree-upon price.


The tender and receipt of an actual commodity or financial instrument in settlement of a futures contract.

Delivery notice

The written notice given by the seller of his intention to make delivery against an open, short
futures position on a particular date. Related: notice day

Delivery options

The options available to the seller of an interest rate futures contract, including the quality
option, the timing option, and the wild card option. Delivery options make the buyer uncertain of which
Treasury Bond will be delivered or when it will be delivered.

Delivery points

Those points designated by futures exchanges at which the financial instrument or
commodity covered by a futures contract may be delivered in fulfillment of such contract.

Delivery price

The price fixed by the Clearing house at which deliveries on futures are in invoiced; also the
price at which the futures contract is settled when deliveries are made.

Derivative instruments

Contracts such as options and futures whose price is derived from the price of the
underlying financial asset.







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