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Best Trading Platforms for E-Mini Futures • Benzinga

Many investors are intrigued by futures — they offer numerous benefits. A futures contract is a legal agreement to buy or sell a standardized asset at a predetermined price at a specific time in future. They are an efficient way to seek profits by taking a position on the market’s direction using a limited amount…

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Many investors are intrigued by futures — they offer numerous benefits. A futures contract is a legal agreement to buy or sell a standardized asset at a predetermined price at a specific time in future. They are an efficient way to seek profits by taking a position on the market’s direction using a limited amount of money. They can also help you hedge risks. 

Some investors are deterred by the amount of capital you have to commit to futures. Consider E-mini futures — a line of bite-sized futures contracts designed to make futures more accessible to retail traders.

E-minis are 1/5th the size of the standard S&P futures contract. E-mini futures are almost similar to their full-sized counterparts, but they add the benefit of less margin needed so they are available for the less capitalized traders. E-mini futures let you gain exposure to these 4 major U.S. indices:

  • S&P 500
  • NASDAQ 100
  • Dow Jones
  • Russell 2000

Best Trading Platforms for E-Mini Futures

Are you looking for new market alternatives? You should consider the benefits of playing “small ball.” The electronically traded E-mini futures have become more popular than their big brothers. They offer the benefits of U.S. equities while eliminating most of the drawbacks associated with traditional investment practices.

Low commissions and margins are just the tip of the iceberg when choosing the best trading software for E-mini futures. Serious futures traders must take into consideration a conglomerate of requirements: execution speed, client support, trading and research tools and ease of use. 

You should also consider your trading style and what features are essential in maximizing profits. Here are Benzinga’s recommendations for futures brokers to trade E-mini futures.


$0.79/side ($0.25 Micro E-Mini)

Account Minimum



Are you an active futures trader? Look no further than Tradovate. Tradovate offers a Netflix-like approach to commission-free trading and cloud-based solutions. You’ll get an integrated experience you can carry seamlessly across any device whenever you want it. 

Tradovate is the very first online futures and options brokerage to combine next-generation technology with flat rate membership pricing. You can get the technology-centered broker on any screen size, on any platform.

Tradovate delivers a seamless futures trading experience by offering:

  • One place to fill all your needs 
  • A pricing model that saves you money over the traditional commission model 
  • Improves the customer experience
  • Gets rid of fragmentation (other offerings require you to go through a software provider, then find a brokerage, then find an FCM) — which adds costs 

$6.95 for OTC Stocks

Account Minimum


TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade is touted as one of the best platforms for rookie traders looking to give futures a try – with over 70 futures products. You’ll need a $1,500 minimum account balance for margin accounts.

The brokerage boasts an elite trading platform, thinkorswim, and its mobile companion that let you trade futures on the go. Real-time education, key insights and market trends are available through daily TV programs offered by the TD Ameritrade Network. Its futures knowledge center offers even more articles, videos, insights and resources to help you master futures trading.

Your application for a trading account is processed in 1-3 days. You’ll need a minimum net liquidation value of $25,000 if you are applying to trade futures in an IRA.


$0.005 per share
minimum $1 and maximum 0.5% of trade value; volume discount available

Account Minimum


Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers has been — for 10 consecutive years — Barron’s best online broker, offering a suite of trading platforms to optimize your trading speed and efficiency. The brokerage provides a gateway to over 125 markets worldwide as well as access to market data 24 hours a day, 6 days a week.

A host of free trading tools allow you to spot market opportunities, manage your account and analyze results. Over 100 order types help you execute virtually any trading strategy. Futures and futures options trading fees are as low as $0.85, representing some of the lowest in the market. 

Interactive Brokers also received the lowest cost broker rating from Barron’s. On demand learning is also available, thanks to a host of resources, including webinars, the Traders’ Academy, IBKR Trader’s insight and the Quant blog.



Account Minimum



TradeStation is for seasoned traders who are looking for a comprehensive platform with professional-grade tools, fully-operational app and a vast array of tradable securities. The platform equally caters for rookie traders with its TS GO account that requires a $0 minimum account balance to open. Advanced traders can sign up for the TS Select account, which requires a $2,000 minimum account balance to get started. 

TradeStation also offers a Simulated Trading tool that lets you practice executing orders, using the brokerage’s suite of analysis and charting tools and testing trading strategies.


$0.09 per micro contract

Account Minimum



NinjaTrader is a great platform for beginners and advanced traders. Beginners can use the collection of technical analysis tools, a demo trading account and a 2-week free trial when you sign up. NinjaTrader allows you to use its trading software — for free — once you fund your brokerage account. You may also lease the software and get access to charts, market analysis and simulated trading among other essentials for E-mini futures trading. 

Commissions start as low as $0.09 and you only need $400 to open a trading account. You can get lower commissions by buying a lifetime license.



Account Minimum



E*TRADE offers over 60 types of futures contracts to trade, including bitcoin futures and market indices. The brokerage lets you trade on your mobile device or desktop anytime during the 24/6 trading sessions with Power E*TRADE mobile app and Power E*TRADE. It will cost you $1.50 per contract on futures and options on futures. 

The brokerage is synonymous with pro-level tools that let you trade futures along with other asset classes, formulate trading strategies with over 100 technical studies and directly trade, modify or cancel orders. Its Futures Research Center lets you get trading insights from seasoned professionals as well as explore real-time futures market data. To trade futures, you need an eligible IRA account or margin-enabled brokerage account. There are no minimum funding requirements.

E-Mini Futures vs. Traditional Futures

You’re probably wondering, what are E-mini futures? Well, there isn’t much difference between E-mini futures and their larger, standard counterparts. Both futures are great trading tools. The main difference is that you may commit to smaller amounts of money by trading E-minis rather than the traditional futures.

To help you better understand E-minis and traditional futures, we describe the similarities and differences for more insight.


  • E-mini futures and traditional futures are usually based on the same underlying index.
  • Both futures have similar tick sizes for calendar spread trades of 0.05 index points.


  • An E-mini contract value is 1/5th of the standard futures contract.
  • E-mini tick sizes are different – $0.25 or $12.50 per tick for E-minis and $0.10 or $25 per tick for traditional futures.
  • E-minis have only 5 quarterly contracts listed for trading.

Pros of E-Mini Futures

Tailored to the retail investor and trader, E-mini contracts offer a host of benefits which include:

  • Around-the-clock trading
  • Added flexibility for portfolio diversification
  • A lower financial risk and investment
  • Easier to understand compared to other investing options

Cons of E-Mini Futures

  • Fast moving, making it easy to lose a lot of money in a short period
  • Risk of overtrading

Pros of Traditional Futures

  • Tax benefits
  • Simple pricing
  • Leverage lets you gain significant market exposure

Cons of Traditional Futures

  • No control over future events
  • High leverage resulting in rapid price changes

Do E-Mini Futures Have a Place in Your Portfolio?

E-minis aren’t all that different from the traditional, full-sized contracts. They are part of the chain of futures options — which are getting smaller — starting from regular futures to E-minis to micro E-mini futures. 

Whether you’re looking to capitalize on the price swings in the commodity markets or want to hedge specific elements of your portfolio, futures trading may fit your bill. And if you’re just getting your feet wet, start with the basics to learn the ins and outs of the market.

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Donald Trump blasts ‘fools’ who oppose good Russian ties

US President-elect Donald Trump has posted a progression of tweets censuring the individuals who contradict great relations with Russia as “‘dumb’ individuals, or nitwits”.

Mr Trump promised to work with Russia “to comprehend a portion of the numerous… squeezing issues and issues of the WORLD!”

His remarks came after an insight report said Russia’s leader had attempted to help a Trump race triumph.

Mr Trump said Democrats were to be faulted for “gross carelessness” in permitting their servers to be hacked.

In a progression of tweets on Saturday, Mr Trump said that having a decent association with Russia was “no terrible thing” and that “lone “idiotic” individuals, or simpletons, would believe that it is awful!”

He included that Russia would regard the US increasingly when he was president

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Bulls and Bears Took on More Currency Exposure in Week Through January

he most striking improvement among theoretical situating toward the finish of a year ago and the primary session of 2017 is not that modification were little. There was just a single gross theoretical position modification of more than 10k contracts. With sterling apparently not able to maintain even humble upticks, the bears added 13.1k contracts to the gross short position, lifting it to 120.2k contracts.

Or maybe, it is eminent that examiners for the most part added to positions, long and short, as opposed to close positions at the very end of the year. Examiners added to net long outside cash prospects positions, aside from in the Japanese yen and Swiss franc where 2.6k and 2.5k contracts were exchanged separately. Examiners likewise added to gross short positions. Here there was just a single exemption, the Japanese yen. Despite the fact that the dollar shut comprehensively higher in front of the end of the week, every one of the monetary forms we track here, spare the Mexican peso, picked up against the dollar in the three sessions since the finish of the CFTC reporting period.

Every once in a while it is helpful to review why many market members take a gander at the theoretical situating in the cash fates advertise. It is not that the outside trade is essentially a prospects showcase. It is principally an over-the-counter market in which every day turnover midpoints in abundance of $5 trillion a day.

Trade exchanged monetary forms and alternatives represented around 3% of the normal day by day turnover as indicated by the BIS study. Be that as it may, past reviews have discovered some contemporaneous connection between’s market heading and net position changes. We think it additionally offers knowledge into a specific market section of pattern supporters and energy brokers. It is not by any means the only device, yet one of a few data sources.

One ramifications of this is albeit theoretical positions in the money fates market are moderately extensive, it is still little contrasted and the money showcase. Along these lines, it is difficult to see the genuine essentialness of a record vast position, as though there is some market top. At some point, examiners are not driving the costs, possibly there is another fragment, national banks, enterprises, as well as genuine cash that is more essential at any given minute.

We invest some energy taking a gander at gross positions instead of just net theoretical positions, which is the more customary approach. We think a more granular look is frequently fundamental. There is a distinction between short-covering, for instance, and new purchasing, however it appears to be identical in the net. Additionally, the gross position is the place the introduction is not the net position. A net position of zero does not mean the market is nonpartisan. Net positions could be huge, which implies a short press or a negative stun could in any case troublesome. The positions that must be balanced are captured in the gross measure not the net figure.

We find numerous customers are likewise keen on theoretical situating in the US Treasuries and oil. The net and gross short theoretical Treasury position has swelled to new records. The bears added 23.8k contracts to the as of now record net short position, lifting it to 616.2k contracts. The bulls attempted to pick a base and added about 20k contracts to the gross long position, which now remains at 471.2k contracts. These modification prompted to a 3.8k contract increment in the net short position to 344.9k contracts.

The bulls delayed in the oil prospects toward the finish of 2016. They exchanged short of what one thousand contracts, leaving 608.1k gross in length contracts. The bears added 4.1k contracts to the gross short position, giving them 168k. These conformities trimmed the net long position by very nearly 5k contracts to 440.1k.

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3 ways to profit in the ‘year of the dollar’

In December, the Federal Reserve raised loan fees for the second time since the Great Recession and included the desire of a 2017 financing cost climb to its gauge. Furthermore, only a couple days prior, the abundantly anticipated minutes from the most recent Fed meeting demonstrated the most hawkish tone from the national bank in two years.

In the meantime, Europe has been dove into political turmoil after a year ago’s Brexit vote and the later abdication of Italy’s leader. Somewhere else, the Bank of Japan proceeds down the way of negative rates and forceful security purchasing.

Put it all together, and it isn’t astounding that the U.S. Dollar Index is up against 14-year highs.

Speculators may have missed so much discussion on account of babble about the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the end of the day almost hitting 20,000. Be that as it may, paying little respect to your assignment to stocks or your venture skyline, this sort of huge picture incline in the dollar implies right now is an ideal opportunity to position your portfolio to benefit and, maybe most critical, to keep away from a portion of the pitfalls that can originate from a solid local cash.

Here are a couple ideas dollar exchanges ought to consider:

Residential plays over multinationals

There’s a considerable measure of seek after shopper stocks in 2017 on account of an enhancing work market and any desires for a jolt under a GOP-controlled Congress and President Donald Trump. In any case, remember that not all retailers are made equivalent especially those with abroad operations that are adversely affected by the wide dissimilarity in monetary standards at this moment.

For example, retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc.(WMT) said troublesome money trade rates shaved very nearly 2.5% off profit for each partake in the second quarter of 2016. On the other hand consider that in the monetary final quarter of 2016, athletic attire goliath Nike Inc.(NKE) saw its income development cut down the middle because of forex weights, from 12% year-over-year in consistent cash measures to only 6% including real money changes.

To take advantage of the “reflation” exchange that numerous financial specialists are counts on in 2017, you need to represent the headwinds that a solid dollar are making for multinationals at this moment. The most ideal approach to do that is to consider customer plays that do by far most of their business here in the U.S. – for example, Foot Locker Inc.(FL), which has been an uncommon splendid spot in retail throughout the most recent couple of years.

Supported money ETFs

Obviously, in the event that you need a steady portfolio, you can’t just purchase just local centered values. Geographic expansion is similarly as imperative as enhancement crosswise over parts and resource classes. Such a large number of financial specialists keep on holding worldwide plays in light of a legitimate concern for a balanced portfolio, regardless of the possibility that it implies battling a daunting struggle as a result of a solid dollar.

The uplifting news, notwithstanding, is that you don’t need to leave yourself to torment through a solid dollar and a powerless euro when you put resources into Europe. Nor do you need to stress over the yen-dollar conversion standard when you put resources into Japan. That is on account of there’s an entire group of cash supported ETFs to permit financial specialists to put their cash in outside business sectors yet keep away from forex issues.

Consider that Japan’s Nikkei 225 file is up around 25% from its July 2016 lows. The WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund(DXJ) is up 35% in a similar period on account of assurance from forex issues and a somewhat better-performing rundown of stocks – while the non-supported iShares MSCI Japan ETF(EWJ) is up only 10% in a similar period because of battling a difficult task against a solid dollar.

In the event that you need to differentiate your portfolio comprehensively, you ought to consider supported assets that incorporate the Japan-centered DXJ, the WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund(HEDJ) to play Europe or the iShares money Hedged MSCI EAFE ETF (HEFA) for developing markets.

Dollar list ETF

In the event that you are searching for an immediate play on a rising dollar as opposed to putting resources into stocks, figuring out how to exchange remote trade can appear like an overwhelming undertaking. Gratefully, there’s the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish Fund(UUP).

This ETF is attached to the U.S. Dollar Index, which is a measure of the greenback against a wicker container of other worldwide monetary standards including the yen and the euro. It’s a straight money play, however that doesn’t make it straightforward or hazard free. In the event that the dollar debilitates, you’ll lose cash similarly as though you’re putting resources into a stock that has fallen on difficult circumstances. Furthermore, obviously, PowerShares takes a little cut of your speculations en route that indicates 0.8% yearly, or $80 a year on each $10,000 contributed.

Still, in the event that you need to conjecture on the dollar or support against a solid U.S. cash keeping down other worldwide ventures on your rundown, it’s maybe the least demanding approach to do as such for generally financial specialists.

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