All futures trading is done in three month periods. For the purposes of betting on the FTSE, there are as follows:
- Period 1: 1st January – 3rd Friday in March
- Period 2: Last week in March – 3rd Friday in June.
- Period 3: Last week in June – 3rd Friday in September.
- Period 4: Last week in September – 3rd Friday in December.
These trading periods are the most common. There are different trading periods for different markets though. You will need to check these in the handbook, supplied free when you open an account with one of the spread betting companies. When you place your bets, you must specify which date you are talking about, and there are several options. With the FTSE you might be able to bet:
- Current Month
- Next Month
- Final month ending on the 3rd Friday of that month
- Next quarter, last month only.
For instance, it is January 1st. Your options are:
- Close of market today, January 1st
- January FTSE (current month)
- February FTSE (next month)
- March FTSE (last month of quarter up to 3rd Friday)
- June FTSe (last month of next quarter)
For example it is March 10th. Your options are:
- Close of market today, March 10th
- March FTSE (current month)
- April FTSE (next month)
- June FTSE (last month of next quarter)
One comment on the interest component of Futures. When you purchase a futures contract you are NOT charged interest as an extra cost. When I made the point about interest on futures I was hoping to explain that there is an interest component built in to the price, hence the higher prices for further out month contracts.
The interest costs charged on a spread betting daily rolling contracts is calculated daily on a mark to market basis. In other words, at the end of the day you are charged interest on the size of the position at the time. Of course this has a two way effect, a smaller charger on a smaller position and so on, but it did need to be pointed out.