The Dow Jones Industrial Average is perhaps the best known industrial index anywhere in the world, first published by Charles Dow on May 26, 1896, it’s gone on to become a vital barometer of U.S. markets.
Originally named after Dow and his business partner Edward Jones, it represents the 30 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. It’s actually the second index that Dow published after the Dow Jones Transportation Average, which is now somewhat forgotten.
Dow Jones Industrial Futures
Dow Jones futures are derivatives contracts traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Trading of these contracts takes place using the traditional open outcry method as well as the more modern electronic Globex platform. A number of Dow Jones futures can be traded; we’ve outlined the three most popular below.
E-mini Dow Futures (YM)
The E-mini Dow (YM) is a mini futures contract which trades at $5/point instead of the $25/point of a standard contract. Traded solely on the electronic Globex platform it offers smaller traders the chance to trade Dow futures.
The E-mini Dow (YM) has four contracts which expire on the 3rd Friday of March, June, September and December. It’s a cash settled contract so no actual delivery takes place.
$10 Futures (DJ)
Perhaps the most popular of the Dow futures, the $10 future (DJ) is halfway between an e-mini and a standard contract. The DIJA is traded using the traditional open outcry method and the electronic Globex trading platform. Traded quarterly like its little sister the contract months are: March, June, September and December.
Standard Dow Futures (DD)
Standard Dow Index Futures were originally developed to track the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI). They began trading in early 2006 and are offered via the traditional open outcry method and the electronic Globex platform.
The value of each standard DOW contract is $25 and they’re traded from 5 p.m. EST to 3:15 p.m. EST the following trading day. They expire quarterly on the third Friday of March, June, September and December.
Where Can You Get Started Trading Dow Futures?
Most retail brokers offer access to Dow futures using their standard trading platforms. You can usually find all three of the above contracts offered in one form or another. As always when you’re trading futures you can lose more money than you deposit. So be careful and never trade with money you can’t afford to lose.
If you’re new to futures I suggest you start by reading our futures trading basics article which will give you a thorough understanding of what futures are and how to trade them. Once you’ve covered the basics, sign-up for an account with a broker that offers a virtual account and try out a few practice trades yourself. Rule number one in futures trading is protect your capital, so never begin trading with real money until you can consistently turn a profit in a virtual environment. When you can do that you’re ready to open a real money account and jump into the bear pit.