How Do Futures Margins Differ from Margins on Stocks and Equities?

I am trading stock on day trading basis, and moving (rather integrating) futures now into the mix. However, I wonder how Optimus Futures calculates it’s margins and how does the exchange plays a role in the borrowing? If it helps, all I wish to trade is ES and NQ contracts.

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Hello @EquityKicking, and thank you for your question. In the equity markets there is borrowing (according to T-reg), and in the Futures market, there is a performance bond that a trader has to place when trading a specific Futures market. Neither the exchange or the executing Futures broker lends money to the Futures trader.

Each specific market has its own performance bond that may change periodically due to volatility. It may go up or down.

The initial margin is set in place for overnight holding. The day trading margins are set by the FCM or Broker.

We hope this helps.

Matt Z
Optimus Futures


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So the CME sets the initial margins but the broker decides what is the margin for day trading. This means that you decide how many contracts are held when I daytrade?

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Yes. The day session for the CME stops every day at 5 PM EST/4PM CST. However, based on the FCM (clearing) you choose the day session may end before. Please check with us before opening an account.

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Do day trading sessions have maintenance margins?

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Good question. They do not. However, you are responsible for maintaining a positive balance and having enough margin if positions are held overnight. Just another point: if positions are held overnight, initial margins must be maintained. If they fall below maintenance, they must be brought back to intial.