Futures and Options (F&O) trading offers investors and traders an array of opportunities to capitalize on market movements and diversify their portfolios. Among the two major types of derivatives, futures contracts are one of the most powerful instruments for speculation on future asset prices. Choosing the right futures contract is a critical decision to make or break your F&O trading strategy. 

Due to the wide variety of futures contracts available across different asset classes, it becomes essential to identify the one that is most suitable for your financial goals. This comprehensive guide explains how to pick the right futures contract when trading F&O. With the right tools and knowledge; you will be able to make informed decisions that are aligned with your risk tolerance and market insight.

What Is a Future Contract?

It is a standardized financial agreement between two parties to buy or sell an underlying asset at a predetermined price at a future date. There are several types of underlying assets, including commodities, stocks, bonds, currencies, and indices. Various financial markets trade futures contracts to hedge against price fluctuations, speculate on future price movements, and manage risk. 

On the expiration date of these contracts, both buyers and sellers are required to comply with the terms of the agreement. Financial markets rely heavily on futures trading because it allows participants to benefit from price movements without actually owning the underlying assets.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Futures Contract

Look for the following points while picking a future contract:

Underlying Asset

Your first step is figuring out what underlying asset you want to trade. Equity indices, individual stocks, commodities, and currencies are all available as futures contracts. Invest in assets that align with your trading strategy and market knowledge.

Expiration Date

Futures contracts have an expiration date. When picking a contract for F&O trading, you should consider its expiration. Long-term traders might like contracts with longer expirations, while short-term traders might like contracts with shorter expirations.


A contract’s liquidity refers to how easy it is to buy and sell it without significantly changing its price. The more liquid the contract, the tighter the bid-ask spread and the lower the transaction costs. For smooth execution, make sure the futures contract you pick has enough liquidity.

Trading Hours

Contracts for futures have specific trading hours, and they can vary by exchange. You should pick a trading schedule that works for you.


The volatility of an asset measures how much it fluctuates. It’s possible to make more money through high volatility, but it’s also riskier. Consider your risk tolerance when choosing a futures contract.

Margin Requirements

In the world of finance, understanding what is derivatives trading is crucial as futures trading, being a type of derivative, involves leveraging capital, and each contract has specific margin requirements. Hence, it is essential to comprehend the margin requirements and ensure you have sufficient funds to cover them.

Market Conditions

Analyze the current economic and market conditions. There may be macroeconomic factors, geopolitical events, or industry-specific news that affect the performance of certain assets.

Risk-Reward Ratio

Analyze the potential risk-reward ratio of the futures contract. Make sure your risk management strategy aligns with the potential profit versus the potential loss.

Contract Specifications

Know the contract specifications, such as the size of the contract, the tick size, and the tick value. You can calculate potential gains or losses more accurately if you understand these details.

Trading Platform

Make sure your F&O trades are executed on a reliable and easy-to-use trading platform. It serves as the gateway to the financial markets, enabling traders to place orders, access real-time market data, conduct technical analysis, and manage their positions efficiently. Using a stock market app can streamline the process and provide real-time market data and analysis.


In F&O trading, picking the right futures contract is crucial to success. To make the right choice, several factors must be taken into consideration, including the underlying asset, the expiration date, liquidity, volatility, margin requirements, and risk-reward ratio. The key to making well-informed decisions is to stay up-to-date with market conditions and economic trends that might affect the assets that they choose. The overall F&O trading experience can also be enhanced with a reliable and user-friendly trading platform. To be successful in F&O trading, you need discipline, risk management, and continuous learning. Kotak Securities offers traders a range of resources to help them optimize their trading strategies and achieve their financial goals.