Derivatives, such as futures or options, are financial contracts which derive their value from a spot price, which is called the “underlying”. For example, wheat farmers may wish to enter into a contract to sell their harvest at a future date to eliminate the risk of a change in prices by that date. Such a transaction would take place through a forward or futures market. This market is the “derivatives market”, and the prices of this market would be driven by the spot market price of wheat which is the “underlying”. The term “contracts” is often applied to denote the specific traded instrument, whether it is a derivative contract in wheat, gold or equity shares. The world over, derivatives are a key part of the financial system. The most important contract types are futures and options, and the most important underlying markets are equity, treasury bills, commodities, foreign exchange, real estate etc.
There are two types of derivatives instruments traded on NSE; namely Futures and Options :
Futures: A futures contract is an agreement between two parties to buy or sell an asset at a certain time in the future at a certain price. All the futures contracts are settled in cash at NSE.
Options: An Option is a contract which gives the right, but not an obligation, to buy or sell the underlying at a stated date and at a stated price. While a buyer of an option pays the premium and buys the right to exercise his option, the writer of an option is the one who receives the option premium and therefore obliged to sell/buy the asset if the buyer exercises it on him.
Options are of two types – Calls and Puts options:
“Calls” give the buyer the right but not the obligation to buy a given quantity of the underlying asset, at a given price on or before a given future date.
“Puts” give the buyer the right, but not the obligation to sell a given quantity of underlying asset at a given price on or before a given future date. All the options contracts are settled in cash.