As an equity trader, have you ever been locked out of trading due to a day trading violation? Or have you missed an opportunity due to short selling restrictions?

Missed opportunities can be costly, so we will look at some of the restrictions for day trading cash equity products and compare that to day trading with futures.

The Power of Leverage

Leverage can seem risky, but when used properly it is a game-changer. Leverage is the ability to control a large contract value with a relatively small amount of capital. In the futures market, that capital is called performance bond, or initial margin, and is typically 3-12% of a contract's notional or cash value.


Assume that one E-mini S&P 500 future has a value of $103,800. You initiate a position by posting an initial margin of at least $5,060. In other words, you will have exposure to $103,800, but you have only put down a small percentage of the value. This is called greater capital efficiency.


Futures trading contains substantial risk and is not for every investor. An investor could potentially lose all or more than the initial investment. Risk capital is money that can be lost without jeopardizing ones’ financial security or lifestyle. Only risk capital should be used for trading and only those with sufficient risk capital should consider trading. This is neither a solicitation nor an offer to buy or sell futures, options or forex. No representation is being made that any account will or is likely to achieve profits or losses similar to those discussed here. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

Algorithmic trading programs, in general, are also subject to the fact that they are designed with the benefit of hindsight. No representation is being made that any account will or is likely to achieve profit or losses similar to those shown. Testimonials appearing may not be representative of other clients or customers and is not a guarantee of future performance or success.