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futures

definition

A market in which exchange-traded contracts commit buyers and sellers to the actual exchange of physical commodities or financial instruments at a future date and at an agreed-upon price. Businesses that use commodities in the manufacture or production of their products often use the futures market as a hedge against future adverse price changes. Most futures traders, however, employ futures contracts for speculative investing. In either case, a contract that is resold prior to the contract month averts an obligation to take or make a delivery of the underlying asset. The futures market is regulated and overseen by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). See Derivative.