Stock Market Futures
Stock market futures is a term given to the means of entering into a contract for a buying or selling a specific amount of stock market index sometime in the future. Usually the trader will buy or sell the current quoted price of a futures contract, and can buy or sell it again to create profit or let it expire. More often than not the trader is looking to close the position before the expiry date, however there are ways of rolling over the positions to other contracts still trading.
Other than traders, financial institutions can buy into certain contracts as hedges against open stock positions in markets amongst other things. For instance a fund may have invested long term into a particular stock on the Dow Jones index. However the markets in general are not doing so well. A position selling the Dow Jones index (which can be closed before expiry) can help hedge the movement of the whole index against the stock investment made.
People who feel they might be interested in trading stock market futures must be totally aware of the fact that this is an extremely competitive market to be involved in. Many think it to be the most competitive of all investing products. They should also be aware of the fact that successful trading in stock market futures requires consistently gathering and breaking down information on things like deforestation, debt, weather, government and politics around the entire world
To be able to navigate the world of stock market futures succesfully then it's also very important to stay ahead of the news related to each market. Websites such as Bloomberg.com and Yahoo Finance are great places to start. They give you tables with all the latest prices and up to the minute news covering economic issues. There are numerous other websites specially dedicated to futures and trading, it's really worth taking some time to use Google and save a bunch of the best ones to your computers favorites.