How to Buy and Sell Futures in the Indian Market

If you’re intrigued by the world of stock futures and want to know how to buy and sell them like a pro in the Indian market, you’re in the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we will demystify stock futures, explore stock futures investing, and provide valuable insights tailored for Indian investors.

What Are Stock Futures?

Stock futures are financial derivatives that allow investors to speculate on the future price of a particular stock or index. They are standardized contracts that obligate the buyer to purchase and the seller to sell a specified quantity of underlying securities at a predetermined price on a future date. These contracts enable traders to bet on whether the price of the underlying asset will rise or fall.

Example: Suppose you believe that the shares of a leading Indian company are poised for growth. You can buy a stock futures contract at the current market price, speculating that the stock’s value will increase by the contract’s expiration date.

How to Buy Stock Futures in India

  • Choose a Reputable Brokerage

Open a trading account with a brokerage firm that specializes in stock futures trading. Ensure that they are SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) registered.

  • Complete the Required Documentation

Provide the necessary documentation, including identity and address proof, to fulfill regulatory requirements.

  • Understand Margin Requirements

Your broker will determine your margin requirements based on factors like your risk tolerance, financial situation, and trading experience. Be prepared to deposit the required margin.

  • Educate Yourself

Invest time in learning about stock futures, trading strategies, and risk management. Practice with paper trading to gain confidence.

  • Start Trading

Once you’re comfortable, start trading stock futures by placing orders through your brokerage account.

How to Sell Stock Futures in India

Selling stock futures, also known as short selling, involves betting that the price of the underlying asset will decrease. Here’s how to sell stock futures:

  • Open a Trading Account

If you don’t already have one, open a trading account with a SEBI-registered brokerage firm.

  • Complete Necessary Documentation

Provide your identity and address proof to comply with regulatory requirements.

  • Understanding Short Selling

Short selling involves borrowing shares from your broker and selling them in the market. You’ll later buy back the shares at a potentially lower price to return to the lender.

  • Margin Requirements

Understand the margin requirements for short selling. Your broker will specify the margin you need to cover potential losses.

  • Execute Short Sell Orders

Place short-sell orders through your brokerage account. Ensure you have the necessary margin to cover potential losses.

Stock Futures vs. Other Investments

To truly understand the potential of stock futures, it’s essential to distinguish them from other investment options like stocks, options, and mutual funds.

Stock Futures vs. Stocks

Stock futures provide leverage, allowing you to control a larger position with a relatively small amount of capital.

Stock ownership involves dividend payments and voting rights, which are not applicable to futures.

Stock Futures vs. Options

While both offer leverage, options grant the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an asset, whereas futures require execution.

Stock futures have fewer complexities in terms of strategies compared to options.

Stock Futures vs. Mutual Funds

Mutual funds pool investors’ money to invest in various assets, including stocks and bonds, while stock futures are direct contracts.

Futures trading is more flexible, with the ability to go long (buy) or short (sell) positions.

Types of Stock Futures

Stock futures offer a wide range of trading opportunities. Here are some common types of stock futures contracts in India:

  • Stock Index Futures

These contracts are based on stock market indices like the Nifty 50 and Sensex. They allow you to speculate on the overall market direction.

  • Single Stock Futures

These futures are linked to individual stocks, such as Reliance Industries or TCS. You can trade them based on your analysis of specific companies.

  • Sectoral Index Futures

These futures focus on specific sectors, like banking or technology. They provide exposure to a particular industry’s performance.

Benefits of Stock Futures Investing

Stock futures offer several advantages for Indian investors:

  • Leverage

With a relatively small investment, you can control a larger position in the market.

  • Diversification

Stock futures allow you to diversify your portfolio beyond traditional stocks and bonds.

  • Hedging

You can use stock futures to hedge your existing stock holdings, protecting them from adverse price movements.

  • Short Selling

Stock futures enable you to profit from falling markets by taking short positions.

FAQs| Buying and Selling Futures in India

How do people purchase futures?

People acquire futures by opening a trading account, depositing margin funds, selecting a specific futures contract, placing an order with contract details and quantity, monitoring market movements, and either offsetting the position or settling it in cash before the contract’s expiration date. Source 1 Source 2

How can you acquire futures on the stock market?

You can obtain futures on the stock market by choosing an underlying asset, such as a stock index or individual stocks, for your futures contract. These contracts are traded on exchanges like the National Stock Exchange (NSE) or the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in India. Source 1 Source 2

How much capital is needed to purchase futures?

The capital required to buy futures depends on the margin requirement set by the broker and the exchange. Margin is a percentage of the total contract value that traders must deposit. The specific amount varies based on factors like the underlying asset, contract size, expiry date, and market conditions. 

Can futures be purchased without funds?

No, purchasing futures is not possible without funds. Futures trading necessitates maintaining a margin account with a broker and depositing margin funds before entering any futures contract. Margin funds act as collateral and are essential for engaging in futures contracts.


Disclaimer: Investments in the securities market are subject to market risks; read all the related documents carefully before investing.