Let’s face it…futures trading can at times be counterintuitive. Traditionally, there are two prices – the bid and the ask. The bid is the highest price that everyone else is willing to pay for something. This is where you’re supposed to sell. The ask represents the lowest price at which everyone else is willing to sell something. This is where you’re supposed to buy. Retail futures traders have been expected to trade at the mercy of the market makers’ bid-ask spreads. OptionsHouse begs to differ.
New to OH 2.0, the Trading Ladder allows you to place orders that make intuitive sense. Do you see the red and green bars under the Bid and Ask columns? Click on any green bar under the Bid column to join the buyers and to become part of the overall market bid. Click on any red bar under the Ask column to join the sellers and to become a part of the overall market ask.
For example, if you wanted to buy futures at 2355.00, you’d click on the green bar to the left of the 2355.00 strike. Note that the green bar has the number 286 in it: That’s the current number of futures contracts already bidding 2355.00. You’re going to be joining them. Hence, if you were to place an order to buy 10 contracts, you’d see that number rise to 296, as you’d now be represented as part of the bid.
You can set your desired quantity, order type (limit or market), and duration (day or GTC) using the blue buttons at the top of the Ladder.
Two Ways to Place an Order
At OptionsHouse, we know that for some of you, speed is of the essence. So if you’ve got more of that “ready, fire, aim” mentality, we have an Auto Send feature. Simply look for the words “Auto Send” at the top right of the Ladder. You can toggle that label between “ON” and “OFF”. If you see a green box with the word “ON” as shown in this image , then you have the green light to instantly send your order to the market without having to devote any precious seconds to double-checking your order.
For the rest of us mere mortals who prefer to be safe than sorry, click on the green box and make sure it turns red so you can see the word “OFF” as shown in this image . If this is the case, then when you click on a green bar, a pre-populated Buy ticket appears so that you can preview and confirm your buy order. Clicking on a red bar will bring up the Sell ticket so you can confirm your sell order. Happy Trading!