A “future” is a contract that requires an investor to purchase a commodity at a certain price on a
given date – in the future. These contracts can be bought and sold up until that specified date.
Mutual funds and institutional investors do most of the index futures trading.
Stock futures of the S&P 500, Nasdaq, and the Dow Indexes trade from 4:45 pm to 9:15 am EST,
closing 15 minutes before the market opens in New York.
If you listen to the business news early in the morning, before the market opens, you will here
that the “futures are up” or the “futures are down”.