What is futures symbology?
Futures symbols are comprised of three elements:
- The symbol root
- The expiration month
- The expiration year
There can be many active futures symbols to trade for a single market with different expiration months and years.
What defines a futures trading symbol?
A typical futures symbol at NinjaTrader may look like this: ES SEP23, where ES is the symbol root, SEP represents the expiration month (September), and 23 represents the expiration year (2023).
The symbol root is one or more characters (letters and numbers) that identify the exact futures contract to trade. Examples include Crude Oil (CL), Gold (GC), E-Mini S&P 500 (ES), and so on). The symbol root is generally established by the futures exchange.
At NinjaTrader, the contract month is a three-letter code that indicates the expiration month: January (JAN), February (FEB), March (MAR), April (APR), May (MAY), June (JUN), July (JUL), August (AUG), September (SEP), October (OCT), November (NOV), and December (DEC). The exact day of the month that a contract expires can be different for each futures market.
The contract year is a two number representation of the expiration year where 23 would refer to 2023.
Examples of futures trading symbols
Included below are examples of some popular contract symbols for futures products traded by NinjaTrader users.
- MES MAR24: Micro E-mini expiring March 2024
- CL JUN24: Crude Oil expiring June 2024
- ZN SEP24: 10-Year Notes expiring September 2024
- GC DEC24: Gold expiring December 2024
View supported product symbols for contracts supported at NinjaTrader Brokerage.
Practice futures trading with our free simulator
Trading can be stressful when you have real money on the line
—so be prepared for the real-world trading environment when you join it. Sharpen your trading skills and test your ideas risk-free in a simulated trading environment featuring live streaming market data.