Futures Symbology

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).

  • Symbol root
    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.

  • Contract month
    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.

  • Contract year
    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.

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