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CFTC Glossary

  • A Guide to the Language of the Futures Industry


    OCO: See One Cancels the Other Order.

    Offer: An indication of willingness to sell at a given price; opposite of bid, the price level of the offer may be referred to as the ask.

    Off Exchange: See Over-the-Counter.

    Offset: Liquidating a purchase of futures contracts through the sale of an equal number of contracts of the same delivery month, or liquidating a short sale of futures through the purchase of an equal number of contracts of the same delivery month. See Closing Out and Cover.

    Omnibus Account: An account carried by one futures commission merchant, the carrying FCM, for another futures commission merchant, the originating FCM, in which the transactions of two or more persons, who are customers of the originating FCM, are combined and carried by the carrying FCM. Omnibus account titles must clearly show that the funds and trades therein belong to customers of the originating FCM. An originating broker must use an omnibus account to execute or clear trades for customers at a particular exchange where it does not have trading or clearing privileges.

    On Track (or Track Country Station): (1) A type of deferred delivery in which the price is set f.o.b. seller's location, and the buyer agrees to pay freight costs to his destination; (2) commodities loaded in railroad cars on tracks.

    One Cancels the Other (OCO) Order: A pair of orders, typically limit orders, whereby if one order is filled, the other order will automatically be cancelled. For example, an OCO order might consist of an order to buy 10 calls with a strike price of 50 at a specified price or buy 20 calls with a strike price of 55 (with the same expiration date) at a specified price.

    One-to-Many: Refers to a proprietary trading platform in which the platform operator posts bids and offers for commodities, derivatives, or other instruments and serves as a counterparty to every transaction executed on the platform. In contrast to many-to-many platforms, one-to-many platforms are not considered trading facilities under the Commodity Exchange Act.

    Opening Price (or Range): The price (or price range) recorded during the period designated by the exchange as the official opening.

    Opening: The period at the beginning of the trading session officially designated by the exchange during which all transactions are considered made "at the opening."

    Open Interest: The total number of futures contracts long or short in a delivery month or market that has been entered into and not yet liquidated by an offsetting transaction or fulfilled by delivery. Also called open contracts or open commitments.

    Open Order (or Orders): An order that remains in force until it is canceled or until the futures contracts expire. See Good 'Till Canceled and Good This Week orders.

    Open Outcry: A method of public auction, common to most U.S. commodity exchanges during the 20th century, where trading occurs on a trading floor and traders may bid and offer simultaneously either for their own accounts or for the accounts of customers. Transactions may take place simultaneously at different places in the trading pit or ring. At most exchanges open outcry has been replaced or largely replaced by electronic trading platforms.  See Specialist System.

    Open Trade Equity: The unrealized gain or loss on open futures positions.

    Option: A contract that gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a specified quantity of a commodity or other instrument at a specific price within a specified period of time, regardless of the market price of that instrument. Also see Put and Call.

    Option Buyer: The person who buys calls, puts, or any combination of calls and puts.

    Option Delta: See Delta.

    Option Writer: The person who originates an option contract by promising to perform a certain obligation in return for the price or premium of the option. Also known as option grantor or option seller.

    Option Pricing Model: A mathematical model used to calculate the theoretical value of an option. Inputs to option pricing models typically include the price of the underlying instrument, the option strike price, the time remaining till the expiration date, the volatility of the underlying instrument, and the risk-free interest rate (e.g., the Treasury bill interest rate). Examples of option pricing models include Black-Scholes and Cox-Ross-Rubinstein.

    Original Margin: Term applied to the initial deposit of margin money each clearing member firm is required to make according to clearing organization rules based upon positions carried, determined separately for customer and proprietary positions; similar in concept to the initial margin or security deposit required of customers by exchange rules. See Initial Margin.

    OTC: See Over-the-Counter.

    Out of Position: See In Position.

    Out-Of-The-Money: A term used to describe an option that has no intrinsic value. For example, a call with a strike price of $400 on gold trading at $390 is out-of-the-money 10 dollars.

    Outright: An order to buy or sell only one specific type of futures contract; an order that is not a spread order.

    Out Trade: A trade that cannot be cleared by a clearing organization because the trade data submitted by the two clearing members or two traders involved in the trade differs in some respect (e.g., price and/or quantity). In such cases, the two clearing members or traders involved must reconcile the discrepancy, if possible, and resubmit the trade for clearing. If an agreement cannot be reached by the two clearing members or traders involved, the dispute would be settled by an appropriate exchange committee.

    Overbought: A technical opinion that the market price has risen too steeply and too fast in relation to underlying fundamental factors. Rank and file traders who were bullish and long have turned bearish.

    Overnight Trade: A trade which is not liquidated during the same trading session during which it was established.

    Oversold: A technical opinion that the market price has declined too steeply and too fast in relation to underlying fundamental factors; rank and file traders who were bearish and short have turned bullish.

    Over-the-Counter (OTC): The trading of commodities, contracts, or other instruments not listed on any exchange. OTC transactions can occur electronically or over the telephone. Also referred to as Off-Exchange.