Across the board

All the months of a particular futures contract or futures option contract, for example, if all the copper contracts open limit up, they were limit up “across the board.”

Actuals

The physical or cash commodity, which is different from a futures contract. See Cash commodity.

Arbitrage

The purchase of a commodity against the simultaneous sale of a commodity to profit from unequal prices. The two transactions may take place on different exchanges, between two different commodities, in different delivery months, or between the cash and futures markets. See Spreading.

Arbitration

The procedure available to customers for the settlement of disputes. Brokers and exchange members are required to participate in arbitration to settle disputes. Arbitration is available through the exchanges, the NFA, and the CFTC.

Assignment

Options are exercised through the option purchaser’s broker, who notifies the clearinghouse of the option’s exercise. The clearinghouse then notifies the option seller that the buyer has exercised. When futures options are exercised, the buyer of a call is assigned a long futures contract, and the seller receives the corresponding short. Conversely, the buyer of a put is assigned a short futures contract upon exercise, while the seller receives the corresponding long.

At the market

When issued, this order is to buy or sell a futures or options contract as soon as possible at the best possible price. See Market order.

At-the-money

An option is at-the-money when its strike price is equal, or approximately equal, to the current market price of the underlying futures contract.