Optionen derivate


Hence, a forward contract arrangement might call for the loss party to pledge collateral or additional collateral to better secure the party at gain.

In finance , a 'futures contract' more colloquially, futures is a standardized contract between two parties to buy or sell a specified asset of standardized quantity and quality for a price agreed upon today the futures price with delivery and payment occurring at a specified future date, the delivery date , making it a derivative product i.

The contracts are negotiated at a futures exchange , which acts as an intermediary between buyer and seller. The party agreeing to buy the underlying asset in the future, the "buyer" of the contract, is said to be " long ", and the party agreeing to sell the asset in the future, the "seller" of the contract, is said to be " short ".

While the futures contract specifies a trade taking place in the future, the purpose of the futures exchange is to act as intermediary and mitigate the risk of default by either party in the intervening period. For this reason, the futures exchange requires both parties to put up an initial amount of cash performance bond , the margin.

Margins, sometimes set as a percentage of the value of the futures contract, need to be proportionally maintained at all times during the life of the contract to underpin this mitigation because the price of the contract will vary in keeping with supply and demand and will change daily and thus one party or the other will theoretically be making or losing money.

To mitigate risk and the possibility of default by either party, the product is marked to market on a daily basis whereby the difference between the prior agreed-upon price and the actual daily futures price is settled on a daily basis. This is sometimes known as the variation margin where the futures exchange will draw money out of the losing party's margin account and put it into the other party's thus ensuring that the correct daily loss or profit is reflected in the respective account.

If the margin account goes below a certain value set by the Exchange, then a margin call is made and the account owner must replenish the margin account.

This process is known as "marking to market". Thus on the delivery date, the amount exchanged is not the specified price on the contract but the spot value i. Upon marketing the strike price is often reached and creates lots of income for the "caller". A closely related contract is a forward contract.

A forward is like a futures in that it specifies the exchange of goods for a specified price at a specified future date. However, a forward is not traded on an exchange and thus does not have the interim partial payments due to marking to market.

Nor is the contract standardized, as on the exchange. Unlike an option , both parties of a futures contract must fulfill the contract on the delivery date. The seller delivers the underlying asset to the buyer, or, if it is a cash-settled futures contract, then cash is transferred from the futures trader who sustained a loss to the one who made a profit.

To exit the commitment prior to the settlement date, the holder of a futures position can close out its contract obligations by taking the opposite position on another futures contract on the same asset and settlement date. The difference in futures prices is then a profit or loss..

A mortgage-backed security MBS is a asset-backed security that is secured by a mortgage , or more commonly a collection "pool" of sometimes hundreds of mortgages. The mortgages are sold to a group of individuals a government agency or investment bank that " securitizes ", or packages, the loans together into a security that can be sold to investors.

The structure of the MBS may be known as "pass-through", where the interest and principal payments from the borrower or homebuyer pass through it to the MBS holder, or it may be more complex, made up of a pool of other MBSs. Other types of MBS include collateralized mortgage obligations CMOs, often structured as real estate mortgage investment conduits and collateralized debt obligations CDOs.

The shares of subprime MBSs issued by various structures, such as CMOs, are not identical but rather issued as tranches French for "slices" , each with a different level of priority in the debt repayment stream, giving them different levels of risk and reward. The total face value of an MBS decreases over time, because like mortgages, and unlike bonds , and most other fixed-income securities, the principal in an MBS is not paid back as a single payment to the bond holder at maturity but rather is paid along with the interest in each periodic payment monthly, quarterly, etc.

This decrease in face value is measured by the MBS's "factor", the percentage of the original "face" that remains to be repaid. In finance , an option is a contract which gives the buyer the owner the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an underlying asset or instrument at a specified strike price on or before a specified date.

The seller has the corresponding obligation to fulfill the transaction—that is to sell or buy—if the buyer owner "exercises" the option. The buyer pays a premium to the seller for this right. An option that conveys to the owner the right to buy something at a certain price is a " call option "; an option that conveys the right of the owner to sell something at a certain price is a " put option ". Both are commonly traded, but for clarity, the call option is more frequently discussed.

Options valuation is a topic of ongoing research in academic and practical finance. In basic terms, the value of an option is commonly decomposed into two parts:. Although options valuation has been studied since the 19th century, the contemporary approach is based on the Black—Scholes model , which was first published in Options contracts have been known for many centuries.

However, both trading activity and academic interest increased when, as from , options were issued with standardized terms and traded through a guaranteed clearing house at the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Today, many options are created in a standardized form and traded through clearing houses on regulated options exchanges , while other over-the-counter options are written as bilateral, customized contracts between a single buyer and seller, one or both of which may be a dealer or market-maker.

Options are part of a larger class of financial instruments known as derivative products or simply derivatives. A swap is a derivative in which two counterparties exchange cash flows of one party's financial instrument for those of the other party's financial instrument. The benefits in question depend on the type of financial instruments involved. For example, in the case of a swap involving two bonds , the benefits in question can be the periodic interest coupon payments associated with such bonds.

Specifically, two counterparties agree to the exchange one stream of cash flows against another stream. These streams are called the swap's "legs". The swap agreement defines the dates when the cash flows are to be paid and the way they are accrued and calculated. Usually at the time when the contract is initiated, at least one of these series of cash flows is determined by an uncertain variable such as a floating interest rate , foreign exchange rate , equity price, or commodity price.

The cash flows are calculated over a notional principal amount. Contrary to a future , a forward or an option , the notional amount is usually not exchanged between counterparties. Consequently, swaps can be in cash or collateral. Swaps can be used to hedge certain risks such as interest rate risk , or to speculate on changes in the expected direction of underlying prices.

Swaps were first introduced to the public in when IBM and the World Bank entered into a swap agreement. In a nutshell, there is a substantial increase in savings and investment in the long run due to augmented activities by derivative market participant. For exchange-traded derivatives, market price is usually transparent often published in real time by the exchange, based on all the current bids and offers placed on that particular contract at any one time.

Complications can arise with OTC or floor-traded contracts though, as trading is handled manually, making it difficult to automatically broadcast prices. In particular with OTC contracts, there is no central exchange to collate and disseminate prices. The arbitrage-free price for a derivatives contract can be complex, and there are many different variables to consider.

Arbitrage-free pricing is a central topic of financial mathematics. However, for options and more complex derivatives, pricing involves developing a complex pricing model: A key equation for the theoretical valuation of options is the Black—Scholes formula , which is based on the assumption that the cash flows from a European stock option can be replicated by a continuous buying and selling strategy using only the stock.

A simplified version of this valuation technique is the binomial options model. OTC represents the biggest challenge in using models to price derivatives. Since these contracts are not publicly traded, no market price is available to validate the theoretical valuation. Most of the model's results are input-dependent meaning the final price depends heavily on how we derive the pricing inputs. Yet as Chan and others point out, the lessons of summer following the default on Russian government debt is that correlations that are zero or negative in normal times can turn overnight to one — a phenomenon they term "phase lock-in.

The use of derivatives can result in large losses because of the use of leverage , or borrowing. Derivatives allow investors to earn large returns from small movements in the underlying asset's price. However, investors could lose large amounts if the price of the underlying moves against them significantly.

There have been several instances of massive losses in derivative markets, such as the following:. Some derivatives especially swaps expose investors to counterparty risk , or risk arising from the other party in a financial transaction. For example, standardized stock options by law require the party at risk to have a certain amount deposited with the exchange, showing that they can pay for any losses; banks that help businesses swap variable for fixed rates on loans may do credit checks on both parties.

However, in private agreements between two companies, for example, there may not be benchmarks for performing due diligence and risk analysis. Derivatives typically have a large notional value. As such, there is the danger that their use could result in losses for which the investor would be unable to compensate.

The possibility that this could lead to a chain reaction ensuing in an economic crisis was pointed out by famed investor Warren Buffett in Berkshire Hathaway 's annual report. Buffett called them 'financial weapons of mass destruction. Investors begin to look at the derivatives markets to make a decision to buy or sell securities and so what was originally meant to be a market to transfer risk now becomes a leading indicator.

See Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report for Under US law and the laws of most other developed countries, derivatives have special legal exemptions that make them a particularly attractive legal form to extend credit.

This can contribute to credit booms, and increase systemic risks. In the context of a examination of the ICE Trust , an industry self-regulatory body, Gary Gensler , the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission which regulates most derivatives, was quoted saying that the derivatives marketplace as it functions now "adds up to higher costs to all Americans.

Additionally, the report said, "[t]he Department of Justice is looking into derivatives, too. The department's antitrust unit is actively investigating 'the possibility of anticompetitive practices in the credit derivatives clearing, trading and information services industries,' according to a department spokeswoman. For legislators and committees responsible for financial reform related to derivatives in the United States and elsewhere, distinguishing between hedging and speculative derivatives activities has been a nontrivial challenge.

The distinction is critical because regulation should help to isolate and curtail speculation with derivatives, especially for "systemically significant" institutions whose default could be large enough to threaten the entire financial system. At the same time, the legislation should allow for responsible parties to hedge risk without unduly tying up working capital as collateral that firms may better employ elsewhere in their operations and investment.

More importantly, the reasonable collateral that secures these different counterparties can be very different. The distinction between these firms is not always straight forward e.

Finally, even financial users must be differentiated, as 'large' banks may classified as "systemically significant" whose derivatives activities must be more tightly monitored and restricted than those of smaller, local and regional banks. The law mandated the clearing of certain swaps at registered exchanges and imposed various restrictions on derivatives. The Commission determines which swaps are subject to mandatory clearing and whether a derivatives exchange is eligible to clear a certain type of swap contract.

Nonetheless, the above and other challenges of the rule-making process have delayed full enactment of aspects of the legislation relating to derivatives. The challenges are further complicated by the necessity to orchestrate globalized financial reform among the nations that comprise the world's major financial markets, a primary responsibility of the Financial Stability Board whose progress is ongoing.

On December 20, the CFTC provided information on its swaps regulation "comparability" determinations. The release addressed the CFTC's cross-border compliance exceptions. Specifically it addressed which entity level and in some cases transaction-level requirements in six jurisdictions Australia, Canada, the European Union, Hong Kong, Japan, and Switzerland it found comparable to its own rules, thus permitting non-US swap dealers, major swap participants, and the foreign branches of US Swap Dealers and major swap participants in these jurisdictions to comply with local rules in lieu of Commission rules.

DTCC , through its "Global Trade Repository" GTR service, manages global trade repositories for interest rates, and commodities, foreign exchange, credit, and equity derivatives. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Time deposit certificate of deposit. Accounting Audit Capital budgeting. Risk management Financial statement.

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Private equity and venture capital Recession Stock market bubble Stock market crash. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. October Learn how and when to remove this template message. List of trading losses. Credit derivative Equity derivative Exotic derivative Financial engineering Foreign exchange derivative Freight derivative Inflation derivative Interest rate derivative Property derivatives Weather derivative.

American Bankruptcy Law Journal. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency , U. Retrieved February 15, A derivative is a financial contract whose value is derived from the performance of some underlying market factors, such as interest rates, currency exchange rates, and commodity, credit, or equity prices.

Derivative transactions include an assortment of financial contracts, including structured debt obligations and deposits, swaps, futures, options, caps, floors, collars, forwards, and various combinations thereof. Derivatives for Decision Makers: Options, Futures and Other Derivatives 6th ed. Retrieved October 23, Retrieved May 10, Institutions, Regulation and Policy.

Fiscal Years to PDF. Retrieved March 15, A big battle is unfolding over an even bigger market". In search of growth". Retrieved May 12, Retrieved September 14, Chance; Robert Brooks Introduction to Derivatives and Risk Management 8th ed. The market risk inherent in the underlying asset is attached to the financial derivative through contractual agreements and hence can be traded separately. Derivatives therefore allow the breakup of ownership and participation in the market value of an asset.

This also provides a considerable amount of freedom regarding the contract design. That contractual freedom allows to modify the participation in the performance of the underlying asset almost arbitrarily. Thus, the participation in the market value of the underlying can be effectively weaker, stronger leverage effect , or implemented as inverse. Hence, specifically the market price risk of the underlying asset can be controlled in almost every situation.

There are two groups of derivative contracts: Derivatives are more common in the modern era, but their origins trace back several centuries. One of the oldest derivatives is rice futures, which have been traded on the Dojima Rice Exchange since the eighteenth century.

Derivatives may broadly be categorized as "lock" or "option" products. Lock products such as swaps , futures , or forwards obligate the contractual parties to the terms over the life of the contract. Option products such as interest rate swaps provide the buyer the right, but not the obligation to enter the contract under the terms specified. Derivatives can be used either for risk management i. This distinction is important because the former is a prudent aspect of operations and financial management for many firms across many industries; the latter offers managers and investors a risky opportunity to increase profit, which may not be properly disclosed to stakeholders.

Along with many other financial products and services, derivatives reform is an element of the Dodd—Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of The Act delegated many rule-making details of regulatory oversight to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission CFTC and those details are not finalized nor fully implemented as of late Still, even these scaled down figures represent huge amounts of money.

And for one type of derivative at least, Credit Default Swaps CDS , for which the inherent risk is considered high [ by whom? It was this type of derivative that investment magnate Warren Buffett referred to in his famous speech in which he warned against "financial weapons of mass destruction". Lock products are theoretically valued at zero at the time of execution and thus do not typically require an up-front exchange between the parties.

Based upon movements in the underlying asset over time, however, the value of the contract will fluctuate, and the derivative may be either an asset i. Importantly, either party is therefore exposed to the credit quality of its counterparty and is interested in protecting itself in an event of default. Option products have immediate value at the outset because they provide specified protection intrinsic value over a given time period time value. One common form of option product familiar to many consumers is insurance for homes and automobiles.

The insured would pay more for a policy with greater liability protections intrinsic value and one that extends for a year rather than six months time value.

Because of the immediate option value, the option purchaser typically pays an up front premium. Just like for lock products, movements in the underlying asset will cause the option's intrinsic value to change over time while its time value deteriorates steadily until the contract expires. An important difference between a lock product is that, after the initial exchange, the option purchaser has no further liability to its counterparty; upon maturity, the purchaser will execute the option if it has positive value i.

Derivatives allow risk related to the price of the underlying asset to be transferred from one party to another. For example, a wheat farmer and a miller could sign a futures contract to exchange a specified amount of cash for a specified amount of wheat in the future. Both parties have reduced a future risk: However, there is still the risk that no wheat will be available because of events unspecified by the contract, such as the weather, or that one party will renege on the contract. Although a third party, called a clearing house , insures a futures contract, not all derivatives are insured against counter-party risk.

From another perspective, the farmer and the miller both reduce a risk and acquire a risk when they sign the futures contract: The miller, on the other hand, acquires the risk that the price of wheat will fall below the price specified in the contract thereby paying more in the future than he otherwise would have and reduces the risk that the price of wheat will rise above the price specified in the contract. In this sense, one party is the insurer risk taker for one type of risk, and the counter-party is the insurer risk taker for another type of risk.

Hedging also occurs when an individual or institution buys an asset such as a commodity, a bond that has coupon payments , a stock that pays dividends, and so on and sells it using a futures contract. The individual or institution has access to the asset for a specified amount of time, and can then sell it in the future at a specified price according to the futures contract.

Of course, this allows the individual or institution the benefit of holding the asset, while reducing the risk that the future selling price will deviate unexpectedly from the market's current assessment of the future value of the asset.

Derivatives trading of this kind may serve the financial interests of certain particular businesses. The corporation is concerned that the rate of interest may be much higher in six months. The corporation could buy a forward rate agreement FRA , which is a contract to pay a fixed rate of interest six months after purchases on a notional amount of money.

If the rate is lower, the corporation will pay the difference to the seller. The purchase of the FRA serves to reduce the uncertainty concerning the rate increase and stabilize earnings. Derivatives can be used to acquire risk, rather than to hedge against risk. Thus, some individuals and institutions will enter into a derivative contract to speculate on the value of the underlying asset, betting that the party seeking insurance will be wrong about the future value of the underlying asset.

Speculators look to buy an asset in the future at a low price according to a derivative contract when the future market price is high, or to sell an asset in the future at a high price according to a derivative contract when the future market price is less. Individuals and institutions may also look for arbitrage opportunities, as when the current buying price of an asset falls below the price specified in a futures contract to sell the asset.

Speculative trading in derivatives gained a great deal of notoriety in when Nick Leeson , a trader at Barings Bank , made poor and unauthorized investments in futures contracts. The true proportion of derivatives contracts used for hedging purposes is unknown, [25] but it appears to be relatively small. In broad terms, there are two groups of derivative contracts, which are distinguished by the way they are traded in the market:.

According to the Bank for International Settlements , who first surveyed OTC derivatives in , [29] reported that the " gross market value , which represent the cost of replacing all open contracts at the prevailing market prices, Because OTC derivatives are not traded on an exchange, there is no central counter-party. Therefore, they are subject to counterparty risk , like an ordinary contract , since each counter-party relies on the other to perform.

An "asset-backed security" is used as an umbrella term for a type of security backed by a pool of assets—including collateralized debt obligations and mortgage-backed securities Example: An empirical analysis" PDF.

Retrieved July 13, Asset-backed securities, called ABS, are bonds or notes backed by financial assets. Typically these assets consist of receivables other than mortgage loans, such as credit card receivables, auto loans, manufactured-housing contracts and home-equity loans. The CDO is "sliced" into "tranches" , which "catch" the cash flow of interest and principal payments in sequence based on seniority. The last to lose payment from default are the safest, most senior tranches.

As an example, a CDO might issue the following tranches in order of safeness: Separate special-purpose entities —rather than the parent investment bank —issue the CDOs and pay interest to investors. CDO collateral became dominated not by loans, but by lower level BBB or A tranches recycled from other asset-backed securities, whose assets were usually non-prime mortgages. A credit default swap CDS is a financial swap agreement that the seller of the CDS will compensate the buyer the creditor of the reference loan in the event of a loan default by the debtor or other credit event.

The buyer of the CDS makes a series of payments the CDS "fee" or "spread" to the seller and, in exchange, receives a payoff if the loan defaults.

In the event of default the buyer of the CDS receives compensation usually the face value of the loan , and the seller of the CDS takes possession of the defaulted loan.

If there are more CDS contracts outstanding than bonds in existence, a protocol exists to hold a credit event auction ; the payment received is usually substantially less than the face value of the loan. CDSs are not traded on an exchange and there is no required reporting of transactions to a government agency. In addition to corporations and governments, the reference entity can include a special-purpose vehicle issuing asset-backed securities.

In finance, a forward contract or simply a forward is a non-standardized contract between two parties to buy or to sell an asset at a specified future time at a price agreed upon today, making it a type of derivative instrument.

The party agreeing to buy the underlying asset in the future assumes a long position , and the party agreeing to sell the asset in the future assumes a short position. The price agreed upon is called the delivery price , which is equal to the forward price at the time the contract is entered into. The price of the underlying instrument, in whatever form, is paid before control of the instrument changes.

The forward price of such a contract is commonly contrasted with the spot price , which is the price at which the asset changes hands on the spot date. The difference between the spot and the forward price is the forward premium or forward discount, generally considered in the form of a profit , or loss, by the purchasing party. Forwards, like other derivative securities, can be used to hedge risk typically currency or exchange rate risk , as a means of speculation , or to allow a party to take advantage of a quality of the underlying instrument which is time-sensitive.

A closely related contract is a futures contract ; they differ in certain respects. Forward contracts are very similar to futures contracts, except they are not exchange-traded, or defined on standardized assets. However, being traded over the counter OTC , forward contracts specification can be customized and may include mark-to-market and daily margin calls. Hence, a forward contract arrangement might call for the loss party to pledge collateral or additional collateral to better secure the party at gain.

In finance , a 'futures contract' more colloquially, futures is a standardized contract between two parties to buy or sell a specified asset of standardized quantity and quality for a price agreed upon today the futures price with delivery and payment occurring at a specified future date, the delivery date , making it a derivative product i.

The contracts are negotiated at a futures exchange , which acts as an intermediary between buyer and seller. The party agreeing to buy the underlying asset in the future, the "buyer" of the contract, is said to be " long ", and the party agreeing to sell the asset in the future, the "seller" of the contract, is said to be " short ". While the futures contract specifies a trade taking place in the future, the purpose of the futures exchange is to act as intermediary and mitigate the risk of default by either party in the intervening period.

For this reason, the futures exchange requires both parties to put up an initial amount of cash performance bond , the margin. Margins, sometimes set as a percentage of the value of the futures contract, need to be proportionally maintained at all times during the life of the contract to underpin this mitigation because the price of the contract will vary in keeping with supply and demand and will change daily and thus one party or the other will theoretically be making or losing money.

To mitigate risk and the possibility of default by either party, the product is marked to market on a daily basis whereby the difference between the prior agreed-upon price and the actual daily futures price is settled on a daily basis.

This is sometimes known as the variation margin where the futures exchange will draw money out of the losing party's margin account and put it into the other party's thus ensuring that the correct daily loss or profit is reflected in the respective account.

If the margin account goes below a certain value set by the Exchange, then a margin call is made and the account owner must replenish the margin account.

This process is known as "marking to market". Thus on the delivery date, the amount exchanged is not the specified price on the contract but the spot value i. Upon marketing the strike price is often reached and creates lots of income for the "caller". A closely related contract is a forward contract. A forward is like a futures in that it specifies the exchange of goods for a specified price at a specified future date. However, a forward is not traded on an exchange and thus does not have the interim partial payments due to marking to market.

Nor is the contract standardized, as on the exchange. Unlike an option , both parties of a futures contract must fulfill the contract on the delivery date. The seller delivers the underlying asset to the buyer, or, if it is a cash-settled futures contract, then cash is transferred from the futures trader who sustained a loss to the one who made a profit. To exit the commitment prior to the settlement date, the holder of a futures position can close out its contract obligations by taking the opposite position on another futures contract on the same asset and settlement date.

The difference in futures prices is then a profit or loss.. A mortgage-backed security MBS is a asset-backed security that is secured by a mortgage , or more commonly a collection "pool" of sometimes hundreds of mortgages. The mortgages are sold to a group of individuals a government agency or investment bank that " securitizes ", or packages, the loans together into a security that can be sold to investors.

The structure of the MBS may be known as "pass-through", where the interest and principal payments from the borrower or homebuyer pass through it to the MBS holder, or it may be more complex, made up of a pool of other MBSs. Other types of MBS include collateralized mortgage obligations CMOs, often structured as real estate mortgage investment conduits and collateralized debt obligations CDOs. The shares of subprime MBSs issued by various structures, such as CMOs, are not identical but rather issued as tranches French for "slices" , each with a different level of priority in the debt repayment stream, giving them different levels of risk and reward.

The total face value of an MBS decreases over time, because like mortgages, and unlike bonds , and most other fixed-income securities, the principal in an MBS is not paid back as a single payment to the bond holder at maturity but rather is paid along with the interest in each periodic payment monthly, quarterly, etc. This decrease in face value is measured by the MBS's "factor", the percentage of the original "face" that remains to be repaid.

In finance , an option is a contract which gives the buyer the owner the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an underlying asset or instrument at a specified strike price on or before a specified date. The seller has the corresponding obligation to fulfill the transaction—that is to sell or buy—if the buyer owner "exercises" the option. The buyer pays a premium to the seller for this right.

An option that conveys to the owner the right to buy something at a certain price is a " call option "; an option that conveys the right of the owner to sell something at a certain price is a " put option ". Both are commonly traded, but for clarity, the call option is more frequently discussed.

Options valuation is a topic of ongoing research in academic and practical finance. In basic terms, the value of an option is commonly decomposed into two parts:. Although options valuation has been studied since the 19th century, the contemporary approach is based on the Black—Scholes model , which was first published in Options contracts have been known for many centuries.

However, both trading activity and academic interest increased when, as from , options were issued with standardized terms and traded through a guaranteed clearing house at the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Today, many options are created in a standardized form and traded through clearing houses on regulated options exchanges , while other over-the-counter options are written as bilateral, customized contracts between a single buyer and seller, one or both of which may be a dealer or market-maker.

Options are part of a larger class of financial instruments known as derivative products or simply derivatives. A swap is a derivative in which two counterparties exchange cash flows of one party's financial instrument for those of the other party's financial instrument.

The benefits in question depend on the type of financial instruments involved. For example, in the case of a swap involving two bonds , the benefits in question can be the periodic interest coupon payments associated with such bonds. Specifically, two counterparties agree to the exchange one stream of cash flows against another stream. These streams are called the swap's "legs". The swap agreement defines the dates when the cash flows are to be paid and the way they are accrued and calculated.

Usually at the time when the contract is initiated, at least one of these series of cash flows is determined by an uncertain variable such as a floating interest rate , foreign exchange rate , equity price, or commodity price.

The cash flows are calculated over a notional principal amount. Contrary to a future , a forward or an option , the notional amount is usually not exchanged between counterparties.