RJO Futures Learning Center - Guides

You can count on RJO Futures to supply you with information you need about the markets, trading strategies and trading best practices all based on our decades of focusing on serving the futures trading community.

We encourage you to download any and all of the following guides to gain the knowledge you need to become the best trader you can be. And, don't hesitate to contact one of our RJO Futures brokers with any questions you might have. They'll be happy to help you understand more about trading futures.

Save yourself some trouble. If you're looking for multiple educational guides, just request one now and then have your RJO Futures broker send any of the others you'd like in one convenient email.

Trading Strategies

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Take a page out of the playbook of many pension funds and learn why adding exposure to the futures markets in your retirement plan could work for you.

This guide clearly discusses the restrictions involved with adding futures to a retirement plan. It also provides an outline of the benefits this asset class can provide, such as diversification. Finally, review a few guidelines to help you decide whether that is even sensible, based on your goals.

Whether you own an IRA or a 401(k) or both you’ll learn the questions to ask yourself and your tax advisor in deciding whether futures markets, either outright contracts or a managed futures program, should be part of your retirement plan.

Ideal for investors with IRA and 401(k) retirement plans.

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Get a good foundation to begin building your futures trading efforts with this introductory guide to the futures markets.

In the Futures 101 section, you’ll learn what a futures contract is (and isn't), how futures trading works on regulated exchanges and how margin is determined in these leveraged instruments.

Count on a clear explanation of why traders like'll be interested in how futures can diversify your holdings and protect them from an adverse market move.

Plus, see real-market examples of how the value of a contract and your profit or loss changes as prices move.

Ideal for the trader just beginning to explore the futures markets.

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Starting from the beginning is a good place to start, and that’s what you’ll get in this introductory guide to trading options on futures.

You’ll learn and understand the top reasons traders choose options on futures, including the ability to define the amount of risk they take, use leverage in a responsible way and generate income against outright futures positions. You’ll also learn the differences between the three ways to liquidate an options position offset, exercise or expiration.

Keep this handy resource close by to understand both options terminology including strike price, intrinsic value and time value and how to read an options quote in a trading platform.

Ideal for any trader taking the first step toward trading options on futures.

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Many traders gravitate toward spreads because they often are less risky, have more attractive margin requirements and can be more predictable than an outright futures position.

This guide explains the basics of trading spreads. You’ll learn:

  • What defines a spread trade
  • How spreads are quoted
  • Four types of spreads
  • How spread profits and losses are calculated
  • Pros and cons of using spreads

Clear examples show the five ways each spread trade you enter can make or lose money, so you’re prepared for whatever happens in the market. Plus, you’ll have no more confusion about the differences between intramarket, intercrop, intermarket and intercommodity spreads!

Ideal for traders who like to minimize risk and appreciate the slow and steady approach.

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Custom-design an options strategy to fit your market outlook bullish, bearish or neutral or your outlook on market volatility. This guide goes beyond the basics to help you understand how to evaluate a strategy’s risk as well as its reward.

Find the strategy that’s right for you by choosing from the “Strategies at a Glance” table at the beginning of the guide. Start with your market outlook. Then hone in on your strategy based on the risk you’re willing to take and the potential reward.

Then, learn more about the strategy and see a graph of how an example strategy’s position value both when the position is initiated and when it expires.

Ideal as a follow-up guide to “Introduction to Options.”

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Whether you’re new to trading or just need a refresher course, this guide provides the ground-floor basics of technical analysis tools and techniques. With easy-to-understand explanations and clearly marked illustrations using real market charts, you’ll want to refer to this guide again and again.

After a short course in the who, what, when, where and why of technical analysis, this guide starts at the beginning with trendlines, then moves on to recognizing chart patterns that can indicate either a continuation or change in the trend.

End the mystery about candlestick patterns with explanations and examples of 10 popular formations. Finally, learn about market sentiment and momentum and how to apply any of several popular market studies, including Bollinger Bands, MACD and RSI.

Ideal for traders of any level of experience.

Trading Best Practices

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Experienced traders know that managing risk is one of the most important factors in becoming a successful futures trader. This guide gathers these best practices into a single, usable reference.

You’ll discover the six keys to mastering risk management leverage, position size, risk capital, market diversification, market volatility and stop orders and get ideas on how to implement them in your own trading.

Learn how trading strategies are an integral part of risk management, including use of support and resistance levels. Most importantly, you’ll see how different trading approaches can produce similar results if executed with discipline.

Plus--an 8-step checklist for managing futures trading risk you’ll want to have front-and-center as a reminder.

This guide provides solid information and advice for any trader from novice to old pro.

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Avoid learning all the lessons from the school of hard knocks first-hand. Instead, embrace this guide to recognizing the Top 20 do’s and don’ts of futures trading!

Culled from years even decades of experience from both traders and brokers, these tips are the best of the best in helping you stay on the straight and narrow with your trading. Best of all, it’s advice you can trust from RJO Futures, which has specialized in service futures traders for 100 years.

Do you have a trading plan? Do you know the best way to place an order? Do you take profits? How about letting emotions trump your plan? Or, letting a winner turn into a loser? Learn about all these tips and more in this complimentary guide.

Ideal for all traders.

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If you have experience trading stocks, this guide can help you take the next step on your trading path commodity futures. Developed from a stock trader’s point of view, this guide explains how the futures markets work in terms that will ring a familiar bell.

Check out the big, full-page table that compares futures and stocks side-by-side in 10 different areas. In the FAQ section, you’ll get straightforward answers to some tough questions about why to choose a broker that specializes in futures, contract deliveries and the risk involved in trading futures.

This guide is ideal for the stock trader who wants to know:

  • Why trade futures?
  • What is a futures contract?
  • How does futures trading work?
  • Who uses futures and why?

Market Fundamentals

Market Outlook

RJO Futures | 222 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 1200 | Chicago, Illinois 60606 | United States
800.441.1616 | 312.373.5478

This material has been prepared by a sales or trading employee or agent of RJO Futures and is, or is in the nature of, a solicitation. This material is not a research report prepared by RJO Futures Research Department. By accepting this communication, you agree that you are an experienced user of the futures markets, capable of making independent trading decisions, and agree that you are not, and will not, rely solely on this communication in making trading decisions.