Micro E-mini S&P 500: The next big little thing in futures trading

CME’s Micro E-mini S&P 500 futures contract (ticker: MES) is set to hit the market in exactly 3 days providing traders with the same benefits of an E-mini futures contract, just…smaller – 1/10th the size of an E-mini contract to be exact. We’ve broken down the micro E-mini vs the E-mini vs the full-size S&P below:


Hard to believe, but it’s been over 20 years since the original mini-sized futures contract was introduced in 1997 with the aptly named “E-mini S&P 500 futures contract.”

So, what’s the need for a micro version of a mini contract now? Here’s the CME explaining:

Since the launch of the E-mini product suite in 1997, the notional value of these contracts has increased dramatically.

The notional value of the E-mini S&P 500 futures contract has increased from ~$47K on the date that it launched to ~$145K on April 22, 2019. The amount of capital needed to access the futures market has become too burdensome for many individual traders. To make our more market accessible to all, CME will launch the Micro E-mini suite of futures, which feature multipliers 1/10 the size of their E-mini counterparts (i.e. $5 multiplier for Micro E-mini S&P 500 futures contract vs. $50 for E-mini S&P 500 (ES) futures). 

The CME lists out some the benefits of trading the micro e-mini contracts as:

  • Liquidity
  • Capital efficiencies
  • Around the clock trading
  • Full offset with e-mini futures
    [Check out their video and webinar for more benefits]


The micro e-mini contract will particularly appeal to non-institutional traders, of which there has been an increase of by 27% since 2018.

Today, futures might be a great tool for sophisticated, self-directed traders,” says JB Mackenzie, Managing Director of Futures and Forex at TD Ameritrade. “The Micro E-mini futures can be a good match for those self-directed active traders who want more product choices within their overall portfolio.

As with any new contract, the micro E-mini contract will take some time to grow. It’s interesting to note that in 1997, when the CME launched the E-mini S&P 500 contract, the full size S&P contract had a nominal value (contract size * index value) very near to the current nominal value of the E-mini (roughly $145,000). Will we eventually see a minute-micro E-mini S&P contract when the micro E-mini nears the 150k mark – only time will tell…

The performance data displayed herein is compiled from various sources, including BarclayHedge, and reports directly from the advisors. These performance figures should not be relied on independent of the individual advisor's disclosure document, which has important information regarding the method of calculation used, whether or not the performance includes proprietary results, and other important footnotes on the advisor's track record.

The programs listed here are a sub-set of the full list of programs able to be accessed by subscribing to the database and reflect programs we currently work with and/or are more familiar with.

Benchmark index performance is for the constituents of that index only, and does not represent the entire universe of possible investments within that asset class. And further, that there can be limitations and biases to indices such as survivorship, self reporting, and instant history. Individuals cannot invest in the index itself, and actual rates of return may be significantly different and more volatile than those of the index.

Managed futures accounts can subject to substantial charges for management and advisory fees. The numbers within this website include all such fees, but it may be necessary for those accounts that are subject to these charges to make substantial trading profits in the future to avoid depletion or exhaustion of their assets.

Investors interested in investing with a managed futures program (excepting those programs which are offered exclusively to qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7) will be required to receive and sign off on a disclosure document in compliance with certain CFT rules The disclosure documents contains a complete description of the principal risk factors and each fee to be charged to your account by the CTA, as well as the composite performance of accounts under the CTA's management over at least the most recent five years. Investor interested in investing in any of the programs on this website are urged to carefully read these disclosure documents, including, but not limited to the performance information, before investing in any such programs.

Those investors who are qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7 and interested in investing in a program exempt from having to provide a disclosure document and considered by the regulations to be sophisticated enough to understand the risks and be able to interpret the accuracy and completeness of any performance information on their own.

RCM receives a portion of the commodity brokerage commissions you pay in connection with your futures trading and/or a portion of the interest income (if any) earned on an account's assets. The listed manager may also pay RCM a portion of the fees they receive from accounts introduced to them by RCM.

Limitations on RCM Quintile + Star Rankings

The Quintile Rankings and RCM Star Rankings shown here are provided for informational purposes only. RCM does not guarantee the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of this information. The ranking methodology is proprietary and the results have not been audited or verified by an independent third party. Some CTAs may employ trading programs or strategies that are riskier than others. CTAs may manage customer accounts differently than their model results shown or make different trades in actual customer accounts versus their own accounts. Different CTAs are subject to different market conditions and risks that can significantly impact actual results. RCM and its affiliates receive compensation from some of the rated CTAs. Investors should perform their own due diligence before investing with any CTA. This ranking information should not be the sole basis for any investment decision.

See the full terms of use and risk disclaimer here.