NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College

FINC-UB.0043.002 (C15.0043): FUTURES & OPTIONS

Fall 2011

Instructor Details

Brenner, Menachem


Tuesday; 2:00-4:00 AND Wednesday; 4:00-6:00.

Room 9-55 MEC.


Course Meetings

MW, 2:00pm to 3:15pm

KMC 4-60

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Course Description and Learning Goals

This course consists of two parts.  The first part of the course deals with the structure of futures markets, pricing of futures contracts and hedging with such contracts.  The second part of the course deals with options markets; strategies, pricing and position analysis.  The course will consist of lectures and discussions.


Course Pre-Requisites

All core courses. Some basic knowledge of futures and options is assumed.


Course Outline

Required Textbook: Hull (H): Fundamentals of Futures and Options Markets. Prentice Hall, 2011.


I.          Futures Markets


1.         Forward and Futures: Overview (H: pp. 1 – 5)


2.         The Structure of the Futures Markets (H: Ch. 2)


            a)   Trading; Clearing and Delivery


b)      Marking to Market and Margins


3.         The Cost of Carry Model


            a)   Arbitrage Pricing (H: Ch.5; 5.1-5.7)


b)      Stock Index Arbitrage and Currency Futures (H: 5.10, 5.09, 5.11)


4.         Hedging with Futures (H: Ch.3; 3.1-3.4)




II.        Options Markets


1.         Options Strategies and Markets (H: Chs. 9, 11)


2.                  Options Valuation


            a) Arbitrage Conditions (H: Ch.10; 10.1-10.3, 10.5)


            b) Put-Call Parity (H: 10.4, 10.7)


            c) The Binomial Model (H: Ch.12; 12.1-12.8)


d) The Black-Scholes-Merton Model (H: Ch. 13)


e) The Greek Letters (H: Ch. 17; 17.1-17.11)


3.                  Implied Volatility and “Smiles” (H: Ch.19)


4.                  Value at Risk (H: pp. 429-432)



Required Course Materials

You are responsible for the material covered in class, handed out in class and sent to you by e-mail. The problem sets and all handouts are part of the class material.



Market Tracking:  You are expected to follow the markets on a daily basis and be able to answer basic questions regarding ‘fair value’ for futures contracts and implied volatility from options contracts. Specifically, follow the SPX futures, NDX futures, SPY Options, QQQQ Options. 

You are also expected to read the daily financial press (WSJ, FT). Pay attention to futures and options columns.


Assessment Components

Exams and Grading:  There will be two multiple-choice exams, a midterm and a final. The final grade will be based on the following weights; 30% midterm, 50% final, 20% home work. Class participation may improve your grade. The grade distribution is: A (25%-35%), B (50%-60%); C (5%-15%); D,F (remainder). If one gets a higher grade on the final exam, then the midterm will have a weight of 20% and the final will get 60%. There are no make-up exams for the mid-term.


Problem Sets:  Provided on Blackboard. Some of the problem sets will be assigned as HW to be turned in and will count towards your grade. Solutions to the problem sets will be provided after you had a chance to solve them.


Group Projects

Guidelines for Group Projects

Business activities involve group effort. Consequently, learning how to work effectively in a group is a critical part of your business education.

Every member is expected to carry an equal share of the group’s workload. As such, it is in your interest to be involved in all aspects of the project. Even if you divide the work rather than work on each piece together, you are still responsible for each part. The group project will be graded as a whole:   its different components will not be graded separately. Your exams may contain questions that are based on aspects of your group projects.

It is recommended that each group establish ground rules early in the process to facilitate your joint work including a problem-solving process for handling conflicts. In the infrequent case where you believe that a group member is not carrying out his or her fair share of work, you are urged not to permit problems to develop to a point where they become serious. If you cannot resolve conflicts internally after your best efforts, they should be brought to my attention and I will work with you to find a resolution.

You will be asked to complete a peer evaluation form to evaluate the contribution of each of your group members (including your own contribution) at the conclusion of each project. If there is consensus that a group member did not contribute a fair share of work to the project, I will consider this feedback during grading.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

Note that while the School uses these ranges  as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well  you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course




In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:




Classroom Norms


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


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