For the most part, these are not meant for laissez-faire investors as holding a futures contract until maturity will result in the delivery of the underlying commodity; very few people want bales of cotton or wheat showing up on their doorstep. In fact, these contracts can be rather tricky, leaving them for only the most experienced and knowledgeable traders who fully understand the risks of owning a complicated futures account and moving in and out of these positions [see also The Guide To The Biggest Companies In Every Major Commodity Sector].
For those looking to establish long-term exposure to futures, as any diversified portfolio deserves a small, but important, commodity allocation, there are other options. The exchange-traded world has democratized this asset class by offering products that hold futures contracts and complete the roll process automatically, avoiding delivery and constant management on the investor’s end. But even with the expansion of this industry, only the most popular futures contracts have an ETP dedicated to them, and for good reason. There are a number of contracts available for trading that are downright bizarre and in most cases, investors may not even be aware of their existence [see also Commodity Investing: Physical vs. Futures].
Below, we outline seven of the strangest futures options (in no particular order) for investors looking to mix up their holdings, or simply educate themselves on what else is available for trading.