I've mainly been trading the NQ and ES but am now looking into the YM (Dow) and ER2 (Russel 2000) futures. First I wanted to do a comparison so I knew the pros and cons. I thought I'd share that with you. It may not be complete, nor even perfectly correct (some of it is subjective), but for me it worked. Figures are for September 2003. Contract NQ: Nasdaq 100 e-mini - cme ES: S&P 500 e-mini - cme ER2: Russel 2000 e-mini - cme YM: Dow e-mini - cbot Index value (Sept 2003) - $/pt - $/contract - inital margin (TS) â âpurchasing powerâ NQ: 1350 â 20 â 27000 â 2250 - 12 ES: 1000 â 50 â 50000 â 3563 - 14 ER2: 500 â 100 â 50000 â 3000 - 17 YM: 10000 â 5 â 50000 â 2700 - 19 Pts/tick - $/tick â equals % per contract NQ: 0.5 â 10 â 0.037% ES: 0.25 â 12.5 â 0.025% ER2: 0.1 â 10 â 0.020% YM: 1 â 5 â 0.010% Usual spread in pts â in $ - in % per contract NQ: 0.5 â 10 â 0.037% ES: 0.25 â 12.5 â 0.025% ER2: 0.2 â 20 â 0.040% (often 0.1 pts, but very thin on each level, so likely getting 0.2?) YM: 1 â 5 â 0.010% Average day H/L % NQ: 2.3% ES: 1.6% ER2: 1.6% YM: 1.6% Volume per day â equals BUSD NQ: 270000 â 7.3 ES: 700000 - 35 ER2: 16000 â 0.8 YM: 50000 â 2.5 Volume per minute avg â usual during non doldrums hours NQ: 667 - 1500 ES: 1728 - 3000 ER2: 40 - 100 YM: 123 - 300 Averagel noise compared to ES, where noise is how much it moves in % when in tight 5-10 min range NQ: 2 ES: 1 ER2: 1 YM: 1 Some of my conclusions from this - besides the obvious from the above - are: * NQ is much noisier than the other futures, needing about twice as large initial stops (calculated in %). If I use a stop of 1.5 pts in ES, the stop in NQ equals about 4.0 pts (1.5 x noise x (1350/1000), if thatâs what estimated for not being whipsawed too often. * An advantage with NQ is that more contracts can be bought, thus easier to scale in and out of with less money/risk, if thatâs your trading style. * NQ has an advantage of greater movements in % during a day. Often, the clear moves in NQ are as much as twice as large in % compared to the other futures. * If trading ER2, due to very thin volume, it may be wise to use tick-charts, specially if relying on signals from indicators. * All contracts listed above are tradeable in my opinion. If you have any comments, expansions or disagreements on this comparison, Iâd be glad to hear them.