




A derivative, or derivative security, is an asset whose price is based on the value of an underlying asset. A derivative can come in several forms such as options, futures, and swaps. An option contract is a derivative that gives the owner the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell the underlying at a predetermined price. A futures contract is a derivative that commits a party either to buy or sell the underlying in the future at a certain price. A swap agreement is a derivate that commits the counterparties to exchange cash flows according to a prearranged formula. For example, an interest rate swap will specify cash flows to be paid as a function of some interest rate. The term derivative is generic and variations as well as entirely different derivative types are possible.
Rate this derivative definition...




Where is the market headed? The answer may surprise you. Find out with the exclusive & Barron's recommended charts of Chart of the Day. 

Popular Terms: 1035 exchange, phantom income, command economy, diluted share, LIBOR, per diem, exdividend date, debt service coverage, cancelled check, Zero Cost Collar, dividends payable, implied volatility, 1031 exchange, labor relations, 144a, covered put, irrevocable trust, class C shares, quality assurance, liquidity ratio, annual return, deferred tax, margin rate, reverse mortgage, deferred revenue, inflation, stock market close, limit order, retained earnings, VIX, current ratio, FTSE, Key Rate Duration, balance sheet, APR, required rate of return, stock split, FICO score, 401a, minority interest, open position, real GDP, option premium, whollyowned subsidiary, risk management, exdividend, in escrow, average price per share, EBITDA


 