Hedging Hedging vs. Speculating


When hedging, traders must often choose between futures and another derivative known as a forward. There are several differences between these two instruments, the most notable of which are these:
1) Forwards allow the trader more flexibility in choosing contract sizes and setting dates. This allows you to tailor the contracts to your needs instead of using a set contract size (futures).
2) The cash that's backing a forward is not due until the expiration of the contract, whereas the cash behind futures is calculated daily, and buyer and seller are held liable for daily cash settlements. By using futures, you have the ability to re-evaluate your position as often as you like. With forwards, you must wait until the contract expires.
Source: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/trading/04/102704.asp