Hedging

A hedge is an investment position intended to offset potential losses or gains that may be incurred by a companion investment. In simple language, a hedge is used to reduce any substantial losses or gains suffered by an individual or an organization.

A hedge can be constructed from many types of financial instruments, including stocks, exchange-traded funds, insurance, forward contracts, swaps, options, gambles, many types of over-the-counter and derivative products, and futures contracts.

Public futures markets were established in the 19th century to allow transparent, standardized, and efficient hedging of agricultural commodity prices; they have since expanded to include futures contracts for hedging the values of energy, precious metals, foreign currency, and interest rate fluctuations.