Most index futures base their prices on the index that they are meant to follow. As a new trader you should know that future contracts do follow the indexes but they sometimes are trading at a premium when the market goes up and at a discount when a market goes down. This happens because future contracts have time value built into the contracts. Most people who trade the E-Mini indexes do it based on the following:
Tape readers need to get access to the order book. Once a trader gets access the order book information then they need to spend enough time to get a gut feel for how these products trade. I have mentioned this countless times but tape reading is all about recognizing and understanding price behavior. It is simple learning how to read human emotions through watching an electronic online auction. It takes thousands of hours to master and there are no short cuts.
The E-Mini products are mostly traded by watching charts. This is the easiest way that most people learn how to trade because there are many tools and indicators that can help new traders analyze the market. These days there is everything from decades old technical analysis techniques all the way to fully automated trading programs that make all buying and selling decisions without the account holder’s permission.
Finally the Index futures are sometimes traded by people who have a long-term outlook on the market. What a lot of funds do is buy or sell these index futures to lock in a certain market price. This is an excellent alternative for fund managers because it allows them to lock in prices and buy an entire index of stocks with a single transaction. Fund manager also use these future contracts so protect their portfolios during market down turns.