In cash market you can buy shares and hold for life. In futures, you have to settle the contract on the expiration date i.e. maximum of three month. Dividends. When you are shareholder of the company, you are entitled to receive dividend. In future contract you are not entitle for any dividend. The buyer of the futures contract (the party with a long position) agrees on a fixed purchase price to buy the underlying commodity (wheat, gold or T-bills, for example) from the seller at the expiration of the contract. The seller of the futures contract (the party with a short position) agrees to sell the underlying commodity to the buyer at expiration at the fixed sales price.