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"Spreads sometimes are touted as a no- or low-risk trading option, ideally suited to smaller or more risk-averse traders. Although some do have limited risk in certain circumstances, spreads are by no means risk free, and in fact they contain some unique risks, especially for traders who don’t have a clear understanding of the limitations and possibilities of these transactions.In options markets, the term spreads covers everything from simple time spreads to complex butterflies, boxes and conversions. Although futures spreads are, at least on the surface, more straightforward than many of their options counterparts, understand the basic price relationship between different futures contracts as well as the function off spread trading is integral to a well-informed market perspective.
In the most basic sense, a spread refers to the price difference between two or more trading instruments, whether they are two contact months of the same commodity, two different commodities or the cash and futures price of a particular commodity. (The cash/futures spread is commonly called basis..."
Revisit the Trader's Toolbox Post: "Spread It On" here.