The margins in the futures market allows for greater leverage than in the equities market.
Margins in the futures market are relatively low – often in the 10% area. This, for example, would allow you to trade $50,000 of a commodity with only $5,000 in your account. Margins in the futures markets vary between each contract, and can be altered based on factors such as the volatility of the contract market.
In the equities market, the Federal Reserve sets the margin available to traders and investors at 50%.