Since their introduction, stock index futures contracts have become very popular and are now widely traded by finance professionals. Many factors, including (1) the current price of the underlying stock index, (2) the time to contract maturity, and (3) the dividends paid to the stocks in the underlying index, will affect the settlement price of a stock index futures contract. What is the fourth primary factor involved in stock index futures contract pricing, and how does this factor affect settlement prices?
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