The most basic of options strategies is to simply buy call or put options. When you buy options, you are said to have a long position in that option. You have a long call position when you buy calls or a long put position if you buy puts.
In both cases, you hope that the underlying stock price move far enough to cover the premiums paid for the options and land you a profit.
For call options, this means that the higher the strike price, the cheaper the option. Similarly, put options with lower strike prices are therefore less expensive to purchase.
However, the size of the premium alone does not tell us the whole story. In fact, at-the-money options can be considered the most expensive even though their premiums are lower than in-the-money options. This is because their time value is highest and time value is the part of the premium that will waste away as the expiration date approaches.
Obviously, the longer the time to expiration, the more chance the option buyer have for the underlying price to move in the right direction and therefore the more expensive the option.
Watch out for the implied volatility (IV) when buying options. Options are more expensive when the IV is high and less expensive when it is low.
Which strike price and expiration you choose all depends on your outlook of the underlying. For instance, if you believe that the underlying will make an explosive move upwards very soon, then it makes sense to buy an at-the-money call option expiring in the nearest expiration month.
Other than speculation, options can also be bought as a means to insure potential losses for an existing position in the underlying. To hedge a long underlying position, a protective put can be purchased. Similarly, to protect a short underlying position, a protective call strategy can be used.
Buying straddles is a great way to play earnings. Many a times, stock price gap up or down following the quarterly earnings report but often, the direction of the movement can be unpredictable. For instance, a sell off can occur even though the earnings report is good if investors had expected great results....[Read on...]
If you are very bullish on a particular stock for the long term and is looking to purchase the stock but feels that it is slightly overvalued at the moment, then you may want to consider writing put options on the stock as a means to acquire it at a discount....[Read on...]
Also known as digital options, binary options belong to a special class of exotic options in which the option trader speculate purely on the direction of the underlying within a relatively short period of time.....[Read on...]
If you are investing the Peter Lynch style, trying to predict the next multi-bagger, then you would want to find out more about LEAPSÂ® and why I consider them to be a great option for investing in the next MicrosoftÂ®.... [Read on...]
Cash dividends issued by stocks have big impact on their option prices. This is because the underlying stock price is expected to drop by the dividend amount on the ex-dividend date....[Read on...]
As an alternative to writing covered calls, one can enter a bull call spread for a similar profit potential but with significantly less capital requirement. In place of holding the underlying stock in the covered call strategy, the alternative....[Read on...]
Some stocks pay generous dividends every quarter. You qualify for the dividend if you are holding on the shares before the ex-dividend date....[Read on...]
To achieve higher returns in the stock market, besides doing more homework on the companies you wish to buy, it is often necessary to take on higher risk. A most common way to do that is to buy stocks on margin....[Read on...]
Day trading options can be a successful, profitable strategy but there are a couple of things you need to know before you use start using options for day trading.... [Read on...]
Learn about the put call ratio, the way it is derived and how it can be used as a contrarian indicator.... [Read on...]
Put-call parity is an important principle in options pricing first identified by Hans Stoll in his paper, The Relation Between Put and Call Prices, in 1969. It states that the premium of a call option implies a certain fair price for the corresponding put option having the same strike price and expiration date, and vice versa.... [Read on...]
In options trading, you may notice the use of certain greek alphabets like delta or gamma when describing risks associated with various positions. They are known as "the greeks".... [Read on...]
Since the value of stock options depends on the price of the underlying stock, it is useful to calculate the fair value of the stock by using a technique known as discounted cash flow.... [Read on...]
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