Boca Raton and West Palm Beach, Florida Option Trading Abuse FINRA Arbitration and Litigation Attorney:

Options Trading:

Market Participants – There are generally four types of market participants in options trading: (1) buyer of calls; (2) sellers of calls; (3) buyers of puts; and (4) sellers of puts.

Opening a Position – When you buy or write a new options contract, you are establishing an open position. That means that you have established one side of an options contract and will be matched with a buyer or seller on the other side of the contract.

Closing a Position – If you already hold an options contract or have written one, but want to get out of the contract, you can close your position, which means either selling the same option you bought (if you are a holder), or buying the same option contract you sold (if you are a writer).

The following are examples of basic call and put option transactions:

Call Option: On December 1, 2014, ABC Stock is trading at $68 per share. You believe the price of ABC stock will rise soon and decide to purchase an ABC December 70 Call. The premium is $2.20 for the ABC December 70 Call. The expiration date of the option is the third Friday of December and the strike price is $70. The total price of the contract is $2.20 x 100 = $220 (plus commissions which we will not account for in this example).

Since the strike price of the call option is $70, the stock must rise above $70 before the call option is “in-the-money.” Additionally, since the contract premium is $2.20 per share, the price of ABC would need to rise to $72.20 in order for you to break even on the transaction.

Two weeks later the stock price has risen to $80. As the value of the underlying stock has increased, the premium on the ABC December 70 Call has also increased to $10.20, making the option contract now worth $10.20 x 100 = $1020. If you sell the option now (closing your position) you would collect the difference between the premium you paid and the current premium $1020-$220 = $800 (minus any commission costs). Alternatively, you could exercise the option and buy the underlying shares from the writer of the call for $70 (the strike price); the writer is obligated to sell the buyer those shares at $70 even though their market value is $80.

Now, suppose you believe the price of the stock will continue rising until the expiration date and you decide to wait to sell or exercise the option. Unfortunately, the stock price drops to $65 on the expiration date. Since this is less than the $70 strike price, the option is out-of-the-money and expires worthless. This means you will have lost the initial $220 premium you paid for the options contract.

Put Option: On December 1, 2014, ABC Stock is trading at $72 per share. You believe the price of ABC stock will fall soon and decide to purchase an ABC December 70 Put. The premium is $2.20 for the ABC December 70 Put. The expiration date of the option is the third Friday of December and the strike price is $70. The total price of the contract is $2.20 x 100 = $220 (plus commissions which we will not account for in this example).

Since the strike price of the put option is $70, the stock must drop below $70 before the put option is “in-the-money.” Additionally, since the contract premium is $2.20 per share, the price of ABC would need to drop to $67.80 in order for you to break even on the transaction.

Two weeks later the stock price has dropped to $60. As the value of the underlying stock has decreased, the premium on the ABC December 70 Put has increased to $10.20, making the option contract now worth $10.20 x 100 = $1020. If you sell the option now (closing your position) you would collect the difference between the premium you paid and the current premium $1020-$220 = $800 (minus any commission costs). Alternatively, you could exercise the option and sell the underlying shares to the writer of the put for $70 (the strike price); the writer is obligated to buy those shares at $70 even though their market value is $60.

Now, suppose you believe the price of the stock will continue dropping up until the expiration date and you decide to wait to sell or exercise the option. Unfortunately, the stock price rises to $75 on the expiration date. Since this is more than the $70 strike price, the option is out-of-the-money and expires worthless. This means you will have lost the initial $220 premium you paid for the options contract.

These two examples provide you with a basic idea of how options transactions may operate. Investors should note that these examples are some of the most basic forms of options. Many options contracts and the trading strategies that utilize them are much more complex. Consequently, option trading may not be suitable for a risk adverse investor.

Please keep in mind that the above information is being provided for educational purposes only.  It is not designed to be complete in all material respects.  Thus, it should not be relied upon a legal or investment advise.  If you have any questions concerning the above, you should contact a qualified professional.