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A Protective call or synthetic long put is a strategy where an investor has gone short on a stock and buys a call to hedge. This is an opposite of Synthetic Call. An investor shorts a stock and buys an ATM or slightly OTM Call. The net effect of this is that the investor creates a pay-off like. This not unlike a Long Put. However, instead of having a net debit (paying premium) for a Long Put, he creates a net credit (receives money or shorting the stock). In case the stock price falls, the investor gains in the downward fall in the price. However, in case there is an unexpected rise in the price of the stock, the loss is limited. The pay-off from the Long Call will increase thereby compensating for the loss in value of the short stock position. This strategy hedges the upside in the stock position while retaining downside profit potential.
This is a fairly advanced options strategy.
When to Use: If the investor is of the view that the markets will go down (bearish) but whats to protect against any unexpected rise in the price of the stock.
Risk: Limited. Maximum Risk is Call Strike Price—Stock Price+Premium
Reward: Maximum is Stock Price — Call Premium
Breakeven: Stock Price—Call Premium