10 Points to Remember When Selling Options
Investors, both new and experienced ones, carefully monitor the market and decide when to sell the options they hold. Along with factors that define their investment goals and objectives, there are many market-related details that dictates the outcome of an investment. This blog should make the process a little easier and simpler if you want to know how to best sell your options.
Let us begin by understanding what options are. Options are financial derivatives which gives you the right to purchase or sell an underlying asset on or before a predetermined date (expiration date) and at a specified price (strike price). They are commonly used for hedging, speculation, and income generation in financial markets. There are two primary types of options: call options and put options. But before we get to that, let’s address the basics.
Key terms and concepts associated with options:
- Strike price: This is the price of purchase (for call options) or sell (for put options) for underlying asset when exercising the option.
- Expiration date: The date when the option contract expires, and the right to exercise it no longer exists after that date has passed.
- Premium: The price paid by the option buyer to the option seller for the rights conveyed by the option. It represents the cost of the option.
- In-the-money (ITM): For a call option, it means the underlying asset's market price is more than the strike price. And for a put option, it means the strike price is higher than the market price.
- Out-of-the-money (OTM): For a call option, it means the market price of the underlying asset is lower than the strike price. Again, for a put option, it means the market price is above the strike price.
- At-the-money (ATM): When the underlying asset's market price is close to the strike price.
How options work
- A call option gives the holder the right to buy an underlying asset at a predetermined price (strike price) before or on the expiration date.
- Call option buyers expect the price of the underlying asset to rise because they can buy it at a lower strike price and then sell it at a higher market price.
- Call option sellers, also known as writers, are obligated to sell the underlying asset if the buyer exercises the option.
- A put option gives the holder the right to sell an underlying asset at a predetermined price (strike price) before or on the expiration date.
- Put option buyers expect the price of the underlying asset to fall because they can sell it at a higher strike price than the market price.
- Put option sellers are obligated to buy the underlying asset if the buyer exercises the option.
10 things to keep in mind while selling options:
Even though selling options is a profitable trading strategy, it carries significant risks. These 10 points should help you to make a more accurate decision while selling options:
- Risk assessment: Carefully evaluate your risk tolerance and financial situation. Selling options can result in losses, so you should be prepared to mitigate them.
- Strategy selection: Choose the right strategy for your goals and market outlook. Common strategies include covered calls, cash-secured puts, and credit spreads.
- High probability trades: Focus on selling options with a high probability of being worthless during expiration. This often means selling out-of-the-money options.
- Margin requirements: Understand the margin requirements associated with selling options. Some strategies may require significant capital reserves in your trading account.
- Risk management: Implement risk management techniques like stop-loss orders or position size limits to protect yourself from significant losses. Keep a close eye on your options positions. Market conditions can change rapidly, and you may need to make regular adjustments to manage risk effectively.
- Earnings announcements and events: Be cautious when selling options around earnings announcements or other significant events. These events can result in unexpected price movements.
- Assignment risk: When you sell options, there's always the possibility of early assignment. Understand how and when assignments can occur and be prepared to manage them.
- Time decay: Time decay is your friend when selling options. As time passes, options lose value, which can work in your favour. However, this also means you need to manage your positions actively and prudently.
- Taxes: Be aware of the tax implications of selling options. Depending on your jurisdiction and the specific strategy, option trading can have tax consequences.
- Broker requirements: Make sure your brokerage account meets the requirements for selling options. Different brokers may have varying levels of approval and margin requirements.
Options trading can be a complex endeavour that requires investors to be vigilant and on top of their games. It's essential that you have a well-thought-out trading plan and risk management strategy in place for selling options. If you’re new on the scene or are unsure about things, consult a financial advisor/options expert and make sure the approach aligns with your financial goals and risk tolerance. With that, the ten points listed here will guide you in making your investments lucrative.