Options are conditional derivative contracts that allow buyers of the contracts (option holders) to buy or sell a security at a chosen price. Option buyers are charged an amount called a “premium” by the sellers for such a right. Should market prices be unfavorable for option holders, they will let the option expire worthless, thus ensuring the losses are not higher than the premium. In contrast, option sellers (option writers) assume greater risk than the option buyers, which is why they demand this premium.
A financial option is a contractual agreement between two parties. Although some option contracts are over the counter, meaning they are between two parties without going through an exchange, standardized contracts known as listed options trade on exchanges. Option contracts give the owner rights and the seller obligations. Here are the key definitions and details:
- Call option: A call option gives the owner (seller) the right (obligation) to buy (sell) a specific number of shares of the underlying stock at a specific price by a predetermined date. A call option gives you the opportunity to profit from price gains in the underlying stock at a fraction of the cost of owning the stock.
- Put option: Put options give the owner (seller) the right (obligation) to sell (buy) a specific number of shares of the underlying stock at a specific price by a specific date. If you own put options on a stock that you own, and the price of the stock is falling, the put option is gaining in value, thus offsetting the losses on the stock and giving you an opportunity to make decisions about your stock ownership without panicking.
- Rights of the owner of an options contract: A call option gives the owner the right to buy a specific number of shares of stock at a predetermined price. A put option gives its owner the right to sell a specific number of shares of stock at a predetermined price.
- Obligations of an options seller: Sellers of call options have the obligation to sell a specific number of shares of the underlying stock at a predetermined price. Sellers of put options have the obligation to buy a specific amount of stock at a predetermined price.
Due to the big financial risks involved in options trading a real Options Dummy needs to accept the title. They need to take responsibility for educating themselves about options trading; a great way to start would be to check out our list of the best options trading strategies. To avoid losing money while you learn, you can practice trading with an options trading simulator. Once you’re confident in your ability to trade you’ll need to create an account with an options brokerage, many of these companies are the same ones that offer trading simulators, so try and stick to what you’re familiar with.