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Index Options (Part I)

Todays Date: September 19, 2018

Options trading can be profitable if done correctly. Many people take the plunge in options trading without any training or understanding about the different options contracts that they can trade. In the end they don’t have a clue when the options value starts going against them. Now for options buyers this option unlike futures limits their maximum liability to the option premium they had paid at the time of buying the options contract. The options market has caught the fancy of many investors and this is not surprising. The beauty of options is embedded in its very name. You have the options but not the obligation to buy or sell stocks at a given price by a given time.

Everyone knows the terms S&P 500 Stock Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). These are two world famous stock indexes. Infact every stock exchange around the world ahs got a stock index associated with it. You must have come across the term Index Options. So what are index options? In’78, Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) began options trading on popular stock indexes such as the S&P 500 Stock Index. The CBOE options trades in multiples of $100 per index point. This is much cheaper than the $250 multiple per index point for the S&P futures contract.

Let’s take an example. Suppose the S&P 500 Index is at 1100 points. You have a bullish opinion of the market and are of the opinion that the S&P 500 Index will go further up. An index option allows the investor to buy the stock index at a set point within the given time period.

So you decide to purchase a call option at 1150 for three months for 50 points. In other words you paid an option premium of $5000. Now what this means is that if any time for the next three months you decide to exercise your call option, you will get $100 for each point the index is above 1150.

In that case you will only lose the premium of $5000 that you had paid to buy the call index option. Now, 1150 is the strike price of the index option. In case the S&P 500 Index does not rise above 1150, you can simply decide to not exercise your call option.

Contrast this with S&P futures. Call options are considered to be bullish. So for you to make a profit with this call option, the S&P 500 Index will have to rise above 1200 point within the next three months otherwise you will lose your premium.

In case the S&P Index had fallen to 1100 point, you would have recouped your options premium. Put options are considered to be bearish. A Put Index Option works in exactly the same way as a Call Index Option except that you make profit when the stock index goes down. If you had bought the put index options instead of the call index option in our example above, every point below the strike price of 1150 would have given you a profit of $100. There are many options trading strategies that you can apply. Each strategy has a specific objective.

Now the option premium that you pay is determined by the market and it depends on many factors like interest rates and dividend yield. But the most important factor is the expected volatility of the market.

Mr. Ahmad Hassam is a Harvard University Graduate. Try these cash printing Forex Signals from heaven. Discover a revolutionary Forex Robot System!

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