GO
Loading...

Enter multiple symbols separated by commas

Options Basics

From OptionMonster Education:

Options Basics

Trading stocks is reasonably easy, at least in theory. If you think a stock is going up, buy it. If you think it is going down, sell it; or sell it short if you are a real risk-taker. If you think a stock is going nowhere, sell it or avoid it in the first place. The stock price is what it is and that is what you pay. Things are not so simple with options trading. Many factors influence the value of an option contract. It is for largely that reason that most retail options traders underestimate the challenge of making money with options.

What (Exactly) is An Option?

An option is a standardized contract providing for the right - but not the obligation - to buy or sell an underlying financial instrument. In our context, this underlying is a stock or exchange traded fund (ETF). The contract controls 100 shares, and is good until a defined expiration date. The price at which shares can be bought or sold also is defined by the contract, and is known as the strike price.

There are two types of options: calls and puts. (See below.) You can buy or sell either type. If you buy an option you are the holder of the contract and considered to be "long," while if you sell an option you are the "writer" of the contract and considered to be "short."

The buyer of a call has the right to buy the underlying security (e.g. 100 shares of Google) at the strike price on or before the expiration date. The seller of a call has the obligation to sell the shares, if asked.

The buyer of a put has the right to sell the underlying security (e.g. 100 shares of Google) at the strike price on or before the expiration date. The seller of a put has the obligation to buy the shares, if asked.

Options Terminology: Glossary

Basic Strategies with Examples

Calls:

Puts:

Some Rules for Buying Options

Visit OptionMonster's complete education section

Disclaimer

Contact U.S. News

  • CNBC NEWSLETTERS

    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    Please choose a subscription

    Please enter a valid email address
    To learn more about how we use your information,
    please read our Privacy Policy.

Don't Miss

  • Mark Cuban and Donald Trump

    Donald Trump appears to have Mark Cuban's vote, at least in terms of how the billionaire real estate mogul is conducting his political campaign.

  • Ferrari 488 Spider

    Ferrari's new 488 Spider will have a V-8 turbo engine and a retractable hard-top roof that lowers in just 14 seconds.

  • Members of the New Horizons science team react to seeing the spacecraft's last and sharpest image of Pluto before closest approach later in the day at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland July 14, 2015.More than nine years after its launch, a U.S. spacecraft sailed past Pluto on Tuesday, capping a 3 billion mile (4.88 billion km) journey to the solar system's farthest reaches, NASA said.

    The New Horizons Pluto flyby mission set records for NASA's social media and web metrics——but why do we care so much?

U.S. Video