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Summary of different trading strategies involving in options.

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1 Strategies Involving a Single Option and a Stock There are a number of different trading strategies involving a single option on a stock and the stock itself. The portfolio consists of a long position in a stock plus a short position in a call option. This is known as writing a covered call. The long stock position covers or protects the investor from the payoff on the short call that becomes necessary if there is a sharp rise in the stock price. A short position in a stock is combined with a long position in a Cali option. This is the reverse of writing a covered call. The investment strategy involves buying a put option a stock and the stock itself. The approach is sometimes referred to as a protective put strategy. A short position in a put option is combined with a short position in the stock. This is the reverse of a protective put.

9.2 Spreads One of the most popular types of spreads is a bull spread. It can be created by buying a call option on a stock with a certain strike price and selling a call option on the same stock with a higher strike price. Both options have the same expiration date. The profits from the two option positions taken separately. The profit from the whole strategy is the sum of the profits. Because a call price always decreases as the strike price increases, the value of the option sold is always less than the value of the option bought. A bull spread, when created from calls, therefore requires an initial investment.

A bull spread strategy limits the investors upside as well as downside risk. The strategy can be described by saying that the investor has a call option with a strike price equal to k1 and has chosen to give up some upside potential by selling a call option with strike price k2(k2>k1). In return for giving up the upside potential, the investor gets the price of the option with strike price k2. Three types of bull spreads can be distinguished: 1. Both calls are initially out of the money. 2. One call is initially in the money, the other call is initially out of the money. 3. Both calls are initially in the money.

Bear Spreads: An investor who enters into a bull spread is hoping that the stock price will increase. By contrast, an investor who enters into a bear spread is hoping that the stock price will decline. As with a bull spread, a bear spread can be created by buying a call with one strike price and selling a call with another strike price. However, in the case of a bear spread, the strike price of the option purchased is greater than the strike price of the option sold. A bear spread created from calls involves an initial cash inflow, because the price of the call sold is greater than the price of the call purchased.

Butterfly Spreads: A butterfly spread involves positions in options with three different strike prices. It can be created by buying a call option with a relatively low strike price, k1: buying a call option with a relatively high strike price, k3: and selling two call options with a strike price, k2: halfway between k1 and k3. Generally k2 is close to the current stock price. A butterfly spread leads to a profit if the stock price stays close to k2, but gives rise to a small loss if there is a significant stock price move in either direction. It is therefore an appropriate strategy for an investor who feels that large stock price moves are unlikely.

Calendar Spreads: Up to now we assumed that the options used to create a spread all expire at the same time. We now move to the calendar spreads in which the options have the same strike price and different expiration dates. A calendar spread can be created by selling a call option with a certain strike price and buying a longer-maturity call option with the same strike price. The longer the maturity of an option, the more expensive it usually is. A calendar spread therefore usually requires an initial investment. The investor makes a profit if the stock price at the expiration of the short maturity option is close to the strike price of the short maturity option. To understand the profit patterns from a calendar spread, first consider what happens if the stock price is very low when the short maturity option expires. 9.3 Combinations A combination is an option trading strategy that involves taking a position in both calls and puts in the same stock. We will consider straddles, strips, straps and strangles. Straddle: One popular combination is a straddle, which involves buying a call and put with the same strike price and expiration date. If the strike price is close to this stock price at expiration of the options, the straddle leads to a loss. However, if there is a sufficiently large move in either direction, a significant profit will result. A straddle is appropriate when an investor is expecting a large move in a stock price but does not know in which direction the move will be. A straddle seems to be a natural trading strategy to use when a big jump in the price of a companys stock is expected, for example, when there is a takeover bid for the company or when the outcome of a major lawsuit is expected to be announced soon. However, this is not necessarily the case. If the general view of the market is that there will be a big jump in the stock price soon, that view will be reflected in the prices of options.

Strips and Straps: A strip consists of a long position in one call and two puts with the same strike price and expiration date. A strap consists of a long position in two calls land one put with the same strike price and expiration date. In a strip the investor is betting that there will be a big stock price move and considers a decrease in the stock price to be more likely than an increase. In a strap the investor is also betting that there will be a big stock price move.

Strangles: In strangle sometimes called a bottom vertical combination, an investor buys a put and a call with the same expiration date and different strike prices. The payoff function for strangle is calculated below: Table: Payoff from a strangle Range of stock price StK1 K1<St<K2 Payoff from call 0 0 Payoff from put K1-St 0 Total payoff K1-St 0

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