Options

Options are financial contracts that give the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an underlying asset at a predetermined price and time. The seller of the option is obligated to sell or buy the asset at the buyer’s request, but only if the buyer chooses to exercise the option.

For example, suppose a trader purchases a call option for Company XYZ stock at a strike price of $50, with an expiration date of six months from now. If the price of XYZ stock rises above $50 before the expiration date, the trader can exercise the option and buy the stock at the lower strike price, and then sell it in the market at a higher price to make a profit. If the price of the stock does not rise above the strike price, the trader can choose not to exercise the option and simply let it expire.

There are two types of options: call options and put options. A call option gives the buyer the right to buy an underlying asset at a predetermined price, while a put option gives the buyer the right to sell an underlying asset at a predetermined price.

The life cycle of an option contract includes several events, such as the opening of the contract, the exercise or expiration of the option, and the settlement of the contract. Payments made during the life cycle of an option include the premium paid by the buyer to the seller, and any potential profits or losses resulting from the exercise or expiration of the option.

Swift messages are used in the confirmation and settlement of option contracts, just like with other financial instruments. The valuation of an option contract takes into account various factors, such as the price of the underlying asset, the strike price, the time to expiration, and market volatility.

Overall, options provide traders and investors with a flexible tool for managing risk and generating profits in the financial markets. However, options trading can be complex and risky, and traders should have a good understanding of the mechanics of options contracts before engaging in this type of trading.

Here is a list of some common types of options:

- Call options – give the holder the right, but not the obligation, to buy the underlying asset at a specified price (strike price) on or before the expiration date.
- Put options – give the holder the right, but not the obligation, to sell the underlying asset at a specified price (strike price) on or before the expiration date.
- European options – can only be exercised on the expiration date.
- American options – can be exercised at any time before the expiration date.
- Asian options – the payoff is based on the average price of the underlying asset over a period of time.
- Barrier options – the option’s payoff depends on whether or not the underlying asset reaches a predetermined price level or “barrier”.
- Binary options – a type of option in which the payoff is either a fixed amount of money or nothing at all.
- Lookback options – the payoff is based on the highest or lowest price of the underlying asset over a specified period of time.
- Compound options – options on options, where the underlying asset is another option.
- Exotic options – options with non-standard features or payoffs, such as Bermuda options, which can be exercised on specific dates rather than only at expiration.
- Digital options – another term for binary options, which have a fixed payoff of either a predetermined amount or zero.

There are also many other types of options with different features and payoffs, and new types of options are developed regularly to meet the evolving needs of traders and investors.

Here are some common option strategies with simple examples:

- Long call: Buying a call option to benefit from a rise in the underlying asset’s price. For example, buying a call option on stock XYZ with a strike price of $50 and an expiration date of one month from now. If the stock price rises above $50, the option can be exercised to buy the stock at the lower strike price and then sell it at the higher market price for a profit.
- Long put: Buying a put option to benefit from a fall in the underlying asset’s price. For example, buying a put option on stock ABC with a strike price of $30 and an expiration date of two months from now. If the stock price falls below $30, the option can be exercised to sell the stock at the higher strike price and then buy it back at the lower market price for a profit.
- Covered call: Holding a long position in the underlying asset and selling a call option on that asset to generate income. For example, owning 100 shares of stock DEF and selling a call option with a strike price of $60 and an expiration date of one month from now. If the stock price remains below $60, the option will expire worthless and the trader keeps the premium as profit. If the stock price rises above $60, the option can be exercised and the trader must sell the stock at the lower strike price.
- Protective put: Holding a long position in the underlying asset and buying a put option to protect against a potential price decline. For example, owning 100 shares of stock GHI and buying a put option with a strike price of $40 and an expiration date of three months from now. If the stock price falls below $40, the option can be exercised to sell the stock at the higher strike price and limit the losses.
- Bull call spread: Buying a call option at a lower strike price and selling a call option at a higher strike price to limit potential losses while still allowing for gains if the underlying asset’s price rises. For example, buying a call option on stock JKL with a strike price of $50 and selling a call option on the same stock with a strike price of $60, both with an expiration date of one month from now. If the stock price rises above $60, the option can be exercised to buy the stock at the lower strike price and sell it at the higher market price for a profit.
- Bear put spread: Buying a put option at a higher strike price and selling a put option at a lower strike price to limit potential losses while still allowing for gains if the underlying asset’s price falls. For example, buying a put option on stock MNO with a strike price of $70 and selling a put option on the same stock with a strike price of $60, both with an expiration date of two months from now. If the stock price falls below $60, the option can be exercised to sell the stock at the higher strike price and buy it back at the lower market price for a profit.
- Straddle: Buying both a call option and a put option with the same strike price and expiration date, anticipating a significant price move in either direction. For example, buying a call option and a put option on stock PQR with a strike price of $80 and an expiration date of three months from now. If the stock price moves significantly above or below $80, one of the options can be exercised for a profit.
- Strangle: Buying both a call option and a put option with different strike prices but the same expiration date, anticipating a significant price move in either direction. For example, buying a call option with a strike price of $90 and a put option with a strike price of $70 on stock

There are several models and methods used for option pricing, including:

- Black-Scholes Model: This is a popular option pricing model that uses mathematical formulas to determine the theoretical value of an option. It takes into account the current stock price, strike price, time to expiration, risk-free interest rate, and volatility.
- Binomial Model: This model involves calculating the price of an option by considering two possible price movements for the underlying asset over a given time period. It takes into account the current stock price, strike price, time to expiration, risk-free interest rate, and volatility.
- Monte Carlo Simulation: This method involves using statistical analysis to simulate various possible price movements of the underlying asset over time. This helps to estimate the probability distribution of possible outcomes, which can be used to calculate the price of an option.
- Trinomial Model: This model is similar to the binomial model, but instead of considering two possible price movements, it considers three possible price movements for the underlying asset over a given time period.
- Black Model: This is a variation of the Black-Scholes model that is used to price options on futures contracts. It takes into account the current futures price, strike price, time to expiration, risk-free interest rate, and volatility.
- Cox-Ross-Rubinstein Model: This is another variation of the binomial model that uses a more complex formula to estimate the price of an option.
- Least Squares Monte Carlo Method: This is a simulation-based method that uses regression analysis to estimate the value of an option.

These pricing models can be used to calculate the fair value of an option, which can then be compared to the current market price to determine whether the option is overpriced or underpriced.

List of some key terms related to options:

- Delta: The delta of an option is the rate of change in the price of the option with respect to the price of the underlying asset. It is a measure of an option’s sensitivity to changes in the price of the underlying asset. A delta of 0.50 means that if the underlying asset increases by $1, the option price will increase by $0.50.
- Gamma: Gamma measures the rate of change of delta with respect to changes in the price of the underlying asset. It represents the second-order sensitivity of an option’s price to changes in the price of the underlying asset.
- Theta: Theta is the rate of change of an option’s price with respect to time. It represents the time decay of an option’s value as it approaches its expiration date.
- Vega: Vega measures the sensitivity of an option’s price to changes in the volatility of the underlying asset. It represents the amount by which the option price will change for a one percent increase in volatility.
- Rho: Rho is the rate of change of an option’s price with respect to changes in the interest rate. It represents the sensitivity of an option’s price to changes in interest rates.

Here is an example: Suppose you own a call option on stock XYZ with a delta of 0.60. If the price of XYZ stock increases by $1, the option price will increase by $0.60. If the price of XYZ stock decreases by $1, the option price will decrease by $0.60. The delta can also be interpreted as the probability that the option will finish in the money at expiration.