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Stock Option Glossary

Hedge:

No, this is not that green growing fence in front of your house that needs trimming every year.  Instead, a hedge is a method of reducing risk by putting on one option position and simultaneously selling another that contradicts what you hoped would happen with the first option.  Sounds like something a schizophrenic might do.  But it does make sense even to a rational investor. 

With a hedged bet, you give up some possible gain in exchange for a reduced loss if the market does not behave as you expected it to do.  A good example of a hedge is any option spread you might buy.  Common examples are the calendar spread, a butterfly spread, or a vertical spread.

Intrinsic Value:

In the option's world, intrinsic value is the difference between the current selling price of the underlying stock and the strike price of the option.  If an underlying stock is trading at $45 and a call option with a strike price of 40 is trading at $6, the intrinsic value of the option is $5.  The other $1 is called the time premium of the option.  It is the extra amount you have to spend to enjoy the benefit of having the right to buy the stock at $40 without having to come up with all the cash.

Maintenance Requirement:

This is something your broker will charge when you sell a credit spread with options.  There is no interest charged on a maintenance requirement but cash in your account is set aside by the broker.  You can't use this cash to buy other options or stock.

The requirement is calculated by the maximum amount that you could theoretically lose on the spread you place.   For some silly reason, the broker wants to make sure that you end up with enough cash to cover that potential loss so that he doesn't have to cough up the money himself.  It doesn't really sound fair, does it?  With all the commissions the broker is collecting on your trades, you would think he would be willing to take a little risk once in a while.  But that's not the way it works.  They insist that you take the entire risk.

One neat thing about selling a credit spread is that the cash you collect from selling a credit spread is used by the broker to offset any margin loan you might have on stock that you have purchased.  So if you break even on the credit spread, you might save a little in interest on your stock margin loan.  It probably won't change your way of living, but it beats a stick in the eye (as my mother used to tell me whenever I complained about something that was a positive, but only slightly so).

Terry's Tips Stock Options Trading Blog

April 29, 2015

Check Out a Long-Term Bet on FaceBook (FB)

In the family charitable trust I set up many years ago, I trade options to maximize the amounts I can give away each year. In this portfolio, I prefer not to actively trade short-term options, but each year, I make selected bets on companies I feel good about and I expect they won’t tank in price over the long run. Last week, I made such a bet on FaceBook (FB) that I would like to tell you about today. The spread will make over 40% in the next 8 months even if the stock were to fall $5 over that time.

Terry

Check Out a Long-Term Bet on FaceBook (FB)

When most people think about trading options, they are thinking short-term. If they are buying calls in hopes that the stock will skyrocket, they usually by the cheapest call they can find. These are the ones which return the greatest percentage gain , , ,

April 22, 2015

Why Calendar Spreads Are So Much Better Than Buying Stock

One of the great mysteries in the investment world (at least to me, an admitted options nut) is why anyone would buy stock in a company they really like when they could dramatically increase their expected returns with a simple stock options strategy instead. Of course, buying options is a little more complicated and takes a little extra work, but if you could make two or three times (or more) on your investment, wouldn’t that little extra effort be more than worth it? Apparently not, since most people take the lazy way out and just buy the stock.

Today I will try to persuade you to give stock options a try. I will show you exactly what I am doing in one of my Terry’s Tips portfolios while trading one of my favorite stocks.

Terry

Why Calendar Spreads Are So Much Better Than Buying Stock

I like just about everything about Costco. I like to shop there. I buy wine by the case, paying far less than my local wine store (I am not alone – Costco is the largest retailer . . .

April 14, 2015

$20 Spread Investment Idea – a Bet on Oil

This week I would like to share an option spread idea which will cost you only $20 to try (plus commission). Of course, it you like the idea, you could buy a hundred or more of them like I did, or you could just get your options toe wet at a cost of a decent lunch (skip lunch and take a walk instead – it could improve both your physical and financial health).

The bet requires you to take a stab at what the price of oil might do in the next few weeks. Your odds of winning are surely better than placing a bet on a fantasy baseball team, and it could be as much fun. Read on.

Terry

$20 Spread Investment Idea – a Bet on Oil

I continue to investigate investment opportunities in USO, both . . .

Making 36%

Making 36% – A Duffer's Guide to Breaking Par in the Market Every Year in Good Years and Bad

This book may not improve your golf game, but it might change your financial situation so that you will have more time for the greens and fairways (and sometimes the woods).

Learn why Dr. Allen believes that the 10K Strategy is less risky than owning stocks or mutual funds, and why it is especially appropriate for your IRA.

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