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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

July 21, 2014

Finding Lessons in a Trade

Last week I told you about a bullish short-term bet we made on SVXY because the stock had dropped over $3 in the previous week (and historically, 4 out of 5 times when that happened earlier this year, the stock rose at least $3 in the subsequent week). We placed an order to sell half the calls if they had doubled in price, and that occurred on Tuesday. On Thursday, volatility soared due to the plane being shot down over Ukraine and Israel invading Gaza. It looked like we would just break even on the trade since we had recovered the initial investment, but then, on Friday, the stock rallied $6 and we were able to sell the remaining half for enough to give us a 32% gain on the trade. Not as much as we had originally hoped, but a gain of any sort is always welcome.

Terry

Finding Lessons in a Trade

The big lesson from our experience last week, one that we have had many times, is that there is . . .

July 14, 2014

A Possible Great Option Trading Idea

Just before the close on Friday, we made a strongly bullish trade on our favorite underlying stock in a portfolio at Terry’s Tips. In my personal account, I bought weekly calls on this same underlying. As I write this in the pre-market on Monday, it looks like that bet could triple in value this week.

I would like to share with you the thinking behind these trades so next time this opportunity comes up (and it surely will in the near future), you might decide to take advantage of it yourself.

Terry

A Possible Great Option Trading Idea: As we have discussed recently, option prices are . . .

July 7, 2014

Vertical Put Credit Spreads Part 2

Last week I reviewed the performance of the Terry’s Tips options portfolio for the first half of the year. I should have waited a week because this week was a great one – our composite average gained another 6%, making the year-to-date record 22%, or about 3 times as great as the market (SPY) gain of about 7%.

Last week I also discussed a GOOG vertical put credit spread which is designed to gain 100% in the year if GOOG finished up 2014 at any price higher than where it started, something that it has done in 9 of its . . .

Making 36%

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