Option Trading Basic Terms
Although there are hundreds of terms that are used in the financial language, beginners have to understand first the most important and commonly used words.
Option is the right of the buyer to either buy or sell the underlying asset at a fixed price and a fixed date. At the end of the contract, the owner can exercise to either buy or sell the option at the strike price. The owner has the right to pursue the contract but he or she is not obligated to do so.
Call option gives the owner the right to buy the underlying asset.
Put Option gives the owner the right to sell the underlying asset.
Exercise is the action where the owner can choose to buy (if call option) or sell (if put option) the underlying asset or, to ignore the contract. If the owner chooses to pursue the contract, he must send an exercise notice to the seller.
Expiration is the date where the contract ends. After the expiration and the owner does not exercise his or her rights, the contract is terminated.
In-the-money is an option with an intrinsic value. The call option is in-the-money if the underlying asset is higher than the strike price. The put option is in-the-money if the underlying asset is lower than the strike price.
Out-of-the-money is an option with no intrinsic value. The call option is out-of-the-money if the trading price is lower than the strike price. The put option is out-of-the-money if the trading price is higher than the strike price.
Offsetting is an act by which the owner of the option exercises his right to buy or sell the underlying asset before the end of the contract. This is done if the owner feels that the profitability of the stock has reached its peak within the date of the contract.
(Option seller) Writer
The option seller/writer is the seller of the underlying asset or the option.
Option buyer is the person who acquires the rights to convey the option.
Strike Price is the price at which the underlying stock must be sold or purchased if the contract is exercised. The strike price is clearly stated in the contract. For the buyer of the option to make a profit, the strike price must be lower than the current trading price of the stock. For example, if the contract states that the strike price of a certain stock is $20 and the current trading price at the end of the contract is $25, the buyer can exercise his or her rights to pursue the contract, thus earning $5 per stock.
Option Premium – is the amount of the contract which must be paid by the buyer to the writer (the seller). The amount of the option premium is determined by several factors such as the type of the option (call or put), the strike price of the current option, the volatility of the stock, the time remaining until expiration and the price of the underlying asset to date. Taking into account these factors, the total amount of the option premium is number of option contracts, multiplied by contract multiplier. So if you are buying 1 option contract (equivalent to 100 share lots) at $2.5 per share, you must pay a total amount of $250 as the option premium (1 option contract x 100 shares x $2.5 per share = $250).