Home » Finance » Stock Market

Option Trading - As Risky As The Reputation?...

May 25, 2008
Options Trading has a reputation for being extremely risky, but this reputation is in large part undeserved. True, option trades are extremely risky - even dangerous if you have no idea what you are doing. However, that is true of all forms of offline or online trading, and trading in options is no exception.

While options trading has this reputation among laymen, it is often considered to be a form of risk limitation with professional traders. After all, in what other form of investment can you guarantee the maximum loss you can suffer right at the point where you enter the trade?

Options are contracts that give the purchaser the right to buy or sell an underlying security, such as a stock, a bond or a commodity, at a fixed price and for a fixed time period only. You can find options on underlying securities such as stocks, mutual funds, bonds, commodities, and more.

Option trading gives you the chance to exploit a whole range of market opportunities that are unavailable with conventional online stock or forex trading. For example, one class of option trade allows you as the buyer to make money if you expect the market to move strongly in one direction or the other, but you are not sure in which. If you are the seller of position, by contrast, you are betting that the market either goes nowhere directionally and/or the volatility declines.

Trading in options can actually lower your risk. For example, whenever you buy an underlying stock, there is always the extremely small, but non-zero, risk that the company can go bust and the stock price can first be suspended and then go to zero. That means that your potential loss is the point difference between the price you entered the stock trade and zero, multiplied by the number of shares you own! If you had done the corresponding option trade by contrast, i.e. buying call options on the stock, your loss would be simply the price you paid for the options.

Where options are very risky is where untrained traders go "naked short", as it is called. In one common example, they sell put options on a stock index future and collect the option premium as payment. This gives the buyer the right to sell the stock index future back to the put option seller at a fixed price, called the strike price. This is fine as long as the underlying index continues to rally and the strike price is basically never reached. However, in one famous example, one hapless option punter, who had been happily selling put options on the FTSE index futures for years and collecting the cash, got badly caught when the entire stock market crashed in 1987, and the option buyers exercised their right to sell their positions at prices much higher than the current market!

However, such foolishness apart, option trading can be an extremely profitable way to trade in stocks, forex, bonds, currencies or whatever. When used properly, they can actually limit your risk drastically. Option trading can allow you to create positions and exploit market opportunities not otherwise available. Best of all, if you combine options with the underlying instrument, you get to create a whole range of interesting risk profiles.

The key to success in option trading is, as with anything else in life, to study the subject hard before trying to trade and, if possible, begin by paper trading the market. Once you are satisfied that you know what you are doing and have a valid option trading methodology, then you can begin risking real money. Even then, you only trade very small to start with and with money that you can afford to lose. Once you know what you are doing, and your account size show some nice profits, then you can afford to trade progressively larger size for progressively larger profit.
About the Author
Discover FREE expert Trading videos, podcasts and articles packed

with secret strategies to super-charge your Trading and rocket

your profits. Dr. Asoka Selvarajah also offers you his critical

FREE report, The 7 Deadly Mistakes Of Option Trading.

Visit His Option Trading Site (OptionTradingRebel.Com) Right Now!
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 233
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources