Month: August 2023

Building a strong foundation: Intermediate traders’ guide to listed options trading

For intermediate traders looking to elevate their trading journey and explore more sophisticated investment strategies, listed options provide an excellent avenue for growth. Options trading can appear intricate initially, but with the proper knowledge and approach, intermediate traders can build a solid foundation to navigate this dynamic market successfully. 

This guide will explore the essential elements of listed options trading, equipping intermediate traders with the tools and knowledge needed to excel in this exciting realm of finance.

Understanding the mechanics of listed options

Before diving into options trading with a reputable institution such as Saxo, intermediate traders must grasp the mechanics of listed options. Listed options are financial derivatives that grant the holder the choice, but not the constraint, to buy or resell an underlying asset at a set price within a specific time frame. The underlying asset can be a stock, index, Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF), or others.

A crucial aspect of options trading revolves around option premiums. These premiums signify an option’s price and consist of intrinsic and extrinsic value. Intrinsic value is determined by the disparity between the underlying asset’s current price and the option’s strike price. When an option is “in-the-money” (ITM), it holds intrinsic value.

On the other hand, extrinsic value, also known as time value, reflects the potential for an option to gain value before expiration. This value is influenced by several factors, including the remaining time until expiration, implied volatility, and prevailing market conditions. By considering these factors, traders can evaluate the potential for an option to appreciate.

Options strategies for intermediate traders

Here are some of the common options strategies that intermediate traders employ: 

Covered call: The covered call strategy is a popular starting point for intermediate traders in options trading. It involves holding a long position in an asset and selling a call option against that asset. The call option premium provides additional income, and if the option is exercised, the trader sells the asset at the predetermined strike price. This strategy is ideal for neutral traders to mildly bullish on the underlying asset’s price.

Protective put: The protective put strategy acts as insurance for intermediate traders who hold a long position in an asset. By purchasing a put option, traders can protect themselves from significant downside risk. If the asset’s price declines, the put option gains value, offsetting the losses on the underlying asset.

Bull call spread: The bull call spread strategy is a directional play for moderately bullish traders on an asset. It involves buying a call option at a lower strike price and selling one at a higher strike price. The goal is to profit from the price increase in the underlying asset while simultaneously reducing the trade cost by selling the higher strike call.

Bear put spread: Conversely, the bear put spread strategy suits traders with a moderately bearish outlook on an asset. It involves buying a put option at a higher strike price and selling it at a lower strike price. The strategy aims to profit from a decline in the underlying asset’s price while minimising the upfront cost of the trade.

Risk management in options trading

As with any form of trading, risk management is paramount in options trading. Intermediate traders must implement prudent risk management strategies to protect their capital and avoid significant losses.

Define risk tolerance: Intermediate traders should establish risk tolerance before entering any options trade. Understanding the maximum acceptable loss on a trade allows traders to set appropriate position sizes and avoid overexposure to risk.

Utilise stop loss orders: Implementing stop loss orders is a crucial risk management tool. A stop-loss order triggers the automatic sale of an option when its price reaches a specified level. With stop-loss orders, traders can limit potential losses and protect their capital from sharp market movements.

Diversify options portfolio: Diversification is another critical element of risk management. Spreading options positions across various industries, assets, and expiration dates can help reduce the impact of adverse market events on the overall portfolio.

At the end of the day

Options trading constantly evolves, and staying updated with market trends, economic indicators, and global events is essential for intermediate traders. Engaging in continuous learning through reputable financial resources, attending webinars, and participating in trading communities can provide valuable insights and fresh perspectives. Intermediate traders should also keep a trading journal to document their trades, analyse past performance, and identify areas for improvement.

Building a solid foundation in listed options trading is essential for intermediate traders seeking to elevate their trading skills and explore more sophisticated investment strategies. By understanding the mechanics of listed options, exploring various strategies, and implementing effective risk management techniques, intermediate traders can position themselves for success in this dynamic and rewarding market. As they gain experience and refine their trading approach, intermediate traders can harness the full potential of listed options to achieve their financial goals and elevate their trading journey to new heights.