Chapter 4

Option Combinations and Spreads


© 2002 South-Western Publishing

µRolling¶ Trading Strategies 

Rolling down/out/up - possible action as part of re-evaluating one¶s option position




Rolling down - closing your position and reestablishing a new one with a lower strike price e.g. Long call position - re-establish new one at a lower strike Rolling out - closing your existing position and re-establishing a new one with a longer expiration e.g. Similar to above situation Rolling up - closing out your existing position and re-establishing a new one with a higher strike price

Rolling Trading Strategies
± ±

Rolling up and out Rolling down and out 

Should be viewed as a new investment position with a new stock price and time outlook as opposed to a continuation of the initial position


Chapter 4 Outline       Spreads Nonstandard spreads Combined call writing Evaluating spreads Combinations Margin considerations 4 .

Introduction  Previous chapters focused on ± ± ± Speculating Income generation Hedging  Other strategies are available that seek a trading profit rather than being motivated by a hedging or income generation objective 5 .

are there dividend considerations? Where do you expect the profit to come from .stock movement or a net credit position from the sale of options? Option Pricing .Trading Considerations     6  What is your outlook for the stock and over what time frame? Are you interested in ultimately acquiring the stock? Do you own the stock now .implied volatility .

but with different ± ± Striking prices or Expiration dates  7  the µspreader¶ establishes a known maximum profit or loss potential between either the two strike prices or the two expiration dates«or combination thereof Spreads are also known as µcollars¶ .Spreads  Option spreads are strategies in which the player is simultaneously long and short options of the same type.

Spreads       Price or Vertical spreads Vertical spreads with calls Vertical spreads with puts Calendar spreads Diagonal spreads Butterfly spreads 8 .

risk reduction strategy relative to a pure call or put option ± 9 . Different strike prices The options have the same expiration date ± The spreader will long one option and short the other «.e.. options are selected vertically from the financial pages i.Price Spreads (also known as Vertical Spreads & µMoney Spreads¶ )  In a price/vertical spread.

Price Spreads With Calls   Bullspread Bearspread 10 .

11 .Bullspread or Bull Call Spread   Assume a person believes MSFT stock will appreciate soon A possible strategy is to construct a vertical call bullspread and: ± ± Buy an OCT 85 MSFT call Write an OCT 90 MSFT call  The spreader trades part of the profit potential for a reduced cost of the position.

you only need to look at the stock prices from $85 to $90 12 .Bullspread (cont¶d)  With all spreads the maximum gain and loss occur at the striking prices ± ± It is not necessary to consider prices outside this range With an 85/90 spread.

38 100 10 -6.62 86 -4 3.38 1.62 3.38 -.Bullspread (cont¶d)  Construct a profit and loss worksheet to form the bullspread: Stock Price at Option Expiration 0 85 -5 3.38 Net -5 3.38 90 0 3.62 88 -2 3.38 Long $85 call @ $5 Short $90 call @ $3.38 -1.62 13 .38 3.38 -1.

62 86.38 85 0 90 1.Bullspread (cont¶d)  Bullspread 3.62 Stock price at option expiration 14 .

Bearspread or Bear Call Spread  A bearspread is the reverse of a bullspread ± ± ± The maximum profit occurs with falling prices The investor buys the option with the higher striking price and writes the option with the lower striking price Profit from the sale of the call w/o risk of a sharp run up in the price of the stock 15 .

but profit still only is generated if the stock moves up (bull put spread)  16 .Price Spreads With Puts: Bullspread or Bull Put Spread  Involves using puts instead of calls Buy the option with the lower striking price and write the option with the higher one  Profit stems from the spread of the two options ««.

Bullspread (cont¶d)  The put spread results in a credit to the spreader¶s account (credit spread) The call spread results in a debit to the spreader¶s account (debit spread)  17 .

Bullspread (cont¶d)  A general characteristic of the call and put bullspreads is that the profit and loss payoffs for the two spreads are approximately the same ± ± The maximum profit occurs at all stock prices above the higher striking price The maximum loss occurs at stock prices below the lower striking price 18 .

options are chosen horizontally from a given row in the financial pages ± ± They have the same striking price The spreader will long one option and short the other  The trading objective is to take advantage of the µtime decay¶ factor.Calendar (or Time) Spreads  In a calendar spread. ± 19 Options are worth more the longer they have until expiration .

taking advantage of the greater time value 20 .Calendar Spreads (cont¶d)  Calendar spreads are either bullspreads or bearspreads ± ± In a bullspread. the spreader will buy a call that is near expiration and write a call with a distant expiration«.. the spreader will buy a call with a distant expiration and write a call that is near expiration In a bearspread.

Diagonal Spreads  A diagonal spread involves options from different expiration months and with different striking prices ± They are chosen diagonally from the option listing in the financial pages  Diagonal spreads can be bullish or bearish 21 .

Butterfly Spreads     A butterfly spread can be constructed for very little cost beyond commissions A butterfly spread can be constructed using puts and calls A butterfly spread does not technically meet the definition of a spread in that it can involve both puts and calls (combination) Volatility of the stock price is the main driver of the profit/loss potential with this option strategy 22 .

Butterfly Spreads(cont¶d)  Example of a butterfly spread 4 75 76 -1 80 84 85 Stock price at option expiration 0 23 .

a call bullspread is a call ratio spread if it involves writing more than one call at a higher striking price 24 .Nonstandard Spreads: Ratio Spreads  A ratio spread is a variation on bullspreads and bearspreads ± ± Instead of ³long one. short one.g.´ ratio spreads involve an unequal number of long and short options E..

Ratio Backspreads  A ratio backspread is constructed the opposite of ratio spreads ± ± Call bearspreads are transformed into call ratio backspreads by adding to the long call position Put bullspreads are transformed into put ratio backspreads by adding more long puts 25 .

Nonstandard Spreads: Hedge Wrapper (collar)  A hedge wrapper involves writing a covered call and buying a put ± ± Useful if a stock you own has appreciated and is expected to appreciate further with a temporary decline An alternative to selling the stock or creating a protective put   The maximum profit occurs once the stock price rises to the striking price of the call The lowest return occurs if the stock falls to the striking price of the put or below 26 .

locking in a defined gain The potential for further gain is reduced 27 .Hedge Wrapper (cont¶d)   The profitable stock position is transformed into a certain winner.

the investor writes calls using more than one striking price An alternative to other covered call strategies The combined write is a compromise between income and potential for further price appreciation 28 .Nonstandard Spreads: Combined Call Writing    In combined call writing.

Bearish.Evaluating Spreads  Spreads and combinations are ± ± ± Bullish. or Neutral  You must decide on your outlook for the market before deciding on a strategy 29 .

Evaluating Spreads: The Debit/Credit Issue     An outlay requires a debit An inflow generates a credit There are several strategies that may serve a particular end. and some will involve a debit and others a credit 3 considerations: ± ± ± Risk/reward ratio Movement to loss Limit price 30 .

08  31 .50 and a maximum loss of $162. if a call bullspread has a maximum gain of $337.50.Evaluating Spreads: The Reward/Risk Ratio  Examine the maximum gain relative to the maximum loss E. the reward/risk ratio is 2.g..

Evaluating Spreads: The ³Movement to Loss´ Issue  The magnitude of stock price movement necessary for a position to become unprofitable can be used to evaluate spreads 32 .

Evaluating Spreads: Specify A Limit Price  In spreads: ± ± You want to obtain a high price for the options you sell You want to pay a low price for the options you buy  Specify a dollar amount for the debit or credit at which you are willing to trade 33 .

Combinations    Straddles Strangles Condors A combination is defined as a strategy in which you are simultaneously long or short options of different types  34 .

Straddles  A straddle is the best-known option combination You are long a straddle if you own both a put and a call with the same ± ± ±  Striking price Expiration date Underlying security 35 .

Straddles  You are short a straddle if you are short both a put and a call with the same ± ± ± Striking price Expiration date Underlying security 36 .

Buying a Straddle    A long call is bullish A long put is bearish Why buy a long straddle? ± Whenever a situation exists when it is likely that a stock will move sharply one way or the other  Very Speculative . 37 .typically a situation where a company is involved in a lawsuit or takeover .unclear how the situation will be resolved.

88 38 .Buying a Straddle (cont¶d)  Suppose a speculator ± ± Buys an OCT 80 call on MSFT @ $7 Buys an OCT 80 put on MSFT @ $5.

12 67.88 90 3 -5 88 -2.12 Buy $80 call @ $7 Buy $80 put @ $5.Buying a Straddle (cont¶d)  Construct a profit and loss worksheet to form the long straddle: Stock Price at Option Expiration 0 50 -7 -.12 39 .88 75 -7 -5.31 80 -7 -5.31 -12.88 7.88 100 13 -5.88 -12.88 -7.88 Net -7 74.

88 Stock price at option expiration 40 .88 92.Buying a Straddle (cont¶d)  Long straddle Two breakeven points 67.12 80 0 67.12 12.

Buying a Straddle (cont¶d)  The worst outcome for the straddle buyer is when both options expire worthless ± Occurs when the stock price is at-the-money  The straddle buyer will lose money if MSFT closes near the striking price ± The stock must rise or fall to recover the cost of the initial position 41 .

the put is valuable.Buying a Straddle (cont¶d)  If the stock rises. but the call expires worthless  42 . but the call is valuable If the stock falls. the put expires worthless.

Writing a Straddle    Popular with speculators The straddle writer wants little movement in the stock price Losses are potentially unlimited on the upside because the short call is uncovered 43 .

12 67.88 80 0 67.88 Stock price at option expiration 44 .12 92.Writing a Straddle (cont¶d)  Short straddle 12.

except the puts and calls have different striking prices Strangles are more popular due to the smaller capital investment and the max.Strangles: Introduction  A strangle is similar to a straddle. gain occurs over a wider trading range  45 .

62 Buys a MSFT OCT 85 call @ $5 46 .Buying a Strangle  The speculator long a strangle expects a sharp price movement either up or down in the underlying security Suppose a speculator: ± ±  Buys a MSFT OCT 75 put @ $3.

62 93.Buying a Strangle (cont¶d)  Long strangle 66.38 8.38 75 0 66.62 85 Stock price at option expiration 47 .

Writing a Strangle  The maximum gains for the strangle writer occurs if both option expire worthless ± ± ± ± Occurs in the price range between the two exercise prices similar to writing a straddle some movement in the stock price results in the max. Profit maximum profit is somewhat reduced from the straddle 48 .

62 75 0 66.38 66.Writing a Strangle (cont¶d)  Short strangle 8.38 93.62 85 Stock price at option expiration 49 .

Condors: Introduction  

A condor is a less risky version of the strangle, with four different striking prices It is somewhat of a hybrid between a combination and a spread


µspread like¶ because of the defined window of profit or loss µcombination like¶ because it involves both puts and calls


Buying a Condor   

There are various ways to construct a long condor The condor buyer hopes that stock prices remain in the range between the middle two striking prices the outside strike prices protect against stock movements - either up or down


Buying a Condor (cont¶d) 

Suppose a speculator:
± ± ± ±

Buys MSFT 75 calls @ $10 Writes MSFT 80 calls @ $7 Writes MSFT 85 puts @ $8.50 Buys MSFT 90 puts @ $12.12


12 -10 7 -76.38 85 0 2 8.62 80 -5 7 3.12 -1.50 77.62 Buy $75 call @ $10 Write $80 call @ $7 Write $85 put @ $8.50 -2.88 -1.50 -7.62 53 Net .12 3.50 -12.38 90 5 -3 8.12 -1.50 -12.50 Buy $90 put @ $12.Buying a Condor (cont¶d)  Construct a profit and loss worksheet to form the long condor: Stock Price at Option Expiration 0 75 -10 7 -1.88 -1.50 2.12 3.62 95 10 -8 8.

62 85 88.38 90 0 Stock price at option expiration 1.Buying a Condor (cont¶d)  Long condor 3.62 54 .38 75 80 76.

Writing a Condor  The condor writer makes money when prices move sharply in either direction The maximum gain is limited to the premium  55 .

62 80 85 90 88.Writing a Condor (cont¶d)  Short condor 1.38 76.38 0 75 Stock price at option expiration 3.62 56 .

Margin Considerations      Introduction Margin requirements on long puts or calls Margin requirements on short puts or calls Margin requirements on spreads Margin requirements on covered calls 57 .

Margin Considerations: Introduction  Necessity to post margin is an important consideration in spreading ± The speculator in short options must have sufficient equity in his or her brokerage account before the option positions can be assumed 58 .

other than the option premium and the commission required .to long calls or puts Can borrow up to 25% of the cost of the option position from a brokerage firm if the option has at least nine months until expiration 59 .Margin Requirements on Long Puts or Calls   There is no requirement to advance any sum of money .

10(Stock Price) 60 .20(Stock Price) ± (Out-of-Money Amount) or Premium + 0.Margin Requirements on Short Puts or Calls  For uncovered calls on common stock. the initial margin requirement is the greater of Premium + 0.

the initial margin requirement is 10% of the exercise price 61 .Margin Requirements on Short Puts or Calls (cont¶d)  For uncovered puts on common stock.

Margin Requirements on Spreads  All spreads must be done in a margin account More lenient than those for uncovered options You must pay for the long side in full   62 .

deposit the net cost of the spread For a credit spread.Margin Requirements on Spreads (cont¶d)   You must deposit the amount by which the long put (or short call) exercise price is below the short put (or long call) exercise price A general spread margin rule: ± ± For a debit spread. deposit the different between the option striking prices 63 .

Margin Requirements on Covered Calls (cont¶d)  There is no margin requirement when writing covered calls Brokerage firms may restrict clients¶ ability to sell shares of the underlying stock  64 .

Determining the Appropriate Strategy ± macro level thoughts  Basic steps in any decision making process apply here: ± ± ± ± Learn the fundamentals Gather information Evaluate alternatives Make a decision based on analysis «..and then constantly monitor your position to determine best course of action 65 .

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