Options Trading and
Risk Management


Options Trading and Risk Management

There are more kinds of risk than there are investments, since every instrument carries several kinds. But risk isn't inherently bad. Without it there'd be fewer opportunities for profit.

The fundamental risk, of course, is price uncertainty. No one knows for sure whether GOOG (the symbol for Google stock) will be higher tomorrow or lower.

Options, like futures or bonds, carry an additional risk - at some point, from a day to several months or years, they expire. On or before that date, the holder has to decide whether to sell the contract, exercise the option to buy or sell the underlying asset, or simply let the option expire.

Each of these choices carries implications for gain or loss and all are uncertain (to some degree) with respect to the size of that outcome.

Complicating the price and timing risks of options is their volatility risk. It's uncertain, on any given day, how much the price will vary and how rapidly.

Ironically, options themselves are forms of risk management. Since the underlying asset, say a stock or bond, has risks as an investment buying options allows holders to compensate for them.

Leverage is one form in which options help to manage risk. Leverage is the ability to control more than you own. Suppose you want to purchase a 100 shares of Google. At the current market price that's an outlay of around $40,000 (excluding commission). That's a hefty sum for the average investor.

But you can control 100 shares of GOOG without owning them for less than 1/10th the cost - currently around $2800 - the price of one option. (One options contract typically is written on 100 shares.)

How is that a form of risk management? The reason is there's another kind of risk: principal risk. I.e the risk of losing (all or part of) your investment. (Actually this is a form of price risk.)

Purchase a 100 shares of GOOG and you stand to lose $40,000 in the (very unlikely) case that Google goes bust. (Unlikely, but not impossible. Rapid shifts in technology or other factors have tanked more than one high-tech stock. 3Com and Cisco are two good examples. Though not zero, their shares experienced considerable declines in the past few years.)

Purchase one option instead and your principal risk is limited to the - painful if lost, but much smaller - amount of the premium: $2800, the cost of the options. (Excluding commissions.)

Of course, the example is a little unfair since the odds of Google stock going to zero is itself close to zero. But there are companies for whom the odds are not so favorable and the principle (pun intended) is the same.

So, how do you manage these risks? Simple. Simple, but not easy.

Start by identifying all the known risk factors and quantifying them. (Simple in that identifying and measuring them is straightforward, but minimizing them is anything but easy.)

Fortunately, there are several different software product offerings that will help you do that. It's no longer necessary to be a finance and mathematics wizard. The software incorporates the algorithms used by experts to measure various factors - such as delta, theta, vega, volatility and others - that can affect your potential profit or loss.


Search 123OnlineTrading.com







Browse Categories:
Stock Trading
Forex Trading
Commodity Trading
Options Trading
Day Trading
Technical Analysis
Real Estate Investing
Bonds Investing
Finance / Economics
For Your Trading Room
 
Online Forex Trading Tips
  Currency Trading  
  Introduction to Forex  
  Reading Forex Quotes  
  Understanding Pips  
  Types of Forex Orders  
  Understanding Margin and Leverage  
  Avoiding Failure in the Forex Market  
  Calculating Profit and Loss  
  Choosing a Forex Broker  
  Forex Trading vs The Stock Market  
  Forex - Fundamental Analysis  
  Technical Analysis  
  Fundamental vs Technical Analysis  
  Traits of Successful Forex Traders  
   
  More About Forex Trading...  
 
Online Commodity Trading Tips
 

Commodity Trading

 
  Intro to Commodities - Part 1  
  Intro to Commodities - Part 2  
  Commodity Exchanges  
  Financial Indexes  
  Commodity Types  
  Reading Commodity Prices  
  Commodities - Margins  
  Commodities - Leverage  
  Trading Coffee  
  Trading Silver  
  Trading Uranium  
  Trading Soybean  
  Trading Oil  
   
  More About Commodities Trading...  
 
Online Options Trading Tips
 

Online Options Trading

 
  Options 101  
  Calls and Puts  
  Options Trading 101  
  Options Trading 102  
  Options - Risk Management  
  How To Read Options Listings  
  Trading Strategies - Basic Concepts  
  Trading Strategies - Profit and Risk  
  The Greeks - Part 1  
  The Greeks - Part 2  
  Values and Prices - Part 1  
  Values and Prices - Part 2  
   
  More About Options Trading...  
 
Real Estate Investing
  Real Estate Investing  
  Getting Started in Real Estate  
  Questions To Ask Before Investing  
  Real Estate - Your First Time  
  Finding and Evaluating Property  
  Inspections Save You Money  
  Cheap Repairs, Big Profits  
  Keep Your Cash For A Rainy Day  
  Insurance and Risk Management  
  Managing Risk - Part 1  
  Managing Risk - Part 2  
     
  More About Real Estate Investing...