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By Lucas Downey Updated May 29, Traders often jump into trading options with little understanding of the options strategies that are available to them.

There are many options strategies that both limit risk and maximize return. With a little effort, traders can learn how to take advantage of the flexibility and power that stock options can provide.

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Here are 10 options strategies that every investor should know. This is a very popular strategy because it generates income and reduces some risk of being long on the stock alone. The trade-off is that you must be willing to sell your shares at a set price— the short strike price. To execute the strategy, you purchase the underlying stock as you normally would, and simultaneously write—or sell—a call option on those same shares. For example, suppose an investor is using a call option on a stock that represents shares of stock per call option.

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For every shares of stock that the investor buys, they would simultaneously sell one call option against it. This strategy is referred to as a covered call because, in the event that a stock price increases rapidly, this investor's short call is covered by the long stock position. Investors may choose to use this strategy when they have a short-term position in the stock and a neutral opinion on its direction.

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Because the investor receives a premium from selling the call, as the stock moves through the strike price to the upside, the premium that they received allows them to effectively sell their stock at a higher level than the strike price: strike price plus the premium received.

The holder of a put option has the right to sell stock at the strike price, and each contract is worth shares. An investor may choose to use this strategy as a way of protecting their downside risk when holding a stock. This strategy functions similarly to an insurance policy; it establishes a price floor in the event the stock's price falls sharply. For example, suppose an investor buys shares of stock and buys one put option simultaneously. This strategy may be appealing for this investor because they are protected to the downside, in the event that a negative change in the stock price occurs.

At the same time, the investor would be able to participate in every upside opportunity if the stock gains in value.

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The only disadvantage of this strategy is that if the stock does not fall in value, the investor loses the amount of the premium paid for the put option. With the long put and long stock positions combined, you can see that as the stock price falls, the losses are limited.

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However, the stock is able to participate in the upside above the premium spent on the put. Both call options will have the same expiration date and underlying asset.

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Using this strategy, the investor is able to limit their upside on the trade while also reducing the net premium spent compared to buying a naked call option outright.

For this strategy to be executed properly, the trader needs the stock to increase in price in order to make a profit on the trade.

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The trade-off of a bull call spread is that your upside is limited even though the amount spent on the premium is reduced. When outright calls are expensive, one way to offset the higher premium is by selling higher strike calls against them. This is how a bull call spread is constructed.

In this strategy, the investor simultaneously purchases put options at a specific strike price and also sells the same number of puts at a lower strike price.

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Both options are purchased for the same underlying asset and have the same expiration date. This strategy is used when the trader has a bearish sentiment about the underlying asset and expects the asset's price to decline. The strategy offers both limited losses and limited gains.

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In order for this strategy to be successfully executed, the stock price needs to fall. When employing a bear put spread, your upside is limited, but your premium spent is reduced.

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If outright puts are expensive, one way to offset the high premium is by selling lower strike puts against them. This is how a bear put spread is constructed. The underlying asset and the expiration date must be the same.

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This strategy is often used by investors after a long position in a stock has experienced substantial gains. This allows investors to have downside protection as the long put helps lock in the potential sale price. However, the trade-off is that they may be obligated to sell shares at a higher price, thereby forgoing the possibility for further profits. This is a neutral trade set-up, which means that the investor is protected in the event of a falling stock.

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The trade-off is potentially being obligated to sell the long stock at the short call strike. However, the investor will likely be happy to do this because they have already experienced gains in the underlying shares.

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Theoretically, this strategy allows the investor to have the opportunity for unlimited gains. At the same time, the maximum loss this investor can experience is limited to the cost of both options contracts combined. This strategy becomes profitable when the stock makes a large move in one direction or the other. An investor who uses this strategy believes the underlying asset's price will experience a very large movement but is unsure of which direction the move will take.

For example, this strategy could be a wager on trading ideas in options from an earnings release for a company or an event related to a Food and Drug Administration FDA approval for a pharmaceutical stock.

Losses are limited to the costs—the premium spent—for both options. This strategy becomes profitable when the stock makes a very large move in one direction or the other. Long Call Butterfly Spread The previous strategies have required a combination of two different positions or contracts.

All options are for the same underlying asset and expiration date. For example, a long butterfly spread can be constructed by option guarantee one in-the-money call option at a lower strike price, while also selling two at-the-money call options and buying one out-of-the-money call option.

A balanced butterfly spread will have the same wing widths. An investor would enter into a long butterfly call spread when they think the stock will not move much before expiration. The maximum loss occurs when the stock settles at the lower strike or below or if the stock settles at or above the higher strike call.

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This strategy has both limited upside and limited downside. Iron Condor In the iron condor strategy, the investor simultaneously holds a bull put spread and a bear call spread. The iron condor is constructed by selling one out-of-the-money put and buying one out-of-the-money put of a lower strike—a bull put spread—and selling one out-of-the-money call and buying one out-of-the-money call of a higher strike—a bear call spread.

All options have the same expiration date and are on the same underlying asset.

Tony Zhang and our trading team are constantly keeping a watchful eye on the latest developing trends of the market and sectors that are on the move. We send these insights to you daily to help you understand how we observe, analyze and decide what is the most profitable path for you to take in your options trading.

This trading strategy earns a net premium on the structure and is designed to trading ideas in options advantage of a stock experiencing low volatility. Many traders use this strategy for its perceived high probability of earning a small amount of premium.

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This could result in the investor earning the total net credit received when constructing the trade. The further away the stock moves through trading ideas in options short strikes—lower for the put and higher for the call—the greater the loss up to the maximum loss. Maximum loss is usually significantly higher than the maximum gain. This intuitively makes sense, given that there is a higher probability of the structure finishing with a small gain.

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Iron Butterfly In the iron butterfly strategy, an investor will sell an at-the-money put and buy an out-of-the-money put. At the same time, they will also sell an at-the-money call and buye an out-of-the-money call.

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It is common to have the trading ideas in options width for both spreads. The long, out-of-the-money call protects against unlimited downside.

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The long, out-of-the-money put protects against downside from the short put strike to zero. Profit and loss are both limited within a specific range, depending on the strike prices of the options used.

Investors like this strategy for the income it generates and the higher trading ideas in options of a small gain with a non-volatile stock. The maximum gain is the total net premium received. Maximum loss occurs when the stock moves above the long call strike or below the long put strike. Compare Accounts.