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Defining Options, First
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Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. Here is a list of our partners. How to Trade Options in 4 Steps Trading options successfully requires answering these questions: Which direction will a stock move, how far will it go and when will it all happen? James Royal, Ph.
Best Options Trading Platforms
This may influence easy to trade options products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Options trading can be complex — even more so than stock trading.
When you buy a stock, you just decide how many shares you want, and your broker fills the order at the prevailing market price or a limit price you set.
Easy to trade options options requires an understanding of advanced strategies, and the process for opening an options trading account includes a few more steps than opening a typical investment account.
See all the differences between stocks and options here.
Need to easy to trade options up on puts, calls, strike prices and other options trading lingo? See our post on options trading Compared to opening a brokerage account for stock trading, opening an options trading account requires larger amounts of capital. And, given the complexity of predicting multiple moving parts, brokers need to know a bit more about a potential investor before awarding them a permission slip to start trading options.
The best options trading platforms might give you an edge in the market
Brokerage firms screen potential options traders to assess their trading experience, their understanding of the risks and their financial preparedness. This may include income, growth, capital preservation or speculation. Trading experience. Personal financial information.
What Is Options Trading? Examples and Strategies
Have on hand your liquid net worth or investments easily sold for cashannual income, total net worth and employment information. The types of options you want to trade. Based on your answers, the broker typically assigns you an initial trading level typically 1 to 4, though a fifth level is becoming more common that is your key to placing certain types of options trades.
Screening should go both ways. The broker you choose to trade options with is your most important investing partner. Finding the broker that offers the tools, research, guidance and support you need is especially important for investors who are new to options trading.
How to Trade Options in 4 Steps
Decide which direction you think the stock is going to move This determines what type of options contract you take on. As a refresher, a call option is a contract that gives you the right, but not the obligation, to buy a stock at a predetermined price called the strike price within a certain time period.
A put option gives you the right, but not the obligation, to sell shares at a stated price before the contract expires. If the stock does indeed rise above the strike price, your option is in the money. If the stock drops below the strike price, your option is in the money. Option quotes, technically called option chains, contain a range of available strike prices.
The price you pay for an option, called the premium, has two components: intrinsic value and time value.
Options Trading Tools Comparison
Intrinsic value is the difference between the strike price and the share price, if the stock price is above the strike.
Time value is whatever is left, and factors in how volatile the stock is, the time to expiration and interest rates, among other elements. This leads us to the final choice you need to make before buying an options contract. Determine the time frame in which the stock is likely to move Every options contract has an expiration date that indicates the last day you can exercise the option. Your choices are limited to the ones offered when you call up an option chain.
Expiration dates can range from days to months to years. Daily and weekly options tend to be the riskiest and are reserved for seasoned option traders.
What is Options Trading?
For long-term investors, monthly and yearly expiration dates are preferable. Longer expirations give the stock more time to move and time for your investment thesis to play out.
If a trade has gone against them, they can usually still sell any time value remaining on the option — and this is more likely if the option contract is longer.
About the authors: James F. Royal, Ph.
Keeping the spotlight on excellent platforms and tools for options traders, TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim and TradeStation cannot be left out.
Read more Chris Davis is a NerdWallet investing writer. He has more than 10 years of agency, freelance, and in-house experience writing for financial institutions and coaching financial writers. Read more On a similar note