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Strategies for Selling Options

It is widely known in the stock market to buy low and sell high.  Options are really no different than stocks as you should buy cheap options and sell expensive options.  The entire strategy of selling covered calls is selling overpriced options to generate more income.  
 
Call values move in the same direction as the stock price while puts move inversely to the stock price.  The amount of change in the option will be determined by the option’s delta.  If you think a stock price will rise then you would buy a call and if you think the stock price will decline you would buy a put.  

Traders sell options primarily to generate income.  The strategy used will be determined by what you decide the stock price will do in the future:

  1. Bullish/neutral – sell covered calls to create income
  2. Bearish – sell naked puts to generate income as the stock declines
  3. Bullish/neutral – sell OTM puts to create premium income while reducing assignment risk
  4. Bullish – sell ATM puts to acquire the stock at a discount price while keeping the premium income

It is important for the call writer to understand time value.  For the option writer, time value is the major source of income but the option holder sees time value as a negative because option value decreases as time decays.  In general, time is the option writers friend and the option buyers enemy.

In covered call trades, returns are generated by the time value of the option premium.  Assume that we bought the stock for $55 and we sell the $50 call for $7.00.  This is a nice premium but you are obligated to sell the stock at $50.  The time value of this option is $2.00 ($7.00 – $5.00).  If the stock is assigned at $50, then your total profit will be $2.00 or the time value of the option.


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