How to boost your stock returns while lowering your risk

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An options strategy called Covered Call Writing is a conservative strategy designed to reduce risk and increase income when investing in stocks. Briefly stated, stock options are contracts in which you buy or sell the right to buy or sell. Although there are eight types of options contracts, we’re interested here in low-risk “Covered Call Writing.”
Covered Call Writing, stock options
An options strategy called Covered Call Writing is a conservative strategy designed to reduce risk and increase income when investing in stocks. Briefly stated, stock options are contracts in which you buy or sell the right to buy or sell. Although there are eight types of options contracts, we’re interested here in low-risk “Covered Call Writing.”

Here’s how it works: Say it’s August and you buy 300 shares of XYZ stock at the price of $48 per share. XYZ pays a quarterly dividend of 50 cents per share. Therefore, if the price never moves, you’ll earn 4.2% per year.

At the same time, you would participate in Covered Call Writing. To do so, you, you would “write three January 50 Calls.” This means you are selling (“writing”) the right for someone else to buy the stock from you (they “call” it away) between now and the third Friday of January at the specified price of $50. (All contracts expire the third Friday of the month.)

Each contract represents 100 shares, hence three contracts. The buyers pay you a fee (called a “premium”) of $3.5 per share, or $1,050. (The premium is based on the amount of time until expiration and the spread between the current price and the “strike price,” in this case $50. Therefore, the premium changes constantly.)

Assuming you don’t cancel, only two things can happen next: The contract will get exercised or it will expire worthless in January. Either way, you keep the $1,050. Clearly, this strategy can yield big rewards. Among the advantages are:

1. You are establishing a profitable sell price the day you buy the stock. If exercised, you are guaranteed a profit;

2. You reduce risk because premium in effect reduces the price you paid for the stock;

3. Your annual yield is boosted far above that of the dividend alone.

However, there are other considerations. For one, you are limiting your potential profits. No matter how high the stock rises, you won’t sell for more than $50. You can solve this problem by buying your option back, in effect canceling it out. You would do this if you later think the stock will dramatically rise and you don’t want to miss the gains to be made.

Also, you have not reduced the risk that your stock may drop in price. The only certainty is, should XYZ drop $25, your option will not be exercised – a small consolation. To protect yourself, you may “buy a January 45 put” giving you the right to sell your stock for $45. This is the opposite of what we’ve reviewed here, and is designed to minimize losses, rather than protect gains.

Because of the potential for price drops, you should choose a high quality, blue-chip stock that fits your budget, an which offers a stable trading range, solid fundamental, high dividends, and good growth potential.

Covered Call Writing is not a reason to own stocks, but the strategy might be of help if you already own them. Prior to opening an account, you must receive and urged to read “Characteristics and Risk of Standardized Options,” which is published by the Options Clearing Corporation in cooperation with NASD and all major U.S. stock exchanges. The booklet is available from any broker or financial advisor.

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The Difference Between Trading Stocks And Stock Options

In the stock market industry, the trade for stocks and stock options are often interchanged and many may be confused between the concepts behind these types of trades. However, what you should know is that these two have very different characteristics from each other, and using them interchangeably can be very lethal if you want to engage in the stock trading game.

Knowing the difference between these two would not only save you on making serious trading mistakes, but perhaps, you can be guided on making a smart business decision on which particular trade you would actually want to make your investments.

Stocks Versus Stock Options

By definition, stocks are actually shares of a particular company that can be traded through the act of buying or selling by an investor. If you happen to own a particular stock from a company, you are entitled to certain rights, which may include a profit share from earnings. You may also have the liberty to sell your share of stock if you no longer desire it.

A stock option on the other hand, is not the stock or share of the company itself, but it is actually the rights for a certain stock. It actually allows you to buy and sell company stock at a set price in a certain time period. However, you do not gain the profits from the company itself.

Take note that in doing transactions for stock options, there will always be a buyer and a seller, and this may not always hold true when compared to stocks. When you sell stock options, you are actually creating a certain degree of security for the company as well as for yourself. In this way, the parties involved can make sure that money is actually made to the frequent trade that happens.

Comparing The Benefits

In comparing the benefits of trading stocks and stock options, many experts would claim that stock options might be a promising gamble for companies and individuals, especially if you have adequate experience in the trading game and can substantially use very good strategies to survive. However, the same results might not be expected if you are only a beginner.

What makes a lot of experts prefer options trading is usually because in this particular trade, no matter what would happen to the underlying security, an option buyer cannot lose to more than that of the initial price paid for the rights. Therefore in trading options, there are fewer risks involved on the part of the buyer, especially when it comes to the possibility of losing a lot of money. And it may even give promises of profitable gains.

But on the other hand, the seller may experience greater risks. There may be a possibility that one has to deliver or take deliveries of the stock shares. Unless the option is actually covered by a different option, then the seller may end up losing much more than the stock option’s original price.

And so, if you are not well skilled and knowledgeable about how you can prevent severe losses, then the best way for you to play the stocks trading game is to stick with the more traditional trading of stocks as this can be easier.

However, if you do believe that you can manage then options trading may give you many promising positive results. Just make sure that you take the time to understand concepts and strategies behind stock options before you actually start trading.

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The Advantages Of Trading Stock Options

Just recently, options in stock trading have been getting the attention they deserve from many traders. However, for quite some time now, investing on options has created quite a stigma in the market especially with the financial media and a few popular figures attaching such implications that trading options may be too risky or dangerous.

What you should knowing about trading options however, is that there are a lot of advantages that one can get from it. And as long as you are smart in handling your trades and with the use of the right strategies, you may be able to prevent risks from actually happening.

Cost Efficient

One thing about stock options is that they are well capable of leveraging or borrowing money in order to increase returns. It can be very possible for an investor to obtain option positions that copy stock positions without going overboard with the cost. A strategy known as a stock replacement, allows mimicking stocks possible but in a cost efficient way.

For example, for you to be able to purchase 200 shares of a $50 stock, you must pay $10,000. But if you were going to purchase a couple of $20 stock options, with the options representing 100 shares each, then you would only have to outlay $4,000 instead of $10,000. As an investor, you would be able to gain $6,000 for you to use in your discretion.

Of course, the whole process may not be as instant and as simple as the example provided. But if you are able to choose the right stock option for the process, then you may be successful in your attempts for this strategy.

High Potential Returns

Another fact about stock options is that you can actually spend less money, but still make almost the same profit. Because of this, you can surely expect to gain a much higher percentage of returns as compared to normal stock trading. Of course, this would mean that you can actually earn so much more and your investment can surely pay off.

More Investment Alternatives Are Offered

Another very good advantage in trading options is the fact that they can offer more strategic alternatives for investment as compared to traditional stocks. Because options are very flexible, there can be a lot of way to use them.

Take in mind that options are actually the rights to trading a particular stock, and so, there may be various ways that an investor can actually use these rights to benefit him or herself.

The use of these options allow an investor to trade not only through stock movements, but through the passage of time and unpredictability in the market as well. And this can be very beneficial because most stocks rarely move significantly. Options strategically offer alternatives for a trader to do business in every type of market.

These are only a few of the major advantages of trading stock options, but as you can see, they are enough reason to tell you that going into this type of market can really be beneficial. With the low costs, direct access to stock options through the Internet, and with such benefits at hand, it is no wonder why stock options trading have become a part of the financial circles these days.

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Stock Options – Comparing The Two Types

The trade for stock options is fast on the rise in the market these days. With its many trading benefits and high promises for financial profit, many have become quite interested in buying and selling such contracts. Let us learn about the two types of these options in order to better understand how to trade them.

Knowing how each of these options would work to your benefit as the contract holder can surely come in handy with the volatile trends ongoing in the stock market.

The two major types of option contracts are the call option and the put option. Each of these contracts holds rights and benefits for their owners. Let us discuss each of these and how they can be useful to you.

Call Options

A call option is a type of contract that gives its owner the right to buy the underlying stock at a certain fixed price (also called the strike price) within a specified time frame, which should be on or before the expiry date. The buyer of a call holds the right to purchase shares at the strike price until the date of expiry. The writer or the seller of the call on the other hand, holds the obligation.

If a call buyer chooses to exercise his or her option by deciding to purchase the underlying share, then the call writer is then obliged to sell his or her share at the negotiated strike price.

For example, an investor purchases a call option from a certain company with a strike price of $10, which will expire in two months, then that buyer holds the right to exercise his or her option by paying the value of $10 for each share. The writer, on the other hand, would be obligated to give up the shares in the exchange for $10 for each of them.

Put Options

On the other hand, a put option is the total opposite of the previous. It is a contract that allows one to sell the underlying stock at a certain price on or before the expiry date. A put buyer holds the right to sell shares at the strike price, and following this, a put writer will then be obliged to sell at the negotiated price.

And so, if the investors who have purchased the stocks of a company would have growing concerns that business may not fair a current market slump, then they can buy a put option at a certain strike price in order to ensure the safety of their gains.

These investors would then hold the right, until expiry, to be able to sell their stock shares for the same amount they paid for them. Sellers of the put are then obligated to buy back the shares. If in the event that the company really did not do well during the market slump, then this could hurt on the part of the put seller.

Knowing about the differences between these two types of options are the first major step to guide you in making decisions in trading stock options. Be sure that you know what risks are involved in each type, so you would be able to know whether to buy a call or put option with the current behaviors of the stock market.

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