June 2024

What should every options trader know before trading listed options?


Trading options can be a great way to generate additional income or protect your portfolio from downside risk. However, before you start trading options, there are a few things that you should know.

Basics of options

First, you need to understand the basics of how options work. An option is a contract between two parties that gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an underlying security at a specified price on or before a specific date.


Second, you need to be aware of the risks associated with trading options. Options are risky because they can result in significant losses if misused. For example, when you buy a call option and the stock price rises above the strike price before the expiration date, you will lose 100% of your investment.

Commissions and fees

Third, you need to understand how commissions and fees impact your trading costs. For example, if you sell covered calls against stock positions in your account, any option premiums received will be offset by the commission charges for each trade. Suppose you make subsequent purchases or sales of the same options contracts or underlying security within a 30 calendar-day period. In that case, these trades are considered “related transactions” and maybe double-taxed due to the wash sale rule. In addition, some brokers charge higher commissions on listed options than on equity options because they require more research time to value them before execution properly.

The use of stops can also assist with managing risk while trading listed options.

Finally, you need to learn how to handle the different tax treatments associated with trading options and understand that trading in and out of the same option within a 30 calendar day period can sometimes result in more favourable long-term capital gains rates for investors.

Three points to remember:

Point 1: The first thing that every options trader should know before trading listed options is precarious. Covered call writing strategies are one of the most basic options trading strategies, but traders need to be careful because even this strategy carries a high amount of risk. For instance, if an investor writes covered calls on stock XYZ at $50 per share, at some point during the trade, they need to adjust their position if the stock price gets too low.

Point 2: The next thing that every options trader should know before trading listed options is that they should not trade them without an exit plan. Even experienced traders cannot keep their cool during volatile markets (and it’s one of the main reasons they shouldn’t hold positions over weekends), so it’s best to create solid exit strategies before investing in anything. It makes it easy to take profits at predetermined levels instead of taking unnecessary risks trying to lock in your gains at a specific price point.

Point 3: The last thing that every options trader should know before trading listed options is that they may never become profitable if they don’t use the right strategies. Many different strategies are available for investing in the options markets (covered put writing). But one strategy might not work for each investor; hence, choosing the right strategy can be crucial to their success as an options trader. For instance, because return expectations are often extremely high with equity options, some traders like to invest in long call positions that expire out of the money.

The Bottom Line

Before you start trading listed options, make sure you understand the risks involved and take commissions and fees into account. You should also understand how different tax treatments can impact your bottom line.

Interested in trading listed options? Click here to contact professional, world-renowned brokers.

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