Stock Options – Meaning, Examples, Benefits, Limitations, Types

When a person purchases a stock option, they agree to purchase stock from the seller at a certain price and within a specified time frame. Option writers are those who sell stock options and have the right to receive compensation from the premium paid by option buyers. Let us understand meaning of stock options with examples, benefits and limitations of it.

Also read about index funds as this will assist you to understand the topic better. When an employer provides you with options, there are typically a variety of varying circumstances and factors. In a word, a stock option grants the holder the right to purchase a specified number of the company’s shares at a price that is, preferably, less than the current market price of those shares. This post will discuss employer stock options. We will discuss what they are, how they function, and how to estimate their potential value.

Meaning of Stock Options

The owner of a stock option has the right, but not the obligation, to purchase a predetermined number of shares of stock at a predetermined price and on a predetermined date. However, the individual with the stock option is not require to purchase the stock.

The owner of a put option wagers that the price of the underlying stock will decline. The owner of a call option wagers that the price of the underlying stock will increase.

Options on stocks are a type of equity derivative frequently refer to as “equity options”. This is because they are back by a stock or stock index as the underlying asset. In other words, ownership interests. Employee stock options, often known as ESOs, are comparable to call options. Some companies use them as a type of equity remuneration for their staff and CEOs.

How Do Stock Options Work?

Stock options are a frequent perk grant to both new and long-term employees. People who are considering applying for positions at a firm that offers stock options prefer them because they can purchase shares of the company’s stock for less than what it would cost to purchase those shares on the open market.

Employees who have been granted stock options can be retained during the vesting process. Employers may utilize the vesting period as an incentive to retain employees. Until they may acquire ownership of any stock options they were grant during the vesting period. Your options are not legally yours until you have satisfied the vesting conditions.

Consider the following scenario: you have been allocated 10,000 shares, but according to the vesting schedule, you can only receive 2,500 shares per year for the next four years. Therefore, you must remain for at least a year to exercise the first 2,500 options, and you cannot exercise all 10,000 options until the end of the fourth year. If you wish to receive the full value of a grant, you must nearly always continue to work for the company until the vesting time expires.

Example of Stock Options

An investor believes that the price of Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) shares will increase by more than 170 percent in the near future. In January, they acquire ten contracts of call options with a strike price of $170 for $16.10 each contract. To purchase the calls, the trader would need to spend a total of $16,100.

A trader will profit if the stock price rises above $186.10, the total of the strike price plus the cost of the calls. If the price of the underlying stock does not reach $170 or more before the options expire, the premium paid for those options will be forfeited. Additionally, the investor may purchase 10 January $120 futures for $11.70 apiece if desired. Creates an environment in which the price of Nvidia’s shares is anticipate to decline in the near future.

Trader would have to pay a total of $11,700 from their own funds. For the trader to earn a profit, the stock’s price would need to fall below $108.30. If the price of the underlying stock exceeds $120 on the expiration date of the options. The premium will be forfeited because the options will be worthless at that time.

Types of Stock Options

There are two sorts of stock options: those contingent upon the individual and those contingent upon the company. First, there is the stock call option, which gives the purchaser the right, but not the duty, to purchase a specified number of shares of stock. When the price of the underlying stock increases, so does the value of the option.

Second, the opportunity to conduct short sells of stock via stock put options. The value of a put option increases as the price of the underlying security falls. When investment bankers purchase one of these options, they can employ various trading tactics, including “covered calls.”

Benefits of Stock Options

Most investors do not utilize options because they believe they are too difficult to comprehend. This is due to the widespread misconception that options are difficult to comprehend. Due to a lack of information on options, many investors and their brokers have had negative initial encounters with them. There are several benefits of stock options over futures trading and cash trading.

Cost Efficient

Options provide substantial leverage. A trader or investor can obtain the same amount of position control when trading or investing in options for a fraction of the margin required when trading equities. If an investor desires to purchase 200 shares of stock at the current price of $80 per share, he or she must pay Rs. 16,000 in total.

If he had purchased call options instead of put options with the same differential. The premium would have been closer to Rs 4000. To gain a comprehensive understanding of how each of our options compares in terms of cost, we must.

High Return Potential

When trading options, it is possible to earn significantly more money than when purchasing shares with cash. If you accurately estimate the strike price, purchasing the option will yield the same return as purchasing the stock directly. If we were able to purchase options with a lower margin and still generate a profit, our return on investment would be far larger.

Lesser Risk

Options are a more risky investment than stocks, but they can protect your capital. Utilizing several options is a typical method for mitigating risk. Since the maximum amount that may be lost in an option trade is the amount initially invested in the option, the risk can be correctly estimated in advance.

More Strategies to Consider

There are currently more options trading techniques available to traders. Combining call options and put options with multiple expiration dates and strike prices might create a hedging strategy. Calls and puts are the most fundamental strategies for trading options. But there are also more complex strategies such as butterflies and strangles.

Features of Stock Options

The buyer of an option enters into an agreement with the seller to acquire or sell the underlying assets at a predetermined price and time. This type of transaction is refer as a “derivative”. Let’s start with the features of stock options are and how they work.


To calculate the premium for an option, multiply the price of the call by the total number of purchased contracts and divide by 100. If a trader purchased five contracts of January IBM $150 Calls at $1 each contract, the total cost would be $500. A trader would purchase puts if they were certain that the stock’s price will decline in the future.

Expiration Date

When a trader purchases an option, not only may they wager on whether the price of a stock will rise or fall. But they can also determine when they believe their forecast will be realized.

After that period, the offer will no longer be valid and will be void. To get the time value of an option, you must do a series of computations, some of which must account for the option’s expiration date.

Strike Price

When selecting whether or not to exercise an option, it is crucial to consider the strike price. The striking price is the amount a trader believes a stock will settle at on the option’s expiration date, which may be greater or lower than the present price.

Speculators who purchase calls at a particular month and strike price may believe that International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) shares will appreciate in the future. For instance, a trader predicts that the price of IBM shares will hit $150 by mid-January. In this situation, they might elect to invest $150 in a call option in January.


One may pick between American and European styles. American options may be exercise at any point before to the expiration date. European options are less prevalent than their American equivalents and can only be exercise on their expiration date.

Contract Size

Each contract represents a certain quantity of the underlying shares that a trader may wish to purchase. Traders utilise these contracts to hedge against the risk of price fluctuations. One contract is equivalent to 100 shares of the actively traded stock. After reviewing the preceding information, a trader decides to purchase five call options. The investor is currently in possession of five January $150 per share call options.

If IBM’s stock price is more than $150 when the option expires. The trader may exercise the option to purchase 500 shares of IBM stock at the strike price of $150 per share. Therefore, the trader will be able to get the shares at a reduced cost. If the stock’s value is less than $150 when the options expire. The trader will lose the whole amount spent to purchase the options.

Limitations of Stock Options

Influential members of the financial press and well-known market participants have incorrectly labelled options as potentially hazardous and fraught with dangers. However, a private investor must hear arguments for and against options before determining their worth. Even if the benefits of trading options are evident, there are a number of associated hazards. Here are some of the most significant limitations of stock options:

Non Availability of All Stock Options

Before options may be written on equities, they must be registered, have sufficient shares, be owned by sufficient shareholders, trade often enough, and have sufficient market value. There is not a single publicly tradable company that provides people with access to options contracts. A trader cannot employ options methods as a hedge as effectively as they could.

Less Liquidity

Some stock options are less liquid than others, making it more difficult for traders to enter and exit the market. When a market lacks liquidity, it can be difficult to purchase and sell, as well as trade assets.

Deterioration over Time

The worst aspect of trading options is the risk of losing money due to time decay. Even if the underlying asset remains unchanged, the value of the option premium you possess will decrease daily by a certain proportion. The pace at which the value of an option contract decreases with time is refer to as its “time decay rate”.

High Commissions

Compared to futures and stock trading, options trading has significantly greater costs. On the other hand, some brokers provide traders the opportunity to trade at commission rates that are lower than the norm. The majority of full-service brokers, however, demand significantly higher commission charges for trading options.


If you receive stock options as part of your compensation, you must grasp their actual value and how they can fit into a diverse investing portfolio. When clients approach us with questions regarding their alternatives, we typically recommend that they speak with their financial advisor. This is due to the fact that stock options include a degree of risk.

Originally posted 2022-09-13 03:13:00.