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Options on S&P BSE SENSEX & Individual Stocks

1. What are the important terminologies in Options ?

Option Premium : Premium is the price paid by the buyer to the seller to acquire the right to buy or sell.

Strike Price or Exercise Price : The strike or exercise price of an option is the specified/ predetermined price of the underlying asset at which the same can be bought or sold if the option buyer exercises his right to buy/ sell on or before the expiration day.

Expiration date : The date on which the option expires is known as the Expiration Date. On the Expiration date, either the option is exercised or it expires worthless.

Exercise Date : The date on which the option is actually exercised is called the Exercise Date.

In case of European Options, the exercise date is same as the expiration date while in case of American Options, the options contract may be exercised any day between the purchase of the contract and its expiration date (see European/ American Option). In India, options on "S&P BSE SENSEX®" are European style, whereas options on individual are stocks American style.

Open Interest : The total number of options contracts outstanding in the market at any given point of time.

Option Holder : is the one who buys an option, which can be a call, or a put option. He enjoys the right to buy or sell the underlying asset at a specified price on or before specified time.

His upside potential is unlimited while losses are limited to the premium paid by him to the option writer.

Option seller/ writer : is the one who is obligated to buy (in case of put option) or to sell (in case of call option), the underlying asset in case the buyer of the option decides to exercise his option. His profits are limited to the premium received from the buyer while his downside is unlimited.

Option Series: An option series consists of all the options of a given class with the same expiration date and strike price. e.g. BSXCMAY15500 is an options series which includes all S&P BSE SENSEX® Call options that are traded with Strike Price of 15500 & Expiry in May. (BSX stands for BSE S&P BSE SENSEX® (underlying index), C is for Call Option, May is expiry date and Strike Price is 15500). <.


2. What is Assignment ?

When holder of an option exercises his right to buy/ sell, a randomly selected (by computer) option seller is assigned the obligation to honor the underlying contract, and this process is termed as Assignment.


3. What is European & American Style of options ?

An American style option is the one which can be exercised by the buyer at any time, till the expiration date, i.e. anytime between the day of purchase of the option and the day of its expiry. The European kind of option is the one which can be exercised by the buyer only on the expiration day and & not any time before that.


4. What are Call Options ?

A call option gives the holder (buyer/ one who is long call), the right to buy specified quantity of the underlying asset at the strike price on or before expiration date in case of American option. The seller (one who is short call) however, has the obligation to sell the underlying asset if the buyer of the call option decides to exercise his option to buy.

Example: An investor buys One European call option on Stock "A" at the strike price of Rs. 3500 at a premium of Rs. 100. If the market price of Stock "A" on the day of expiry is more than Rs. 3500, the option will be exercised. The investor will earn profits once the share price crosses Rs. 3600 (Strike Price + Premium i.e. 3500+100). Suppose stock price is Rs. 3800, the option will be exercised and the investor will buy 1 share of Stock "A" from the seller of the option at Rs 3500 and sell it in the market at Rs 3800 making a profit of Rs. 200 {(Spot price - Strike price) - Premium}.

In another scenario, if at the time of expiry stock price falls below Rs. 3500 say suppose it touches Rs. 3000, the buyer of the call option will choose not to exercise his option. In this case the investor loses the premium (Rs 100), paid which shall be the profit earned by the seller of the call option.


5. What are Put Options ?

A Put option gives the holder (buyer/ one who is long Put), the right to sell specified quantity of the underlying asset at the strike price on or before an expiry date in case of American option. The seller of the put option (one who is short Put) however, has the obligation to buy the underlying asset at the strike price if the buyer decides to exercise his option to sell.

Example: An investor buys one European Put option on Stock 'B' at the strike price of Rs. 300, at a premium of Rs. 25. If the market price of Stock 'B', on the day of expiry is less than Rs. 300, the option can be exercised as it is 'in the money'. The investor's Break-even point is Rs. 275 (Strike Price - premium paid) i.e., investor will earn profits if the market falls below 275. Suppose stock price is Rs. 260, the buyer of the Put option immediately buys Stock 'B' from the market @ Rs. 260 & exercises his option selling the Stock 'B' at Rs 300 to the option writer thus making a net profit of Rs. 15 {(Strike price - Spot Price) - Premium paid}.

In another scenario, if at the time of expiry, market price of Stock 'B' is Rs 320; the buyer of the Put option will choose not to exercise his option to sell as he can sell in the market at a higher rate. In this case the investor loses the premium paid (i.e. Rs 25), which shall be the profit earned by the seller of the Put option.

  CALL OPTIONS) PUT OPTIONS
Option buyer or option holder Buys the right to buy the underlying asset at the specified price Buys the right to sell underlying asset at the specified price
Option seller or option writer Has the obligation to sell the underlying asset (to the option holder) at the specified price. Has the obligation to buy the underlying asset (from the option holder) at the specified price

6. How are options different from futures ?

The significant differences in Futures and Options are as under:
  • Futures are agreements/contracts to buy or sell specified quantity of the underlying assets at a price agreed upon by the buyer and seller, on or before a specified time. Both the buyer and seller are obligated to buy/sell the underlying asset.
  • In case of options the buyer enjoys the right & not the obligation, to buy or sell the underlying asset.
  • Futures Contracts have symmetric risk profile for both the buyer as well as the seller, whereas options have asymmetric risk profile.In case of Options, for a buyer (or holder of the option), the downside is limited to the premium (option price) he has paid while the profits may be unlimited. For a seller or writer of an option, however, the downside is unlimited while profits are limited to the premium he has received from the buyer.
  • The Futures contracts prices are affected mainly by the prices of the underlying asset. The prices of options are however; affected by prices of the underlying asset, time remaining for expiry of the contract, interest rate & volatility of the underlying asset.


7. Explain "In the Money", "At the Money" & "Out of the money" Options ?

An option is said to be "at-the-money", when the option's strike price is equal to the underlying asset price. This is true for both puts and calls.

A call option is said to be "in the money" when the strike price of the option is less than the underlying asset price. For example, a Stock A" call option with strike of 3900 is "in-the-money", when the spot price of Stock "A" is at 4100 as the call option has a positive exercise value. The call option holder has the right to buy the Stock "A" at 3900, no matter by what amount the spot price exceeded the strike price. With the spot price at 4100, selling Stock "A" at this higher price, one can make a profit.

On the other hand, a call option is out-of-the-money when the strike price is greater than the underlying asset price. Using the earlier example of S&P BSE SENSEX® call option, if the S&P BSE SENSEX® falls to 3700, the call option no longer has positive exercise value. The call holder will not exercise the option to buy S&P BSE SENSEX® at 3900 when the current price is at 3700 and allow his "option" right to lapse.

  CALL OPTIONS) PUT OPTIONS
In-the-money Strike Price< Spot Price of underlying asset Strike Price > Spot Price of underlying asset
At-the-money Strike Price = Spot Price of underlying asset Strike Price = Spot Price of underlying asset
Out-of the-money Strike Price > Spot Price of underlying asset Strike Price< Spot Price of underlying asset


A put option is in-the-money when the strike price of the option is greater than the spot price of the underlying asset. For example, a Stock "A" put at strike of 4400 is in-the-money when the spot price of Stock "A" is at 4100. When this is the case, the put option has value because the put option holder can sell the Stock "A" at 4400, an amount greater than the current Stock "A" of 4100. Likewise, a put option is out-of-the-money when the strike price is less than the spot price of underlying asset. In the above example, the buyer of Stock "A"put option won't exercise the option when the spot is at 4800. The put no longer has positive exercise value and therefore in this scenario, the put option holder will allow his "option" right to lapse.


8. What are Covered and Naked Calls ?

A call option position that is covered by an opposite position in the underlying instrument (for example shares, commodities etc),is called a covered call. Writing covered calls involves writing call options when the shares that might have to be delivered (if option holder exercises his right to buy), are already owned. For example, a writer writes a call on Reliance and at the same time holds shares of Reliance so that if the call is exercised by the buyer, he can deliver the stock.

Covered calls are far less risky than naked calls (where there is no opposite position in the underlying), since the worst that can happen is that the investor is required to sell shares already owned at below their market value. When a physical delivery uncovered/ naked call is assigned on exercise, the writer will have to purchase the underlying asset to meet his call obligation and his loss will be the excess of the purchase price over the exercise price of the call reduced by the premium received for writing the call.


9. What is the Intrinsic Value of an option ?

The intrinsic value of an option is defined as the amount, by which an option is in-the-money, or the immediate exercise value of the option when the underlying position is marked-to-market.

For a call option: Intrinsic Value = Spot Price - Strike Price For a put option: Intrinsic Value = Strike Price - Spot Price The intrinsic value of an option must be a positive number or 0. It cannot be negative. For a call option, the strike price must be less than the price of the underlying asset for the call to have an intrinsic value greater than 0. For a put option, the strike price must be greater than the underlying asset price for it to have intrinsic value.


10. Explain Time Value with reference to Options ?

Time value is the amount option buyers are willing to pay for the possibility that the option may become profitable prior to expiration due to favorable change in the price of the underlying. An option loses its time value as its expiration date nears. At expiration an option is worth only its intrinsic value. Time value cannot be negative.

11. What are the factors that affect the value of an option (premium)?

There are two types of factors that affect the value of the option premium:

Quantifiable Factors:
  • underlying stock price
  • the strike price of the option
  • the volatility of the underlying stock
  • the time to expiration and
  • the risk free interest rate

Non-Quantifiable Factors:
  • Market participants" varying estimates of the underlying asset's future volatility
  • Individuals" varying estimates of future performance of the underlying asset, based on fundamental or technical analysis
  • The effect of supply & demand- both in the options marketplace and in the market for the underlying asset
  • The "depth" of the market for that option - the number of transactions and the contract's trading volume on any given day.

12. What are different pricing models for options ?

The theoretical option pricing models are used by option traders for calculating the fair value of an option on the basis of the earlier mentioned influencing factors. The two most popular option pricing models are: Black Scholes Model which assumes that percentage change in the price of underlying follows a lognormal distribution. Binomial Model which assumes that percentage change in price of the underlying follows a binomial distribution.


13. Who decides on the premium paid on options & how is it calculated ?

Options Premium is not fixed by BSE. The fair value/ theoretical price of an option can be known with the help of pricing models and then depending on market conditions the price is determined by competitive bids and offers in the trading environment. An option's premium / price is the sum of intrinsic value and time value (explained above). If the price of the underlying stock is held constant, the intrinsic value portion of an option premium will remain constant as well. Therefore, any change in the price of the option will be entirely due to a change in the option's time value. The time value component of the option premium can change in response to a change in the volatility of the underlying, the time to expiry, interest rate fluctuations, dividend payments and to the immediate effect of supply and demand for both the underlying and its option


14. What are Option Greeks ?

The price of an Option depends on certain factors like price and volatility of the underlying, time to expiry etc. The Option Greeks are the tools that measure the sensitivity of the option price to the above-mentioned factors. They are often used by professional traders for trading and managing the risk of large positions in options and stocks.These Option Greeks are:

Delta : is the option Greek that measures the estimated change in option premium/price for a change in the price of the underlying.

Gamma : measures the estimated change in the Delta of an option for a change in the price of the underlying

 Vega : measures the estimated change in the option price for a change in the volatility of the underlying.

Theta : measures the estimated change in the option price for a change in the time to option expiry.

Rho : measures the estimated change in the option price for a change in the risk free interest rates.

Volatility : A measure of stock price fluctuation. Mathematically, volatility is the annualized standard deviation of a stock's daily price changes.

 Premium : is the price of an option and is equal to its intrinsic value plus time value.

Theoretical value : The estimated value of an option derived from a mathematical model.
15. What is an Option Calculator ?

An option calculator is a tool to calculate the price of an Option on the basis of various influencing factors like the price of the underlying and its volatility, time to expiry, risk free interest rate etc. It also helps the user to understand how a change in any one of the factors or more, will affect the option price. The option calculator is available at the Option Calculator Section.


16. Who are the likely players in the Options Market ?

Developmental Institutions, Mutual Funds, Domestic and Foreign Institutional Investors, Brokers and Retail Investors are the likely players in the Options Market.



17. Why should I invest in options? What do options offer me ?

Besides offering flexibility to the buyer in the form of right to buy or sell, the major advantage of options is their versatility. They can be as conservative or as speculative as one's investment strategy dictates. Some of the benefits of Options are as under:

  • High leverage as by investing small amount of capital (in the form of premium), one can take exposure in the underlying asset of much greater value.
  • Pre-known maximum Risk for an option buyer
  • Large profit potential & limited risk for Option buyer3
  • One can protect his equity portfolio from a decline in the market by way of buying a protective put wherein one buys puts against an existing stock position this option position can supply the insurance needed to overcome the uncertainty of the marketplace. Hence, by paying a relatively small premium (compared to the market value of the stock), an investor knows that no matter how far the stock drops, it can be sold at the strike price of the Put anytime until the Put expires. E.g. An investor holding 1 share of Stock "A" at a market price of Rs 3800 thinks that the stock is over-valued and therefore decides to buy a Put option" at a strike price of Rs. 3800/- by paying a premium of Rs 200/- If the market price of Stock "A" comes down to Rs 3000/, he can still sell it at Rs 3800/- by exercising his put option. Thus by paying a premium of Rs. 200, he insured his position in the underlying stock.



18. How can I use options ?

If you anticipate a certain directional movement in the price of a stock, the right to buy or sell that stock at a predetermined price, for a specific duration of time can offer an attractive investment opportunity. The decision as to what type of option to buy is dependent on whether your outlook for the respective security is positive (bullish) or negative (bearish). If your outlook is positive, buying a call option creates the opportunity to share in the upside potential of a stock without having to risk more than a fraction of its market value (premium paid). Conversely,if you anticipate downward movement, buying a put option will enable you to protect against downside risk without limiting profit potential. Purchasing options offer you the ability to position yourself according to your market expectations in a manner such that you can both profit and protect hedge) with limited risk.


19. Once I have bought an option and paid the premium for it, how does it get settled ?

Option is a contract, which has a market value like any other tradable commodity. Once an option is bought there are following alternatives that an option holder has: You can sell an option of the same series as the one you had bought and close out /square off your position in that option at any time on or before its expiration date. You can exercise the option on the expiration day in case of European Option or; on or before the expiration day in case of an American option. In case the option is "Out of Money" at the time of expiry, one will not exercise his option, not being profitable and therefore, it will lapse or expire worthless.


20. What are the risks for an Options buyer ?

The risk/ loss of an option buyer is limited to the premium that he has paid.


21. What are the risks for an Options writer ?

The risk of an Options Writer is unlimited whereas his gains are limited to the Premiums earned. When an uncovered call is exercised for physical delivery, the call writer will have to purchase the underlying asset and his loss will be the excess of the purchase price over the exercise price of the call reduced by the premium received for writing the call.

The writer of a put option bears a risk of loss if the value of the underlying asset declines below the exercise price. The writer of a put bears the risk of a decline in the price of the underlying asset potentially to zero. When put option holder exercises his option in the falling market, the put writer is bound to purchase the underlying at strike price, even if the underlying is otherwise available in the spot at lower price.


22. How can an option writer take care of his risk ?

Option writing is a specialized job, which is suitable only for the knowledgeable investor who understands the risks, has the financial capacity and has sufficient liquid assets to meet applicable margin requirements. The risk of being an option writer may be reduced by the purchase of other options on the same underlying asset and thereby assuming a spread position or by acquiring other types of hedging positions in the options/ futures and other correlated markets.


23. Who can write options in Indian Derivatives market ?

In the Indian Derivatives market, SEBI has not created any particular category of options writers. Any market participant can write options. However, the margin requirements are stringent for options writers.


24. What are Stock Index Options ?

The Stock Index Options are options where the underlying asset is a Stock Index e.g. Options on "S&P BSE SENSEX". Index Options were first introduced by Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE) in 1983 on its Index "S&P 100". As opposed to options on Individual stocks, index options give an investor the right to buy or sell the value of an index which represents group of stocks.


25. What are the uses of Index Options ?

Index options enable investors to gain exposure to a broad market, with one trading decision and frequently with one transaction. To obtain the same level of diversification using individual stocks or individual equity options, numerous decisions and trades would be necessary. Since, broad exposure can be gained with one trade, transaction cost is also reduced by using Index Options. As a percentage of the underlying value, premiums of Index options are usually lower than those of equity options as equity options are more volatile than the Index.


26. Who would use index options ?

Index Options are effective enough to appeal to a broad spectrum of users, from conservative investors to more aggressive stock market traders. Individual investors might wish to capitalize on market opinions (bullish, bearish or neutral) by acting on their views of the broad market or one of its many sectors. The more sophisticated market professionals might find the variety of index option contracts excellent tools for enhancing market timing decisions and adjusting asset mixes for asset allocation. To a market professional, managing the risk associated with large equity positions may mean using index options to either reduce their risk or to increase market exposure.


27. What are Options on individual stocks ?

Options contracts where the underlying asset is an equity stock, are termed as Options on stocks. They are mostly American style options cash settled or settled by physical delivery. Prices are normally quoted in terms of the premium per share, although each contract is invariably for a larger number of shares, e.g. 100.


28. Which are the stocks on which options are available ?

Stocks are selected on the basis of their satisfying various eligibility and selection criteria. The various stocks, available for trading on the Derivatives Segment of BSE can be viewed at the List Of Products Section.


29. What is the market lot size of different stock option contracts ?

The market lots for the stocks available for trading on the Derivatives Segment of BSE can be viewed at the Contract Specifications Section.


30. How will introduction of options in specific stocks benefit an investor ?

Options can offer an investor the flexibility one needs for countless investment situations. An investor can create hedging position or an entirely speculative one, through various strategies that reflect his tolerance for risk. Investors of equity stock options will enjoy more leverage than their counterparts who invest in the underlying stock market itself in form of greater exposure by paying a small amount as premium. Investors can also use options in specific stocks to hedge their holding positions in the underlying (i.e. long in the stock itself), by buying a Protective Put. Thus they will insure their portfolio of equity stocks by paying premium. ESOPs (Employees' stock options) have become a popular compensation tool with more and more companies offering the same to their employees. ESOPs are subject to lock-in periods, which could reduce capital gains in falling markets; derivatives can help arrest that loss.


31. Whether the holders of equity options contracts have all the rights that the owners of equity shares have ?

Holder of the equity options contracts do not have any of the rights that owners of equity shares have -such as voting rights and the right to receive bonus, dividend etc. To obtain these rights a Call option holder must exercise his contract and take delivery of the underlying equity shares.


32. What is Over the Counter Options ?

OTC ("over the counter") options are those dealt directly between counter-parties and are completely flexible & customized . There is some standardization for ease of trading in the busiest markets, but the precise details of each transaction is freely negotiable between buyer and seller.


33. Where can I trade in Options and Futures contracts ?

In Addition to stocks, options and futures are traded on BSE On Line Trading (BOLT) system


34. What is the underlying in case of S&P BSE SENSEX® Options ?

The underlying for the S&P BSE SENSEX® options is the BSE 30 S&P BSE SENSEX®, which is the benchmark index of Indian Capital markets, comprising of 30 scrips.


35. What will be the new margining system in the case of Options and futures ?

A portfolio based margining model, i.e. Standard Portfolio Analysis of Risk (SPAN) system, has been adopted. This will take an integrated view of the risk involved in the portfolio of each individual client comprising of his positions in all the derivatives contract traded on the Derivatives Segment. The Initial Margin would be based on worst-case loss of the portfolio of a client to cover 99% VaR over two day's horizon. The Initial Margin would be netted at client level and shall be on gross basis at the Trading/Clearing member level. The Portfolio will be marked to market on a daily basis.


36. How will the assignment of options take place ?

On Exercise of an Option by an Option Holder, the trading software will assign the exercised option to the option writer on random basis based on a specified algorithm.