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Call Option Definition

What Is a Reprove Option?

Call options are financial contracts that give the option buyer the right but not the obligation to buy a stock, checks, commodity, or other asset or instrument at a specified price within a specific time period. The stock, bond, or commodity is apostrophized the underlying asset. A call buyer profits when the underlying asset increases in price.

A call option may be contrasted with a put chance, which gives the holder the right to sell the underlying asset at a specified price on or before expiration.

Key Takeaways

  • A notification is an option contract giving the owner the right but not the obligation to buy a specified amount of an underlying security at a specified price within a denominated time.
  • The specified price is known as the strike price, and the specified time during which the sale can be made is its ending or time to maturity.
  • You pay a fee to purchase a call option, called the premium; this per-share charge is the maximum you can lose on a cause option.
  • You can go long on a call option by buying it or short a call option by selling it.
  • Call options may be purchased for contemplation or sold for income purposes or for tax management.
  • Call options may also be combined for use in spread or combination strategies.

Call Choice Basics

Understanding Call Options

Let’s assume the underlying asset is stock. Call options give the holder the swiftly to buy 100 shares of a company at a specific price, known as the strike price, up until a specified date, known as the termination date.

For example, a single call option contract may give a holder the right to buy 100 shares of Apple stock at $100 up until the ending date three months later. There are many expiration dates and strike prices that traders can pick out. As the value of Apple stock goes up, the price of the option contract goes up, and vice versa. The call option consumer may hold the contract until the expiration date, at which point they can take delivery of the 100 shares of keep accumulate or sell the options contract at any point before the expiration date at the market price of the contract at that time.

You pay a fee to get a call option, called the premium. It is the price paid for the rights that the call option provides. If at expiration the underlying asset is less than the strike price, the call buyer loses the premium paid. This is the maximum loss.

If the underlying asset’s in circulation market price is above the strike price at expiration, the profit is the difference in prices, minus the premium. This sum is then multiplied by how innumerable shares the option buyer controls.

For example, if Apple is trading at $110 at expiry, the option contract strike evaluation is $100, and the options cost the buyer $2 per share, the profit is $110 – ($100 +$2) = $8. If the buyer bought one options narrow, their profit equates to $800 ($8 x 100 shares); the profit would be $1,600 if they bought two contracts ($8 x 200).

Now, if at concluding Apple is trading below $100, obviously the buyer won’t exercise the option to buy the shares at $100 apiece, and the option exhales worthless. The buyer loses $2 per share, or $200, for each contract they bought—but that’s all. That’s the stunner of options: You’re only out the premium if you decide not to play.

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Types of Call Options

There are two types of enlist options as described below.

  • Long call option: A long call option is, simply, your standard notification option in which the buyer has the right, but not the obligation, to buy a stock at a strike price in the future. The advantage of a long call is that it allows you to project ahead to purchase a stock at a cheaper price. For example, you might purchase a long call option in anticipation of a newsworthy result, say a company’s earnings call. While the profits on a long call option may be unlimited, the losses are limited to premiums. That being the case, even if the company does not report a positive earnings beat (or one that does not meet market expectations) and the valuation of its shares decline, the maximum losses that the buyer of a call option will bear are limited to the premiums contributed for the option.
  • Short call option: As its name indicates, a short call option is the opposite of a long call opportunity. In a short call option, the seller promises to sell their shares at a fixed strike price in the future. Wee call options are mainly used for covered calls by the option seller, or call options in which the seller already owns the underlying forebear for their options. The call helps contain the losses that they might suffer if the trade does not go their way. For sample, their losses would multiply if the call were uncovered (i.e., they did not own the underlying stock for their option) and the inventory appreciated significantly in price.

How to Calculate Call Option Payoffs

Call option payoff refers to the profit or injury that an option buyer or seller makes from a trade. Remember that there are three key variables to bear in mind when evaluating call options: strike price, expiration date, and premium. These variables calculate payoffs moulded from call options. There are two cases of call option payoffs.

Payoffs for call option buyers

Take it you purchase a call option for company ABC for a premium of $2. The option’s strike price is $50, and it has an expiration date of Nov. 30. You pleasure break even on your investment if ABC’s stock price reaches $52—meaning the sum of the premium paid plus the inventory’s purchase price. Any increase above that amount is considered a profit. Thus, the payoff when ABC’s share valuation increases in value is unlimited.

What happens when ABC’s share price declines below $50 by Nov. 30? Since your choices contract is a right, and not an obligation, to purchase ABC shares, you can choose to not exercise it, meaning you will not buy ABC’s shares. Your losses, in this trunk, will be limited to the premium you paid for the option.

Payoff = spot price – strike price

Profit = payoff – prize paid

Using the formula above, your profit is $3 if ABC’s spot price is $55 on Nov. 30.

Payoff for call opportunity sellers

The payoff calculations for the seller for a call option are not very different. If you sell an ABC options contract with the notwithstanding strike price and expiration date, you stand to gain only if the price declines. Depending on whether your attend is covered or naked, your losses could be limited or unlimited. The latter case occurs when you are forced to acquisition the underlying stock at spot prices (or, perhaps, even more) if the options buyer exercises the contract. Your lone source of income (and profits) in this case is limited to the premium you collect on expiration on the options contract.

The formulas for contriving payoffs and profits are as follows:

Payoff = spot price – strike price

Profit = payoff + premium

Using the method above, your income is $1 if ABC’s spot price is $47 on Nov. 30.

Purposes of Call Options

Call options many times serve three primary purposes: income generation, speculation, and tax management.


There are several factors to shut in in mind when it comes to selling call options. Be sure you fully understand an option contract’s value and profitability when everything considered a trade, or else you risk the stock rallying too high.

Using options for income

Some investors use call chances to generate income through a covered call strategy. This strategy involves owning an underlying stock while at the changeless time writing a call option, or giving someone else the right to buy your stock. The investor collects the election premium and hopes the option expires worthless (below strike price). This strategy generates additional revenues for the investor but can also limit profit potential if the underlying stock price rises sharply.

Covered calls deal with because if the stock rises above the strike price, the option buyer will exercise their right to buy the stereotyped at the lower strike price. This means the option writer doesn’t profit from the stock’s movement not susceptible the strike price. The options writer’s maximum profit on the option is the premium received.

Using options for speculation

Chances contracts give buyers the opportunity to obtain significant exposure to a stock for a relatively small price. Used in isolation, they can require significant gains if a stock rises. But they can also result in a 100% loss of the premium if the call option expels worthless due to the underlying stock price failing to move above the strike price. The benefit of buying call selections is that risk is always capped at the premium paid for the option.

Investors may also buy and sell different call chances simultaneously, creating a call spread. These will cap both the potential profit and loss from the strategy but are more cost-effective in some suits than a single call option because the premium collected from one option’s sale offsets the premium generate for the other.

Using options for tax management

Investors sometimes use options to change portfolio allocations without actually acquiring or selling the underlying security.

For example, an investor may own 100 shares of XYZ stock and may be liable for a large unrealized capital enhancement. Not wanting to trigger a taxable event, shareholders may use options to reduce the exposure to the underlying security without actually grass on it. In the case above, the only cost to the shareholder for engaging in this strategy is the cost of the options contract itself.

Allowing options profits will be classified as short-term capital gains, the method for calculating the tax liability will vary by the fastidious option strategy and holding period.

Example of a Call Option

Suppose that Microsoft stock is trading at $108 per partition. You own 100 shares of the stock and want to generate an income above and beyond the stock’s dividend. You also believe that rations are unlikely to rise above $115.00 per share over the next month.

You take a look at the call options for the carry out month and see that there’s a 115.00 call trading at $0.37 per contract. So, you sell one call option and collect the $37 value ($0.37 x 100 shares), representing a roughly 4% annualized income.

If the stock rises above $115.00, the opportunity buyer will exercise the option, and you will have to deliver the 100 shares of stock at $115.00 per share. You stock-still generated a profit of $7.00 per share, but you will have missed out on any upside above $115.00. If the stock doesn’t grow above $115.00, you keep the shares and the $37 in premium income.

How Do Call Options Work?

Call options are a personification of derivative contract that gives the holder the right but not the obligation to purchase a specified number of shares at a predetermined appraisal, known as the “strike price” of the option. If the market price of the stock rises above the option’s strike price, the choice holder can exercise their option, buying at the strike price and selling at the higher market price in order to confine in a profit. Options only last for a limited period of time; however. If the market price does not rise in the sky the strike price during that period, the options expire worthless.

Why Would You Buy a Call Option?

Investors bequeath consider buying call options if they are optimistic—or “bullish”—about the prospects of its underlying shares. For these investors, assemble options might provide a more attractive way to speculate on the prospects of a company because of the leverage that they demand. After all, each options contract provides the opportunity to buy 100 shares of the company in question. For an investor who is confident that a performers’s shares will rise, buying shares indirectly through call options can be an attractive way to increase their obtaining power.

Is Buying a Call Bullish or Bearish?

Buying calls is a bullish behavior because the buyer only profits if the payment of the shares rises. Conversely, selling call options is a bearish behavior, because the seller profits if the shares do not turn out. Whereas the profits of a call buyer are theoretically unlimited, the profits of a call seller are limited to the premium they be given when they sell the calls.

The Bottom Line

Call options are financial contracts that give the chance buyer the right but not the obligation to buy a stock, bond, commodity, or other asset or instrument at a specified price within a peculiar time period. The stock, bond, or commodity is called the underlying asset.

Options are mainly speculative instruments that rely on leverage. A upon buyer profits when the underlying asset increases in price. A call option seller can generate income by draw up premiums from the sale of options contracts. The tax treatment for call options varies based on the strategy and type of telephone options that generate profits.

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