Online Trading Concepts

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Call Options Profit, Loss, Breakeven

Call Options

  1. Buying Call Options
  2. Call Option Profit, Loss, Breakeven
  3. Downside of Buying Call Options

The following is the profit/loss graph at expiration for the call option in the example given on the previous page.

call option profit and loss graph

Break-even

The breakeven point is quite easy to calculate for a call option:

To illustrate, the trader purchased the $52.50 strike price call option for $0.60. Therefore, $52.50 + $0.60 = $53.10. The trader will breakeven, excluding commissions/slippage, if the stock reaches $53.10 by expiration.

Profit

To calculate profits or losses on a call option use the following simple formula:

For every dollar the stock price rises once the $53.10 breakeven barrier has been surpassed, there is a dollar for dollar profit for the options contract. So if the stock gains $5.00 to $55.00 by expiration, the owner of the the call option would make $1.90 per share ($55.00 stock price - $53.10 breakeven stock price). So total, the trader would have made $190 ($1.90 x 100 shares/contract).

Partial Loss

If the stock price increased by $2.75 to close at $52.75 by expiration, the option trader would lose money. For this example, the trader would have lost $0.35 per contract ($52.75 stock price - $53.10 breakeven stock price). Therefore, the hypothetical trader would have lost $35 (-$0.35 x 100 shares/contract).

To summarize, in this partial loss example, the option trader bought a call option because they thought that the stock was going to rise. The trader was right, the stock did rise by $2.75, however, the trader was not right enough. The stock needed to move higher by at least $3.10 to $53.10 to breakeven or make money.

Complete Loss

If the stock did not move higher than the strike price of the option contract by expiration, the option trader would lose their entire premium paid $0.60. Likewise, if the stock moved down, irrelavent by how much it moved downward, then the option trader would still lose the $0.60 paid for the option. In either of those two circumstances, the trader would have lost $60 (-$0.60 x 100 shares/contract).

Again, this is where the limited risk part of option buying comes in: the stock could have dropped 20 points, but the option contract owner would still only lose their premium paid, in this case $0.60.

Buying call options has many positive benefits like defined-risk and leverage, but like everything else, it has its downside, which is explored on the next page.

Next Page - Dangers of Buying Call Options