A:

It seems counterintuitive that you would be able to profit from an increase in the price of an underlying asset by using a product that is most often associated with gaining from falling prices. However, as you'll see with the two methods below, it is possible.

A put option gives the purchaser the right to sell the underlying at the agreed upon strike price, regardless of how far the price declines. For this right, the trader pays a premium, which in turn is kept by the writer of the option if the price of the asset closes above the strike price at expiration. Looking at this transaction from the perspective of the option writer rather than that of the purchaser, it becomes apparent that when an option trader has a bullish outlook on a security, he or she can collect a premium by selling put options and keep the premium when the options expire worthless.

The downside to using this strategy is the amount of risk associated with holding a short position in a put option. Therefore, this strategy should only be attempted by traders who understand all the risks, so that the likelihood of significant losses is reduced. (To learn more about this strategy, see Introduction To Put Writing.)

One method of avoiding the risk associated with a short put option is to implement a strategy known as a bull put spread. This strategy is created by selling one put option and buying another with a lower strike price. In this case, the lower put option protects the trader from large declines in the price of the underlying because the gains from a move below the strike help offset the losses the trader incurs when the original holder of the long position exercises his or her options. This strategy also has a limited profit potential equal to the difference between the amount collected from selling the option and the price paid to acquire the other option. Profiting from an increase in the price of an underlying asset by using a product that is associated with declining prices may seem attractive, but it is extremely important that you have a good understanding of the risks and payoffs associated with both of these strategies before you incorporate them into your trading.

For further reading on put options, see Trading The QQQQ With In-The-Money Put Spreads.

RELATED FAQS
  1. What is Fibonacci retracement, and where do the ratios that are used come from?

    Fibonacci retracement is a very popular tool among technical traders and is based on the key numbers identified by mathematician ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is a derivative?

    A derivative is a contract between two or more parties whose value is based on an agreed-upon underlying financial asset, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is after-hours trading? Am I able to trade at this time?

    After-hours trading (AHT) refers to the buying and selling of securities on major exchanges outside of specified regular ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How do hedge funds use equity options?

    With the growth in the size and number of hedge funds over the past decade, the interest in how these funds go about generating ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Can mutual funds invest in options and futures? (RYMBX, GATEX)

    Mutual funds invest in not only stocks and fixed-income securities but also options and futures. There exists a separate ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are some of the most common technical indicators that back up Doji patterns?

    The doji candlestick is important enough that Steve Nison devotes an entire chapter to it in his definitive work on candlestick ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Roth IRAs Tutorial

    This comprehensive guide goes through what a Roth IRA is and how to set one up, contribute to it and withdraw from it.
  2. Chart Advisor

    Breakout Opportunity Stocks: CPA, GNRC, WWE

    After a period of contracting volatility, watch for breakouts and bigger moves to come in these stocks.
  3. Options & Futures

    What Does Quadruple Witching Mean?

    In a financial context, quadruple witching refers to the day on which contracts for stock index futures, index options, and single stock futures expire.
  4. Charts & Patterns

    How To Use Volume To Improve Your Trading

    The basic guidelines to analyzing volume may not apply in all situations, but overall, they can help direct entry and exit decisions.
  5. Options & Futures

    4 Equity Derivatives And How They Work

    Equity derivatives offer retail investors opportunities to benefit from an underlying security without owning the security itself.
  6. Trading Strategies

    4 Common Active Trading Strategies

    Active trading entails buying and selling securities with the intent of profiting from short-term price movements.
  7. Options & Futures

    Five Advantages of Futures Over Options

    Futures have a number of advantages over options such as fixed upfront trading costs, lack of time decay and liquidity.
  8. Chart Advisor

    3 Charts That Suggest Now Is The Time To Invest In Real Estate (VNQ, SPG,PSA)

    Real estate assets have some of the strongest uptrends around. We'll take a look at three candidates poised for a move higher.
  9. Term

    What is Pegging?

    Pegging refers to the practice of fixing one country's currency to that of another country. It also describes a practice in which investors avoid purchasing security shares underlying a put option.
  10. Chart Advisor

    Stocks With More Upside Due to Bear Traps (TAP, SPY)

    A bear trap is a pattern that typically leads to at least a short-term rise in prices. Here are stocks exhibiting the pattern.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Golden Cross

    A crossover involving a security's short-term moving average ...
  2. Warrant

    A derivative that confers the right, but not the obligation, ...
  3. Bull Call Spread

    An options strategy that involves purchasing call options at ...
  4. Board Of Directors - B Of D

    A group of individuals that are elected as, or elected to act ...
  5. Cup and Handle

    A pattern on bar charts resembling a cup with a handle. The cup ...
  6. Dead Cat Bounce

    A temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or bear market, ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  2. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  3. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  4. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  5. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  6. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
Trading Center