The trading of options has become increasingly popular among retail investors as they become aware of the many different ways that options can be used to generate large profits. The interesting thing about option strategies is that investors can use them in all types of market conditions; the primary question becomes which securities should be used when implementing a certain strategy.

As the question suggests, many beginner option traders quickly discover that not all stocks have an option chain associated with them. This means that there may be no options available to buy or sell on a certain stock, and it leaves the investor no choice but to buy or sell the stock on the market if he or she wishes to get exposure to a given company. (To learn more about this subject, see What requirements must a company meet before exchanges will allow options on the company to be traded?)

The easiest way to find out which stocks do have options is to visit the websites of the exchanges where the majority of equity options are traded. These exchanges are the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), American Stock Exchange, Boston Options Exchange and the NYSE Arca (formerly the Pacific Exchange). The website of each of the exchanges mentioned has a directory of the options that are available for trading on that given exchange. For example, you can click here to go to the symbol directory for options listed on the CBOE.

To learn more about options, check out the Options Basics Tutorial.

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  3. How does a forward contract differ from a call option?

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  4. How can an investor profit from a fall in the utilities sector?

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  5. What are the main risks associated with trading derivatives?

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  6. What is the difference between derivatives and options?

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