Early Exercise

DEFINITION of 'Early Exercise'

The exercise of an option prior to its expiration date. Early exercise is only possible with American-style option contracts, which can be exercised at any time up to expiration, as opposed to European options, for which early exercise is not possible as they can only be exercised on the expiration date. Early exercise of a call option enables the call option buyer to purchase the underlying security at the strike price before expiration, while early exercise of a put option enables the put option buyer to sell the underlying security at the strike price before expiration.

BREAKING DOWN 'Early Exercise'

While early exercise is generally not advisable, because the time value inherent in the option premium is lost upon doing so, there are certain circumstances under which early exercise may be advantageous. For example, an investor may choose to exercise a call option that is deeply in-the-money (such an option will have negligible time value) just before the ex-dividend date of the underlying stock. This will enable the investor to capture the dividend paid by the underlying stock, which should more than offset the marginal time value lost due to early exercise.

RELATED TERMS
  1. European Option

    An option that can only be exercised at the end of its life, ...
  2. Deep In The Money

    An option with an exercise price, or strike price, significantly ...
  3. Fugit

    The amount of time that an investor believes is left until it ...
  4. A classification of trading shares when a declared dividend belongs ...
  5. Expiration Date (Derivatives)

    The last day that an options or futures contract is valid. When ...
  6. American Option

    An option that can be exercised anytime during its life. American ...
Related Articles
  1. Options & Futures

    How To Avoid Closing Options Below Intrinsic Value

    To get the best return possible on your options trading, it is important to understand how options work and the markets in which they trade.
  2. Options & Futures

    Options Basics Tutorial

    Discover the world of options, from primary concepts to how options work and why you might use them.
  3. Options & Futures

    Dividends, Interest Rates And Their Effect On Stock Options

    Learn how analyzing these variables are crucial to knowing when to exercise early.
  4. Markets

    Hedging With Puts And Calls

    This trading strategy can reduce your risk - but only if you use it effectively.
  5. Options & Futures

    4 Reasons To Hold Onto An Option

    There are times when an investor shouldn't exercise an option. Find out when to hold and when to fold.
  6. Options & Futures

    How To Sell Put Options To Benefit In Any Market

    Selling a put option is a prudent way to generate additional portfolio income and gain exposure to desired stocks while limiting your capital investment.
  7. Options & Futures

    How To Buy Oil Options

    Crude oil options are the most widely traded energy derivative in the New York Mercantile Exchange.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
RELATED FAQS
  1. 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 >>
  2. 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 >>
  3. 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 >>
  4. 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 >>
  5. How does a forward contract differ from a call option? (AAPL)

    Forward contracts and call options are different financial instruments that allow two parties to purchase or sell assets ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How can an investor profit from a fall in the utilities sector?

    The utilities sector exhibits a high degree of stability compared to the broader market. This makes it best-suited for buy-and-hold ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Short Selling

    Short selling is the sale of a security that is not owned by the seller, or that the seller has borrowed. Short selling is ...
  2. Harry Potter Stock Index

    A collection of stocks from companies related to the "Harry Potter" series franchise. Created by StockPickr, this index seeks ...
  3. Liquidation Margin

    Liquidation margin refers to the value of all of the equity positions in a margin account. If an investor or trader holds ...
  4. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  5. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  6. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
Trading Center