DEFINITION of 'Illiquid Option'

An option contract that cannot be sold for cash quickly at the prevailing market price. Illiquid options have very low or no open interest.

BREAKING DOWN 'Illiquid Option'

Most options are illiquid when they are far away from their expiration dates. If you're holding an illiquid option, you will usually notice a very large bid-ask spread on the contract. This is because there are not enough buyers to accommodate those wanting to sell.

Unfortunately, if you are trying to sell an illiquid option, there is a good chance you'll be selling at a discount, if at all.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. What does high open interest tell you about an option?

    Learn about the open interest of options contracts and what a high and a low open interest indicate about the liquidity of ... Read Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between open interest and volume?

    Learn more about options, what options' volume and open interest are and the difference between volume and open interest ... Read Answer >>
  3. Does the seller (the writer) of an option determine the details of the option contract?

    The quick answer is yes and no. It all depends on where the option is traded. An option contract is an agreement between ... Read Answer >>
  4. How can derivatives be used to earn income?

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  5. How do I measure option liquidity?

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  6. When holding an option through expiration date, are you automatically paid any profits, ...

    Holding an option through the expiration date without selling does not automatically guarantee you profits, but it might ... Read Answer >>
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