Options Contract

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What is an 'Options Contract'

An options contract is a contract that allows the holder to buy or sell an underlying security at a given price, known as the strike price. The two most common types of options contracts are put and call options, which give the holder-buyer the right to sell or buy respectively, the underlying at the strike if the price of the underlying crosses the strike. Typically each options contract is written on 100 shares of the underlying.

BREAKING DOWN 'Options Contract'

For example, a trader believes that the price of a stock will rise from its current price of $40 to a level nearing $100. Rather than purchasing the stock itself, she can purchase a call option for a fraction of the price at a strike anywhere between $40 and $100. If the stock does indeed rise to $100, and assuming the call option was bought at a strike of $75, the holder stands to gain $25 per share on the contract, minus any premiums paid for the option itself.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. How does the term 'in the money' describe the moneyness of an option?

    Find out what in the money means about the moneyness of call or put options and what it indicates about the relationship ... Read Answer >>
  2. Can an option have a negative strike price?

    The simple answer is that, at least when it comes to exchange traded options, an option can't have a negative strike price ... Read Answer >>
  3. What happens when a security reaches its strike price?

    Learn more about the moneyness of stock options and what happens when the underlying security's price reaches the option ... Read Answer >>
  4. How do I set a strike price for an option?

    Learn about the strike price of an option and how to set a strike price for call and put options depending on risk tolerance ... Read Answer >>
  5. What is the difference between in the money and out of the money?

    Learn about how the difference between in the money and out of the money options is determined by the relationship between ... Read Answer >>
  6. When is a put option considered to be "in the money"?

    Learn about put options, what they are, how these financial derivatives operate and when put options are considered to be ... Read Answer >>
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