What is an 'Option Series'

An option series refers to an option on an underlying security with a specified strike price and expiration date.

BREAKING DOWN 'Option Series'

An option series is an individual listing with a single strike price and expiration. When an option is listed on an exchange it is randomly assigned one of three cycles. An option series can sometimes be a reference to the listing of an exchange traded option with four possible expiration dates. Generally, however each option in the cycle is typically considered its own individual option series.

Option Cycles

An option will be listed with a specified strike price. For example, XYZ Company may have a call option with a strike price of $110. When the option is listed it can be assigned one of three cycles:

Cycle one: JAJO - January, April, July and October

Cycle two: FMAN - February, May, August and November

Cycle three: MJSD - March, June, September and December

Exchange traded options follow their designated cycle with listings available for the first two months followed by the next two cycle months. If the XYX $110 call is a cycle three then in January it would have the following listings: XYZ 110 Jan, XYZ 110 Feb, XYZ 110 March, XYZ 110 June. Each listing would be considered an individual option series with the four option offerings together representing the option cycle. Most all exchange traded option series listings will expire on the third Friday of their listed expiration month.

Option Classes

An investor will find multiple option series listings within a designated option class. An option class refers to the option’s designation as either a call or a put. Generally, most option exchanges will list options by class. Therefore, an investor seeking to buy call options on an underlying security would see a long list of call option series listings, each with their own individual strike price and expiration. Similarly, an investor seeking put options on an underlying security would first look to the put option class for all of the series listings at different strike prices and expirations.

Option Regulation

Publicly traded option exchanges list option classes uniformly with many different strike prices and expirations all within an option’s designated cycle. The value of each option will vary based on the price of the underlying option.

Options trading on regulated exchanges are supported by regulators who ensure options in the case of default. Thus, option investors need not worry about replacement risk with publicly traded options since the regulators will step in to cover counterparty positions in the event of any potential counterparty default.

  1. Option Class

    Option class is the set of all the call options or all the put ...
  2. Stock Option

    Stock options give the holder the right to buy or sell shares ...
  3. Put Option

    A put options gives the owner the right to sell a specified amount ...
  4. European Option

    A European option can only be exercised at the maturity date, ...
  5. Exotic Option

    An exotic option is more complex or has a different structure ...
  6. Currency Option

    A contract that grants the holder the right, but not the obligation, ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Why Options Trading Is Not for the Faint of Heart

    Trading options is not easy and should only be done under the guidance of a professional.
  2. Trading

    Options Strategies for Your Portfolio to Make Money Regularly

    Discover the option-writing strategies that can deliver consistent income, including the use of put options instead of limit orders, and maximizing premiums.
  3. Trading

    Call options: Right to buy versus obligation

    Learn what a call option is, how buyers and sellers are determined, and what the difference between a right and an obligation is for options investors.
  4. Trading

    Option trading strategies: A guide for beginners

    Options offer alternative strategies for investors to profit from trading underlying securities. Learn about the four basic option strategies for beginners.
  5. Trading

    How to Make Money by Trading Index Options

    Index options are less volatile and more liquid than regular options. Understand how to trade index options with this simple introduction.
  6. Trading

    Google Stock Too Expensive for You? Try Options

    Learn how to invest in Google (now Alphabet, Inc.) and other high-value stocks with less capital by using options.
  7. Trading

    What Is Option Moneyness?

    In the money, at the money and out of the money define the current profitability of options positions.
  8. Trading

    Should an Investor Hold or Exercise an Option?

    There are times when a trader or investor shouldn't exercise an option. Find out when to hold and why you shouldn't exercise an option.
  9. Trading

    The 4 Advantages of Options

    Flexible and cost efficient, options are more popular than ever. Find out why.
  1. How do I change my strike price once the trade has been placed already?

    Learn how the strike prices for call and put options work, and understand how different types of options can be exercised ... Read Answer >>
  2. 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 >>
  3. Can an Option Have a Negative Strike Price?

    When it comes to exchange traded options, an option can't have a negative strike price. Read Answer >>
Trading Center