Chapter Fifteen Principles of Options and Option Pricing KEY POINTS


Chapter Fifteen

Principles of Options and Option Pricing


The various uses of options in conservative portfolios are extremely important for the portfolio manager to understand. There is considerable misinformation about these assets, especially an impression that they are risky and imprudent.

Options are a good idea because they allow the risk and return characteristics of the portfolio to be shifted without wholesale changes in the portfolio itself. Individuals and institutional traders, not the company represented by the underlying stock, create options.

Options give their owner the right, but not the obligation, to do something. This right can be exercised if it is advantageous to do so. If not, the optionholder allows it to expire or sells it.

Most of this chapter deals with basic principles. The meat of the options material comes in the following chapter and again later in the Portfolio Protection part of the book.


Stress the fact that the underlying company does not create options. They are created by individual investors and by institutional traders. When someone buys a stock option on company XYZ for instance, XYZ receives no funds from the transaction.

It is also useful to point out that the economic justification for options (and most other derivative products) is risk transfer or the alteration of the risk/expected return characteristics of a particular investment. They are not merely “side bets” on the future direction of the market.

If you have time in your course, the profit and loss diagrams are a useful way to reinforce the basic ideas underlying these contracts.

Delta, the first derivative of the Black-Scholes option-pricing model with respect to the stock price, is an extremely important statistic. It will be exploited fully in the Portfolio

Protection part of the book. Ensure that you spend a few minutes at this point showing that delta is a measure of how the price of an option changes as the value of the underlying asset changes.

The American Stock Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange have several excellent videotapes available that can be productively employed in college courses.


Chapter Fifteen Principles of Options and Option Pricing

These are well produced and objective; they are also inexpensive. You can get more information about these and other exchange products by calling their respective hotlines: for the AMEX, call 1-800-THE-AMEX; for the CBOE, call 1-800-OPTIONS. The exchanges also have good websites:





A speculator who buys a call wants prices to advance. Some hedgers (such as a short seller) who buy a call do so as protection against rising prices.


False. The owner of an option has the right to do something; the writer has an obligation to perform. Buying a call and writing a put are both bullish, but their risk and return characteristics are quite different.


Their value declines as time passes, everything else being equal.


False. One person can write multiple options; there does not have to be one writer for every buyer. However, it is true that 1000 XYZ put options owned requires 1000

XYZ puts to have been written.


Exercise involves a commission expense and, for a call, the necessity to put up funds to buy stock. Most option users are interested in the profit potential or in the protection characteristics they offer. It is not necessary to exercise the options to enjoy these benefits. Also, calls on non-dividend paying stocks are worth more alive than dead because of the time value. In other words, you could sell such an option for more than the intrinsic (i.e., exercise) value.


If someone writes an option (sells it as an opening transaction) and later buys an identical option, this eliminates the option position. This is because of the fungibility of the contracts.


Buying a call has theoretically unlimited profit possibilities; writing a put, while also bullish, has a profit potential limited to the option premium. Buying a call has a known and limited maximum loss (the option premium); writing a put involves a potentially very large loss if the stock price declines precipitously.

8. JAN 115 call.


Rising. Most of the striking prices are below the current stock price. As the stock price rises, the Options Clearing Corporation will add progressively larger striking prices to the list.


Greater movement in the underlying stock price.


Chapter Fifteen Principles of Options and Option Pricing


Presumably, the right to exercise before expiration is valuable. If this is the case,

American options should always sell for more than European options.


All options have time value before expiration. Discrete pricing may make this unapparant in the financial pages.


This is true by definition.


This is false. The primary motivation for options is as a risk management tool. In particular, they allow for a security holder to alter the risk/expected return characteristics they face.


Selling the option before expiration day if the underlying stock price advances also can result in profits.


False. An at-the-money option has intrinsic value equal to zero; it may, however, have a market value greater than zero, and therefore positive time value.


The out-of-the-money option may be long-term and have substantial time value whereas the in-the-money option is about to expire.


Buying a put involves a known and limited maximum loss. Selling short involves a theoretically unlimited maximum loss.


The normal definition of “writing” is selling an option as an opening transaction. One would not normally use the term writing with the sale of a previously purchased option. Most market participants would say this statement is false.


False. As opening transactions are matched up, the open interest in a particular option declines. New contracts can also be written, in which case option interest may go up.


An in-the-money put gives the put owner something right out of the starting gate. The stock price must rise sufficiently to move the put out-of-the-money. The added risk of in-the-money put writing is reflected in the higher put premium.


No. Although this may seem logical, it does not work empirically nor is it born out by option pricing theory.


1) time passed; 2) implied volatility has risen; 3) anticipated dividends have risen.


Call premiums would rise. Higher interest rates mean higher discount rates. In the

Black-Scholes options pricing model (Table 15-1) this increases the value of the call


Chapter Fifteen Principles of Options and Option Pricing by reducing the present value of the striking price. Interest rates matter because of arbitrage arguments such as those shown in the put/call parity example.


The Options Clearing Corporation automatically adjusts the terms of options contracts such that there is no windfall gain or capricious loss to any option participant.

Holdings after the split are equivalent to those before the split.


The boundary conditions involve a stock price of zero or a stock price of infinity. At a stock price of zero, there is no incentive to buy the stock, and so the option premium will not move (delta = 0). At an infinite stock price, the option premium also will be infinite. When options have “substantial” intrinsic value, they act more and more like the underlying stock, and their delta approaches 1.0.


Delta is equal to N(d


), which depends on interest rates. So a change in interest rates will affect the delta, although in practice this is a modest influence.



a. 8 1/4 - 6 3/8 = 1 7/8 b. 66 3/8 - 65 = 1 3/8 c. 75 - 66 3/8 = 8 5/8 d. 8 3/8 , the option premium e. 115 - 85 3/8 - 4 1/4 = 25 3/8 f. unlimited


If you buy the SELE stock at the indicated price of 66 3/8:

400 x (57 3/8 - 66 3/8) + 200 (57 3/8 - 70) + 200 (5) = -$5,125

(loss on stock) (loss on option) (premium kept)


You have a gain on the stock and the puts expire worthless:

400 x (77 3/8 - 66 3/8) + 200 (5) = $ 5,400


There is nothing inherently wrong with this. This is a bullish position with protection against losses and an added gain if prices rise substantially. (This is the combination of long stock and a put bull spread.)


No gain on the stock; the puts expire worthless, meaning that you lose the 2 5/8 paid for the 110 put but keep the 4 ¼ received from writing the 115 put. Your net gain is

(4 1/4 - 2 5/8) x 100 = $ 162.50


Chapter Fifteen Principles of Options and Option Pricing



8 1/4




2 1/4





15 APR 40 puts


delta = -0.414


Change the volatility estimate via trial and error until the Black Scholes model predicts the put premium of $1 3/8. The volatility used is then the implied volatility, and the put delta can be read directly from the BSOPM file. As it turns out, sigma is

.26 and the put delta is -0.421.


61 3/4





72 1/4


Chapter Fifteen


56 5/8

3 3/8



56 5/8

14. C



( 1


R ) t


46 days = 46/365 = .126 year

2 .



25 .


( 1


R )



(1+R) .126

= 1.00

R ~ 0%

Principles of Options and Option Pricing