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Online Trading And Stock Options

It's widely held that online trading stock options is not for beginners however, the more you understand the complexities of the stock market, the more you add an extra dimension to your investing.

Stock options are contracts that allow the owner the right but not the requirement, to buy or sell the underlying security at a set price on or before the fixed date. When handling stock options, there are three choices: trade options, use options as a hedge against a loss, exercise the option and buy or sell the underlying security.

When trading options online, the pricing of options can be very difficult but essentially they boil down to two key factors: the price of the underlying stock directly influences the price of the option and the amount of time left on the option affects the price because as time expires, the option becomes less advantageous. While supply and demand for an option does affect the price somewhat, these two factors are the main drivers.

For all intents and purposes, option trading is considered a risky enterprise with investors using multiple strategies in the attempt to make a profit.

By using options as a hedge you are in a sense providing insurance against losses if you think a stock is about to drop. An example might be that you felt a stock was about to drop but you didn't want to sell it. You would buy a put option at or right below the market price which than gives you the right to sell the stock at that price. If the stock did fall, you could exercise the option and sell at the higher price for a profit or sell the put back to the market at a profit to reduce your cost basis in the stock. If the stock doesn't fall, you're out of the price of the put option.

If you own options to buy or sell a stock, you have the right to exercise that option anytime on or before the expiration date. You can either than take possession of the stock or you can sell it at the fixed rate of option regardless of the current market price.

There are thousands of sites dedicated to the art of online stock option trading although beginners should ere on the side of caution as stock options are tricky and it's easy to lose your investment this way.

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