13 Steps For Profitable Call Option Trading
Trading call option is the simplest form of option trading yet it can be the most profitable strategy. This article outlines 13 specific steps that must be taken to trade or invest in call options profitably.
1. Determine that the price of the underlying instrument is going up. Trading call option is a directional strategy. This means you have to pick the direction of the market, and in order to profit the market should move up. There are many different ways to anticipate upward market movement. Some people respond to good market news and some use fundamental data such as increasing earnings per share, increasing dividend yield, increasing revenue, etc. Some use chart patterns that indicate upward market movement such as double bottom, reverse head and shoulder, ascending triangle, and upside price breakout. Some use other systems such as Elliot waves, and systems which use combinations of price patterns and other indicators.
2. Determine the target of the price movement. The system that you use to indicate an upward price movement should also indicate a target price for the movement.
3. Anticipate the time for the underlying price to move to your target price. How long do you expect the underlying instruments price to move to the target price? This is important to determine the expiration of the call options you want to trade.
4. Look at options chain. Bring out the options chains to see the quotes and other relevant data. Nowadays, real time options chains are easily available through the internet. You can also call your broker to get this information.
5. Narrow down to the exchange, and expiration date. If you trade online, determine the exchange you want your order to be submitted. Determine the appropriate expiration date based on the time you expect the price to move. Unless you are using a trading system which trades options near their expiration, usually you would want to buy call options with expiration that is slightly longer than the anticipated time. This is to reduce the effect of time decay. This is very important because time decay can cause your call options to lose in value.
6. Compare the Delta, Gamma, Vega and Theta for several strike prices of the same expiration. After you narrowed down your options chain to the specific exchange and specific expiration date, you look at the Greeks. Ideally you want to have high Delta, high Gamma, low Vega and low Theta. High Delta and high Gamma can give you a higher and faster profit when the underlying instrument's price moves up. When you are buying options, low Vega is very important. Low Vega means cheaper options and when Vega increases, you make profits even if the underlying price does not move. Low Vega is associated with low volatility and quiet market. And low Theta means the call option makes smaller loses due to time decay. If you are a longer term trader, you can choose out-of-the-money call options. These options have smaller delta but they are cheaper. If you are a shorter term trader, you would prefer at-the-money or in-the-money call options because they can give you faster and higher profits due to higher Delta and Gamma.
7. Evaluate your risk versus rewards based on your target price. You can also use a risk profile to help you make the evaluation. Calculate you breakeven point using this formula: breakeven = call strike + call premium8. Look at the open interest and volume. It is better to trade in an active market so that you can buy and sell easily. Another reason is that you don't lose a lot on the bid/ask spread.
9. Choose the best call option with the highest probability for profits.
10. Determine exit point and stop loss. Make sure you have your profit taking points and stop loss point in place before you place in your trade. Do this so that your emotions do not take over your decision making after you place in your trade.
11. Place in your trade. Call your broker or key in your trade online.
12. Watch the underlying instrument's price movement and the option's price reaction
13. Close your position. If you made a profit, close your position by either selling the call options that you bought or exercise the call option and sell the shares. If there is some time remaining before expiration, normally it is better to sell the call options because there is still time value in it. If you made a loss, close your position by selling the call options.
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