Using Options to Buy Stocks

Are you one of those people who has though about owning shares? Most people have. Did you also know that you could be be using options to buy stocks at a much cheaper price than if you just went to your broker and simply bought them from the market? Maybe you'd like to own company shares but fear the perceived risk involved, due to price fluctuations, has prevented you from doing so? Well I'm about to show you a way to greatly minimize that risk and not only so, but put yourself in a position where you can cash in on much greater profits if and when you sell the shares.

Using Options to Buy Stocks at a Discount

Let's take an example to illustrate how it works. We'll use the oft quoted imaginary XYZ company for our purpose. Imagine XYZ is currently trading on your local stock exchange at $35 and you think it might be a good investment if it falls another $5 or so. You may have concluded this because you have looked at a daily price chart of the stock and notice a pattern such as a "channel" (highs and lows between two parallel lines) or a strong support line, which leads you to believe that it won't be long before the price will fall to say $30 in the near future. You understand the advantages of using options to buy stocks.

Or you might be a short term stock trader and you've observed this stock's price starting to fall in such a way that is consistent with past movements of a similar size. So you believe it is likely to reach a low of $30 sometime within the next month or so for that reason and you want to buy it when it does because that's when you think it will turn around and head north again. You've educated yourself about using options to buys stocks.

Or you just be an investor who likes using options to buy stocks to hold for the long term and would like to get a better deal on purchase price. If you had the nerve to take opportunity of falling stocks during the global financial crisis and wanted to snap up a bargain, this option strategy would make the deal even sweeter. You like using options to buy stock as part of your investment strategy.

Using Options to Buy Stocks - Here's How

XYZ is trading at $35 today and you're prepared to buy it when it reaches $30. You would need sufficient funds in your broker account to purchase at the $30 price tag to utilise this strategy. When the stock is trading at $35 or less, you would sell "out of the money" put options with an expiry date the following month and a strike price of $30. Selling option contracts is sometimes called "writing" and the process involves creating them out of nothing. This option contract with a $30 strike price means that you are willing to allow the market to "put" shares to you at that price up until the agreed option expiry date.

In consideration for this, you would receive a premium which would be credited to your account. The premium is yours to keep, no matter what happens after that. Let's say your receive $3 for each share, which means that if your option contract covers 100 shares, you would receive $300.

After you've done this, one of two things can happen.

First, the share price could fall to $30 or below by the option expiry date, the options would be exercised and you would buy the shares at that price. The 100 shares of XYZ would cost you $3000 less the $300 you receive for selling the options, a total of $2700.

The alternative is, that the share price never reaches this level, in which case you simply keep the $300 you received from selling the options. Then you just go to the stock market and do it again.

But let's say that XYZ's stock price had fallen to $28 by the time your put option contract expired. You would have to purchase at $30 but the whole deal would still only cost you $2700 all up. If you had waited instead to buy at $28, it would've cost you an extra $100 so you're still ahead.

Now that you have purchased 100 XYZ shares, the next thing to do is immediately sell (write) "out of the money" call options on those shares. The preferable strike price in our example would be at least $30 but higher is better - that way, if the share price rises, you make some gain on the shares, if exercised. But if the price keeps falling, the call options might expire worthless and you simply keep the income, thus further reducing the overall cost of your purchased shares and offsetting any capital loss.

If the share price continues to fall and if you still have more funds available, you could use an averaging strategy to buy more XYZ shares, but this time for say $24. Let's say the price has fallen to $28 as above and you have purchased your 100 shares at $30 but an overall cost of only $27. You now immediately sell a further put option contract with next month's expiry date but this time with a strike price of only $24 receiving a premium of $2.50.

If XYZ's share price doesn't fall as low as $24 by the new expiry date, you keep the premium and it offsets the cost of your original 100 shares - which instead of $27 have now cost you only $24.50 each. But let's say the price fell as low as $20 by the new expiry date. You would be forced to buy the shares at $24 less your $2.50 premium for selling the options - a total cost of $21.50 per share.

You now own 100 shares costing $27 and a further 100 shares costing $21.50. That's 200 XYZ shares at a total cost of $4850 or $24.25 per share. If you had purchased these shares without using options to buy stocks, just "averaging down" instead, they would've cost you $5400 all up, or $27 per share when in our worst case scenario here, the price has fallen to $20.

So even when the market is taking a dive as outlined above, where the stock price has fallen over two months from $35 to only $20 - if you had sold put options as part of your strategy, you would be better off by 200 x $2.75 or $550. This is a 10 percent discount after brokerage costs.

Now that the price has fallen to $20 you simply do it again for next month and receive another premium which will offset the overall cost of your two previous purchases if the price begins to rise again. By using options to buy stocks, you will eventually own shares in your chosen company at a discounted price which in the long run will mean greater capital gains.

"Using options to buy stocks" as outlined above, is one of the strategies taught in the popular Options Trading Pro System.

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