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Strike Price

The price at which an options contract is exercised

What is Strike Price?

The strike price is the price at which the holder of the option can exercise the option to buy or sell an underlying security, depending on whether they hold a call option or put option. An option is a contract where the option buyer purchases the right to exercise the contract at a specific price, which is known as the strike price.

Buying or selling options is a popular trading strategy. Option trading is not complex, but as with any other investment, having good information is important. In the image below, we can see the strike price for a call option, which confers the right to buy at the strike price, and the break-even point where the option seller starts losing money.

 

Strike Price example on an Option chart

 

Call Options – Strike Price

The buyer and the seller of a call option enter into an agreement, according to which the buyer gets the right to buy a specified number of shares of stock at a specified price and the seller receives the purchase price for the option in return for agreeing to sell the shares to the option holder at the strike price if the option holder elects to exercise their option. Options are only good for a set period of time, after which the option expires.

The buyer of the option can exercise the option at any time before the specified expiration date. If the call option expires “out of the money”, that is with the underlying stock price still below the option strike price, then the option seller will profit by the amount of money received for the sale of the option.

If the option is “in the money” prior to expiration – meaning the underlying stock price has risen to a point above the strike price of the option – then the buyer will profit by the difference between the option strike price and the actual stock price, multiplied by the number of shares in the option. (Stock options are commonly for a lot of 100 shares.)

 

Put Options – Strike Price

Here, the buyer and the seller of an option also enter into an agreement, according to which the option buyer can exercise the right to sell short shares of the stock at the option strike price. Again, the option seller receives the purchase price of the option, known as the “premium”.

The buyer of a put option possesses the right, but not an obligation, to exercise the option and sell short the specified number of shares of stock to the option seller any time before the option expiry, at the predetermined exercise price. In this trade, the buyer of the option will profit if the stock price falls below the option strike price prior to expiration.

The seller will profit from selling the option if the option expires out of the money, which in the case of a put option means the stock price remains higher than the strike price up to the date of the option’s expiration.

 

Related Readings

CFI is a global provider of financial modeling and valuation courses and on a mission to help you advance your career.  To continue learning and developing your skills as a world-class financial analyst, these additional resources will be helpful:

  • Technical Analysis – A Beginner’s Guide
  • Trading Mechanisms
  • Long and Short Positions
  • Buying on Margin

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