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What is a bull put spread?

A bull put spread is used when an investor thinks the price of a security is set to rise modestly. The strategy involves buying one put option on the security while simultaneously selling another put option at a higher strike price. A Bull Put Spread is usually a vertical spread, meaning the two options used have the same expiration date (and different prices). The lower-strike put option is bought and held long, while the higher-strike option is sold short. The short position sold will be at or just below the current market price for the security, and the long position will be at a lower strike price than the short position. Continue reading...

What is a bear put spread?

A bear put spread involves the use of two puts, one sold and one bought, at different strike prices, with the intention of profiting from declines in the underlying stock. A Bear Put Spread uses two put contracts, one long and one short, in such a way to achieve a maximum profit from modest downward movements in the underlying stock. A long put is purchased a strike price nearer the money that the short put contract. Continue reading...

What is a put option?

A put option gives the owner of the option/contract the right to sell a stock at the strike price named in the contract. One kind of option is a put. A Put is a right to sell a particular asset (usually a stock) at a certain price (called the “strike price”) within a specified time-frame. The owner of the put contract doesn’t need to own the underlying stock. If the price of the stock drops below the strike price in the put, the owner of the put contract can buy the stock at the lower market price and immediately sell it at the higher strike price in the put contract. That is a speculative way to use a Put contract. Continue reading...

What is a naked put?

A naked put is when a put option contract writer or short-seller does not have the resources (shares of the security) on hand to cover the position if the option is exercised. Put options are contracts between two people who have been put together with the help of an options exchange or clearinghouse.One of them will be the “writer” who sells the put on a certain underlying stock with a certain strike price and expiration date. Continue reading...

What is a protective put?

A protective put is an option contract that hedges against losses in a long stock position, by allowing the investor to sell the underlying security at a specific price. Sometime investors will seek to limit possible losses in a stock that they hold by purchasing a put option at a price below the current market price. This allows the investor to sell their stock at a set price if it takes a dive for any reason. Let’s assume that you have 100 shares of company ABC, which is trading at $100/share. Continue reading...

What is a put time spread?

A put time spread is an options strategy that has the investor implementing a short put and a long put at the same strike price, but with different expirations. Time spreads can also be called calendar spreads or horizontal spreads. A put time spread will use two put contracts on the same underlying security but with different expiration dates. One of the puts will be sold short, and one will be held long (this is the nature of spreads). Continue reading...

Who Can Put Money into an IRA?

There are some income limits and contribution limits on who can contribute to an IRA. Generally speaking, as long as you or your spouse is earning taxable income, you can contribute money to an IRA, be it a Roth or a Traditional IRA. There are limits at which you cannot contribute to a Roth IRA (in 2016, the limit is $132,000 for a single filer and $194,000 for a married couple). There are also income limits at which you are no longer able to deduct contributions to a Traditional IRA, but these are only applicable if you or your spouse has a qualified retirement plan at work. Continue reading...

What are the basics of options?

Options are contracts used by investors to take a speculative position – or a hedge – based on expected future price movements of the underlying securities. Many investors are scared when they heard the word "option" and perceive it as a risky, speculative investment. Options certainly can be risky, but they don’t have to be. In fact, certain options strategies are far more conservative than many available investments in the marketplace. Continue reading...

What is a strike price?

A strike price names the price of the underlying security in options or derivative contract at which the underlying security will trade at settlement if it is exercised. In a call option, for example, the option would name a strike price, and if the current market price of the underlying security was more than the strike price, an investor who held the call contract would invoke his right to purchase the stock from the issuer/seller of the option at the strike price, which, remember is lower than the prevailing market price in this example, and the investor can turn around and sell it in the market at or near its most recent, and higher, price, for a profit. Continue reading...

Should I use options in my portfolio?

Options can be a valuable tool in portfolio management, but investors should be well-versed in how options work, and the risks involved, before actively engaging in options trading. Options can provide you a hedge, or provide the potential for unlimited gains or losses. They can also give you a relatively conservative income stream. Proper use of options can be highly profitable, but requires some level of expertise and a watchful eye. Continue reading...

What is a Calendar Spread?

A calendar spread is a strategy also known as a horizontal spread or time spread, in which the investor uses two options contracts, with the same strike price, on the same underlying security, but with different expiration dates. The trader will “write” (sell) the near-term one (front month) and hold the one with the more distant expiration date (back month) long. This is a debit spread, since the investor will pay more to establish this position than is received from the short sale of the near-term option: longer-term options have a greater time value than short-term options. Continue reading...

What is a covered straddle?

A covered straddle is a bullish options strategy, where the investors write the same number of puts and calls with the same expiration and strike price on a security owned by the investor. If an investor owns a stock and is bullish about where it’s price is headed, they may use a covered straddle strategy to provide them the ability to buy more shares at a set price (the call option portion of the straddle) while also giving them the option to sell the security at the same price (the put portion of the straddle). Continue reading...

What are currency warrants?

Currency warrants are relatively new to the international Forex market. They function like puts or calls, depending on whether it is a purchase warrant or a warrant to sell, but they have longer durations, usually between one and five years until they expire. They can be purchased to take a position on a currency index or on a currency pair. Warrants were originally issued by corporations, giving investors the ability to redeem the warrant like a call option to purchase a stock at a strike price. Continue reading...

What is a Warrant?

A warrant is an agreement giving the holder the right to buy (or sell) a certain number of shares of a company. Warrants are often requested or granted when a company engages in a loan from private investors - it will give the lenders the opportunity to buy and own shares in the company if its stock appreciates or if the opportunity seems attractive. If the company fails to grow and deliver, the warrants can simply go unused with no financial impact for the holder. Like options, there are warrants that confer the option to buy shares (call warrants) and those that allow the holder to sell (put warrants). Continue reading...

What is a time spread?

A ‘Time Spread,’ also called a Calendar Spread or a Horizontal Spread, involves the use of multiple options of the same type (either all calls or all puts), with the same strike price but different expiration dates. Generally traders will sell a near-term option (take a short position) and buy a far-term option (take a long position). The strategy is virtually identical whether calls or puts are used. Continue reading...

What does out of the money (OTM) mean?

If an option on an underlying security does not have a strike price giving the option holder the ability to exercise the option for a profit (based on the current market price of the underlying security) that option is “Out of The Money.” An option is Out Of The Money (OTM) if it isn’t profitable for the option holder to exercise it. Options have a strike price that contractually defines the amount which will be paid for the underlying security if the option is exercised. Continue reading...

What is the Symmetrical Triangle Top (Bearish) Pattern?

The Symmetrical Triangle Top pattern forms when the price of a security fails to retest a high or low and ultimately forms two narrowing trend lines. The price is expected to move up or down past the triangle depending on which line is broken first. This pattern is commonly associated with directionless markets since the contraction (narrowing) of the market range signals that neither bulls nor bears are in control. However, there is a distinct possibility that market participants will either pour in or sell out, and the price can move up or down with big volumes (leading up to the breakout). The price movement inside the triangle should fill the shape with some uniformity, without leaving large blank areas. Continue reading...

What is the Symmetrical Triangle Bottom (Bearish) Pattern?

The Symmetrical Triangle Bottom pattern forms when the price of a security fails to retest a high or a low and ultimately forms two narrowing trend lines. Points 1­ 5 form the triangle patterns. The price is expected to move up or down past the triangle depending on which line is broken first. This pattern is commonly associated with directionless markets since the contraction (narrowing) of the market range signals that neither bulls nor bears are in control. However, there is a distinct possibility that market participants will either pour in or sell out, and the price can move up or down with big volumes (leading up to the breakout). Continue reading...

What is the Descending Triangle (Bearish) Pattern?

The Descending Triangle pattern has a horizontal bottom (1, 3, 5) which represents the support level, and a down­-sloping top line (2, 4). The breakout can be either up or down and the direction of the breakout determines which corresponding price level is the target. This pattern is commonly associated with directionless markets since the contraction (narrowing) of the market range signals that neither bulls nor bears are in control. When the price of a security consolidates in a somewhat volatile fashion, it may indicate growing investor concern that the price is set to break out. Continue reading...

What is the Triple Tops (Bearish) Pattern?

The Triple Tops pattern appears when there are three distinct minor Highs (1, 3, 5) at about the same price level. The security is testing the upper resistance level (horizontal line formed by (1, ­3,­ 5), but the price ultimately declines as buyers give up. This type of formation potentially happens when investors can not break the resistance price. There is a distinct possibility that market participants will sell out, and the price can move down with big volumes (leading up to the breakout). Continue reading...

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