How to exercise an option, Exercising Stock Options

Exercising Stock Options - Fidelity

Call and put option contracts give you the right to buy and sell the underlying shares at specified prices, known as strike prices, before predetermined expiration dates. You do not have to exercise these rights if you decide to sell the options.

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When you exercise a call option, you would buy the underlying shares at the specified strike price before expiration. Step 1 Compare the strike price of the call option to the current stock price.

You would exercise your rights and buy the shares only if the call option is in the money, meaning the strike price is less than the stock price.

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Step 2 Review the company fundamentals, such as earnings growth and consistent cash flow. You should be able to find the relevant information in quarterly financial statements posted on the company's investor relations website.

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If the fundamentals are sound and the outlook is bright, you could exercise your call options and how to exercise an option on to the shares for long-term capital gains. Step 3 Compare the profits from selling your call options versus exercising them.

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Your profits would be 10 cents a contract if you were to close out the call position, which is a 20 percent return on investment. Step 4 Exercise call options if you are using them to hedge a short sale and the stock price continues to rise.

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A short sale involves selling shares that you borrow from your broker in the expectation that you can buy them back at lower prices. If the stock rallies instead, call options with the appropriate strike price could prevent losses because you could exercise the calls to cover your short position.

  1. Expiration What it Means Unlike a stock, each options contract has a set expiration date.
  2. A put option is a contract that gives its holder the right to sell a set number of equity shares at a set price, called the strike pricebefore a certain expiration date.
  3. Important Options Trading Terms
  4. Initiate an Exercise-and-Sell Transaction cashless Hold Your Stock Options If you believe the stock price will rise over time, you can take advantage of the long-term nature of the option and wait to exercise them until the market price of the issuer stock exceeds your grant price and you feel that you are ready to exercise your stock options.

Tip The Options Clearing Corporation automatically exercises options if they are in the money by one cent or more. Your broker may have different procedures for automatic exercises.

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