As you become more informed about the options market, you will need to learn how to use a long or short position in either a rising or falling market. Going long on a call is a profitable strategy when the underlying stock price rises in value.
If you suspect a stock is going to fall in value, that is when you will be turning to puts. Puts are essentially the opposite of calls and have different payoff diagrams. Read on to find out how they work and how you can use them to profit even while a stock is plummeting. However, in this case, you're buying insurance on your stock to insulate you from decreasing share prices.
Going long on puts should not be confused with the technique of married puts. Married puts describe a strategy for protecting your portfolio from a steep decline in shares that you own by using a put as a form of insurance to limit losses. For additional reading, see Married Puts: Instead we are focusing on buying puts as a means to speculate on falling share prices.
The major difference is that there is no ownership in the underlying shares - the only ownership is in the puts. Opening such a long position in your brokerage account involves " buying to open " a put position. Brokers use this confusing terminology because when you buy puts, you can be buying them either to open a position or to close a position. Opening a position is self-explanatory, but closing a position simply means that you are buying back puts that you had sold earlier.
Besides buying puts, another common strategy used to profit from falling share prices is selling the stock short. You do this by borrowing the shares from your broker and then selling them. If the price falls, you buy them back at a cheaper price and return them to the owner while keeping the profit.
Buying puts instead of shorting is advantageous for the same reasons that buying calls is more advantageous than buying stocks. In addition to leverage , you also get the ability to buy puts on stocks for which you cannot find the shares to short. Some stocks on the New York Stock Exchange NYSE or Nasdaq cannot be shorted because your broker does not have enough shares to lend to people who would like to short them. In such a case, puts become very useful because you can profit from the downside of a "non-shortable" stock.
In addition, because the most you can lose is your premium , puts are inherently less risky than shorting a stock. There are some important things to note from the diagram. Closing out a long put position involves either selling the put or exercising it in the open market. The distinction between a put and a call payoff diagram is important to remember.
When dealing with long calls, the profits you might obtain are limitless, because a stock can go up in value forever in theory. Puts are a very useful way profit from a fall in stock price. Such a position has inherent advantages over shorting a stock, but investors must be careful not to over-leverage their positions. Dictionary Term Of The Day. A conflict of interest inherent in any relationship where one party is expected to Broker Reviews Find the best broker for your trading or investing needs See Reviews.
Sophisticated content for financial advisors around investment strategies, industry trends, and advisor education. A celebration of the most influential advisors and their contributions to critical conversations on finance. Become a day trader. By Investopedia Staff Updated June 29, — Practical Considerations Besides buying puts, another common strategy used to profit from falling share prices is selling the stock short.
Payoff Diagram for a Put There are some important things to note from the diagram. Closing Out the Position: A conflict of interest inherent in any relationship where one party is expected to act in another's best interests.
Passive investing is an investment strategy that limits buying and selling actions. Passive investors will purchase investments How much a fixed asset is worth at the end of its lease, or at the end of its useful life. If you lease a car for three years, A target hash is a number that a hashed block header must be less than or equal to in order for a new block to be awarded.
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