The original column has been published in Dutch on August 28 at Telegraaf's DFT.nl / Goeroes / Opties 2.0 – deel 6. Basis Optiestrategie; Long Put

__Basic options strategies__

In my previous article of August 24th,
"Basic Option Strategies", you read all about the 4 basic option
strategies. And we covered the first strategy, the Long Call.

Today I’m going to talk about the
second basic option strategy: the Long Put.

__Long Put (Buying a Put option)____Structure__

The Long Put consists of a single
leg; Buying a Put option.

__Application__

A Long Put becomes attractive when
you expect a (significant) decrease in the price of the underlying asset. Upon
expiration, this price decrease must compensate for the time value included in
the Put option premium at the time of purchase.

A Long Put can also provide
protection for your portfolio.

__Investment__

The investment amounts to the number
of contracts that you purchase x the Put option price x the contract size. If
you buy 4 Put options for 12.50 you pay 4 * 12.50 * 100 = 5,000 Euros.

__Margin__

The Long Put strategy has no margin obligation.

__Break-Even Point__

You’ll reach the break-even point
upon expiration if the price of the underlying asset is equal to the strike
price of the Put option minus the price that you paid for the Put option. The
Put option now has only an intrinsic and no longer a time value. Which is why
your result is 0.

So, to achieve the break-even point,
there must always be a decrease in the price of underlying asset.

__Profit__

You’ll make a profit upon expiration
if the price of the underlying asset is below the break-even point.

__Maximum Profit__

The maximum profit that can be
achieved using a Long Put is equal to the strike price of the Put option minus
the purchase price of the Put option. Upon expiration, the Put has a value
equal to the strike price minus the price of the underlying asset. So the lower
the price of the underlying asset, the more the Put option will be worth and
the better your result.

__Loss__

You’ll make a loss upon expiration
if the price of the underlying asset is above the break-even point.

__Maximum Loss (Risk)__

Your maximum loss is equal to your
investment. If upon expiration, the price of the underlying asset is equal to
or higher than the strike price of the Put option, the Put option will have no
remaining intrinsic value. The Put option will expire at 0 and you’ll have lost
your investment.

__Price of the Underlying Asset (Delta) Influence__

Negative. A Long Put has a negative
Delta. A higher underlying asset price results in a lower Put option premium.

__Remaining Maturity (Theta) Influence__

Negative. Time works to your
disadvantage with a Long Put strategy, because the remaining time value of the
Put option reduces daily.

__Volatility (Vega) Influence__

Positive. A higher volatility
indicates a greater remaining time value for the Put option and thus a higher
Put option premium.

__Advantages__

The advantage of the Long Put is
that the potential profit is more or less unlimited.

But be careful. An unlimited gain
might sound tempting. But there is also a downside. The chance that you’ll make
a huge profit is extremely limited. Firstly, because the price of the
underlying asset must usually decrease dramatically. And Secondly, because you’ll
normally have already taken your profit at a much earlier stage.

__Disadvantages__

The disadvantage is that if you want
to achieve a profit with a Long Put, then the price of the underlying asset upon
expiration must have at least decreased in line with the time value that is
included in the Put Option purchase price at the time of investment.

__Example__

Suppose that we buy a Put option on
the AEX-Index with a strike price of 345.00 for a price of EUR 12.50. The AEX
lists it at 335.77 at that moment in time.

One Put option requires an
investment of 1 x 12.50 x 100 = EUR 1,250.

The Put option premium includes a
time value of 1.23. Thus 12.50 – intrinsic (= 345.00 – 335.77) = 12.50 – 9.23 =
3.27. So the AEX price must decrease upon expiration by 3.27 (from 335.77 to
332.50 = -1%) in order to reach the break-even point. And if the price were to
drop below 332.50 we would achieve a profit using this strategy.

Upon expiration the outcome would be
as follows:

Long Put Graphical Simulation:

The x-axis shows the various price
levels of the underlying asset.

The y-axis displays the (expected)
result. The blue line indicates the expected result one month prior to
expiration. The red line shows the result upon expiration.

__Pitfalls__

The most common pitfall for private
investors using Long Puts is to purchase “cheap”, short-term, out-of-the-money
Put options, in the expectation (=hope) that the price of the underlying asset
will drop sharply with time. The statistical probability of such a rate
decrease before expiration is usually quite small. In fact, this type of option
often expires at 0. Which results in a 100% loss. If the rate decreases, you
must already have realised a substantial percentage gain, to be able to absorb
the loss of the previous / following return. Please refer to the simplified
calculation for Long Calls.

**Options 2.0 ... Basic Options Strategy; Short Call**

In this article we’ve taken a look
at the second basic option strategy with a single leg; the Long Put. And we’ve
covered how to use it and what the advantages and disadvantages are.

In the next article we’ll examine
the third basic single leg options strategy; we’ll explore the Short Call.

*Herbert Robijn is founder and director of FINODEX (www.finodex.com). FINODEX develops innovative online investment tools for private equity and options investors. These cutting-edge tools allow investors to make a comprehensive market analysis, complex calculations and appropriate selections, at just the touch of a button.*