Index Options - Part Three
...Continued from Part Two
Purchasing an index option does not give the investor the right to purchase or sell all of the stocks that are contained in the underlying index. Because an index is simply an intangible, representative number, you might view the purchase of an index option as buying a value that changes over time as market sentiment and prices fluctuate.
An investor purchasing an index option obtains certain rights per the terms of the contract. In general, this includes the right to demand and receive a specified amount of cash from the writer of a contract with the same terms.
Available strike prices, expiration months and the last trading day can vary with each index option class, a term for all option contracts of the same type (call or put) and style (American, European or Capped) that cover the same underlying index. To determine the contract terms for the option class(es) you wish to employ, please contact either the exchange where the option is traded or The Options Industry Council.
The strike price, or exercise price, of a cash-settled option is the basis for determining the amount of cash, if any, that the option holder is entitled to receive upon exercise. See Exercise Settlement for further explanation.
In-The-Money, At-The-Money, Out-Of-The-Money
An index call option is in-the-money when its strike price is less than the reported level of the underlying index. It is at-the-money when its strike price is the same as the level of that index and out-of-the-money when its strike price is greater than that level.
An index put option is in-the-money when its strike price is greater than the reported level of the underlying index. It is at-the-money when its strike price is the same as the level of that index and out-of-the-money when its strike price is less than that level.
Premiums for index options are quoted like those for equity options, in dollars and decimal amounts. An index option buyer will generally pay a total of the quoted premium amount multiplied by $100 for the contract. The writer, on the other hand, will receive and keep this amount.
The amount by which an index option is in-the-money is called its intrinsic value. Any amount of premium in excess of intrinsic value is called an option's time value. As with equity options, time value is affected by changes in volatility, time until expiration, interest rates and dividend amounts paid by the component securities of the underlying index.
Exercise & Assignment
The exercise settlement value is an index value used to calculate how much money will change hands, the exercise settlement amount, when a given index option is exercised, either before or at expiration.
The value of every index underlying an option, including the exercise settlement value, is the value of the index as determined by the reporting authority designated by the market where the option is traded. Unless OCC directs otherwise, the value determined by the reporting authority is conclusively presumed to be accurate and deemed to be final for the purpose of calculating the exercise settlement amount.
In order to ensure that an index option is exercised on a particular day before expiration, the holder must notify his brokerage firm before the firm's exercise cut-off time for accepting exercise instructions on that day. On expiration days, the cut-off time for exercise may be different from that for an early exercise (before expiration).
Note: Different firms may have different cut-off times for accepting exercise instructions from customers, and those cut-off times may be different for different classes of options. In addition, the cut-off times for index options may be different from those for equity options.
To Be Continued in Part 4...
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