Saturday, October 6, 2007

Stock-Bond and Option

We may not familiar with option but we are sure that most of us know what is stock and bond. Stock is an equity that representing a company value. By purchasing stock, you are actually buying the ownership of a public listed company, which means that you are one of the owners of the company. There are many purposes to purchase stocks. It can for long term investment, short term investment, really intending to own a company or speculation for very short term investment. No matter what is their purpose, usually, they will buy large amount of stock. Especially, for them who want to control the administration of a public listed company. This kind of investor will buy as many stocks as possible in order that they have a majority stock in their hand. In this kind of situation, he or she has the control power to the company administration and can do some modification to the processing and also the management of the company. By owning an amount of stock, you will be paid dividend if the company has declared it. Some company may not pay you any dividend depending to the company highest management decision. Some company may let you vote in their company election such electing a suitable CEO or MD. When you own a stock, you have the total control of this stock. You can sell it anytime if you think that you no longer intended to own it or you think that it is not worth to own it. You can also keep it for your whole life and use it as collateral to borrow money from bank or financial institution.

Bond is a debt that the bond issuer own you if you have bought the bond. When there is a project to carry out regardless it is a big or small project, if the people who intend to start the project do not have money, one of the sources for them to generate fund is by printing bond and selling it to public. By doing this, they can generate fund to carried out the project. This seem like the owner of the project borrows money from you and they give you the bond as evidence that they have borrowed money from you. By owning this bond, you will be paid interest and repaid all the money that you have lent to them at a specific date. Not anybody can print bond and sell it to public. People who want to do so have to apply to the government as a bond issuer. Usually, these people are from corporate agency, states, cities and federal government agency. As a bond holder, you have priority to have your money back compared to shareholder if the bond issuer goes broke. They will pay back the money for you as a bond holder before they pay to their shareholder.

Stock and bond have a tangible value that you can grasp and visualize. The ownership of a stock that you have purchased can last for a long time as long as you continue hold this stock and dont sell it. The ownership of a stock can not be canceled unless the company goes broke (means that the company have declared bankruptcy). Bond usually has contract type repayment schedule and once they have paid back all the money that you have lent to them, the bond will end. The third type of investment does not give a whole life ownership and does not provide any tangible value. The validity of this investment has expiration date. Once the expiration date has over, the whole investment will become worthless. Apart from that, the value of this investment will decline when the time passes by. These are part of the features that options have. Due the lack of tangible value, worthlessness after expiration date and value declines due to the time has passed by; all these make options seem too risky to be invested for most of the people. However, there are still a lot of investors interested in option investment. Do you know why?

This is because not all methods that had been used in trading option are risky. What had been mentioned just now such as lack of tangible value, worthless after expiration date and option value declines after the time had passed by can work to our advantage. For an example, we can sell option that has a very short period of time to expiration date, which has a low possibility to become in the money option. Like this, when the time has passed by, option value that has declined will be our gain. There are limited strategies to trade stock but for option, there are a lot of strategies can be utilized. For stock, we either buy or sell stock. Thats all what we can do. But for option, we can combine a few positions together to form a synthetic position to earn money from the stock that move either up, down or side way. You will realize that options are very flexible after you have study more about it. You can use options in numerous situations and create numerous opportunities.

An option is a contract of agreement that allows you have a privilege in executing transaction involving 100 units of stock. This agreement only involves the option buyer and seller. This privilege includes a specific stock with a specific fixed price per share and also a specific date in the future for its validity. When we have bought a contract of option, we do not have any equity in the stock and any debt position. What we have is a contractual right to buy and sell 100 units of share at a fixed price within a fixed period of time. You will feel wondering why we need to purchase an option to gain the right since we can always buy or sell 100 units of share at the current market price. The answer is that option has fixed the stock price that you can buy or sell and this is the key to an options value. Stock price is unpredictable and this feature makes stock market investment interesting and also very risky. When we own an option, the stock price that we can sell and buy 100 units share is already frozen for as long as the option remains valid. Finally, the options value is determined by the comparison of the fixed price and the stock market current price.

Alexander Chong

Author of Workable Option Trading Strategies