Article

Understanding Options Trading Strategies: Synthetic Put

date 21  July,  2023
time 4 mins read

Options trading is a complicated and dynamic investing method that lets traders profit from financial market price swings. To navigate this intricate landscape successfully, it is crucial to understand the various options and trading strategies available.

One such strategy is the synthetic put, which provides traders with a flexible alternative to traditional put options. Synthetic options replicate the risk and reward profiles of their counterparts using different combinations of financial instruments.

This article covers synthetic put options, benefits, how they work, and more. These approaches help investors maximize returns and avoid risk.

Understanding Synthetic Options

A synthetic option replicates the risk and reward characteristics of an option by combining the underlying instrument and various options.

In options trading, synthetic options come in two forms: synthetic calls and synthetic puts.

  • Synthetic calls: Synthetic calls involve being long in a cash or futures position and buying a put option as a protective measure.
  • Synthetic puts- Synthetic puts are created by taking a short cash or futures position and purchasing a call option.

These strategies combine primary positions with options to mimic the characteristics of the desired option type.

What is Synthetic Put Strategy?

A synthetic put, also known as a synthetic long put, is an options strategy where a short stock position is combined with a long call option on the same stock. This strategy is used to simulate the payoff of a long put option and provides protection against an increase in the stock’s price. It can also be referred to as a married call or protective call.

So, how is this strategy different from traditional put options? Well, A synthetic put is a strategy that replicates the payoff of a traditional put option using a combination of stock and options.

Unlike a traditional put option, which involves purchasing the right to sell a specific asset at a predetermined price within a specific time frame, a synthetic put involves selling short the asset and purchasing a call option on the same asset. This strategy allows traders to achieve similar downside protection as a put option while potentially benefiting from additional upside potential.

How Does Synthetic Put Strategy Work?

A synthetic put strategy is useful for investors who hold a bearish outlook on stock but anticipate potential near-term strength. It functions as an insurance policy, with the investor desiring a decrease in the stock price.

By combining a short sale of the security with a long-call position on the same security, the strategy mitigates the risk of the underlying price increasing. However, it doesn’t address other risks associated with short positions, such as fees, margin interest, and potential dividend payments.

Institutional investors may employ synthetic puts to conceal their trading bias, while individual investors can utilize them as an insurance policy. Increased volatility benefits the strategy, while time decay has a negative impact.

Benefits of Using a Synthetic Put Strategy

Using a synthetic put strategy offers several benefits compared to traditional put options. It makes them an attractive alternative to traditional put options for risk management and downside protection.

  • Cost Efficiency:Synthetic puts can be more cost-effective than purchasing standalone put options since they involve selling short the underlying asset to generate premium income, offsetting some of the option’s cost.
  • Flexibility:Synthetic puts allow for greater flexibility in adjusting the position. Traders can modify the strategy by adjusting the strike price or expiration date of the call option, providing more tailored risk management.
  • Reduced Time Decay:Traditional put options are subject to time decay, causing their value to diminish as the expiration date approaches. Synthetic puts, on the other hand, involve holding a long call option, which can partially offset the impact of time decay.
  • Potential for Additional Gains:Unlike traditional put options, synthetic puts involve selling short the underlying asset. If the price of the asset increases, the trader can benefit from both the premium income generated and potential gains from the appreciation of the asset.
  • Margin Efficiency:Synthetic puts may require less margin compared to purchasing standalone put options, making them a more capital-efficient strategy.

When to Use a Synthetic Put

A synthetic put is primarily a capital-preservation strategy rather than a profit-making one. The cost of the call option premium acts as a built-in cost that reduces the profitability of the strategy if the underlying stock moves favourably.

Therefore, synthetic puts are commonly used as insurance policies to protect against short-term price spikes in bearish stocks or as a safeguard against unexpected upward movements in stock prices.

New investors can feel secure while learning about investment strategies if the stock market has a restricted loss possibility. However, the option price, charges, and additional fees come with this protection.

Factors to Consider Before Using This Strategy

Before using a synthetic put strategy, there are several factors you should consider. Outlined below are some key considerations:

  • Market Outlook:Assess the market conditions and outlook for the specific stock you plan to use for the synthetic put strategy. Consider factors such as market trends, volatility, and fundamental analysis to determine if the strategy aligns with your expectations.
  • Risk Tolerance:Evaluate your risk tolerance and investment objectives. The synthetic put strategy involves short selling, which can expose you to unlimited losses if the stock price rises significantly. Ensure that you can withstand potential losses and that the strategy aligns with your risk appetite.
  • Option Pricing:Analyse the cost and pricing of the put options you intend to buy. Consider factors such as implied volatility, time to expiration, and strike price. Compare different options to find the most cost-effective hedge for your synthetic put strategy.
  • Exit Plan:Establish a clear exit plan before implementing the strategy. Determine the conditions under which you would exit the position, either to lock in profits or cut losses. Define specific price targets or stop-loss levels that align with your risk management strategy.

Conclusion

Understanding options trading strategies is crucial for investors seeking to navigate the complex world of financial markets. The synthetic put strategy offers a unique approach to trading put options, providing flexibility and potential advantages compared to traditional options.

By grasping the concept of synthetic options and considering their implementation, investors can explore new avenues for portfolio protection and profit potential. However, it is essential to remember the risks involved and to practice prudent risk management when employing these strategies.

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