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Buy to Open


“Buy to Open” is a term used in trading, primarily in options contracts. It refers to the action of initiating a trade by purchasing an options contract, with the expectation that the asset price will rise, leading to profit. It’s commonly used to start a long position in the asset.


The phonetics of “Buy to Open” is: /baɪ tuːˈ oʊpən/

Key Takeaways

  1. Establishing a Position: Buy to Open (BTO) is a term used in trading to establish a new trading position. It refers to the practice of buying a call or put option. This gives a trader the right to buy or sell an underlying asset at a specified strike price.
  2. Potential for Profit: Traders can potentially profit from a Buy to Open order when the market price of the underlying asset rises above the strike price (in case of call options), or when the market price falls below the strike price (in case of put options).
  3. Defining Risks: Buy to Open orders allows traders to define their risk upfront. The maximum possible loss for a buyer is limited to the premium paid for the option. It also allows flexibility as the traders can choose not to exercise the option if the market price is not in their favor.


“Buy to Open” is a significant finance term as it refers to the initiation of a long position in an options contract. This term is typically used when an investor wants to profit from either an uptick in an asset’s price or a decrease in the value of an asset. In regard to options trading, “Buy to Open” signals the buying of call or put options contracts, which allows the investor to control those assets without actually owning them. This purchasing strategy can hedge against potential losses, speculate on market fluctuations, or generate income through the selling of options contracts. Thus, effectively understanding and applying the “Buy to Open” approach can significantly impact an investor’s trading strategy and potential profits.


In the domain of finance and trading, Buy to Open (BTO) is an expression utilized to denote the initiation of a trade position through the purchase of a financial instrument including a stock, option, or future. The main purpose of Buy to Open is to create a new buying position or add to an existing one in a bid to profit from the anticipated upward movement of an asset’s price. This method is widely used in various types of investing and trading strategies and is fundamental to almost every buying strategy in active trading. Traders usually resort to a Buy to Open order when they expect an increase in the value of the security, thus, enabling them to sell it at an elevated price in the future. For instance, a trader might Buy to Open call options contracts if they predict that the underlying securities will appreciate. It’s a tactic used to seize potential opportunities in the market where the investors anticipate profits from a price appreciation. They might also Buy to Open a put option if they aim to take advantage of an upcoming fall in the asset’s price. Therefore, the BTO strategy provides ample room for traders to maneuver according to their market forecast and trading goals.


1. Stocks and Shares: Suppose an investor named John was interested in purchasing shares of a particular technology company such as Apple with anticipation that the stock price will increase in the future. To do so, he would use a “Buy to Open” transaction where he buys a certain number of Apple shares at current market prices. If the prices rise as he expected, John can sell the stocks at a higher price, thus making a profit. 2. Options Trading: Consider a savvy investor named Lisa who wants to take advantage of potential price movements of a home improvement retail company stock, but she doesn’t want to invest a large amount of money in outright buying the stock. Instead, Lisa can buy a call option (a financial contract that gives her the right, but not the obligation, to buy the assigned stock at a specified price within a certain timeframe) with a “Buy to Open” order. If the stock price goes up, she can exercise the option and buy the stock at a lower price, or sell the option itself for profit.3. Futures Trading: Imagine a commodities trader, Tom, predicting the prices of crude oil will increase in the coming months due to geopolitical tensions. To capitalize on this, Tom uses a “Buy to Open” order to buy futures contracts of crude oil (commitments to buy the commodity at a set price at a future date). He anticipates that the actual market price will be higher than his contract price in the future, which will allow him to sell these contracts for a gain.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What does the term Buy to Open mean in finance and business?

Buy to open is an investment term used by brokers to denote the establishment of a new buying position in an option.

How does a ‘Buy to Open’ trade work?

An investor initiates a ‘buy to open’ trade by purchasing a call or a put option, which gives them the right to purchase or sell a stock at a specified price. This is considered to ‘open’ a new position.

Does ‘Buy to Open’ have to refer to stocks only?

No, ‘Buy to Open’ does not limit to just stocks. It can be used for commodity futures, forex contracts, and other options as well.

What is the difference between ‘Buy to Open’ and ‘Buy to Close’?

‘Buy to Open’ is used to enter a new trade position, while ‘Buy to Close’ is used to exit or reduce an existing short position.

Can you use ‘Buy to Open’ for both calls and puts?

Yes, ‘Buy to Open’ can be used for both call options and put options. It simply signifies the start of a new position.

What are the potential risks with using ‘Buy to Open’?

As with any trading strategy, ‘Buy to Open’ carries the potential risk of losing the full amount of your original investment. It’s crucial to thoroughly research and understand the market before opening a new position.

How long can you keep an open position with ‘Buy to Open’?

The length of time you can keep an open position will depend on the terms of the specific option contract, which could be overnight or up to several months or more. However, an open position will close when it reaches its expiration date, when a ‘Buy to Close’ order is submitted, or when the option is exercised.

How does ‘Buy to Open’ affect my investment portfolio?

‘Buy to Open’ adds a new long position to your portfolio. It can provide potential returns if the market moves in the direction you predicted, but it can also decrease the value of your portfolio if the market goes the other way. It’s essential to balance your portfolio with a mix of different investment strategies and risk levels.

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