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Naked Call


A Naked Call is a type of options trading strategy where an investor sells a call option without owning the underlying asset. The seller, also known as the writer, is betting that the price of the underlying asset will not rise above the option’s strike price before its expiration date. This strategy carries significant risk, as the investor is exposed to potentially unlimited losses if the asset’s price increases substantially.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword ‘Naked Call’ is /ˈneɪkɪd kɔːl/ in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

Key Takeaways

  1. A naked call is a high-risk trading strategy where an investor sells call options without holding any underlying security.
  2. Naked call sellers collect premiums, making a profit when the option expires worthless. However, they face unlimited potential losses if the stock price rises significantly.
  3. Due to its high-risk nature, a naked call strategy is not suitable for inexperienced or risk-averse investors. Only experienced traders, who fully understand the risks and potential losses involved, should use this strategy.


The term “Naked Call” is important in the business and finance realm because it refers to an especially risky options trading strategy where an investor writes (sells) call options without owning the underlying security. This strategy allows the investor to profit from a premium received during the sale if the option expires worthless, indicating that the stock’s price did not reach the strike price. However, the risk in executing a naked call can be substantial as the investor is exposed to theoretically unlimited losses if the stock’s price rises significantly above the strike price. Since the investor does not own the underlying shares that are being called away, they need to purchase them at the market price to deliver to the option buyer, which can lead to severe financial consequences. Thus, understanding the implications of a naked call is crucial for investors and traders navigating the options market.


Naked call refers to a type of trading strategy that involves the selling of call options without owning the corresponding underlying asset. These options grant the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to purchase the underlying asset at a specified price (also known as the strike price) before a given expiration date. The primary purpose of the naked call strategy is to generate income through the premium received from selling the call options. Traders often employ this tactic when they hold a neutral to bearish outlook on the underlying asset, believing that the asset’s price will not rise above the strike price before the option’s expiration date. While the naked call strategy can provide quick revenue, it also poses a substantial risk for traders. Unlike covered calls, where the trader owns the underlying shares and can deliver them if the option is exercised, naked calls expose the trader to potentially unlimited losses. This occurs if the asset’s price soars above the strike price, forcing the trader to buy back the option at a significantly higher cost or to purchase the underlying asset at a much steeper price to fulfill the buyer’s request. As a result, naked calls are deemed risky and primarily utilized by experienced traders who are adept at closely monitoring market conditions and managing potential losses.


A “naked call” is a risky options trading strategy where an investor writes (sells) call options without owning the underlying asset. The investor’s goal is to earn premium income by selling the call options, hoping that the underlying asset (e.g., stock) does not increase in value beyond the option’s strike price before the option expires. Here are three real-world examples of naked call situations: Example 1: A Trader Selling Naked Calls on a Technology Stock: Suppose a trader believes that a certain technology stock (e.g., Apple) is overvalued at $150 per share. The trader decides to sell naked call options with a strike price of $160 and an expiration date one month in the future. By selling each option, the trader receives the premium for the call option (e.g., $2 per share). If the stock price remains below $160 by the expiration date, the trader keeps the premium income. However, if the stock price rises above the strike price (e.g., to $170), the trader may experience substantial losses as they are obligated to provide shares to the option buyer at a price significantly lower than the market price. Example 2: A Hedge Fund Shorting a Company’s Stock: A hedge fund manager believes that a pharmaceutical company’s stock will fall in the coming months due to a failed drug trial. The manager decides to sell naked call options with a strike price above the current stock price to capitalize on the anticipated decline. The hedge fund earns premium income from selling the options, but if the stock price increases beyond the strike price, the hedge fund may experience significant losses and must purchase the stock in the open market and provide it to the call option buyer at the strike price. Example 3: An Individual Investor Speculating on Market Volatility: An individual investor anticipates that a particular stock will experience low volatility in the near future. The investor decides to write naked call options with a strike price near the current market price, calibrating premiums, and expecting the stock price not to move substantially. If the investor is correct, they will keep the premium income from selling the options. However, if the stock price experiences a significant increase before the options expire, the investor may incur large losses due to the obligation to provide shares at the strike price despite the increase in the market price.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Naked Call?
A Naked Call is a type of options trading strategy where an investor sells call options without owning the underlying asset. The investor is effectively “writing” the options without any protection, betting that the asset’s price will not exceed the exercise price before the options expire.
What is the risk associated with Naked Calls?
Naked Calls carry significant risk because the seller can potentially face unlimited losses if the underlying asset’s price continues to rise above the exercise price. Since there is no cap on the asset’s price, the investor’s losses can be substantial.
Why would someone engage in a Naked Call strategy?
An investor may engage in a Naked Call strategy with the expectation that the underlying asset’s price will remain stable or decrease during the options contract period. The primary objective is to profit from the premiums received when selling the call options.
How is a Naked Call different from a Covered Call?
A Naked Call involves selling call options without owning any of the underlying asset, whereas a Covered Call involves selling call options while owning the underlying asset or an equivalent position. Covered Calls provide protection against the risk of substantial losses since the investor can deliver the underlying asset if the options are exercised.
Can beginners engage in Naked Call strategies?
Due to the high risk and potential for unlimited losses, naked call strategies are generally not recommended for beginners. Traders with more experience and highly developed risk management skills may choose to use this strategy in specific market conditions.
What are the margin requirements for Naked Calls?
Margin requirements for Naked Calls typically require a substantial cash deposit with a brokerage firm. This deposit acts as collateral against any potential losses that may occur due to the uncovered options position.
Can I close a Naked Call position before its expiration date?
Yes, an investor can close a Naked Call position before the expiration date by purchasing call options with the same exercise price and expiration date. This process, called ‘buying to close,’ offsets the initial short position, effectively removing the investor’s obligation to deliver the underlying asset.

Related Finance Terms

  • Uncovered Call Option
  • Unlimited Risk Exposure
  • Option Premium
  • Margin Requirements
  • Short Call Position

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