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Options Contract


An options contract is a type of financial derivative that represents an agreement between two parties to facilitate a potential transaction on an underlying security at a preset price, known as the strike price, prior to the contract’s expiration date. There are two types of options contracts: ‘Call Option’ , which gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy the underlying asset, and ‘Put Option’ which gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to sell the underlying asset. Prices of options contracts are influenced by the price of the underlying asset, time until expiration, volatility of the underlying asset, and risk-free interest rates.


The phonetics of “Options Contract” would be:ˈɑp·ʃənz kənˈtrækt

Key Takeaways

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  1. Options Contract Grant Specific Rights: An options contract gives the holder the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell the underlying asset at a specific price, called the strike price, before a certain date, known as the expiration date.
  2. Two Types of Options: There two primary types of options contracts – Call Options and Put Options. Call options give the holder the right to buy the underlying asset, while put options grant the holder the right to sell the underlying asset.
  3. Premium Payments: The buyer of an options contract pays a premium to the seller or “writer” of the option. This premium is the maximum amount the buyer can lose, while for the seller, it represents the maximum profit they can gain from writing the options contract.



An Options Contract plays a crucial role in the world of business and finance as it grants investors the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an underlying asset (like stocks, bonds, commodities, etc) at a predetermined price within a set time frame. This is important because it provides investors with the ability to hedge against potential price changes in an effort to limit risk. The flexibility of options contracts allows investors to profit from both rising and falling market conditions, which can lead to significant gains. Furthermore, options can also be used for speculative purposes, as they afford the opportunity to leverage a small investment into potentially higher profits. Therefore, the proper knowledge and understanding of options contracts are vital due to their potential for risk mitigation and profit maximization.


An options contract provides a trader with the right to buy (call option) or sell (put option) an underlying instrument like a security, ETF or even index at a predetermined price (known as the strike price), over a certain period of time. The primary purpose of an options contract is to hedge risk or speculate, allowing investors to bet on the direction of shares or the market as a whole. Unlike purchasing shares of stock, purchasing an option does not indicate ownership in a company, but represents a bet on the direction the stock price will take.Options contracts are predominantly used in finance to mitigate risk and smooth a portfolio’s performance over time. Investors use them to protect their portfolio against potential losses if they have a negative outlook on the market or a particular stock. For instance, if an investor buys a put option, they have the right to sell a stock at a certain price within a specified timeframe. If the stock’s price drops below that of the strike price, the investor can still sell at the higher strike price, thereby minimizing their losses. This is why options are a powerful tool for hedging. On the other hand, options also provide opportunity for speculation, with the potential for high returns, as they allow investors to profit from predicting changes in a stock’s price within the duration of the options contract.


1. Stock Options: An employee of a technology startup, for example, may receive stock options as part of their compensation package. This gives the employee the right (but not the obligation) to buy shares of their company at a predetermined price, often lower than market value. If the company performs well and its stock price rises, the employee can exercise their option to buy the shares at the lower price and potentially sell them at a profit. 2. Commodity Options: Consider a farmer who grows wheat. To protect himself against possible price drops in the future, he can enter into an options contract which allows him to sell his harvest at a fixed price at a future date. If the market price drops below this fixed price, the farmer will exercise his option, securing his income. However, if the market price happens to rise above the fixed price, the farmer can let his option expire and sell his wheat at the higher market price.3. Real Estate Options: A real estate investor spots a property he believes has great potential for development, but he needs time to secure the necessary funding or permits. He enters into an options contract with the property owner to buy the property at a certain price within a certain timeframe. If he fails to raise the necessary funds, he might let the option expire, but if he succeeds, he will exercise his option and purchase the property.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an Options Contract?

An Options Contract is an agreement between two parties that grants the buyer of the agreement the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a security or other financial instrument at a specified price (strike price) within a specific time period.

What are the types of Options Contract?

The two main types of Options Contracts are ‘Call Options’ and ‘Put Options’. A Call Option gives the holder the right to buy an asset while a Put Option gives the holder the right to sell an asset.

What is an underlying asset in an Options Contract?

The underlying asset in an Options Contract refers to the type of asset that can be bought or sold. This can include stocks, bonds, currency, real estate, commodities, and more.

What does it mean to exercise an Options Contract?

To exercise an Options Contract means to use the right to buy or sell the underlying asset. This can only be done before the contract’s expiration date.

How is the price of an Options Contract determined?

The price of an Options Contract, also known as the premium, is determined by several factors including the price of the underlying asset, the strike price, the time until expiration, and the risk-free interest rate.

What is the risk involved in trading options?

The buyer of an options contract risks losing the premium paid for the contract if they choose not to exercise it before its expiration. The seller, on the other hand, is obliged to sell or buy the asset if the buyer chooses to exercise their option.

Can I sell my Options Contract before its expiration date?

Yes, an Options contract can be sold at any time prior to its expiration date.

Who uses Options Contracts and why?

Options contracts are used by both individuals and institutions for speculation and hedging purposes. They provide a way to leverage a position in an asset, hedge against potential losses and speculate on the direction of markets, assets or volatility.

What is the difference between American and European Options?

The main difference lies in when the options can be exercised. American options can be exercised at any time before they expire. European options can only be exercised at expiration.

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