Options Delta : The Basics

Options Delta : The Basics

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Options Delta is the ratio of the change in the price of the stock option to the change in the price of the underlying stock

Delta = instantaneous change in value of asset with respect to an underlying risk factor. Option’s delta changes continuously as underlying risk factor changes

Here are some basic characteristics of Options Delta :

  • It is the change in the price of an option for a one point moves in the underlying
  • Delta of a call option is positive
  • Delta of a put option is negative
  • Delta increases – in decreasing index
  • Delta decreases – in increasing index
  • Call options: 0 < Option Delta < 1
  • Put options: -1 < Option Delta < 0
  • In-the-money options: Delta Option approaches 1 (call:+1,put:-1)
  • At-the-money options: Delta is about 0.5 (call:+0.5, put: -0.5)
  • Out-of-the-money options: Delta Option approaches 0
  • Call Option Delta can be interpreted as the probability that the option will finish in the money
  • An at-the-money option : which has a delta of approximately 0.5, has roughly a 50/50 chance of ending up in-the-money
  • Put Option Delta can be interpreted as -1 times the probability that the option will finish in the money

Impact of Time : As time passes, the delta of In-the-money options: increases & Out-of-the-money options: decreases

Impact of Volatility : As volatility falls, the delta of In-the-money options: increases & Out-of-the-money options: decreases

Hedging using Options – Delta to neutralize market risk :

  • In order to maintain a riskless hedge using an option and the underlying stock, need to adjust holdings in the stock periodically
  • An important parameter in pricing and hedging of options
  • No. of units of stock should hold for each option shorted in order to create a riskless hedge
  • Construction of a riskless hedge is sometimes referred as delta hedging

To get more information on Options Greeks , read Options Basics of Vega ,  Gamma 

“The greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about”…If you are invested in Markets, it makes sense to be aware of & have an idea about Options

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