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The Basics of Writing, Selling, and Buying Covered Calls

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Prices of securities can go up and down in a matter of days. The volatility of prices is one of the main motivations for traders to engage in covered calls. By writing covered call options, a trader sells the rights to a security, such as a stock, for an agreed price (also known as a strike price) at a predetermined date. In return, the trader is paid for it with a fee that is called a premium. However, the premium also means that the buyer can own the stock in the future if he or she exercises the option. This usually happens when the price of the stock becomes higher than its strike price. Like all other investment strategies, covered call transactions have fees with commissions for the individual that sells the call, as well as the individual that purchases the stocks.


Traders who write calls not only want to gain extra income from the premiums, but they also hope to keep their securities. They hope that the price of the stock will remain lower than the strike price. This means the option buyer will not be encouraged to proceed with the option. When the covered call option expires worthless, the seller gets to keep both the premium and the stock shares.


Most of the traders who opt for covered call writing don’t want to lose the shares of stocks they own. They feel that the value of stocks they own won’t increase significantly in the future, especially on or before the call option expiration date. If the price of the stock they wrote a covered call for suddenly goes up, then there’s a big possibility that the option buyer will exercise the option, thus meaning the call option writer lose his shares.


The risk of entering a covered call option is that the call writer may not only lose the shares of stocks but also a great income opportunity in case the stock value suddenly increases. If the stock’s price goes through the roof, then the option buyer will naturally exercise the option. This means the seller will lose his shares, as well as an opportunity to gain more by selling the shares.


Covered calls can be a very strategic investment move for any trader, but just like any other investment move, traders have to study their options before entering into a covered call options agreement. A screener may help improve traders’ chances. Sign up for a free trial for a call screener at

 Emily Ewing lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia where she is taking her time trying to decide what to do with her life. Currently, she writes about financial service providers, including Barchart. She likes to spend her free time outdoors by kayaking and surfing with friends. She also likes playing poker and learning about different cultures.

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