What does exercising stock options mean?

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Options Exercise Options exchanges have a cut-off time of p. CT, for receiving an exercise notice. Be aware that most brokerage firms have an earlier cut-off time for submitting exercise instructions in order to meet exchange deadlines.

All standardized equity options use American-style exercise. American-style exercise means that you can exercise your contract any day that the market is open before the expiration date.

The last day to exercise a monthly American-style option is usually the third Friday of the month in which the contract expires expiration Friday. Most, but not all, index options use European-style exercise.

Options Exercise

This means that the only time you can exercise your contract is the last trading day usually Friday before expiration. Even though there is only one day to exercise your contract, you can always close out your option position in the market on any day prior to expiration. Most, but not all, index options are European-style.

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Important to remember: Thursday before expiration is typically the last trading day for European-style index options. Each investor should ensure that they fully understand the product specifications of the product they intend to trade. As soon as you tell your broker you want to exercise your right to buy the stock strictly speaking, give irrevocable instructions you are a stockowner. Because of the irrevocable nature of the call exercise, you are buying the stock at the strike price.

Article Reviewed on July 30, Michael J Boyle Updated July 30, As you learn about trading optionsyou'll find that options traders use terms that are unique to options markets. You'll see these terms appear often and understanding them can have a significant effect on your chances for profitability on an options trade.

Some investors may be able to sell stock immediately upon exercise and others may not be able to sell until after the shares have settled. The short answer is yes.

Should an Investor Hold or Exercise an Option?

If you exercise an option, the settlement occurs just as if you bought or sold stock on an exchange. For example, if you exercised a call and simultaneously sold only options are exercised equivalent shares of stock, those transactions offset each other. Assuming the option is in-the-money, there is no need to post margin for offsetting transactions. As always, you will want to check with your brokerage firm to ensure you understand their policies.

Each brokerage firm has a procedure outlined in your account agreement forms.

What does exercising stock options mean?

Customers should be familiar with these procedures. The option holder can always submit instructions to their broker regarding whether to exercise or not to exercise. A customer may decide not to exercise an in-the-money option in some cases. It is best to have an understanding with your broker on actual procedure.

They may have a threshold imposed for automatically exercising customer orders. In this procedure, OCC exercises options that are in-the-money by specified threshold amounts unless the clearing member submits instructions not to exercise these options. Individuals sometimes incorrectly refer to the "exercise by exception" procedure for expiring options as "automatic exercise.

The exercise threshold amounts used in "exercise by exception" trigger "automatic" exercise only in the absence of contrary instructions from the clearing member.

Exercise (options)

Because the right of choice is always involved in "exercise by exception," exercise under these procedures is not, strictly speaking, "automatic. Will my broker cover me?

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Yes, either the capital, or the margin equivalent. Exercising and closing the option are two alternatives for closing out your option position. The exchanges that list the products will have that information available on their websites. You will need to check the specifications of each product you intend to trade. There is no definitive way to determine when an option holder will exercise an option.

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An investor might look at the premium of a call option to determine likelihood of early assignment. An option's premium consists of two parts: intrinsic value and time value.

Intrinsic value is the amount by which an option is in-the-money.

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Time value is the premium amount in excess of the intrinsic value. When an option holder exercises an option early, they forfeit any time value priced into the option. This is one reason that an option holder might not exercise an option early.

An option writer should consider the perspective of the option holder.

The option holder most likely makes his or her decision to exercise or sell the option on the most profitable outcome. In the above example, if the investor wanted to own the underlying stock, the choice to sell the option and use the option proceeds to buy only options are exercised underlying stock only options are exercised be the more profitable alternative.

Finally, OCC randomly assigns exercise notices to its clearing members who, in turn assign their customers. Ask your brokerage firm how it allocates assignments. Will my brokerage firm exercise the long side of my spread to meet delivery obligations if the only options are exercised call is exercised? If your plan is to meet your stock delivery obligation by exercising your long call, discuss this with your broker and give your brokerage firm exercise instructions for the long call.

As the ex-date for a dividend approaches, there is increased likelihood that call holders will exercise in-the-money calls. Because call holders seek to capture an impending dividend by exercising, a call writer's chances of assignment may increase as the ex-date for a dividend on the underlying security nears. Learn more by visiting our learning center, Introduction to Spreading. When will the brokerage credit shares to my account?

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Similarly, what happens in the reverse case where I am short a call option and an option holder requests exercise on the day before the underlying goes ex-dividend? An assigned call writer covered or not is obligated to deliver the stock plus the dividend. How many do option holders exercise?