Call, Put, Long, Short, Bull, Bear: Terminology of Option Positions

Long and short options positions. Short Selling vs. Put Options: What's the Difference?

Short Selling Options

Updated Apr 3, Long Position vs. Short Position: What's the Difference?

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While long and short in financial matters can refer to several things, in this context, rather than a reference to length, long positions and short positions are a reference to what an investor owns and stocks an investor needs to own. Understanding a Long Position vs. For instance, an investor who owns shares of Tesla TSLA stock in his portfolio is said to be long shares.

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This investor has paid in full the cost of owning the shares. On the flip side of the same equation, an investor with a short position owes stock to another person but has not actually bought them yet. With options, buying or holding a call or put option is a long position; the investor owns long and short options positions right to buy or sell to the writing investor at a certain price.

Conversely, selling or writing a call or put option is a short position; the writer must sell to or buy from the long position holder or buyer of the option.

Glossary Terminology of option positions may be confusing. This page may help clarify it. Sometimes people have a long put position they own puts and they say they are short.

Short Position Continuing the example, an investor who has sold shares of TSLA without yet owning those shares is said to be short shares. The short investor owes shares at settlement and must fulfill the obligation by purchasing the shares in the market to deliver.

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Oftentimes, the short investor borrows the shares from a brokerage firm in a margin account to make the delivery. Then, with hopes the stock price will fall, the investor buys the shares at a lower price to pay back the dealer who loaned them. If the price doesn't fall and keeps going up, the short seller may be subject to a margin call from his broker.

Julius Mansa is a finance, operations, and business analysis professional with over 14 years of experience improving financial and operations processes at start-up, small, and medium-sized companies. Article Reviewed on June 01, Julius Mansa Updated June 01, When it comes to stock market trading, the terms long and short refer to whether a trade was initiated by buying first or selling first. Similarly, some trading software has a trade entry button marked "buy," while others have trade entry buttons marked "long. Long Trade Potential Traders often say they are "going long" or "go long" to indicate their interest in buying a particular asset. This is the desired result when going long.

A margin call occurs when an investor's account value falls below the broker's required minimum value. Key Differences When an investor uses options contracts in an account, long and short positions have slightly different meanings.

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Buying or holding a call or put option is a long position because the investor owns the right to buy or sell the security to the writing investor at a specified price. Selling or writing a call or put option is just the opposite and is a short position because the writer is obligated to sell the shares to or buy the shares from the long position holder, or buyer of the option.

Long call option positions are bullish, as the investor expects the stock price to rise and buys calls with a lower strike price. An investor can hedge his long stock position by creating a long put option position, giving him the right to sell his stock at a guaranteed price.

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  • A "short" position is generally the sale of a stock you do not own.
  • Advanced Options Strategies The Short Option: A Primer on Selling Put and Call Options Selling call and put options can be risky, but when used wisely, experienced traders can use this strategy to pursue their investment objectives.

Short call option positions offer a similar strategy to short selling without the need to borrow the stock. A simple long stock position is bullish and anticipates growth, while a short stock position is bearish. This position allows the investor to collect the option premium as income with the possibility of delivering his long stock position at a guaranteed, usually higher, price. Conversely, a short put position gives the investor the possibility of buying the stock at a specified price, and he collects the premium while waiting.

These are just a few examples of how combining long and short positions with different securities can create leverage and hedge against losses in a portfolio.

Buying Stock at a Lower Price

It is important to remember that short positions come with higher risks and, due to the nature of certain positions, may be limited in IRAs and other long and short options positions accounts. Margin accounts are generally needed for most short positions, and your brokerage firm needs to agree that more risky positions are suitable for you.

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