We’ve all been there… researching options strategies and unable to find the answers we’re looking for. SteadyOptions has your solution.

# Options Trading Greeks: Delta For Direction

The option's delta is the rate of change of the price of the option with respect to its underlying price. The delta of an option ranges in value from 0 to 1 for calls (0 to -1 for puts) and reflects the increase or decrease in the price of the option in response to a 1 point movement of the underlying asset price. Far Out-of-The-Money options have delta values close to 0 while Deep-In-The-Money options have deltas that are close to 1.

The Delta is one of the most important Options Greeks.

General

The delta of an option is the sensitivity of an option price relative to changes in the price of the underlying asset. It tells option traders how fast the price of the option will change as the underlying stock/future moves.

Option delta is usually displayed as a decimal value between -1 and +1. Some traders refer to the delta as a whole number between -100 and +100. Delta of +0.50 is the same as +50.

The following graph illustrates the behaviour of both call and put option deltas as they shift from being out-of-the-money (OTM) to at-the-money (ATM) and finally in-the-money (ITM). Note that calls and puts have opposite deltas - call options are positive and put options are negative.

Call and Put Options

Whenever you are long a call option, your delta will always be a positive number between 0 and 1. When the underlying stock or futures contract increases in price, the value of your call option will also increase by the call options delta value. When the underlying market price decreases the value of your call option will also decrease by the amount of the delta. When the call option is deep in-the-money and has a delta of 1, then the call will move point for point in the same direction as movements in the underlying asset.

Put options have negative deltas, which will range between -1 and 0. When the underlying market price increases the value of your put option will decreases by the amount of the delta value. When the price of the underlying asset decreases, the value of the put option will increase by the amount of the delta value. When the underlying price rallies, the price of the option will decrease by delta amount and the put delta will therefore increase (move from a negative to zero) as the option moves further out-of-the-money. When the put option is deep in-the-money and has a delta of -1, then the put will move point for point in the same direction as movements in the underlying asset.

If you have a call and a put option, both for the same underlying, with the same strike price, and the same time to expiration, the sum of absolute values of their deltas is 1.00. For example, you can have an out of the money call with a delta of 0.36 and an in the money put with a delta of -0.64.

Delta Sensitivity

As a general rule, in-the-money options will move more than out-of-the-money options, and short-term options will react more than longer-term options to the same price change in the stock.

As expiration nears, the delta for in-the-money calls will approach 1, reflecting a one-to-one reaction to price changes in the stock. Delta for out-of the-money calls will approach 0 and won’t react at all to price changes in the stock. That’s because if they are held until expiration, calls will either be exercised and “become stock” or they will expire worthless and become nothing at all.

As expiration approaches, the delta for in-the-money puts will approach -1 and delta for out-of-the-money puts will approach 0. That’s because if puts are held until expiration, the owner will either exercise the options and sell stock or the put will expire worthless.

As an option gets further in-the-money, the probability it will be in-the-money at expiration increases as well. So the option’s delta will increase. As an option gets further out-of-the-money, the probability it will be in-the-money at expiration decreases. So the option’s delta will decrease.

It is important to remember that Delta is constantly changing during market hours and will typically not accurately predict the exact change in an option’s premium.

Delta as Probability

Delta can be viewed as a percentage probability an option will wind up in-the-money at expiration. Therefore, an at-the-money option would have a .50 Delta or 50% chance of being in-the-money at expiration. Deep-in-the-money options will have a much larger Delta or much higher probability of expiring in-the-money.

Looking at the Delta of a far-out-of-the-money option is a good indication of its likelihood of having value at expiration. An option with less than a .10 Delta (or less than 10% probability of being in-the-money) is not viewed as very likely to be in-the-money at any point and will need a strong move from the underlying to have value at expiration.

As mentioned, the sum of absolute values of delta of a call and a put with the same strike is one. This is in line with the probability idea. When you have a call and a put on the same underlying and with the same strike price, you can be sure that one of them will expire in the money and the other will expire out of the money (unless, of course, the underlying stock ends up exactly equal to the strike price and both options expire exactly at the money). Therefore, the sum of the probabilities should be 100% (and the sum of the absolute values of deltas should be one).

Just for clarification, delta and probability of expiring in the money are not the same thing. Delta is usually a close enough approximation to the probability.

Example

If the delta on a particular call option is .55, then, all other things being equal, the price of the option will rise \$0.55 for every \$1 rise in the price of the underlying security. The opposite effect is also seen as for every \$1 decline in the price of the underlying the option will lose \$0.55.

If the delta on a particular put option is -.45, then, all other things being equal, the price of the option will rise \$0.45 for every \$1 fall in the price of the underlying security. As with call options the obverse scenario is also true.

List of delta positive strategies

• Long Call
• Short Put
• Covered Call Write

List of delta negative strategies

• Long Put
• Short Call
• Covered Put Write

List of delta neutral strategies

• Iron Condor
• Butterfly
• Short Strangle
• Long Strangle

Summary

• Positions with positive delta increase in value if the underlying goes up
• Positions with negative delta increase in value if the underlying goes down
• An option contract with a delta of 0.50 is theoretically equivalent to holding 50 shares of stock
• 100 shares of stock is theoretically equivalent to an option contract with a 1.00 delta

Watch the video:

Related articles:

Want to learn how to put the Options Greeks to work for you?

12 Years CAGR of 127.5%

Complete Portfolio Approach

Diversified Options Strategies

Exclusive Community Forum

High Quality Education

Risk Management, Portfolio Size

Performance based on real fills

Subscribe to SteadyOptions now and experience the full power of options trading!
Subscribe

Non-directional Options Strategies

Targets 5-7% Monthly Net Return

### Articles

• #### Is There A ‘Free Lunch’ In Options?

In olden times, alchemists would search for the philosopher’s stone, the material that would turn other materials into gold. Option traders likewise sometimes overtly, sometimes secretly hope to find that most elusive of all option positions: the risk free trade with guaranteed positive outcome:

By TrustyJules,

• 1 comment
• 10,045 views
• #### What Are Covered Calls And How Do They Work?

A covered call is an options trading strategy where an investor holds a long position in an asset (most usually an equity) and sells call options on that same asset. This strategy can generate additional income from the premium received for selling the call options.

By Kim,

• 1,867 views
• #### SPX Options vs. SPY Options: Which Should I Trade?

Trading options on the S&P 500 is a popular way to make money on the index. There are several ways traders use this index, but two of the most popular are to trade options on SPX or SPY. One key difference between the two is that SPX options are based on the index, while SPY options are based on an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks the index.

By Mark Wolfinger,

• 4,639 views
• #### Yes, We Are Playing Not to Lose!

There are many trading quotes from different traders/investors, but this one is one of my favorites: “In trading/investing it's not about how much you make, but how much you don't lose" - Bernard Baruch. At SteadyOptions, this has been one of our major goals in the last 12 years.

By Kim,

• 3,336 views
• #### The Impact of Implied Volatility (IV) on Popular Options Trades

You’ll often read that a given option trade is either vega positive (meaning that IV rising will help it and IV falling will hurt it) or vega negative (meaning IV falling will help and IV rising will hurt).   However, in fact many popular options spreads can be either vega positive or vega negative depending where where the stock price is relative to the spread strikes.

By Yowster,

• 5,316 views

The greatest joy in investing in options is when you are right on direction. It’s really hard to beat any return that is based on a correct options bet on the direction of a stock, which is why we spend much of our time poring over charts, historical analysis, Elliot waves, RSI and what not.

By TrustyJules,

• 2,852 views

A 1x2 ratio spread with call options is created by selling one lower-strike call and buying two higher-strike calls. This strategy can be established for either a net credit or for a net debit, depending on the time to expiration, the percentage distance between the strike prices and the level of volatility.

By TrustyJules,

• 3,929 views
• #### SteadyOptions 2023 - Year In Review

2023 marks our 12th year as a public trading service. We closed 192 winners out of 282 trades (68.1% winning ratio). Our model portfolio produced 112.2% compounded gain on the whole account based on 10% allocation per trade. We had only one losing month and one essentially breakeven in 2023.

By Kim,

• 8,523 views
• #### Call And Put Backspreads Options Strategies

A backspread is very bullish or very bearish strategy used to trade direction; ie a trader is betting that a stock will move quickly in one direction. Call Backspreads are used for trading up moves; put backspreads for down moves.

By Chris Young,

• 12,383 views
• #### Long Put Option Strategy

A long put option strategy is the purchase of a put option in the expectation of the underlying stock falling. It is Delta negative, Vega positive and Theta negative strategy. A long put is a single-leg, risk-defined, bearish options strategy. Buying a put option is a levered alternative to selling shares of stock short.

By Chris Young,

• 13,706 views

Report Article

## We want to hear from you!

There are no comments to display.