SteadyOptions is an options trading forum where you can find solutions from top options traders. TRY IT FREE!

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: Gamma For Speed


Gamma measures the rate of change for delta with respect to the underlying asset's price. The gamma of an option is expressed as a percentage and reflects the change in the delta in response to a one point movement of the underlying stock price. Like the delta, the gamma is constantly changing, even with tiny movements of the underlying stock price.

The Gamma is one of the most important Options Greeks.

It generally is at its peak value when the stock price is near the strike of the option and decreases as the option goes deeper into or out of the money. Options that are very deeply into or out of the money have gamma values close to 0.

 

Effect of volatility and time to expiration on gamma

 

Gamma is important because it shows us how fast our position delta will change as the market price of the underlying asset changes.

 

When volatility is low, the gamma of At-The-Money options is high while the gamma for deeply into or out-of-the-money options approaches 0. The reason is that when volatility is low, the time value of such options are low but it goes up dramatically as the underlying stock price approaches the strike price.

 

When volatility is high, gamma tends to be stable across all strike prices. This is due to the fact that when volatility is high, the time value of deeply in/out-of-the-money options are already quite substantial. Thus, the increase in the time value of these options as they go nearer the money will be less dramatic and hence the low and stable gamma.

 

As the time to expiration draws nearer, the gamma of At-The-Money options increases while the gamma of In-The-Money and Out-of-The-Money options decreases.

 

Options Greeks: Gamma For Speed

 

How to put gamma work for you

 

In simple terms, the gamma is the option's sensitivity to changes in the underlying price. In other words, the higher the gamma, the more sensitive the options price is to the changes in the underlying price.

 

When you buy options, the trade has a positive gamma - the gamma is your friend. When you sell options, the trade has a negative gamma - the gamma is your enemy. The closer we are to expiration, the higher is the gamma.

 

When you buy options and expect a significant and quick move, you should go with closer expiration. The options with closer expiration will gain more if the underlying moves. The tradeoff is that if the underlying doesn't move, the negative theta will start to kick off much faster.

 

When you sell options, you have negative gamma that will increase significantly as the options approach expiration. This is the biggest risk of selling weekly options.

 

Should you trade weekly options?

 

Going with close expiration will give you higher positive theta per day but higher negative gamma. That means that a sharp move of the underlying will cause much higher loss. So if the underlying doesn't move, then theta will kick off and you will just earn money with every passing day. But if it does move, the loss will become very large very quickly. Another disadvantage of close expiration is that in order to get decent credit, you will have to choose strikes much closer to the underlying.

 

As we know, there are no free lunches in the stock market. Everything comes with a price. When the markets don't move, trading close expiration might seem like a genius move. The markets will look like an ATM machine for few weeks or even months. But when a big move comes, it will wipe out months of gains. If the markets gap, there is nothing you can do to prevent a large loss.

 

Does it mean you should not trade weekly options? Not at all. They can still bring nice gains and diversification to your options portfolio. But you should treat them as speculative trades, and allocate the funds accordingly. Many options "gurus" describe those weekly trades as "conservative" strategy. Nothing can be further from the truth.

 

Example

 

Lets sat you have a call with a delta of .60. If the price of the underlying security rises by $1, then the price of the call would therefore rise by $.60. If the gamma value was .10, then the delta would increase to .70. This means that another $1 rise in the price of the underlying security would result in the price of the option increasing by $.70, and the delta would also increase again in accordance with the gamma.

 

This highlights how moneyness affects the delta value of an options contract, because when the contract gets deeper into the money, each price movement of the underlying security has a bigger effect on the price. The gamma is also affected by moneyness, and it decreases as an in the money contract moves further into the money.

 

This means that as a contract gets deeper into the money, the delta continues to increase but at a slower rate. The gamma of an out of the money contract would also decrease as it moved further out of the money. Therefore, gamma is typically at its highest for options that are at the money, or very near the money.

 

List of gamma positive strategies

  • Long Call
  • Long Put
  • Long Straddle
  • Long Strangle
  • Long Calendar Spread
  • Vertical Debit Spread


List of gamma negative strategies

  • Short Call
  • Short Put
  • Short Straddle
  • Short Strangle
  • Vertical Credit Spread
  • Covered Call Write
  • Covered Put Write
  • Iron Condor
  • Butterfly


Summary

  • Gamma measures the rate of change for delta with respect to the underlying asset's price.
  • All long options have positive gamma and all short options have negative gamma.
  • The gamma of a position tells us how much a $1.00 move in the underlying will change an option’s delta.
  • We never hold our trades till expiration to avoid increased gamma risk.


Watch the video:
 

 

 

 

 


 
Related articles:


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


Start Your Free Trial

What Is SteadyOptions?

Full Trading Plan

Complete Portfolio Approach

Diversified Options Strategies

Exclusive Community Forum

Steady And Consistent Gains

High Quality Education

Risk Management, Portfolio Size

Performance based on real fills

Try It Free

Non-directional Options Strategies

10-15 trade Ideas Per Month

Targets 5-7% Monthly Net Return

Visit our Education Center

Recent Articles

Articles

  • Types of Volatility

    Are most options traders aware of five different types of volatility? Probably not. Most only deal with two types, historical and implied. All five types deserve some explanation and study.

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 163 views
  • The Performance Gap Between Large Growth and Small Value Stocks

    Academic research suggests there are differences in expected returns among stocks over the long-term.  Small companies with low fundamental valuations (Small Cap Value) have higher expected returns than big companies with high valuations (Large Cap Growth).

    By Jesse,

    • 0 comments
    • 398 views
  • How New Traders Can Use Trade Psychology To Succeed

    People have been trying to figure out just what makes humans tick for hundreds of years.  In some respects, we’ve come a long way, in others, we’ve barely scratched the surface. Like it or not, many industries take advantage of this knowledge to influence our behaviour and buying patterns.

    By Kim,

    • 0 comments
    • 261 views
  • A Reliable Reversal Signal

    Options traders struggle constantly with the quest for reliable reversal signals. Finding these lets you time your entry and exit expertly, if you only know how to interpret the signs and pay attention to the trendlines. One such signal is a combination of modified Bollinger Bands and a crossover signal.

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 483 views
  • Premium at Risk

    Should options traders consider “premium at risk” when entering strategies? Most traders focus on calculated maximum profit or loss and breakeven price levels. But inefficiencies in option behavior, especially when close to expiration, make these basic calculations limited in value, and at times misleading.

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 410 views
  • Diversified Leveraged Anchor Performance

    In our continued efforts to improve the Anchor strategy, in April of this year we began tracking a Diversified Leveraged Anchor strategy, under the theory that, over time, a diversified portfolio performs better than an undiversified portfolio in numerous metrics.  Not only does overall performance tend to increase, but volatility and drawdowns tend to decrease:

    By cwelsh,

    • 1 comment
    • 591 views
  • The Best Chart I’ve Seen in 2020

    The best visual aids for learning are often very simple. The chart in this article was created by Paul Merriman, using data from Dimensional Fund Advisors. I primarily use Dimensional Funds in building portfolios for my clients. There are many takeaways from this chart, and I’d like to share a few thoughts that stick out most to me.

    By Jesse,

    • 0 comments
    • 604 views
  • Traditional or Roth Retirement Account?

    When US investors save for retirement, there are many important decisions that have to be made including which investments to use as well as which type of accounts to fund. Tax favored retirement accounts such as 401(k)’s and IRA’s should be utilized to the maximum extent possible because of the opportunity for tax advantaged growth.

    By Jesse,

    • 0 comments
    • 512 views
  • My Favorite Investing Books, Blogs, Papers, and Podcasts

    There are so many excellent sources of investment education available today that I thought a short post about some of my personal favorites could be beneficial. Below are different forms of content that have been particularly impactful to my investment philosophy, and they are not in any specific order.

    By Jesse,

    • 0 comments
    • 970 views
  • Go For Gold! The Business Behind The Dazzle

    The price of gold is often in the news—sometimes it's rising, and other times it's dropping but for the most part, it has been on a steady increase for many years. It is certainly worth more now than it did twenty years ago. When its price is on the rise, we may have thought about the benefits of selling our gold for profit and making some passive income from it.

    By Kim,

    • 0 comments
    • 549 views

  Report Article

We want to hear from you!




Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account. It's easy and free!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

Options Trading Blogs Expertido