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.

Synthetic Options Explained


One of the interesting features about options is that there is a relationship between calls, puts, and the underlying stock. And because of that relationship, some option positions are synthetic to others. The prices of put and call options have an identity relationship through the concept of put-call parity.

Some option combinations are easier, or less costly to trade than others. Which means less slippage and less commissions.

Here are few examples of synthetic options positions.

 

Synthetic Long Stock

Among the many options strategies, one of the most interesting is synthetic long stock.  This combines a long call and a short put opened at the same strike and expiration. The name “synthetic” is derived from the fact that the two positions change in value dollar for dollar with changes in 100 shares of stock.

Synthetic Long Stock Construction
  • Buy 1 ATM Call
  • Sell 1 ATM Put

This is an unlimited profit, limited risk options trading strategy that is taken when the options trader is bullish on the underlying security but seeks a low cost alternative to purchasing the stock outright.

image.png
 

Synthetic Short Stock

The synthetic long stock is a low-risk, highly leverage strategy. But for synthetic short stock, the risk profile is completely different. For the synthetic long, the combination consists of a long call and a short put, at the same strike, and at the same expiration.Reversing the positions to short call and long put creates a synthetic short stock, and completely changes the risk.

Synthetic Short Stock Construction
  • Buy 1 ATM Put
  • Sell 1 ATM Call

This is a limited profit, unlimited risk options trading strategy that is taken when the options trader is bearish on the underlying security but seeks an alternative to short selling the stock.

image.png
 

Synthetic Long Call

A synthetic call, or synthetic long call, is an options strategy in which an investor, holding a long position in a stock, purchases an at-the-money put option on the same stock to protect against depreciation in the stock's price. It is similar to an insurance policy.

Synthetic Long Call Construction
  • Buy 100 Shares
  • Buy 1 ATM Put

This is an unlimited profit, limited risk options trading strategy. A synthetic call is also known as a married put or protective put. The synthetic call is a bullish strategy used when the investor is concerned about potential near-term uncertainties in the stock. By owning the stock with a protective put option, the investor still receives the benefits of stock ownership, such as receiving dividends and holding the right to vote. In contrast, just owning a call option, while equally as bullish as owning the stock, does not bestow the same benefits of stock ownership. 

image.png
 

Synthetic Long Put

By combining a long call option and a short stock position, the investor simulates a long put position. A synthetic put is also known as a married call or protective call. 

Synthetic Long Put Construction
  • Sell 100 Shares
  • Buy 1 ATM Call

This is a limited profit, limited risk options trading strategy. The synthetic put is a strategy, used when the investor has a bearish bet and is concerned about potential near-term strength in the underlying stock. It is similar to an insurance policy except that the investor wants the price of the underlying stock to fall, not rise. The strategy combines the short sale of a security with a long-call position on the same security.

image.png
 

Other Equivalent Positions

The basic equation that describes an underlying and its options is: Owning one call option and selling one put option (with the same strike price and expiration date) is equivalent to owning 100 shares of stock. Thus, 

S = C – P; where S = stock; C = call; P = put

There are some other options positions that can be considered equivalent. For example, take a look at a covered call position (long stock and short one call), or S-C.


From the equation above, S –C = -P. In other words, if you own stock and sell one call option (covered call writing) then your position is equivalent to being short one put option with the same strike and expiration. That position is naked short the put. Amazingly some brokers don’t allow all clients to sell naked puts, but they allow all to write covered calls. But as we can see, writing a covered call is equivalent to selling a naked put. 

Summary

Synthetic positions can be used to change one position into another when your outlook changes. Options offer enormous flexibility in positioning. Synthetics can offer an alternative plan B, require less capital, eliminate the need to borrow the stock if selling it short etc. It is essential to understand synthetic options in order to fully utilize the flexibility of options. 
 

If you want to learn more how to use our profitable strategies and increase your odds:

Start Your Free Trial

Related articles

 

 

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

  • What’s Wrong With Your 401(k)? (If anything)

    There currently are over sixty million Americans that are active 401(k) participants, and well over 500,000 total active 401(k) plans offered by employers in the United States.  Despite these high numbers, usages could be higher, as the US Census Bureau estimates that only 41% of all employees with access to a 401(k) plan utilize it, with even less funding it fully.

    By cwelsh,

    • 0 comments
    • 90 views
  • Upcoming Decay of Options

    I am on the hunt for a short volatility position for three main reasons. First, the market’s wild swings have, for the time being at least, diminished. Second, option activity has dried up as my options barometer continues to be stuck in the 4 – 6 range as traders are not making big bets in either direction.

    By Jacob Mintz,

    • 0 comments
    • 150 views
  • The Scientific Process of Increasing Expected Returns

    For many US investors, the "base case" for equity investing is US large cap stocks, most commonly benchmarked as the S&P 500. You could absolutely do far worse than owning these 500 great US companies, and the weight of the evidence suggests that most actively managed mutual funds that benchmark themselves against the S&P 500 index have in fact done worse.

    By Jesse,

    • 0 comments
    • 290 views
  • Those Golden and Death Crosses

    The use of moving average (MA) for predicting future price behavior must be undertaken cautiously. MA is a lagging indicator, so the question must be: Can a lagging indicator provide guidance for the future? Yes. The use of two MA lines and how they interact is a reliable form of reversal indicator.

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 265 views
  • Trading Reverse Iron Condors When IV Is Elevated

    Our members know that pre earnings straddles and calendars have been our bread and butter strategies in the recent years. We enter those trades when the prices are cheap compared to previous cycles. However, in the last few months of 2018, Implied Volatility exploded, making most of those trades too expensive.

    By Kim,

    • 0 comments
    • 304 views
  • How To Short Volatility The Right Way

    Shorting volatility in 2017 was easy money. In fact, it was easy money every year since 2010 when iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures TM ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) has been created. Just go short VXX, buy puts or put debit spreads, and you would make money every year since 2010.

    By Kim,

    • 11 comments
    • 868 views
  • Leveraged Anchor Implementation

    This week Steady Options implemented the newest iteration of the Anchor trades – the Leveraged Anchor. This will now officially be tracked. We will also continue to track the Traditional Anchor as well. It is our belief that the Leveraged Anchor will perform better, on a risk adjusted basis than Anchor has, particularly on the upside of the trade.

    By cwelsh,

    • 0 comments
    • 777 views
  • 2018: A Year To Remember

    Making money in the stock market in 2017 was easy. Pick almost any stock or index. Buy calls. Sell put credit spreads. Almost any bullish or slightly bullish strategy would work. Everyone was a genius trader. Then came 2018. US stocks posted its worst year in a decade. Volatility exploded. 

    By Kim,

    • 0 comments
    • 527 views
  • SteadyOptions 2018 - Year In Review

    2018 marks our seventh year as a public service. It was an excellent and exciting year. We closed 124 winners out of 161 trades. Our model portfolio produced 129.5% compounded gain on the whole account based on 10% allocation per trade. The winning ratio was 77.0%. We had only one losing month in 2018. 

    By Kim,

    • 0 comments
    • 1,215 views
  • Systematic vs. Discretionary Trading

    Much of the discussion in finance is about "active" vs. "passive". Active management typically uses security selection and/or market timing to make portfolio management decisions. Passive management typically does not, instead, focusing on market risk premiums as the source of expected return. So which is better?

    By Jesse,

    • 0 comments
    • 611 views

  Report Article

We want to hear from you!


There are no comments to display.



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