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Using options and derivatives in investment

How to use options and derivatives to increase your investment returns

Options and derivatives make investing fun and complex. Simply comprehending these tools is possible. 

You can speculate or hedge against price swings via derivatives. Derivatives include options. Options give flexibility in unpredictable markets by allowing buyers and sellers to buy or sell underlying assets at a specified price.

Options and derivatives help you manage risk, improve portfolio performance, and seize market opportunities. 

This article explores the basics of these tools, providing a beginner-friendly guide for using options and derivatives in investment.

What are the options?

Financial derivatives called options allow the holder to buy or sell an underlying asset at a fixed price and time. The underlying asset can be stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies, or indexes.

Options are basically of two types:

  • Call options: A call option allows the holder (buyer) to acquire an underlying asset at the strike price before or at expiration. 
  • Put options: A put option allows the buyer to sell an underlying asset at a strike price before or at expiration.

Financial options trading involves buying and selling contracts. Traders utilise options to speculate, hedge, and make money. Option values depend on the underlying asset’s price, expiration date, volatility, and interest rates.

What are derivatives?

A derivative is a financial contract based on an asset, index, rate, or other reference. Stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies, interest rates, market indices, and other financial variables can be used. 

Derivatives are contracts between two parties that stipulate how they will make payments dependent on the underlying asset or index.

Types of derivatives:

  • Forward contracts: Both parties agree to buy or sell an asset at a future date for a price agreed upon today.
  • Futures contracts: Standardised and exchanged on exchanges, futures contracts contain an agreement to acquire or sell an underlying asset at a future date.
  • Options: Options provide buyers with the right but not the duty to buy (call) or sell (put) an underlying asset at a fixed price and time.
  • Swaps: Contracts to exchange cash flows or other financial instruments over time. Currency and interest rate swaps are widespread.

Derivatives are used for various purposes, such as hedging against price fluctuations, leveraging future market movements, and managing risk in financial markets. 

Why are futures and options termed as derivatives?

Futures and options are termed as derivatives because their value is derived from underlying assets. These provide investors with the right to buy or sell these assets. The derivatives futures and options markets offer a variety of derivatives call and put options, enabling strategic investment and risk management.

Rewards of options trading and derivatives

  • Leveraged profits: Leverage can boost profits with a lesser initial investment.
  • Hedging opportunities: You can hedge against price movements with derivatives to protect your portfolios from market conditions.
  • Flexibility: Options give you techniques to profit in bullish, bearish, and neutral markets.
  • Diversification: Derivatives give exposure to many asset classes and marketplaces, diversifying investment portfolios.
  • Speculative gains: Profiting from price swings without owning the asset allows traders to speculate and capitalise on market trends.

Risks of options trading and derivatives

  • Leverage risk: Leverage boosts earnings and losses. If the market goes against the investor, they could lose more than their initial investment.
  • Time decay: Options expire and lose value. The option may lose value if the market doesn’t react rapidly enough.
  • Complexity: Complex derivatives require financial knowledge to grasp. Options and derivatives can be confusing for novice investors.
  • Market risk: All investments have market risk, including options and derivatives. Market circumstances can change quickly, causing price swings and losses.

Strategies for using options and derivatives for investors

Hedging strategies

Consider hedging derivatives, especially options, to protect your investments. Use options to hedge portfolio price swings. 

For instance, you can buy put options on a stock you own to protect against falling value. Strategically combining long and short positions can also reduce risk. 

Hedging tactics with derivatives help you navigate financial market volatility and minimise losses.

Speculative strategies

Speculative methods entail financial market risks to profit from price swings. Leveraged options and derivatives can boost returns by trading market trends. 

For instance, you can buy call options in rising markets and put options in falling markets. Investing with derivatives involves larger trades but higher risk. 

When investing in speculative techniques with derivatives, be aware of market direction and risks.

Income-generating strategies

With derivatives, revenue-generating Strategies like Covered Calls and Selling Put Options generate revenue while avoiding risk. This is a good derivatives investment approach.

Covered Calls let you sell call options on a stock you own to earn premiums. If the stock price stays below the agreement, you keep the premium. Selling Put Options earns premiums by pledging to buy a stock at a specified price. Compare options and pricing models to make an informed choice.

Both strategies provide money, and derivatives mitigate risk. These options trading strategies help you navigate the market, make money, and manage your portfolio risks.


Understanding options and derivatives is essential for investing. They offer price-hedging and profit-making tactics. You must manage derivatives risk to protect your investments. Options and futures trading are risky while offering opportunities.  


Are F&O and options trading the same?

Futures and Options (F&O) are both types of derivative contracts, but they are not the same. Futures contracts obligate the buyer to purchase, and the seller to deliver, the underlying asset at a predetermined price and date. Options contracts, however, give the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell the underlying asset at a predetermined price and date.

How to sell derivatives?

Derivatives can be sold in two ways. The first is over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, where the contract terms are privately negotiated between parties in an unregulated market. The second is through a regulated exchange offering standardised contracts. It’s important to understand the derivative’s underlying asset, its pricing, risk, and term structure before selling. Always consult with a financial advisor before making such decisions.

What is spot trading?

Spot trading refers to the immediate purchase or sale of a financial asset or commodity at its current market price. In a spot trade, the payment and delivery of the asset occur simultaneously, unlike futures or forward contracts, where the transaction is settled at a future date. Spot trades take place in spot markets, which are also known as cash or physical markets.

What is intraday stock?

Intraday trading, also known as day trading, involves buying and selling stocks within a single trading day. The goal is to profit from short-term price fluctuations. Intraday traders closely monitor price movements and volumes of stocks. They typically use real-time charts and may execute numerous trades in a day. It’s important to note that intraday trading carries higher risk due to the rapid pace of market movements.

What is FX forward?

An FX forward is a contractual agreement to exchange a pair of currencies at a set rate on a future date. It’s a type of derivative that locks in the exchange rate for the purchase or sale of a currency. FX forwards are traded over-the-counter (OTC), and their terms can be tailored to a particular amount and for any maturity or delivery period. They’re used for hedging against fluctuations in currency prices.

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