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Delta, Theta, Gamma—no, we are not revisiting your traumatic memories of high school math class. Instead, we are diving into a world where these mathematical-sounding terms, called option Greeks, take on a whole new meaning—a meaning that can transform the way you approach options trading.
What are options Greeks?
Options trading encompasses a lot of concepts that options traders must be well-versed in to effectively navigate the market. One such concept is options Greeks.
Options Greeks refer to a set of risk measures named after Greek letters.
They gauge an option’s sensitivity to various factors, such as:
- Time-value decay,
- Interest rates
- Changes in implied volatility and
- Movements in the price of its underlying security.
Successful traders frequently use these measures when buying or selling various options because they are crucial in determining an option’s price.
The primary types of option Greeks are:
- Gamma and
Delta: How stock prices impact options’ price
The Delta option Greek shows how the price of a call-and-pull option shifts with the changes in the underlying asset’s price.
The formula to compute Delta is:
∂ = the first derivative
S = the underlying asset’s price
V = the option’s price
Options closer to In-the-Money (ITM) will have a Delta closer to 1 in the case of call options and -1 in the case of put options.
Gamma: The change in Delta
Gamma option Greek demonstrates the sensitivity of an option’s Delta to market price fluctuations.
Understanding Gamma is crucial as it provides insights into the pace at which an option’s Delta alters in response to changes in the market price of the underlying asset.
Options that are at-the-money (ATM) tend to have higher Gamma values, indicating a greater sensitivity to market price changes.
Theta: How time impacts options’ price
Theta is a measure that quantifies the change in an option’s price relative to the change in its time to maturity.
Theta, also known as time decay, has a significant role when it comes to options trading. If an option’s time to maturity decreases by any amount, the option’s price will change by an amount equal to its Theta.
Vega: How implied volatility impacts options’ price
Vega quantifies the impact of the implied volatility of the underlying stock on an option’s price.
When an option has higher implied volatility, its price benefits as it increases the likelihood that the stock’s price will eventually land in the money (ITM).
Vega option Greek provides an approximation of how much an option’s price will increase or decrease when there is a corresponding increase or decrease in the level of implied volatility.
Rho: How interest rates impact options’ price
Rho is another trading option for Greeks but is not often used. Basically, it gauges how the option’s price changes with a shift in the interest rate. It provides insights into how the price of an option should rise or fall when the risk-free interest rate, such as on Treasury bills, increases or decreases.
When interest rates increase, the call option’s value increases and the put option’s value usually decreases. Due to these characteristics, a call option has a positive Rho, while a put option has a negative Rho.
The image below depicts how options Greeks look on an option chain.
Here, as we can see, call options have a Delta in the range of 0 to 1, and put options have a Delta in the range of -1 to 0.
Here, a Delta of 0.99 means that the option’s price will change by ₹0.99 for every ₹1 change in the underlying stock’s price.
Further, for a call option with a Theta of -1.20, the option’s price would decrease by ₹1.2 each day, assuming other factors remain constant.
Option Greeks like Delta, Gamma, Theta, Vega, and Rho show us how changes in underlying stock price, implied volatility, time-value decay, and interest rates affect the options pricing. Using these Greeks, traders can make successful trading strategies and maximise their returns.
In addition to the Greeks, experts also recommend leveraging other analysis tools, such as charts and technical indicators, to make more informed decisions.
There is no definitive answer to whether a high or low theta is better for options trading. High or low theta depends on your goals and risk. High theta is good for selling options; low theta is good for buying options.
Vega might be positive or negative based on the position it is in. Whether an option is a call or a put, long positions in the market have positive vega, while short positions have negative vega.
Rho is positive for calls because higher interest rates increase the value of the right to buy stock at a fixed price. The difference between the option premium and the total exercisable value can be invested to earn interest, making the call more attractive.
Generally, a higher delta means a higher probability of profit but also a higher exposure to price movements. A lower delta means a lower probability of profit, but also a lower exposure to price movements.
The Greeks are used in portfolio analysis as well as sensitivity analysis for particular options or a portfolio of options. Many investors believe that taking these steps is necessary to help them make well-informed decisions while trading options. The primary Greek options are Delta, Gamma, Vega, Theta, and Rho.