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Bear Call Spread: Strategy Explained

A bear call spread option strategy, sometimes referred to as a “short call spread,” is selling a call option at a lower strike price and purchasing a call option with the same expiration date at a higher strike price (usually ITM and ATM, respectively). This results in a spread where the highest possible profit is restricted to the difference between the strike prices less the premium received, and the maximum potential loss are restricted to the premium paid for purchasing the higher strike price less the premium gained from selling the lower strike price.

Because it makes money when the underlying price drops, this technique is seen as bearish. The investor will keep the premium as profit if the underlying price drops below the short call option’s strike price, rendering both options worthless at expiration. The investor will suffer a loss if the price of the underlying asset increases above the long call option’s strike price, but the loss will only be as much as the difference between the strike prices less the premium that was paid.

When is a bear call spread strategy useful?

There are a number of situations where a bear call spread payoff table proves useful. Some of those scenarios are: –

  1. Modest decline anticipated

A bear call credit spread strategy is the best option if the investor anticipates a slight dip rather than a significant drop in the overall performance of a company or index. This is due to the fact that the advantages from a comparatively small fall are limited to the amount of one’s option premiums. The possible gains would be greater if the drop were more severe. Therefore, using a bear put spread, short sale, or purchasing puts as trading techniques would be more suited.

  1. Managing risk

When a call option is sold, the seller is obligated to deliver the security at the strike price that has been predetermined. If the market price of that security rises to double or triple before that call option expires, there is a significant risk of loss. One can limit the potentially enormous loss on an uncovered short sell of their call option by using a bear call spread adjustments method. This strategy’s long leg lowers the premium amount the call seller can obtain, but it significantly minimises risk, which makes it cost-effective.

  1. High volatility

This strategy works best in a turbulent market, even though the long and short legs of the bear call spread tend to counter the shock value of volatility. This is due to the fact that premium income might increase when implied volatility is high.

Advantages of the bear call spread strategy

The benefits of bear call spread strategy are: –

  1. Minimal Risk
  • The difference between the strike prices and the initial premium received is the defined maximum loss.
  • Makes possible losses easily understood, enabling improved risk management.
  1. Reduced Capital Need
  • Less money is needed than if you were to short the stock entirely.
  • Because it lowers the initial investment by selling a call option against one that was already purchased, it is perfect for traders with small capital.
  1. Earning Potential in Markets That Are Bearish to Neutral
  • Enables traders to profit when the price of a stock rises or falls slightly.
  • Provides flexibility across a range of market circumstances rather than depending only on positive developments.
  1. Benefits of Time Decay
  • Advantages of time decay (theta) when the value of the bought and sold call options decreases with time.
  • Time decay benefits the trader, particularly if the stock price stays below the strike price of the sold call option.
  1. Profit in Any Direction of the Stock
  • This can result in profits if, at expiration, the stock price stays below the strike price of the sold call option.
  • Provides a safety net that allows the stock price to fluctuate without compromising profitability, in contrast to actively shorting the stock.
  1. Adaptable Risk-Reward Schema
  • Enables risk-reward ratios to be customised based on an individual’s risk tolerance by changing the strike prices and expiration dates.
  • Allows for flexibility in the application of the approach depending on the state of the market and anticipated volatility.
  1. Clearly defined exit tactics
  • Permits traders to follow predetermined risk management guidelines and set up obvious exit points.
  • Stops emotional decision-making by using preset thresholds of stop-loss and profit.

Limitations of bear call spread

  • A bear call spread graph is a bearish strategy, meaning that its moderate to high risk might limit returns. 
  • The underlying stock of the short call leg has a high risk of assignment if it rises quickly. The trader might be forced to purchase the stock at a price substantially higher than the strike price, which would mean suffering a big loss.

There aren’t many ideal circumstances in which to apply this method, such as market volatility and the anticipation of a slight performance fall.

The Bottom Line

By adding a useful instrument to your trading toolbox, the bear call spread lets you take advantage of mild market drops and efficiently control risk. Understanding this approach as an Indian investor gives you the ability to make wise choices in a range of market scenarios. The bear call spread provides a clear route to possible gains, whether you want to improve your current trading tactics or try something different.


How to do a bear call spread?

One kind of vertical spread is the bear call spread. There are two calls in it that have different strikes but the same expiration date. Because the long call’s strike price is higher than the short call’s, this approach will always result in a net cash inflow (or net credit) at the beginning.

What is difference between bear call spread and bear put spread?

Bearish tactics include a bear put spread and a bear call spread. The bear put spread is a debit strategy, and the bear call spread is a credit strategy, in contrast to bull spreads. Debit spreads are excellent for rapid price swings, whereas credit spreads are useful for slower ones.

When should you use bear call spread?

When an option trader believes that the underlying assets will either keep steady or decline somewhat in the near future, they will employ a Bear Call Spread Option strategy. There are two call choices available: purchase call and short call. The primary goal of a short call is to make money, whereas a greater buy call is purchased to reduce the upside risk.

What are the pros and cons of bear call spread?

A bear call spread has several benefits over shorting stocks, such as less risk, cheaper capital needs, and the potential to profit from a sideways or decreasing market. The limited profit potential and negative volatility exposure in the event of a drop in implied volatility are the key drawbacks.

What is the opposite of a bear call spread?

The exact opposite of the bear call spread is the bull put spread. With a small modification, shorting the put is equivalent to using a bull put spread. Here, we sell in the money put or at the money put instead of simply shorting the put as we would in naked option selling.

What is the bear call spread strategy in Nifty?

A specific option strategy designed for the Nifty index is the bear call spread. It entails selling one Nifty call option with the same expiration date and simultaneously purchasing another one with a higher strike price.

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