All In The Family
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2011 at 9:29 AM
For the new options trader one of the most overwhelming concepts is the wide variety of choices of trade structures available in the new world into which he has entered. The world of stock trading is defined by only two initial choices when considering a trade: short or long. The world of options has many more choices when initiating a trade and each option trade is most profitably defined not only in terms of price but also implied volatility and time.While description of each and every type of option trade is well beyond the scope of a brief discussion such as this, it is helpful to focus on the various families of option trades in order to begin to become familiar with the unique characteristics of each member. One of the most frequently discussed types of trades can be described as those that are profitable over a wide range of prices of the underlying. This group of trades finds its basic family identity in the shape of the P/L curve as well as in the signature family blood type of theta positive.As in any diverse family, there is a wide variety of individual characteristics. The names of the individual strategies within this family is numerous, often duplicative, and frequently confusing. One subgroup of these range bound strategies is flamboyantly named as winged beasts: condor, iron condor, butterfly, iron butterfly, and split strike butterfly. Another less colorfully named branch of the family is that of the double calendar and double diagonal. The structure of each of these trades has a characteristic skeletal framework, but within these defining limits, the latitude in fine structural details is broad.