Stock Option Pricing

| December 29, 2011 | 0 Comments

For most investors, understanding stock option pricing can be elusive and intimidating.  While it may seem like there are many variables that go into stock option pricing, the reality is there are two parts that make up the value.  Moreover, there are three distinct variables affecting an option’s price.

Before we get too far along, let’s recap some important options details you need to understand first.

The amount you pay for a stock option is often times referred to as the option premium.  The premium is calculated by adding the intrinsic value and extrinsic value of the option.  If you’re not familiar with these two terms… let me discuss them briefly.

Intrinsic Value is the value of an option that’s already built into it at present time.  An example would work best in explaining intrinsic value…

Let’s say your looking at a quote for McDonalds (MCD) January $100 Calls and the current price of MCD stock is $102.  At the time you read the options quote, you’ll find $2.00 of the price is intrinsic value.  Basically, intrinsic value expresses how much the option is already in the money.   The point being, the option is currently worth $2.00 at the time of expiration.

Extrinsic Value is a bit more complicated.  Earlier I said there were three distinct variables affecting an option’s price.  Extrinsic value is primarily what is affected by these variables.   Extrinsic value is the part of the option considered the “risk premium”.  This portion is affected by time, distance to the underlying stock’s strike price, and the volatility of the underlying stock.

For an example of extrinsic value, we’ll use the same McDonalds January $100 Calls…

Let’s say MCD is trading at $102 as in the example above.  We already know there is $2 of intrinsic value in the options price.  But the total price of the Call option is $3.00.   That would tell us that $1 of the options pricing is the extrinsic value, or risk premium.

To understand how the extrinsic value is calculated requires quite a bit more reading than we’ll cover here.  But as a basic guideline, the premium of a stock option is calculated by using what’s known the Black-Scholes model.

In this model, it combines the time remaining until expiration, the strike price, prevailing interest rate, the current price of the underlying stock, and the option’s volatility.  And those same variables will always be in the equation for any model of stock options pricing.

To recap, stock options pricing takes into consideration a number of variables that make up the intrinsic and extrinsic value of the stock option.   While it may seem quite complex, the variables used to calculate the premium remain relatively unchanged.  And knowing how stock options are priced can help you make better stock options trades.

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Category: Options Trading Basics

About the Author ()

Marcus Haber is the co-editor of Options Trading Research and boasts well over a decade of real-life options experience. Learning from some of the biggest names in the business, Marcus has served as an Options Strategist for a number of firms and was also appointed to the Options Advsiory Board with Pershing, a branch of the Bank of New York.

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