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Options Jive

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Gamma Impact | Growth in Directional Risk

Options Jive

Options involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before deciding to invest in options.

We like to utilize Delta Neutral strategies such as Strangles and Straddles. Ideally, the underlying will go nowhere and we will benefit from Theta (time decay) and a decrease in Implied Volatility (IV). Trading though, is not always ideal and a formerly Delta Neutral strategy may have a heavy Delta component after a large move in the underlying. This is due to Gamma. The Best Practices on April 18th, 2016: Eliminating Direction | Delta as a Hedging Tool aided our ability to use Delta to hedge our positions. What do we need to know about Gamma to aid our trading?

Delta is an approximation. Gamma is the estimated adjustment to delta as the stock price changes. Three important things to know about Gamma were highlighted. They were that all long options have positive gamma exposure, all short options have negative Gamma exposure and that when trading options that are at-the-money (ATM) and close to it that Gamma increases as expiration nears. Tom also made the point that, “ you don't get an acceleration of Theta Decay without an acceleration of Gamma risk.”

A reference guide of positive Gamma strategies using a long Strangle was displayed. The guide showed as the stock price increases, the long call Delta grows toward + 100 and the position becomes long while the long put Delta diminishes towards zero. As the stock price decreases The long Put Delta grows towards -100 and the position becomes short, while the long Call Delta diminishes to zero. Another reference guide was shown but this time for negative Gamma strategies using a short Strangle. The guide showed that as the underlying stock price increases, the short Call Delta grows toward -100 and the position becomes short while the short put Delta diminishes towards zero. As the stock price decreases The short Put Delta grows towards +100 and the position becomes long, while the short Call Delta diminishes to zero. A table was displayed comparing the Gamma, Delta and the Delta after a $3 move in the underlying for a long Call with 30 Days To Expiration (DTE) to a long Call with 1 DTE. The table demonstrated how ATM options closer to expiration are much more sensitive to underlying stock moves because of Gamma. We like to roll our positions 1-2 weeks before expiration to avoid that risk.

Watch this segment of Options Jive with Tom Sosnoff and Tony Battista for the important takeaways and a better understanding of how Gamma impacts our positions.

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