Understanding Call Writing: How it Works | Motilal Oswal

Understanding Call Writing: How it Works

What is call writing?

Call writing involves selling call options on an underlying asset that the trader already owns to generate income from the premium received. When traders sell call options, they are giving the buyer the right to purchase the underlying asset at a fixed price, known as the strike price.

If the price of the underlying asset increases above the strike price, the buyer of the call option may exercise the right to buy it. This can result in a loss to the call writer. However, if the price does not rise above the strike price, the call writer keeps the premium and can keep repeating the same strategy. Call writing can be a useful tool for generating income in a stable or slightly bullish market.

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What are the different types of call writings?

Call writing can be performed in different ways, each with its own advantages and risks. The two main types of call writing are covered call writing and naked call writing.

Covered call writing

It involves selling call options on a stock that an investor already owns. In this strategy, an investor receives a premium for selling the call option. The investor also agrees to sell stock at a predetermined price if the option is exercised. This strategy is often used to generate income from a stock that an investor expects to have a stable price.

Naked call writing

It involves selling call options on a stock that an investor does not own. This strategy is more aggressive and carries higher risk. The investor is exposed to potentially unlimited losses, if the stock price rises sharply and the call option is exercised. Naked call writing is typically used by experienced investors who are comfortable with the risks involved.

What are the benefits of call writing?

Call writing is a popular investment strategy that involves selling call options on stocks or securities that an investor already owns. This strategy can be beneficial for investors in the following ways:

  1. It can generate additional income for investors as they receive a premium for selling the call option.
  2. It helps investors to limit their downside risk, as the premium collected from the sale of the call option can help to offset any potential losses in the underlying asset.
  3. It allows investors to profit from a neutral or slightly bullish market outlook. If the stock or security price remains stable or increases slightly, the call option will expire worthless. The investor can then keep the premium collected.
  4. It can be used as a way to exit a position in a stock or secure a higher price point. When the stock price increases above the strike price of the call option, the investor may be obligated to sell their shares at the strike price. But they will also receive the premium collected from selling the call option.

Are there risks involved with call writing?

If the underlying stock price rises significantly, the call option can be exercised by the buyer. The seller must sell the stock at the strike price, even if it is much lower than the current market price. This can result in substantial losses for the seller.

Another risk of call writing is the possibility of early assignment. If a buyer exercises the call option before expiration, the seller may be forced to sell the stock or buy back the option at a loss. This situation can occur if the option is deep in the money or if there is a significant event that affects the underlying stock price.

Call writing also exposes the seller to market risk and volatility. The value of call options fluctuates based on changes in the underlying stock price and other market conditions. This can make predicting future profits and losses difficult.


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