The Delta Dilemma: What is the Best Delta for Cash Secured Puts

As an options trader, I’ve often wondered about the best delta for cash-secured puts. This important factor can play a critical role in one’s trading strategy, as it helps manage risk while optimising returns. In this article, we will delve into the various aspects surrounding delta in the context of cash-secured puts and understand the optimal levels to consider when making investment decisions.

which delta for cash secured puts and covered calls

One popular method of generating income using options is selling cash-secured puts on stocks I’d be happy to own. In order to achieve low risk and high returns in this approach, it is essential to understand the concept of delta and select the right option. The delta can assist in navigating the trade, particularly when selecting the strike price of an out-of-the-money (OOTM) put option.

I have found that many traders consider a delta value below -0.10 to offer a suitable balance of risk and reward for selling deep out-of-the-money (OTM) puts. However, it is important to consider factors such as the stock’s overall trend and market conditions when determining the most appropriate delta for each individual situation. This knowledge, combined with strategy and experience, will enable one to make well-informed decisions about choosing the best delta for cash-secured puts.

Understanding Cash Secured Puts

Concept and Strategy

As an options trader, I rely on cash-secured puts (CSPs) as a bullish strategy. My primary objective in writing a cash-secured put is to generate income or purchase a stock at a more favourable price. When I sell a put option, I agree to buy the stock at the strike price if the option is exercised before the expiration date. To secure my obligation, I hold enough cash in my account to buy the shares if needed.

The Role of Stock, Strike Price, and Expiration

The stock is the underlying asset tied to my cash-secured put. I consider the company’s fundamentals and my investment objective to carefully select the stock. The strike price defines the price at which I will buy the shares from the option buyer if the option is exercised. My choice of strike price depends on my outlook on the stock price movement.

The expiration date is crucial, as it sets the time frame for my strategy. I evaluate the trade-offs between short-term and long-term expiration dates, considering factors like premium received, risk exposure, and desired holding period for the stock.

Option Chains and Cash-Secured Puts

I use option chains to evaluate different put options for a specific stock. The option chain provides information about available strike prices, expiration dates, and option premiums. It allows me to compare various cash-secured puts to find the best risk-reward ratio.

When choosing a cash-secured put, I pay attention to the option’s delta. It measures the sensitivity of the option price to changes in the stock price. A delta around 0.3 implies that there is a 30% chance of the option being in the money and a 70% chance of it expiring worthless.

I prefer out-of-the-money (OTM) puts, as they offer a higher probability of expiring worthless, allowing me to keep the premium received. While choosing a cash-secured put, I weigh factors like the stock’s volatility, option premium, and potential return on risk before making a decision. Overall, understanding cash-secured puts, their strike prices, expirations, and option chains allows me to select the best delta for my strategy.

Assessing the Risks and Benefits

Possible Gains and Losses

When choosing the best delta for a cash-secured put, I must consider both the potential gains and losses to fully understand the risks and benefits of the trade. A low delta, such as 0.2, indicates a lower likelihood of the option being exercised. Consequently, this position offers lower risk but also generates a smaller premium. On the other hand, if I opt for a higher delta, like 0.5, there’s a higher probability that the option will be exercised, which can lead to larger premium income but at an increased risk, especially if the stock price moves significantly against my favour.

Cost Basis and Discount Scenarios

By selling cash-secured puts, I can potentially lower my cost basis if the option gets exercised and I acquire the underlying stock. The cost basis refers to the price at which I would effectively buy the stock, taking into consideration the premium I receive from selling the put. For example:

  • Stock price: £100
  • Put option strike price: £95
  • Put option premium: £3

In this scenario, my cost basis would be £92 (£95 strike price – £3 premium). This represents a discount of £8 from the current stock price. Carefully selecting the best delta for my strategy is important because it will influence both the cost basis and the discount on the stock price.

Comparing to Covered Call Writing

When comparing cash-secured puts to covered call writing, my overall goal is to generate cash flow while managing the risks involved. Both strategies have similarities in terms of risk and return profiles. However, important differences must be considered:

  • Dividends: When I sell cash-secured puts, I don’t benefit from any dividends paid by the stock, since I don’t own the shares. In contrast, with covered call writing, I own the underlying shares and receive dividend income.
  • Risk: Both strategies involve limited downside protection. Selling cash-secured puts exposes me to potential losses if the stock price drops substantially, while covered call writing presents risk through the stock ownership.
  • Cash Flow: Cash flow is generated from the premium income in both strategies. Nevertheless, cash-secured puts can provide a higher premium due to the out-of-the-money strike price selection, whereas covered call writing typically uses at-the-money or slightly out-of-the-money strike prices.

By carefully evaluating the risks and benefits associated with selling cash-secured puts and selecting the appropriate delta, I can effectively control my risk exposure while generating potential income. Comparing this strategy to covered call writing can help me choose the most suitable approach for my investment objectives and risk tolerance.

Deciding the Best Delta for Cash Secured Puts

Deltas and Probabilities

When I choose the delta for my cash-secured put, I understand that it is a key factor in determining the probability of the option being exercised. Deltas typically range between 0 and 1, with a higher delta (closer to 1) suggesting that the option is more likely to be exercised. Conversely, a lower delta (closer to 0) implies a lower probability of exercise. My preference, as an investor, will largely depend on my risk tolerance and the target return I am trying to achieve.

Balancing Risk and Reward

In order to balance risk and reward, I consider both the bid price and the delta of the option. A higher bid price generally means a higher premium income, but it may also come with a higher delta, and thus a higher probability of the option being exercised. On the other hand, a lower delta offers lower risk but may come with a smaller premium.

For instance, using the example of Apple Inc. (AAPL) from the search results, the deep OTM put with a strike price of $101.25 and delta of -0.0999 had a bid price of $0.38. Even though the delta is relatively low, indicating a lower probability of the put option being exercised, the bid price is not very high. I might opt for a slightly higher delta to balance the risk and reward and aim for a higher premium income.

Bid Price and Net Credit

I also consider the net credit received from selling a cash-secured put. This is the income I gain from selling the put option, minus any transaction or execution fees. The bid price plays a critical role in determining the net credit and the overall success of the trade.

Higher bid prices typically result in greater net credit, but they can also mean a higher risk, as mentioned earlier. As an investor, I strive for the optimal combination of delta and bid price that offers me an attractive net credit while keeping the risk within my acceptable limits.

In conclusion, deciding the best delta for cash-secured puts largely depends on my individual risk tolerance and return objectives. By considering deltas, probabilities, bid prices, and net credit, I can make an informed decision and strive to achieve the optimal balance of risk and reward.

Real-World Application

T Rowe Price Group Inc (TROW) Example

When I evaluate a cash-secured put strategy, I look for stocks with a positive outlook and strong dividend yields. One such example is T.Rowe Price Group Inc (TROW). Let’s say I want to sell a cash-secured put on TROW. First, I would identify a suitable delta. For this example, I’ll choose a delta of -0.10, which represents a 10% probability of the put being in-the-money at expiration.

Exploiting Dividends and Bearish Situations

I also use cash-secured puts to maximise income from dividend-paying stocks, such as T Rowe Price Group Inc (TROW). If I see the stock is trading near a support level during a bearish market period, I might sell a put with a delta like -0.15 to -0.20, reflecting a slightly higher risk of assignment. This way, I have the chance to acquire TROW shares at a lower price, as well as generating income from the put sale. The key here is to be prepared for the assignment and to have a plan in place to manage it.

Determining Worthlessness and Assignment

It’s essential to monitor the intrinsic value of the option throughout the duration of the trade. If the intrinsic value becomes worthless (meaning the stock price is above the strike price), it might be time to close the position and redeploy the capital elsewhere. However, if the intrinsic value increases and the stock price falls below the strike price near the expiration, the possibility of assignment increases. In such scenarios, as long as I am prepared to own the shares at the strike price, assignment can be viewed as a positive outcome, especially if I have a long-term bullish outlook on the stock.

Frequently Asked Questions

Good delta for put options?

When selecting a delta for cash-secured put options, I generally look for a delta between -0.05 and -0.20. This range typically offers a reasonable balance between risk and reward, as it represents a moderate probability of the option being exercised while still providing a decent premium.

Top stocks for cash-secured puts?

Identifying top stocks for cash-secured puts depends on several factors, including the investor’s familiarity with the company and its industry, stock price stability, and dividend history. In general, I tend to focus on blue-chip stocks with strong fundamentals, a history of stable or growing dividends, and a strong market position.

Best ETFs for cash-secured puts?

When selecting an ETF for a cash-secured put strategy, I search for funds with broad market exposure, solid liquidity, and a history of steady returns. Some larger, well-known ETFs that can be favourable for cash-secured puts include the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), the Invesco QQQ ETF (QQQ), and the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM).

Weekly cash-secured put strategy?

A weekly cash-secured put strategy involves selling put options with a short time to expiry, typically a week or less. To execute this strategy, I look for stocks or ETFs that have stable prices and a history of minimal drastic price swings. I also consider the implied volatility of the options and the potential premium to be received.

Exit strategy for cash-secured put?

In the event that the put option is exercised, my exit strategy depends on whether I am comfortable holding the underlying stock or not. If I am comfortable holding the stock, I can either write a covered call to generate additional income or hold the stock until it rebounds above my cost basis. If I am not comfortable holding the stock, I can sell the shares immediately to cut my losses.

Cash-secured put screener?

To find suitable candidates for cash-secured puts, I use a screener to filter by desired criteria such as stock price, dividend yield, implied volatility, and market sector. Some useful screeners include those provided by brokerage platforms, as well as independent tools like Finviz or the Option Screener on the Market Chameleon website.

Kevin S

Kevin S

Greetings, I'm Kevin! I am now a full time options trader and investor. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share my knowledge and expertise with you. My objective is to assist you in navigating the complexities of option trading, regardless of whether you're a beginner or an experienced trader looking to enhance your skills. I'm excited to accompany you on your journey to mastering the art of option trading. Let's make this year an extraordinary one for you!
Kevin S

Kevin S

Greetings, I'm Kevin! I am now a full time options trader and investor. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share my knowledge and expertise with you. My objective is to assist you in navigating the complexities of option trading, regardless of whether you're a beginner or an experienced trader looking to enhance your skills. I'm excited to accompany you on your journey to mastering the art of option trading. Let's make this year an extraordinary one for you!


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