Stock Options: Everything You Need to Know
A stock option is a benefit that provides the client the right to purchase or sell a stock at an agreed-upon price within a certain time period.3 min read updated on April 12, 2023
Updated July 6, 2020:
What are Stock Options?
Stock options are benefits exchanged between two parties that provide the recipient the option to purchase or sell a stock at a previously agreed price across a designated period of time. Stock options in America are eligible for purchase or sale any time after the purchase date and any time before the option expires. European options or “share options” are much less popular than U.S. options and can be redeemed all the way up to the expiration date of the option.
Stock options are binding contracts that have both parties' consent and typically represent 100 shares of an underlying stock.
Option Type – Put and Call Options
Stock options take into account a name when a purchaser enters into a contract to buy stock at a selected value by a selected date. An option is taken into account when the option purchaser takes out a contract to sell a stock at an agreed-on price on or earlier than a selected date. The idea is that the purchaser of a stock option believes that the underlying stock will increase, while the seller of the option chooses in any other case. The option holder has the advantage of buying the stock at a discount from its present market value if the stock value will increase before expiration.
If, however, the purchaser believes a stock will decline in value, he enters into an option contract that provides him the right to sell the stock at a future date. If the original stock loses its value before expiration, the option holder is able to sell it for a premium from the current market worth.
The strike price of an option is what dictates whether or not it is beneficial. When an option is finally exercised, meaning it is either sold or purchased, the price of the underlying asset at that time is known as the strike price. The strike price is directly related to the market price of the asset, and this relationship impacts the value of the option and the premium.
With regard to stock options, a premium is the price a buyer must pay the seller for the risk associated with carrying that obligation. Determining the exact price of the option premium will take a lot of things into consideration like the volatility of the underlying asset, the strike price of the option, and how long is left until the option expires.
All options have a definitive end date that is part of the value. After an option has reached its expiration date, the value of that stock option ceases. Within an option’s contract, you will find the exact month it is set to expire. The specific option type can also impact its expiration date. For example, U.S. stock options are set to expire on the third Friday of their expiration month.
American and European style are the two types of styles used to describe option contracts. The method during which options might be exercised additionally depends upon the model of choice. You can exercise an American style any time prior to the expiration date, whereas European styles can be exercised only on the exact date they are set to expire. Any stock option you see being traded in the market is an American style.
Every option has a security that is delivered when a stock option is exercised, this is known as the underlying asset of the stock option. As it relates to options, this security or underlying asset is a company’s shares. There are many other types of underlying assets for options like commodities or currencies.
If a stock option is exercised, the underlying assets need to be delivered to the option holder. If this occurs, to calculate the amount of underlying assets — or shares for stock options — that need to be delivered, we use a contract multiplier. Stock options cover 100 shares of the company.
Why Do Companies Issue Stock Options?
Companies use stock options to draw and retain gifted workers. This is usually a cost-effective employee profit plan, in lieu of more money compensation.
If you need help with stock options, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.