Strike Price in Options: Decoding its Significance, Examples, and Key Considerations

In the dynamic landscape of the Indian stock market, options trading has gained substantial popularity for its potential to leverage market movements. Central to options trading is the concept of the “strike price.” This article delves into the depths of strike price in options trading, elucidating the strike price meaning, providing real-world examples, and outlining crucial aspects every investor should be mindful of.

What is Strike Price

At its core, the strike price, or “exercise price,” is a pre-determined value at which the underlying asset (stock, index, or ETF) can be bought/sold when exercising an options contract. It is the foundation on which options contracts are constructed, playing a pivotal role in determining potential profitability and investment decisions.

Strike Price Option Contracts

Strike price options, known as ‘exercise price’ or ‘grant price’ in India, are financial contracts with a fixed price at which the underlying asset can be bought or sold when the option is exercised. This concept is akin to agreeing on a fixed purchase price for an item, like a car, before deciding to buy it. 

In India, the strike price plays a pivotal role in determining the attractiveness of an option. It determines whether an option is ‘in-the-money,’ ‘at-the-money,’ or ‘out-of-the-money,’ directly impacting its value and potential profit. 

  • In-the-money: An option is ‘in-the-money’ when the strike price is fortunate compared to the current market price of the underlying asset. For example, if you hold a call option with a strike price of ₹100 and the underlying asset is trading at ₹120, you can exercise the option to buy it at ₹100 and sell it at ₹120, securing a ₹20 profit. 
  • At-the-money: When the strike price matches the current market price in India, it’s considered ‘at-the-money.’ For instance, if your put option has a strike price of ₹50, and the asset is trading at ₹50, it means you can sell it for ₹50, the same as the market price. 
  • Out-of-the-money: On the other hand, an option is ‘out-of-the-money’ when the strike price is unfavourably compared to the current market price. For example, if you have a call option with a strike price of ₹80, but the underlying asset is trading at ₹60, you can still buy it for ₹80 with your option, which is higher than the market price and might not be profitable. 

So, when it comes to options trading in India, the strike price is a critical factor that determines the desirability of an option, much like setting the right price for a purchase.

Call Options

In the context of call options, the strike price signifies the price at which an investor can buy the underlying asset if they choose to exercise the option. If the market price of the asset surpasses the strike price, the call option holder can buy the asset at a lower cost.

Put Options

For put options, the strike price denotes the price at which the option holder can sell the underlying asset. If the market price drops below the strike price, the put option evolves as profitable as the holder can sell at a higher price.

Significance of Strike Price in Options Trading

Profit Zone Determination

The strike price defines the boundary between profit and loss zones for an options contract. In call options, the profit zone lies above the strike price, while in put options, it lies below the strike price.

Influence of Market Conditions

The choice of strike price is influenced by market expectations. Traders consider whether the asset’s price will likely surpass the strike price (for call options) or fall below it (for put options).

Strike Price Examples: Bringing Theory to Reality

Call Option Example

Imagine stock XYZ is currently trading at Rs. 150 per share. You purchase a call option with a strike price of Rs. 160. If the stock’s price rises to Rs. 170, you can exercise the option, buying the stock at Rs. 160 and making a profit.

Put Option Example

Suppose stock ABC is trading at Rs. 200 per share. You acquire a put option with a strike price of Rs. 190. If the stock’s price drops to Rs. 180, you can exercise the option, selling the stock at Rs. 190 and generating a profit.

Key Considerations for Strike Price Selection

Market Outlook

Strike price choice hinges on your outlook. For bullish trends, opt for call options with strike prices above the current price. Consider put options with strike prices below the present value for bearish trends.

Volatility Analysis

High volatility may require a wider range between the strike price and the current market price to accommodate potential fluctuations.

Expiration Timeline

Short-term options may require strike prices closer to the current market price, while long-term options can accommodate more distant strike prices.

FAQs: Strike Price in Options

How is the strike price determined?

Strike price selection involves market analysis, volatility assessment, and strategic alignment with your investment outlook.

Can I change the strike price after purchasing an options contract?

No, the strike price is set at the time of contract initiation and remains fixed throughout the contract’s duration.

What happens if the market price equals the strike price?

If the market price equals the strike price, the trade reaches the breakeven point. Profits or losses depend on subsequent price movements.

Is a lower or higher strike price better?

The choice depends on your market outlook. Higher strike prices suit bullish views, while lower strike prices align with bearish expectations.


Disclaimer: Investments in the securities market are subject to market risks; read all the related documents carefully before investing.