Short Put Synthetic Straddle Explained

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Short Put Synthetic Straddle

The short put synthetic straddle recreates the short straddle strategy by shorting the underlying stock and selling enough at-the-money puts to cover twice the number of shares sold. That is, for every 100 shares shorted, 2 put contracts must be written.

Short Put Synthetic Straddle Construction
Sell 2 ATM Puts
Short 100 Shares

Short put synthetic straddles are limited profit, unlimited risk options trading strategies that are used when the options trader feels that the underlying asset price will experience very little volatility in the near future.

Limited Profit Potential

Maximum profit for the short put synthetic straddle is achieved when the underlying stock price on expiration date is trading at the strike price of the options sold. At this price, both written put contracts expire worthless and the options trader gets to keep the entire net premium received taken as profit.

The formula for calculating maximum profit is given below:

  • Max Profit = Net Premium Received – Commissions Paid
  • Max Profit Achieved When Price of Underlying = Strike Price of Short Put

Unlimited Risk

Large losses for the short put synthetic straddle can be sustained when the underlying stock price makes a strong move either upwards or downwards at expiration. A strong downward move will cause the uncovered short put to expire deep in-the-money while a strong upward move will cause the short stock position to suffer a severe loss.

The formula for calculating loss is given below:

  • Maximum Loss = Unlimited
  • Loss Occurs When Price of Underlying > Sale Price of Underlying + Net Premium Received OR Price of Underlying

Breakeven Point(s)

There are 2 break-even points for the short put synthetic straddle position. The breakeven points can be calculated using the following formulae.

  • Upper Breakeven Point = Sale Price of Underlying + Net Premium Received
  • Lower Breakeven Point = Strike Price of Short Put – Net Premium Received

Example

Suppose XYZ stock is trading at $40 in June. An options trader implements a short put synthetic straddle by selling two JUL 40 puts for $200 each and shorting 100 shares of XYZ stock for $4000. The net premium received for writing the put contracts is $400.

If XYZ stock is trading at $30 on expiration in July, the two JUL 40 puts expire in-the-money and has an intrinsic value of $1000 each. Buying back the the put options to close out the position will cost the trader $2000. However, the short stock position posted a gain of $1000. Taking into account the net premium of $400 received, the short put synthetic straddle’s loss comes to: $2000 – $1000 – $400 = $600.

On expiration in July, if XYZ stock is still trading at $40, both the JUL 40 put contracts expire worthless while the short stock position broke even. Hence, the short put synthetic straddle trader made his maximum profit which is equal to the initial $400 net premium received upon entering the trade.

Note: While we have covered the use of this strategy with reference to stock options, the short put synthetic straddle is equally applicable using ETF options, index options as well as options on futures.

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Commissions

For ease of understanding, the calculations depicted in the above examples did not take into account commission charges as they are relatively small amounts (typically around $10 to $20) and varies across option brokerages.

However, for active traders, commissions can eat up a sizable portion of their profits in the long run. If you trade options actively, it is wise to look for a low commissions broker. Traders who trade large number of contracts in each trade should check out OptionsHouse.com as they offer a low fee of only $0.15 per contract (+$4.95 per trade).

Similar Strategies

The following strategies are similar to the short put synthetic straddle in that they are also low volatility strategies that have limited profit potential and unlimited risk.

Short Call Synthetic Straddle

The short call synthetic straddle recreates the short straddle strategy by buying the underlying stock and selling enough at-the-money calls to cover twice the number of shares purchased. That is, for every 100 shares bought, 2 call contracts must be sold.

Short Call Synthetic Straddle Construction
Sell 2 ATM Calls
Long 100 Shares

Short call synthetic straddles are limited profit, unlimited risk options trading strategies that are used when the options trader feels that the underlying asset price will experience very little volatility in the near future.

Limited Profit Potential

Maximum profit for the short call synthetic straddle is achieved when the underlying stock price on expiration date is trading at the strike price of the options sold. At this price, both written options expire worthless and the options trader gets to keep the entire net premium received taken as profit.

The formula for calculating maximum profit is given below:

  • Max Profit = Net Premium Received – Commissions Paid
  • Max Profit Achieved When Price of Underlying = Strike Price of Short Call

Unlimited Risk

Large losses for the short call synthetic straddle can be sustained when the underlying stock price makes a strong move either upwards or downwards at expiration. A strong upward move will cause the uncovered short call to expire deep in the money while a strong downward move will cause the long stock position to suffer a serious loss.

The formula for calculating loss is given below:

  • Maximum Loss = Unlimited
  • Loss Occurs When Price of Underlying > Strike Price of Short Call + Net Premium Received OR Price of Underlying

Breakeven Point(s)

There are 2 break-even points for the short call synthetic straddle position. The breakeven points can be calculated using the following formulae.

  • Upper Breakeven Point = Strike Price of Short Call + Net Premium Received
  • Lower Breakeven Point = Purchase Price of Underlying – Net Premium Received

Example

Suppose XYZ stock is trading at $40 in June. An options trader implements a short call synthetic straddle by selling two JUL 40 calls for $200 each and buying 100 shares of XYZ stock for $4000. The net premium received for the calls is $400.

If XYZ stock is trading at $50 on expiration in July, the two JUL 40 calls expire in-the-money and has an intrinsic value of $1000 each. Buying back the the call options to close out the position will cost the trader $2000. However, the long stock position posted a gain of $1000. Taking into account the net premium of $400 received, the short call synthetic straddle’s loss comes to: $2000 – $1000 – $400 = $600.

On expiration in July, if XYZ stock is still trading at $40, both the JUL 40 calls expire worthless while the long stock position broke even. Hence, the short call synthetic straddle trader made his maximum profit which is equal to the initial $400 net premium received upon entering the trade.

Note: While we have covered the use of this strategy with reference to stock options, the short call synthetic straddle is equally applicable using ETF options, index options as well as options on futures.

Commissions

For ease of understanding, the calculations depicted in the above examples did not take into account commission charges as they are relatively small amounts (typically around $10 to $20) and varies across option brokerages.

However, for active traders, commissions can eat up a sizable portion of their profits in the long run. If you trade options actively, it is wise to look for a low commissions broker. Traders who trade large number of contracts in each trade should check out OptionsHouse.com as they offer a low fee of only $0.15 per contract (+$4.95 per trade).

Similar Strategies

The following strategies are similar to the short call synthetic straddle in that they are also low volatility strategies that have limited profit potential and unlimited risk.

Long Put Synthetic Straddle

The long put synthetic straddle recreates the long straddle strategy by buying the underlying stock and buying enough at-the-money puts to cover twice the number of shares purchased. That is, for every 100 shares bought, 2 put contracts must be bought.

Long Put Synthetic Straddle Construction
Buy 2 ATM Puts
Long 100 Shares

Long put synthetic straddles are unlimited profit, limited risk options trading strategies that are used when the options trader feels that the underlying asset price will experience significant volatility in the near future.

Unlimited Profit Potential

Large gains are made with the long put syntethic straddle when the underlying asset price makes a sizable move either upwards or downwards at expiration.

The formula for calculating profit is given below:

  • Maximum Profit = Unlimited
  • Profit Achieved When Price of Underlying > Purchase Price of Underlying + Net Premium Paid OR Price of Underlying

Limited Risk

Maximum loss for the long put synthetic straddle occurs when the underlying asset price on expiration date is trading at the strike price of the put options purchased. At this price, both options expire worthless, while the long stock position achieved breakeven. Hence, a maximum loss equals to the net premium paid is incurred by the options trader.

The formula for calculating maximum loss is given below:

  • Max Loss = Net Premium Paid + Commissions Paid
  • Max Loss Occurs When Price of Underlying = Strike Price of Long Put

Breakeven Point(s)

There are 2 break-even points for the long put synthetic straddle position. The breakeven points can be calculated using the following formulae.

  • Upper Breakeven Point = Purchase Price of Underlying + Net Premium Paid
  • Lower Breakeven Point = Strike Price of Long Put – Net Premium Paid

Example

Suppose XYZ stock is trading at $40 in June. An options trader executes a long put synthetic straddle by buying two JUL 40 puts for $200 each and buying 100 shares of XYZ stock for $4000. The net premium paid for the puts is $400.

If XYZ stock plunges to $30 on expiration in July, the two JUL 40 puts expire in-the-money and has an intrinsic value of $1000 each. Selling the put options will net the trader $2000. However, the long stock position suffers a loss of $1000. Subtracting the initial premium paid of $400, the long put synthetic straddle’s profit comes to $600.

On expiration in July, if XYZ stock is still trading at $40, both the JUL 40 put options expire worthless while the long stock position broke even. Hence, the long put synthetic straddle suffers a maximum loss which is equal to the initial net premium paid of $400 taken to enter the trade.

Long Call Synthetic Straddle

The synthetic straddle can also be implemented using calls instead of puts and that strategy is known as the long call synthetic straddle.

Note: While we have covered the use of this strategy with reference to stock options, the long put synthetic straddle is equally applicable using ETF options, index options as well as options on futures.

Commissions

For ease of understanding, the calculations depicted in the above examples did not take into account commission charges as they are relatively small amounts (typically around $10 to $20) and varies across option brokerages.

However, for active traders, commissions can eat up a sizable portion of their profits in the long run. If you trade options actively, it is wise to look for a low commissions broker. Traders who trade large number of contracts in each trade should check out OptionsHouse.com as they offer a low fee of only $0.15 per contract (+$4.95 per trade).

Similar Strategies

The following strategies are similar to the long put synthetic straddle in that they are also high volatility strategies that have unlimited profit potential and limited risk.

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