Practically all the orders for the purchase and sale of Put and
Call options come to New York, where they are executed by members
of the Put and Call Brokers and Dealers Association, Inc. As previously
explained, this association consists of approximately twenty-five
members who deal exclusively in Put and Call options, and all of
the options in which these members deal are guaranteed by member
firms of the New York Stock Exchange. The option contracts in which
the members deal are transferable contracts, and on the back of
each contract is the name of the stock-exchange firm where the individual
or company that sold the contract has his account. This endorsement
of a member firm of the New York Stock Exchange guarantees that
the terms of the contract will be met. The contract is made out
in bearer form and can be resold by one person to another.
The option-dealer is
a middleman; he arranges for the purchase of and/or sale of options
between a possible buyer and a seller. It is his business to try
to sell options which are offered and, conversely, to try to buy
options which his clients want to obtain. The option-dealer works
with, not against, his client and rarely takes the position of maker
of the option. His profit is made between what he pays for an option
and what he sells it for..
Option contracts are traded in units of 100 shares, not in odd lots,
and they are made for periods of 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 6 months
plus, and, occasionally, for one year. Puts and Calls are usually
done at the market. That is, the price at which the stock is selling
when the trade is made. A Put or a Call on a stock selling at 50
would be made at 50 in the usual way of business. However, it is
possible to buy or sell an option "away from the market,"
that is a Call at 52 when the stock is selling at 50 or any differential
by agreement. The most popular contracts are those that run for
90 days or 6 months. A contract can be exercised at any time before
expiration at the option of the holder. It is not necessary to wait
until expiration to act on or exercise one's option. If a man owns
a Call option at 50 which expires on December 10, and by November
20 the stock has risen to 60—at which point he would be satisfied
with such a profit—he may exercise his option at that time.
He need not wait until the expiration of the contract.
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