Understanding Options – Naked Puts

Last update - 11 January 2024 By James Woods

The naked put is an options trading strategy that involves selling (or buying) put options without holding an equivalent position in the underlying stock.

This strategy bets on the stock remaining stable or increasing in price or decreasing depending on whether the investor is long or short the put.

When an investor writes (buys) a naked put, they’re selling (buying) the right to (from) another investor to buy (sell) them the underlying stock at a specific price, known as the strike price, before the option expires. The seller receives a premium for taking on this obligation. If the stock’s price stays above the strike price, the option expires worthless, and the seller keeps the premium. However, if the stock price falls below the strike price, the seller is obligated to buy the stock at the higher strike price, which can lead to a loss.


Pros of Naked Put selling:

Premium Income: The seller earns immediate income from the premium received when the put option is sold.

Lower Break-Even Point: The premium received lowers the break-even price of the stock if the option is exercised, providing a cushion against stock price volatility as long as the investor is happy to purchase the stocks.

Flexibility in Strike Price and Expiry: Sellers can choose strike prices and expiration dates that align with their market outlook and risk tolerance, offering strategic flexibility.


Cons of Naked Put selling:

Substantial Loss Potential: If the stock price plummets, the seller may have to buy the stock at a much higher price than the current market value, leading to significant losses.

Opportunity Cost: The margin capital required to cover the put could be used for other, potentially more profitable investments.

Market Risk: An unexpected downturn in the market or bad news about the underlying stock can increase the likelihood of the option being exercised, leading to losses.



Consider an investor who sells a naked put option on Company X, currently trading at $100, with a strike price of $90, receiving a premium of $5. If Company X remains above $90 by expiration, the investor profits by $5. However, if Company X drops to $80, the investor is obliged to buy the stock at $90, incurring a loss of $10 per share, offset slightly by the $5 premium received, netting a loss of $5 per share.

Short Naked Put Diagram

A naked put strategy demands a clear understanding of market trends and risk tolerance. It’s a strategy that rewards belief in the underlying stock’s stability or upward potential, but as with many options strategies, the naked put carries heightened levels of risk.

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