To make money when the price action goes from neutral to bearish in any underlying stock.
Explanation of a bear call spread
A bear call spread is a type of options strategy in which you sell one short call for less than the current market price and buy one long call for more than the current market price. Both calls are on the same underlying stock with the same expiration date.
A bear call spread is designed for a net credit (or amount received) and profit from either a declining stock price or time erosion, or both. The potential profit is restricted to the net premium received less commissions, while the potential loss is limited if the stock price rises above the long call’s strike price.
Example of a bear call spread
Sell 1 ABC 50 call at 4.00
Buy 1 ABC 55 call at 3.00
Your premium is 1.00
What are your maximum profits with a bear call spread
The profit potential is restricted to the net premium received less commissions, and this profit is realized if the stock price is at or below the short call’s (lower strike) expiration value and both calls expire worthless.
What is the maximum risk of a bear call spread
The maximum risk is the difference between the strike prices and the net credit received, including commissions.
With the example given above the difference in the strike prices is 5.00 (55 – 50 = 5) with a net credit of 1.00 (4 – 3 = 1). To find the maximum risk you subtract the difference in strike prices minus the net credit (5 – 1 = 4) per share minus commissions.
If the stock price is at or above the strike price of the long call at expiration, this maximum risk will be realized.
When the stock price is above the strike price, short calls are generally assigned at expiration. However, there’s a chance of early assignment.
When you would break even at time of expiration in a bear call spread
The break-even is calculated as follows: the strike price of a short call (lower strike), plus the net premium received.
(B/E = lower strike + net premium received)
In our example above: 50 + 1 = 51
That means if the price of the stock stays at $51 there won’t be any profits or losses in this trade. But this is theoretically as there are so many variables it’d be to determined the exact price until date of expiration.
Accurate forecasting of the market
At expiration, a bear call spread makes the greatest profit when the underlying stock’s price is lower than the short call’s strike price (lower strike price). As a result, expecting no or down movement of the stock price is the best forecast.
How the bear call strategy works
A bear call spread is a “hedge that collects option premium while limiting risk at the same time.” They benefit from both price decline and stock-price falls. A bear call spread is typically used in bad scenarios with predictions of neutral to declining prices, and the aim of reducing risk It’s also useful when you have a loss limit on your account.
How price change affects the bear call strategy
A bear call spread’s earnings benefit when the price falls and are harmed when it rises. This indicates that the position has a “net negative delta.” Delta is a measure of how much an option’s price changes as the stock price fluctuates, and the change in option pricing is typically less than dollar-for-dollar with the change in stock price.
Because a bear call spread consists of one short call and one long call, the delta is very stable as the stock price rises or falls. This is a “near-zero gamma” in terms of options language. The delta of a position adjusts as the stock price fluctuates.
How a change in volatility affects the bear call strategy
Volatility is a metric that seeks to measure how much a stock price fluctuates in percentage terms and is an element of option prices. If other variables such as the stock price and expiration date are kept constant, if volatility rises, option prices tend to rise. But you also have to pay more for the options when you buy them back.
Because a bear call spread consists of one short call and one long call, the price of a bear call spread is little affected by volatility swings and other factors. This is referred to as a “near-zero vega” in the language of options. Vega measures how much an option’s price fluctuates when volatility rises while other factors stay the same.
How a change in time affects the bear call strategy
Options can be exercised on any business day in the United States, and holders of a short stock option position have no control over when they will be required to perform the obligation. As a result, the risk of early assignment is a genuine concern that must be weighed when entering into options positions with short terms.
The long call (higher strike) in a bear call spread has no danger of being assigned early, but the short call (lower strike) does. Stock options are frequently assigned early if they have not been exercised before the ex-dividend date, and short calls that have been assigned early are often assigned on the day prior to the ex-dividend date. Calls with little time value and outstanding dividends have a good probability of being assigned.
As a result, if the stock price is greater than the strike price of the short call in a bear call spread (the lower strike price), an evaluation must be made to see whether early assignment is likely. If assignment is expected and a short stock position is not wanted, then appropriate action must be taken. The potential for assignment can be reduced in two ways prior to assignment:
The entire spread may be closed by buying the short call to close and selling the long call to close. Alternatively, the short call can be purchased to close while the long call open is kept open.
If a short call is assigned early, the obligation to deliver stock may be met by buying it on the market or exercising the long call. However, whichever method is selected, the date of stock acquisition will be one day later than the date of stock offering.
A premium is charged here so that the broker can profit from their trading abilities and other services. This costs money, both in terms of interest and brokerage commissions. A margin call may be issued if there isn’t enough account equity to support the stock position formed by the option assignment.
At date of expiration there can be a position created in the bear call strategy
There are three possible scenarios at expiration. The stock price may be at or below the lower strike price, but not above the higher strike price. If the stock price is at or below the lower strike price, both calls in a bear call spread expire worthless and no stock position is created.
If the stock price is above the lower strike price but not above the higher strike price, a short call is assigned and a stock position is established. If the stock price is above the higher strike price, a short call is assigned and the long call is exercised. Stock is sold at the lower strike price and bought at the higher strike price; as a result, no stock position exists.
Other things to consider in a bear call strategy
The term “bear call spread” has a variety of meanings. It’s also known as a “short call spread” and a “credit call spread.” The phrase “bearish,” or falling, stock prices, is referred to as the strategy’s name, which implies that it profits when stock prices decrease.
The strategy is named “short the market,” which means it benefits from falling prices. Finally, the term “credit” refers to the fact that this method is developed for a net credit, or net sum received.