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Out of the money

Out of the money refers to a situation in options trading where the current market price of an underlying asset is not favorable for exercising the option, resulting in no immediate profit for the holder.

What does 'out of the money' mean?

In financial terms, being 'out of the money' refers to a situation where the current market price of an underlying asset is unfavorable concerning the strike price of an options contract. For call options, an option is considered 'out of the money' when the current market price is below the strike price. On the other hand, for put options, the option is 'out of the money' when the market price is above the strike price.

Implications for investors and traders

Understanding whether an option is 'in the money' (ITM), 'at the money' (ATM), or 'out of the money' (OTM) is crucial for traders as it directly impacts the potential profitability and risk associated with the trade. Options that are 'out of the money' have no intrinsic value and are entirely comprised of time value. Consequently, they pose a higher risk as they may expire worthless if the market doesn’t move favorably.

Strategies involving 'out of the money' options

Despite the higher risk associated with 'out of the money' options, they can be used strategically by traders. Some strategies involving OTM options include:

  1. Speculation: Traders with a high-risk appetite might purchase OTM options with the hope that the market will move significantly in their favor.
  2. Options spreads: Traders might use OTM options as part of more complex strategies like spreads or straddles to mitigate risk or capitalize on market volatility.
  3. Risk management: Selling OTM options can be a part of risk management strategies where traders can generate income while defining their risk.


'Out of the money' is a fundamental concept in the world of finance and options trading. While it denotes higher risk due to its lack of intrinsic value, it can be utilized strategically within various trading strategies. Understanding this concept and its implications is essential for any trader or investor seeking to navigate the world of options.