Options on Futures
Introduction

Options on futures contracts have added a new dimension to futures trading. The principal attraction of buying options is that they make it possible to speculate on increasing or decreasing futures prices with a known and limited risk. The most that the buyer of an option can lose is the cost of purchasing the option (known as the option "premium") plus transaction costs. Like futures, they provide price protection against adverse price moves.

Who sells the options that option buyers purchase? The answer is that options are sold by other market participants known as option writers, or grantors. Their sole reason for writing options is to earn the premium paid by the option buyer. If the option expires without being exercised (which is what the option writer hopes will happen), the writer retains the full amount of the premium. If the option buyer exercises the option, however, the writer must pay the difference between the market value and the exercise price. It should be emphasized and clearly recognized that unlike an option buyer who has a limited risk (the loss of the option premium), the writer of an option has unlimited risk. This is because any gain realized by the option buyer if and when he exercises the option will become a loss for the option writer.

Present-day options trading on the floor of an exchange began in April 1973 when the Chicago Board of Trade created the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) for the sole purpose of trading options on a limited number of New York Stock Exchange-listed equities. Options on futures contracts were introduced at the CBOT in October 1982 when the exchange began trading Options on U.S. Treasury Bond futures.
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Options on Futures

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