Options Trading Basics – Options Symbology 101

In my last post I discussed the basics of a typical options quote. I defined each part that makes up an options quote, and most are easy to understand. The exception – OPRA.

Options Basics: OPRA

OPRA is the acronym for Options Price Reporting Authority and is THE important piece of any options trade as its contents explain exactly what you will be trading.
Here is a breakdown of a typical options symbol or OPRA.
Options Quote: ABC November 190 Call (SPY141122C190) at $3.50
Again, I discussed in my last post, the different parts that make up a typical options quote. But, I want to focus on the OPRA (SPY141122C190) within the aforementioned quote.
The OPRA: (SPY141122C190)
Options symbols or the OPRA contain six different bits of information.

  1. OPRA Root
  2. Expiration Year
  3. Expiration Month
  4. Expiration Day
  5. Type of Option (calls of puts)
  6. Strike Price

Options Root (SPY) – the ticker symbol of the underlying security, typically between one and six letters.
Expiration Year (14) – two characters that tell you the year in which the option expires. In our example, the year is 2014.
Expiration Month (11) – the next two characters give you the month the option expires. In our example, the month isthe eleventh month of the calendar year, or November.
Expiration Day (22) – the next two characters to follow indicate the day on which the option expires. Options technically expire on the Saturday following expiration day. But, because the markets are closed to trading, they are actually thought to expire on Friday (typically the  third Friday of every month). In our example, the day is Saturday, Nov. 22,  2014.
Type of Options (C) – indicates if the option is either a call or put option. In our case, a call. A put option would be indicated by a (P).
Strike Price (190) – the rest of the options symbol is defined by the strike price of the option. In our case, it is the 190 calls that are due to expire on Nov. 22, 2014.
*Minis – another variation that is becoming popular are the Minis. They basically make up a universe of higher-priced stocks. Unlike your typical 100 shares of stock to one options contract ratio, minis reduce the ratio to 10 to 1 or ten shares of stock to one options contract.
A minis contract is indicated by a (7) after the Options Root. Using our example, it would look like the following: SPY7141122C190.
If you would like even more ideas regarding options trading, don’t forget to sign up for my free weekly options report, The Strike Price.

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