With the May 15 options expiration only ten trading days away, there is a heightened probability that your short options position gets called away.
We have the good fortune of having a large number of deep in-the-money call and put options spreads about to expire at their maximum profit points, five to be precise.
If that happens, there is only one thing to do: fall down on your knees and thank your lucky stars. You have just made the maximum possible profit for your position with less risk. You just won the lottery, literally.
Most of you have short option positions, although you may not realize it. For when you buy an in-the-money put option spread, it contains two elements: a long put and a short put. The long put you own, but the short put can get assigned, or called away at any time and delivered to its rightful owner.
You have to be careful here because the inexperienced can blow their newfound windfall if they take the wrong action, so here’s how to handle it.
All you have to do was call your broker and instruct him to exercise your long position in your May puts to close out your short position in the May puts.
Puts are a right to sell shares at a fixed price before a fixed date, and one option contract is exercisable into 100 shares.
Sounds like a good trade to me.
Weird stuff like this happens in the run-up to options expirations.
A put owner may need to sell a long stock position right at the close, and exercising his long Put is the only way to execute it.
Ordinary shares may not be available in the market, or maybe a limit order didn’t get done by the stock market close.
There are thousands of algorithms out there which may arrive at some twisted logic that the puts need to be exercised.
Many require a rebalancing of hedges at the close every day which can be achieved through option exercises.
And yes, puts even get exercised by accident. There are still a few humans left in this market to blow it.
And here’s another possible outcome in this process.
Your broker will call you to notify you of an option called away, and then give you the wrong advice on what to do about it.
This generates tons of commissions for the broker but is a terrible thing for the trader to do from a risk point of view, such as generating a loss by the time everything is closed and netted out.
Avarice could have been an explanation here but I think stupidity and poor training and low wages are much more likely.
Brokers have so many ways to steal money legally that they don’t need to resort to the illegal kind.
This exercise process is now fully automated at most brokers but it never hurts to follow up with a phone call if you get an exercise notice. Mistakes do happen.
Some may also send you a link to a video of what to do about all this.
If any of you are the slightest bit worried or confused by all of this, come out of your position RIGHT NOW at a small profit! You should never be worried or confused about any position tying up YOUR money.
Professionals do these things all day long and exercises become second nature, just another cost of doing business.
If you do this long enough, eventually you get hit. I bet you don’t.