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Options contract

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Definition of Options contract

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Options contract

A contract that, in exchange for the option price, gives the option buyer the right, but not
the obligation, to buy (or sell) a financial asset at the exercise price from (or to) the option seller within a
specified time period, or on a specified date (expiration date).

Related Terms:

Options contract multiple

A constant, set at $100, which when multiplied by the cash index value gives the
dollar value of the stock index underlying an option. That is, dollar value of the underlying stock index = cash
index value x $100 (the options contract multiple).

Counterparty risk

The risk that the other party to an agreement will default. In an options contract, the risk
to the option buyer that the option writer will not buy or sell the underlying as agreed.
Country economic risk Developments in a national economy that can affect the outcome of an international
financial transaction.

Exercise price

The price at which the underlying future or options contract may be bought or sold.

Last trading day

The final day under an exchange's rules during which trading may take place in a particular
futures or options contract. contracts outstanding at the end of the last trading day must be settled by delivery
of underlying physical commodities or financial instruments, or by agreement for monetary settlement
depending upon futures contract specifications.

Option price

Also called the option premium, the price paid by the buyer of the options contract for the right
to buy or sell a security at a specified price in the future.


1) The gap between bid and ask prices of a stock or other security.
2) The simultaneous purchase and sale of separate futures or options contracts for the same commodity for delivery in different months.
Also known as a straddle.
3) Difference between the price at which an underwriter buys an issue from a firm
and the price at which the underwriter sells it to the public.
4) The price an issuer pays above a benchmark fixed-income yield to borrow money.

Barrier options

contracts with trigger points that, when crossed, automatically generate buying or selling of
other options. These are very exotic options.

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Basket options

Packages that involve the exchange of more than two currencies against a base currency at
expiration. The basket option buyer purchases the right, but not the obligation, to receive designated
currencies in exchange for a base currency, either at the prevailing spot market rate or at a prearranged rate of
exchange. A basket option is generally used by multinational corporations with multicurrency cash flows
since it is generally cheaper to buy an option on a basket of currencies than to buy individual options on each
of the currencies that make up the basket.

Bullet contract

A guaranteed investment contract purchased with a single (one-shot) premium. Related:
Window contract.

cafeteria plan a “menu” of fringe benefit options that include

cash or nontaxable benefits

Cash settlement contracts

Futures contracts, such as stock index futures, that settle for cash, not involving
the delivery of the underlying.

Completed-Contract Method

A contract accounting method that recognizes contract revenue
only when the contract is completed. All contract costs are accumulated and reported as expense
when the contract revenue is recognized.

Conditional sales contracts

Similar to equipment trust certificates except that the lender is either the
equipment manufacturer or a bank or finance company to whom the manufacturer has sold the conditional
sales contract.


A term of reference describing a unit of trading for a financial or commodity future. Also, the actual
bilateral agreement between the buyer and seller of a transaction as defined by an exchange.


A formal written statement of the rights and obligations of each party to a transaction.

Contract Accounting

Method of accounting for sales or service agreements where completion
requires an extended period.

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contract manufacturer

an external party that has been granted an outsourcing contract to produce a part or component for an entity

Contract month

The month in which futures contracts may be satisfied by making or accepting a delivery.
Also called value managers, those who assemble portfolios with relatively lower betas, lower price-book and
P/E ratios and higher dividend yields, seeing value where others do not.

contract vendor

an external party that has been granted an
outsourcing contract to provide a service activity for an entity

Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act

A federal Act requiring federal contractors to pay overtime for hours worked exceeding 40 per week.

cost-plus contract

a contract in which the customer agrees
to reimburse the producer for the cost of the job plus a
specified profit margin over cost

Dealer options

Over-the-counter options, such as those offered by government and mortgage-backed
securities dealers.

Delivery options

The options available to the seller of an interest rate futures contract, including the quality
option, the timing option, and the wild card option. Delivery options make the buyer uncertain of which
Treasury Bond will be delivered or when it will be delivered.

Equity options

Securities that give the holder the right to buy or sell a specified number of shares of stock, at
a specified price for a certain (limited) time period. Typically one option equals 100 shares of stock.

Exit Options

A variety of options available to an investor to recover their invested capital and the return on their investment.

Floating-rate contract

A guaranteed investment contract where the credit rating is tied to some variable
("floating") interest rate benchmark, such as a specific-maturity Treasury yield.

Forward contract

A cash market transaction in which delivery of the commodity is deferred until after the
contract has been made. It is not standardized and is not traded on organized exchanges. Although the
delivery is made in the future, the price is determined at the initial trade date.

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forward contract

Agreement to buy or sell an asset in the future at an agreed price.

Forward forward contract

In Eurocurrencies, a contract under which a deposit of fixed maturity is agreed to
at a fixed price for future delivery.

Futures contract

Agreement to buy or sell a set number of shares of a specific stock in a designated future
month at a price agreed upon by the buyer and seller. The contracts themselves are often traded on the futures
market. A futures contract differs from an option because an option is the right to buy or sell, whereas a
futures contract is the promise to actually make a transaction. A future is part of a class of securities called
derivatives, so named because such securities derive their value from the worth of an underlying investment.

futures contract

Exchange-traded promise to buy or sell an asset in the future at a prespecified price.

Futures Contract

A contract in which the seller agrees to provide something to a buyer at a specified future date at an agreed price.

Futures contract multiple

A constant, set by an exchange, which when multiplied by the futures price gives
the dollar value of a stock index futures contract.

Guaranteed insurance contract

A contract promising a stated nominal interest rate over some specific time
period, usually several years.

Guaranteed investment contract (GIC)

A pure investment product in which a life company agrees, for a
single premium, to pay the principal amount of a predetermined annual crediting (interest) rate over the life of
the investment, all of which is paid at the maturity date.

Hell-or-high-water contract

A contract that obligates a purchaser of a project's output to make cash
payments to the project in all events, even if no product is offered for sale.

Implicit Contract

An unwritten understanding between two groups, such as an understanding between an employer and employees that employees will receive a stable wage despite business cycle activity.

Margin requirement (Options)

The amount of cash an uncovered (naked) option writer is required to
deposit and maintain to cover his daily position valuation and reasonably foreseeable intra-day price changes.

McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act of 1965

A federal Act requiring federal contractors to pay those employees working on a federal contract at
least as much as the wage and benefit levels prevailing locally.

Most distant futures contract

When several futures contracts are considered, the contract settling last.
Related: nearby futures contract

Nearby futures contract

When several futures contracts are considered, the contract with the closest
settlement date is called the nearby futures contract. The next futures contract is the one that settles just after
the nearby futures contract. The contract farthest away in time from settlement is called the most distant
futures contract.

Next futures contract

The contract settling immediately after the nearby futures contract.

Nexus (of contracts)

A set or collection of something.

Open contracts

contracts which have been bought or sold without the transaction having been completed by
subsequent sale or purchase, or by making or taking actual delivery of the financial instrument or physical

Optimal contract

The contract that balances the three types of agency costs (contracting, monitoring, and
misbehavior) against one another to minimize the total cost.

Options on physicals

Interest rate options written on fixed-income securities, as opposed to those written on
interest rate futures contracts.

real options

options embedded in real assets.

Set of contracts perspective

View of corporation as a set of contracting relationships, among individuals
who have conflicting objectives, such as shareholders or managers. The corporation is a legal contrivance that
serves as the nexus for the contracting relationships.

Take-or-pay contract

A contract that obligates the purchaser to take any product that is offered to it (and pay
the cash purchase price) or pay a specified amount if it refuses to take the product.

Turnkey construction contract

A type of construction contract under which the construction firm is
obligated to complete a project according to prespecified criteria for a price that is fixed at the time the
contract is signed.

Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act of 1936

A federal Act that forces government contractors to comply with the government’s minimum wage and hour rules.

Window contract

A guaranteed investment contract purchased with deposits over some future designated
time period (the "window"), usually between 3 and 12 months. All deposits made are guaranteed the same
credit rating.
Related: bullet contract.

American-style option

An option contract that can be exercised at any time between the date of purchase and
the expiration date. Most exchange-traded options are American style.


Chicago Board options Exchange. A securities exchange created in the early 1970s for the public
trading of standardized option contracts.

Derivative instruments

contracts such as options and futures whose price is derived from the price of the
underlying financial asset.

diluted earnings per share (EPS)

This measure of earnings per share
recognizes additional stock shares that may be issued in the future for
stock options and as may be required by other contracts a business has
entered into, such as convertible features in its debt securities and preferred
stock. Both basic earnings per share and, if applicable, diluted
earnings per share are reported by publicly owned business corporations.
Often the two EPS figures are not far apart, but in some cases the
gap is significant. Privately owned businesses do not have to report earnings
per share. See also basic earnings per share.

Expiration cycle

An expiration cycle relates to the dates on which options on a particular security expire. A
given option will be placed in 1 of 3 cycles, the January cycle, the February cycle, or the March cycle. At any
point in time, an option will have contracts with 4 expiration dates outstanding, 2 in near-term months and 2
in far-term months.

Futures option

An option on a futures contract. Related: options on physicals.


A strategy designed to reduce investment risk using call options, put options, short selling, or futures
contracts. A hedge can help lock in existing profits. Its purpose is to reduce the volatility of a portfolio, by
reducing the risk of loss.

Long position

An options position where a person has executed one or more option trades where the net
result is that they are an "owner" or holder of options (i. e. the number of contracts bought exceeds the
number of contracts sold).
Occurs when an individual owns securities. An owner of 1,000 shares of stock is said to be "Long the stock."
Related: Short position


options: All option contracts of the same class that also have the same unit of trade, expiration date,
and exercise price. Stocks: shares which have common characteristics, such as rights to ownership and voting,
dividends, par value, etc. In the case of many foreign shares, one series may be owned only by citizens of the
country in which the stock is registered.

Underlying security

options: the security subject to being purchased or sold upon exercise of an option
contract. For example, IBM stock is the underlying security to IBM options. Depository receipts: The class,
series and number of the foreign shares represented by the depository receipt.

Unmatched book

If the average maturity of a bank's liabilities is less than that of its assets, it is said to be
running an unmatched book. The term is commonly used with the Euromarket. Term also refers to the
condition when a firm enters into OTC derivatives contracts and chooses to hedge that risk by not making
trades in the opposite direction to another financial intermediary. In this case, the firm with an unmatched
book hedges its net market risk with futures and options, usually.
Related expressions: open book and short book.

Virtual currency option

A new option contract introduced by the PHLX in 1994 that is settled in US$ rather
than in the underlying currency. These options are also called 3-Ds (dollar denominated delivery).







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