Strip

The strip is a modified, more bearish version of the common straddle. It involves buying a number of at-the-money calls and twice the number of puts of the same underlying stock, striking price and expiration date.

Strip Construction
Buy 1 ATM Call
Buy 2 ATM Puts

Strips are unlimited profit, limited risk options trading strategies that are used when the options trader thinks that the underlying stock price will experience significant volatility in the near term and is more likely to plunge downwards instead of rallying.

Unlimited Profit Potential

Large profit is attainable with the strip strategy when the underlying stock price makes a strong move either upwards or downwards at expiration, with greater gains to be made with a downward move.

The formula for calculating profit is given below:

  • Maximum Profit = Unlimited
  • Profit Achieved When Price of Underlying > Strike Price of Calls/Puts + Net Premium Paid OR Price of Underlying < Strike Price of Calls/Puts - (Net Premium Paid/2)
  • Profit = Price of Underlying - Strike Price of Calls - Net Premium Paid OR 2 x (Strike Price of Puts - Price of Underlying) - Net Premium Paid
Strip Payoff Diagram
Graph showing the expected profit or loss for the strip option strategy in relation to the market price of the underlying security on option expiration date.

Limited Risk

Maximum loss for the strip occurs when the underlying stock price on expiration date is trading at the strike price of the call and put options purchased. At this price, all the options expire worthless and the options trader loses the entire initial debit taken to enter the trade.

The formula for calculating maximum loss is given below:

  • Max Loss = Net Premium Paid + Commissions Paid
  • Max Loss Occurs When Price of Underlying = Strike Price of Calls/Puts

Breakeven Point(s)

There are 2 break-even points for the strip position. The breakeven points can be calculated using the following formulae.

  • Upper Breakeven Point = Strike Price of Calls/Puts + Net Premium Paid
  • Lower Breakeven Point = Strike Price of Calls/Puts - (Net Premium Paid/2)

Example

Suppose XYZ stock is trading at $40 in June. An options trader implements a strip by buying two JUL 40 puts for $400 and a JUL 40 call for $200. The net debit taken to enter the trade is $600, which is also his maximum possible loss.

If XYZ stock is trading at $50 on expiration in July, the JUL 40 puts will expire worthless but the JUL 40 call expires in the money and has an intrinsic value of $1000. Subtracting the initial debit of $600, the strip's profit comes to $400.

If XYZ stock price plunges to $30 on expiration in July, the JUL 40 call will expire worthless but the two JUL 40 puts will expire in-the-money and possess intrinsic value of $1000 each. Subtracting the initial debit of $600, the strip's profit comes to $1400.

On expiration in July, if XYZ stock is still trading at $40, both the JUL 40 puts and the JUL 40 call expire worthless and the strip suffers its maximum loss which is equal to the initial debit of $600 taken to enter the trade.

Note: While we have covered the use of this strategy with reference to stock options, the strip is equally applicable using ETF options, index options as well as options on futures.

Commissions

For ease of understanding, the calculations depicted in the above examples did not take into account commission charges as they are relatively small amounts (typically around $10 to $20) and varies across option brokerages.

However, for active traders, commissions can eat up a sizable portion of their profits in the long run. If you trade options actively, it is wise to look for a low commissions broker. Traders who trade large number of contracts in each trade should check out OptionsHouse.com as they offer a low fee of only $0.15 per contract (+$4.95 per trade).

Similar Strategies

The following strategies are similar to the strip in that they are also high volatility strategies that have unlimited profit potential and limited risk.

Strap
Short Put Ladder
Short Call Ladder

Strap

The strap is a modified straddle that has a bullish bias on the profit/risk potential.

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