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Vertical Spreads

The vertical spread is an option spread strategy whereby the option trader purchases a certain number of options and simultaneously sell an equal number of options of the same class, same underlying security, same expiration date, but at a different strike price.

Vertical spreads limit the risk involved in the options trade but at the same time they reduce the profit potential. They can be created with either all calls or all puts, and can be bullish or bearish.

Bull Vertical Spreads

Bull vertical spreads are employed when the option trader is bullish on the underlying security and hence, they are designed to profit from a rise in the price of the underlying asset. They can be constructed using calls or puts and are known as bull call spread and bull put spread respectively.

While they have similar risk/reward profiles, the bull call spread is entered on a debit while the bull put spread can be established on a credit. Hence, the bull call spread is also called a vertical debit spread while the bull put spread is sometimes referred to as a vertical credit spread.

Bear Vertical Spreads

Vertical spread option strategies are also available for the option trader who is bearish on the underlying security. Bear vertical spreads are designed to profit from a drop in the price of the underlying asset. They can be constructed using calls or puts and are known as bear call spread and bear put spread respectively.

While they have similar risk/reward profiles, the bear call spread is entered on a credit while the bear put spread can be established on a debit. Hence, the bear call spread is also called a vertical credit spread while the bear put spread is sometimes referred to as a vertical debit spread.

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