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In the Money vs Out of the Money (ITM vs OTM Option): What is the difference in these put options?

In the Money vs Out of the Money: What is the difference?

Understanding Call and Put Options

Definition of Call Options

A call option gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to purchase a stock at a specified price (strike price) within a certain period. Imagine you're at a farmer's market, and you have a coupon to buy mangoes at ₹50 per kg, regardless of the current market price. This coupon is similar to a call option.

Key Takeaway: Call money options or money calls provide an opportunity (options contract) to buy stocks at a predetermined price, potentially below market value.

Definition of Put Options

Conversely, a put option allows the buyer to sell a stock at a predetermined strike price within a set timeframe. Think of it as having the right to sell your old car for ₹1 lakh, even if the market price drops to ₹80,000.

Key Takeaway: Put options enable investors to sell assets at a fixed price, protecting against price drops.

Determining Intrinsic Value

The intrinsic value of an option is the difference between the stock's current market price and the option's strike price. For call options, it's calculated as the market price minus the strike price. For put options, it's the strike price minus the market price.

Key Takeaway: Intrinsic value helps determine the immediate profit potential of an option.

In-the-Money vs Out-of-the-Money Options

Explaining In-the-Money Options

An option is considered In-the-Money (ITM) if exercising it immediately would result in a profit. For call options, this means the stock price is above the strike price. For put options, it means the stock price is below the strike price. Think of ITM options as having a discount coupon for a product that's already cheaper than the regular price.

Key Takeaway: ITM options are valuable because they have intrinsic value and can be exercised for profit immediately.

Explaining Out-of-the-Money Options

An option is Out-of-the-Money (OTM) if exercising it would not result in a profit. For call options, this means the stock price is below the strike price, and for put options, it means the stock price is above the strike price. OTM options are like having a coupon for a product that's more expensive than its current price.

Key Takeaway: OTM options are less valuable as they don't have intrinsic value and cannot be exercised profitably at the moment.

Comparing Strike Price and Market Price

The strike price is the predetermined price at which the option can be exercised. The market price is the current price of the underlying asset. The relationship between these two determines whether an option is ITM or OTM. Imagine comparing the coupon price with the actual price of the product in the market.

Key Takeaway: Understanding the difference between strike price and market price is crucial for evaluating options' potential profitability.

Fun Fact

Did you know that the concept of options trading dates back to ancient Greece? Thales of Miletus used options to secure a good price for olive presses, demonstrating early financial innovation.

Benefits and Risks of In-the-Money Options

Examining Intrinsic Value Impact

In-the-Money (ITM) options have intrinsic value, which means they can be exercised for a profit immediately. For example, if you hold an ITM call option with a strike price of ₹1,000 and the current stock price is ₹1,200, you can buy the stock at ₹1,000 and sell it at ₹1,200, making an immediate profit.

Key Takeaway: ITM options offer immediate profit potential due to their intrinsic value.

Discussing Expiration and Exercise

ITM options are more likely to be exercised at expiration, as they hold value. However, they also come with higher premiums. As the expiration date approaches, the time value decreases, but the intrinsic value remains if the option stays ITM.

Key Takeaway: ITM options are more likely to be exercised, making them attractive for securing profits close to expiration.

Pros and Cons of In-the-Money Options

While ITM options are less risky and offer higher chances of profit, they are more expensive than OTM options. They require a higher initial investment but provide a greater likelihood of gains.

Key Takeaway: ITM options balance higher costs with reduced risk and higher profit potential.

Trading Strategies with In-the-Money and Out-of-the-Money Options

Utilizing Deep In-the-Money Calls

Deep ITM call options are those with strike prices significantly lower than the current stock price. These options behave similarly to owning the stock itself but with lower capital requirements. For example, buying a deep ITM call on a stock trading at ₹500 with a strike price of ₹300 can mimic the stock's movements closely.

Key Takeaway: Deep ITM calls offer a cost-effective way to gain exposure to a stock’s movements.

Analyzing Extrinsic Value Consideration

OTM options primarily consist of extrinsic value (time value), which can erode quickly as expiration nears. While they are cheaper, they are riskier since they rely on significant stock price movements to become profitable.

Key Takeaway: OTM options are less expensive but come with higher risk due to their reliance on time value and stock price movements.

Comparing In-the-Money and At-the-Money Options

At-the-Money (ATM) options have a strike price equal to the current stock price. They have no intrinsic value but significant extrinsic value. These options are often used for short-term strategies, such as day trading or hedging.

Key Takeaway: ATM options are balanced between ITM and OTM options, offering moderate cost and potential profitability.


Q1: Can OTM options become ITM?

Yes, if the stock price moves favorably, OTM options can become ITM.

Q2: What happens if an option expires OTM?

If an option expires OTM, it becomes worthless, and the investor loses the premium paid.

Q3: Are ITM options always better than OTM options?

Not necessarily. ITM options are less risky but more expensive, while OTM options are cheaper but riskier.


In-the-Money (ITM) options have intrinsic value and can be exercised for profit, while Out-of-the-Money (OTM) options do not hold intrinsic value and are less expensive but riskier. Understanding these differences can help in making better investment decisions.

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