Intermediate trading on the stock market can involve a wide range of options, from essential buy and sell orders to more complex strategies such as futures contracts and listed options. This article will break down the basics of listed options for intermediate traders in the UK, covering critical concepts related to listed options. This information should help intermediate investors become more familiar with listed options and understand how they work within the context of their trading strategy.

Margin requirements

When trading listed options, investors must be aware of the margin requirements. It refers to the amount of money required upfront to initiate a trade, which can range from 5-20% of the total value of the option contract. Investors need to understand how much they are expected to put up in terms of capital and whether this will affect their liquidity should they need access to funds during the trade.

In addition, intermediate traders must also consider any additional costs associated with listed options trading, such as commission fees charged by brokers or exchange fees paid on each transaction. Understanding these costs can help traders budget accordingly and adjust their strategy if necessary.

Expiration date

The expiration date is an essential factor to consider when trading listed options. It is the date by which the option contract will expire, at which point any value within the options contract is no longer valid, and all trades must be settled. For intermediate traders, understanding when their options contracts are due to expire can help them adjust their strategy accordingly and manage any potential losses before they occur.

It’s also crucial for intermediate traders to understand how expiration dates work within their chosen trading platform and any additional fees associated with extending a contract’s validity period. By doing so, traders can better handle their risk management strategy and plan for upcoming deadlines.


Volatility is another critical concept when it comes to trading listed options. It refers to the price fluctuation within a given option contract, which can be affected by external factors such as economic news and market conditions. Understanding how volatility affects their strategies can help intermediate traders make informed decisions concerning risk management and potential profits.

Intermediate traders need to familiarise themselves with various methods of calculating volatility, such as historical prices or implied volatilities based on current market data. By doing so, they can gain insight into what type of returns they might expect from a specific option contract and assess whether it fits their overall strategy.


Hedging is a helpful strategy for intermediate traders when trading listed options. It involves entering into multiple options contracts with either opposing or similar positions to minimise any potential losses that might occur should the market move against them. For example, an investor may buy a call option on one stock to take advantage of an expected increase in price and simultaneously purchase a put option on another stock to hedge their position should the market unexpectedly turn negative.

By hedging their position, intermediate traders can mitigate potential losses while retaining some exposure to the underlying asset. Moreover, they can also use hedging to create synthetic positions by combining long and short options strategies within their portfolio.

Options chains

Options chains are a helpful tool for intermediate traders when researching listed options. It refers to a list of option contracts with varying expiration dates, strike prices and underlying assets that the trader’s preferences can sort. By accessing this information, investors can gain insight into potential trading opportunities and compare different strategies before committing capital.

Furthermore, options chains provide valuable data, such as implied volatilities, which can help traders understand how volatility affects their chosen trades. Additionally, they can assess the liquidity of an option contract by reviewing its open interest, enabling them to make informed decisions concerning risk management and profit-taking.

Trading strategies

Intermediate traders should also become familiar with various options trading strategies to maximise their investments and prevent themselves from making silly mistakes. Strategies such as spreads, straddles and butterflies can help investors maximise returns while minimising risk if executed correctly. For instance, a spread strategy involves buying and selling two different option contracts simultaneously for a net profit or loss, depending on how the market moves. By understanding various options trading strategies, intermediate traders can utilise them according to their investment objectives and risk tolerance levels.

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