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What Are Binary Options

The Definition of binary options

The word binary stands for “having two parts”. Generally speaking, all you need to do is predict either “Call” or “Put“. Binary Options trading has only two investment possibilities for you to predict and then choose between.

One investment possibility is expressed when you predict that the price of the asset will rise, this type of investment is named “Call” option. The other possibility is presented when you predict that the price of the asset will fall, this type of investment is named “Put” option.

Choosing an asset is the first step of your investment. For instance, if you have an interest in gold prices, you may choose to place a binary investment in gold. Obviously, the more familiar you’re with the gold market the better your chances are of successfully predicting the fluctuations of gold prices.

If a trader believes the market is rising, she/he would purchase a “call.” If the trader believes the market is falling, she/he would buy a “put.” For a call to make money, the price must be above the strike price at the expiry time. For a put to make money, the price must be below the strike price at the expiry time. The strike price, expiry, payout and risk are all disclosed at the trade’s outset. For most high-low binary options outside the U.S., the strike price is the current price or rate of the underlying financial product, such as the S&P 500 index, EUR/USD currency pair or a particular stock. Therefore, the trader is wagering whether the future price at expiry will be higher or lower than the current price.

What assets can be traded as Binary Options?

There are a wide variety of binary contracts available to traders.
You can either trade with:

  • Indices – Such as Nasdaq, Dow Jones, FTSE, Nikkei and many more
  • Forex –  Combinations for all the major currencies such as USD, EUR, GBP ,JPY and AUD just to name a few
  • Commodities – Gold, Silver, Oil, Corn, Coffee and several more
  • Stocks – Over 50 of the biggest and most interesting companies in the world from a variety of industries are available in the Opteck asset list, amongst them – Google, Deutsche Bank, Coca Cola and many many more.

binary options

High-Low Binary Option Example

Assume your analysis indicates that Microsoft is going to rally for the rest of the afternoon, although you’re not sure by how much. You decide to buy a (binary) call option on the Microsoft index. Suppose the index is currently at 1,800, so by buying a call option you’re wagering the price at expiry will be above 1,800. Since binary options are available on all sorts of time frames – from minutes to months away – you choose an expiry time (or date) that aligns with your analysis. You choose an option with an 1,800 strike price that expires 30 minutes from now. The option pays you 70% if the Microsoft is above 1,800 at expiry (30 minutes from now); if the Microsoft is below 1,800 in 30 minutes, you’ll lose your investment.

You can invest almost any amount, although this will vary from broker to broker. Often there is a minimum such as $10 and a maximum such as $10,000 (check with the broker for specific investment amounts).

Continuing with the example, you invest $100 in the call that expires in 30 minutes. The Microsoft price at expiry determines whether you make or lose money. The price at expiry may be the last quoted price, or the (bid+ask)/2. Each broker specifies their own expiry price rules.

In this case, assume the last quote on the Microsoft before expiry was 1,802. Therefore, you make a $70 profit (or 70% of $100) and maintain your original $100 investment. Had the price finished below 1,800, you would lose your $100 investment. If the price had expired exactly on the strike price, it is common for the trader to receive her/his money back with no profit or loss, although each broker may have different rules as it is an over-the-counter (OTC) market. The broker transfers profits and losses into and out of the trader’s account automatically.


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