Sell to Open vs Sell to Close: What’s the Difference?

By optionbeginner •  Updated: 05/02/22 •  8 min read

Options trading is becoming more common as a feasible strategy for everyday investors to benefit from as more and more knowledge becomes accessible. However, unlike many other investment tools, Options contracts are generally not commonly understood. Primarily, this is attributed to the reason that options are much more technical and complicated than conventional asset classes like shares.

There are a few terminologies option buyers and option sellers need to be aware of when trading options. Among the first factors that surprised options trading newcomers and the first blunders options investors make is the diversity of trading strategies available.

Indeed, utilizing inaccurate instructions would undoubtedly result in avoidable losses and disappointment, so learning how they function is critical. Buy To Open, Sell To Close, Buy To Close, and Sell To Open is the four primary trading commands used by options traders.

What is Options Trading?

The trading of assets that provide you with the right to purchase or sell a particular investment on a specified date at a specified amount is known as options trading. For example, a contract connected to a financial commodity is an option.

Options are a versatile investing strategy that may help you profit in any competitive landscape. Options can help you reach your financial goals by generating money, reducing risk, or capitalizing on your optimistic or bearish predictions.

Options are valuable because they can improve a person’s holdings. They do so by increasing their revenue, providing protection, and even using leverage. There is generally an alternative scenario fit for an investor’s purpose, depending on the occasion.

A call option offers traders the choice( not the obligation ) to buy a share at a specific cost (strike price) by a given date (the expiry date). In contrast, a put option gives them the obligation to buy a share at a particular market price (strike price) by a given date (expiry date).

A put options contract gives you the right to offer a percentage of stocks at a predetermined price until the contract expires. You must position call options or put options in addition to buying or selling in the options contract. Once you buy a call option, you must spend an early premium that is a percentage of the overall value of the options.

This capital is required by the brokerage to cover risks. So even after you’ve paid the deposit, there’s no need to complete the purchase. On the other hand, you must execute the deal when you buy a put option if the call buyer has done his part.

What does it mean to Sell to Open?

The term “sell to open” means starting a short options contract by buying or selling an extended position. When someone sells to open, they are beginning a short options strategy. It’s helpful to conceive of a sell to open as “creating or selling an options contract.”

Whenever a trader sells to open a call option, the trader is betting that the base stock’s valuation will fall. Conversely, the trader expects the base stock’s price to rise whenever a trader sells to open a put options contract.

In a highly unpredictable options market, this approach yields high profits on unleveraged capital; nonetheless, it is an expert trading method that is not recommended for inexperienced investors.

When should you sell to open?

Purchasing a put option allows the buyer to compel the options sellers to buy shares. In a marketplace where commodities decrease, buyers strive to make strike prices more significant than the market rate they expect to limit their damages.

You have a short position whenever you acquire shares from brokers and try selling them. You generate put options and sell them to open the positions on a temporary position. As a result, a sell to open put options is created. A purchaser can acquire the options, which you intend to repurchase at a later date.

Assume that a broker believes the value of a share of ABC will fall in the following months. Then, on ABC’s call options, the broker launches Sell to Open positions. This implies the broker is betting on ABC’s value falling and sells its call options to the trading platform, betting on ABC’s value rising. The broker can collect ABC’s call options premiums by opening the short position.

Example of Sell to open

A bulls put spread bullish to neutrality margin requirement in which you sell (to open) one put option at one strike price (probably lower than the market’s valuation) and purchase (to open) another put option at a significantly lower cost.

To close a bull put spread, you reverse the initial deal. The put you sold to open must be purchased to complete, and the put you bought to open at a lower strike must be sold to close.

What is the risk with selling to open?

As you sell to open, you don’t acquire put options. Instead, you’re merely establishing new alternatives to the company’s shares. So the risk of selling to open a call is potentially limitless. Selling a call on a company you already own, on the other hand, is one method to add to your asset’s revenue.

Covered call writing is the name for this method. When you sell to open a call, you get paid a premium, and your risk is reduced since you already hold the stock and will be able to deliver it if the call you sold is exercised.

What does it mean to sell to close?

Closing a position contract by selling it is known as Sell to Close. It is just like trading shares. Releasing a long position or purchasing short positions are two ways to close an options investment. When selling long positions, a Sell To Close order is performed.

Whenever you Sell To Close (STC) a stock, you’re essentially transferring the options contracts you hold to a marketer to earn or lose money. Whenever a trader sells an options contract to terminate it, the trader sells it to another stakeholder.

A sell-to-close trading transaction can result in a capital gain or loss for the trader based on the market prices at the time of implementation. Trader profits by selling options to a new investor and pocketing the premium.

If the new investor activates their options before expiry, the original owner may have to sell the shares at the revised strike price. The key benefit of selling to close is that you may convert to a seller as a purchaser before the contract expires, avoiding commissions and other penalties.

When should you sell to close?

When you’re not convinced about the commodity’s potential and the options are ‘financially viable,’ you sell to close. For instance, if you decided to sell for $37 and now $36, the options are valued at a larger price than the current market rate.

Someone may believe that the market will conclude at 38 and purchase the option. However, when the share price is correct, you should try to keep it, the potential losses of holding it are low, and the expiration date is approaching; you may activate the option to earn profit.

Example of Sell to Close

Suppose ABC holds a $2,000 long European put options contract on Samsung shares. The contract is up for renewal in a fortnight. Naturally, ABC would want to benefit from the option, but it can only be executed on the expiry date because it is a European-style option.

ABC might sell to close the stock’s long call options contract. He can sell the contracts to a private entity and receive an instant profit (although somewhat undervalued).

What is the risk with selling to close?

The worth of the put options will rise if the market rate of the underlying asset increases just enough to counterbalance the temporal decay the options would undergo (as it approaches expiration). A trader might earn by selling to close the long put option in this situation.

The worth of a put option will drop if the market rate of the underlying stock price doesn’t rise just enough to counterbalance the temporal decay the options would undergo (as it approaches expiration). A trader can sell in this situation to settle the extended put options at a loss.

Sell to Open vs. Sell to Close

In the most basic terms, there are two methods to earn from stock trading: purchasing and selling options for a profit or exercising an opportunity for a profit. Unfortunately, most brokers choose not to activate these options and instead focus on trading options to maximize profits.

There are a variety of share trading techniques that may be employed. Still, the most fundamental is to benefit by purchasing options contracts and selling them when their price increases. A sell to open transaction is when you sell a new options contract before it expires.

This might be a sell to open a call option or a sell to open a put option. In this case, the investor expects that the specified price will fall below the starting cost since they keep their assets and the premiums until the strike price rises.

On the other hand, Sell to Close is a method of selling an underlying security contract that you already hold. It can be used for calls and puts. The trader exchanges established shareholdings from selling to open trading that they previously purchased but remain a part of the contracts. Still, during selling to close, a trader sells the shares of the agreement and ends it.