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An option granting the right to sell the underlying futures contract. Opposite of a call.

Put Option

An option contract in which the holder has the right but not the obligation to sell some underlying asset at an agreed-upon price on or before the expiration date of the contract, regardless of the prevailing market price of the underlying asset. One buys a put option if one believes the price for the underlying asset will fall by the end of the contract. If the price does fall, the holder may buy and resell the underlying asset for a profit. If the price does not fall, the option expires and the holder's loss is limited to the price of buying the contract. Put options may be used on their own or in conjunction with call options to create an option spread in order to hedge risk.


1. An option that conveys to its holder the right, but not the obligation, to sell a specific asset at a predetermined price until a certain date. In most cases, puts have 100 shares of stock as the underlying asset. For example, an investor may purchase a put option on GenCorp common stock that confers the right to sell 100 shares at $15 per share until September 21. Puts are sold for a fee by other investors who incur an obligation to purchase the asset if the option holder decides to sell. Investors purchase puts in order to take advantage of a decline in the price of the asset. Also called put option. Compare call. See also guarantee letter, synthetic put, transferable put right.
2. Sale of an issue of bonds before maturity by forcing the issuer to buy at par. Few bond issues permit the holder this option.
Putting things into perspective: How to hedge, using puts. How to speculate, using puts.

A put option has an inverse relationship to the underlying security. As the value of the stock increases, the value of the put decreases. Like calls, puts can be used for both hedging and speculation. Puts can be purchased in conjunction with stock ownership as a form of insurance (that is, a hedge) against downside loss on a stock. If the stock price declines, the put holder can either sell the put and keep the stock, or exercise the put and sell the stock at the put's strike price. In either case, the increased value of the option will offset the stock loss to some degree. If the stock price rises beyond a certain level, the put will expire worthless. In this case, the put holder will lose the premium paid for the option but will still participate in the upward stock movement. The break-even point occurs when the stock price advances beyond the put's strike price plus the premium. Puts also can be used speculatively without a position in the underlying security. Instead of selling a stock short, an investor who anticipates a decline in the price of a stock can buy an at-the-money put. If the stock price rises, causing the put to expire worthless, the maximum loss is the premium paid for the put. But if the stock price declines substantially, the investor could make profits that far exceed the initial cost of the put.

Henry Nothnagel, Senior Vice President—Options, Wachovia Securities, Inc., Chicago, IL


To force the seller of a put option to purchase shares of stock at the stipulated price. Puts are exercised by the owner only when the market price of the underlying stock is less than the strike price. Also called put to seller.
References in periodicals archive ?
But he had three more reactions - one was bad and he was really suffering so we made the decision to have him put to sleep.
A biopsy found that it was aggressive and was going to cause him a great deal of suffering so sadly he had to be put to sleep.
Sadly Basil had to be put to sleep in July after suffering a very aggressive throat tumour which wasn't related to the case.
featuring a dog that was hours from being put to sleep.
The more aggressive ones were put to sleep "in accordance with the health methods followed in this regard".
A JACKDAW has been put to sleep after becoming stuck to freshly painted rugby posts.
The female Staffordshire bull terrier had to be put to sleep after being found at the entrance of the Dogs Trust centre on Whiston Lane, Huyton, on Monday morning.
SWADDLING MAY INCREASE the risk of sudden infant death syndrome when babies are put to sleep on their side or stomach, according to a new study published in May in Pediatrics.
After at first appearing to recover, the four-year-old suffered renal failure and had to be put to sleep.
RSPCA Cymru says it was contacted last week after a male tabby cat was put to sleep on veterinary advice after he returned home to Abbey Court in Church Village extremely unwell and showing symptoms of poisoning.
A HORSE had to be put to sleep after it was rescued from deep mud in the Black Country.
Once again the cat was put to sleep after vets found high levels of anti-freeze in its system.