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Selling Call Options without Owning Stock
Options traders often profit from selling call options without owning stock. In this variety of uncovered options trading the trader believes that the price of the equity underlying the options contract will remain the same or fall in price. The trader receives a premium for selling the call contract. This is his profit so long as the buyer does not exercise the contract. If the price of the equity rises sufficiently the trader will exercise the option in order to buy the equity. When this happens the seller needs to purchase the stock at the current market price. However, he will sell it to the buyer at the strike price of the contract. He will lose money on the difference. In such a case of selling call options without owning stock the loss for the seller is the difference between the market price and the strike price plus fees and commissions. If the equity rises significantly in price the trader can lose a lot of money when selling call options without owning stock. That having been said, sellers of options tend to make more money than buyers of options over the long term.