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Options Chains

How to search for option chains

Option chains let you see important information on multiple options for an underlying security. More on option chains.

To find option chains for a security, enter the following info:

  1. Enter the underlying security's ticker symbol into the symbol field
  2. Select from the chain type drop down list
  3. Select an expiration date drop down list (if available)
  4. Make a selection from the option range drop down list
  5. If you're interested in "non-standard options", click the checkbox
  6. Click View to get your results

If option chains are available for the symbol you've entered, you get the security's Options tab page. You'll get a message for securities that don't offer options.

Please note: Options trading involves risk and isn't suitable for every investor. Before investing in options, please read the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options.

How to use Option Chains

Option chains are a great way to check out the information on options for an underlying security. To find option chains for a security, enter information on your options into the option chain form.

The option chain's title area includes the underlying symbol, the expiration month, the number of days to expiration, and a quote of the underlying security's last price.

Quote information provided for each option in the chain includes the following information depending on the view selected):

  • Symbol – the security symbol
  • Last – the last price of the option (delayed)
  • Change – the price change since the previous market close
  • Bid – the price the buyer would like to pay
  • Volume – the number of contracts traded during that session
  • Ask – the price the seller would like to sell at
  • Open Interest – the number of outstanding contracts held in the market
  • Strike – the price at which the underlying security may be bought or sold when the option holder exercises the option

Actions that can be taken from an option chain include:

  • Symbol link – allows you to see more details on this option
  • Strike Price link – displays all options at that strike price for all months available
  • Stacked View – displays the options with calls on top and puts below
  • Straddle View – displays the option chains with calls and puts on either side of the strike price
  • Trade Link – takes you to a location to enter your options order

In-the-Money: this indicates the option has intrinsic value, which means it has value in the market. In general, a call option is in the money if the underlying security is trading higher than the strike price of your option; a put option is in the money if the underlying security price is below the strike price (more on In-the-Money).

Please note: Options trading involve risk and isn't suitable for every investor. Before investing in options, please read the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options.

What are Non-Standard Options?

Traditionally, a non-standard options contract is created when a standard options contract gets adjusted due to a merger, acquisition, spin-off, large dividend payment, or another similar corporate action of the underlying security. Investing in non-standard contracts can have greater risk than standard options contracts.

Non-standard options have a different root symbol than regular options. This means you'll see more than one call or put option at each strike price within a given month.

Note that for non-standard options, the In-the-Money designation shown in the option chains, may or may not apply, depending upon the adjusted contract terms. It may be necessary to complete a more complex calculation that takes into account the adjusted underlying deliverables to determine whether these non-standard options are in-the-money.

Non-standard options are also called "adjusted options", "complex options", "options with an adjusted contract", "options with non-standard deliverables" or "options with complex deliverables".

Please note: Options trading involves risk and isn't suitable for every investor. Before investing in options, please read the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options.

What does "in-the-money" mean?

The In-The-Money calculation method used within the option chains is basic. It simply compares the strike price of the option with the last price of the underlying security.

For a call option, the option is in-the-money when the market price of the underlying security is at or above the option's strike price.

For a put option, the option is in-the-money when market price of the underlying security is at or below the option's strike price.

Please note: Options trading involves risk and isn't suitable for every investor. Before investing in options, please read the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options.