Option Strategies

Covered Call

Remember in the basic options section we talked about the most basic scenario of buying a Call option and that doing so assigned certain rights to you as the buyer? We'll now we're ready to talk about the guy on the other side of the transaction. That is, the person selling the Call option.

Lets say you own 1000 shares of Bank of America (BAC). You bought it when it was $5/share. Now it is trading considerably above that. You've already made some money on paper and wouldn't mind selling it for a profit. Instead of just selling the stock you could sell options on that stock. Normally your opening transaction is a buy order, but in this case your opening transaction is to sell.
Strike Price
BAC May '09
$1.18 * 10 * 100 = $1,180
BAC May '09
$0.78 * 10 * 100 = $780

You would submit a "Sell to Open" order to create a short option position. Lets pick a strike price from the table above. The current market price is $9.10. and you think it is going to remain around this level for a short time so you decide to sell 10 Options for the $9 strike price. So now you are on the hook. You received the $1,180 up front. That's cash in your account, but remember you've just given someone the right to buy 1000 shares from you at $9/share. As long as you keep those 1000 shares of BAC you're fine.
Owning those 1000 shares is what makes this strategy a "Covered Call." Otherwise your brokerage firm would make sure you had sufficient money in your margin account to cover the cost of buying 1000 share at the market price and selling them to the option buyer at $9/share.
There are a few ways to get you off the hook.