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Author: joelcorley Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 1203  
Subject: Re: Options in trouble Date: 12/3/2012 4:36 PM
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bertjay33,

You wrote, I'm a rookie at options, and need advice. I have puts for December 22 on Microsoft and on National Oilwell Varco. In both cases, the stock price has dropped below the price where I can break even.

My questions: Should I cut my losses and get out of these puts, and if so how? Or should I let them take their course and acquire the stocks for their dividends or future growth?


You want actionable advice on a specific investment? I don't think anyone's crystal ball is that good. You need to weigh the pros and cons and make your own decision.

As for, I'm a rookie at options, and need advice. I have puts for December 22 on Microsoft and on National Oilwell Varco. In both cases, the stock price has dropped below the price where I can break even.

Perhaps I don't understand. If you "have puts", why do you think that a put taking its course will result in you acquiring the stock? If you bought a put, an exercise will result in you selling (short?) shares to whomever wrote the put at the strike price. If the current price is below the strike, you are in the money - you should be able to sell shares below the current market price. If that is your position and you're worried the share price will go back up, I'd close the position by selling the puts. In this case the put is moving in your favor.

If what you meant instead was that you SOLD cash-covered puts and the stock price has fallen, then you basically have the same problem as if you had purchased the stock at the strike price back when you purchased option contract. Do you cut your losses and close out the contract? Or is it still a good investment? In either case, you've incurred the loss in your account and the real question has nothing to do with how to deal with the option - it's a question of whether or not underlying security is still a good investment. And if you sold a cash-secured put for a security you didn't originally want to own, then I think you were crazy for writing the put in the first place... (What I mean is your opinion about the stock could certainly change over time; but you shouldn't have pulled the trigger on a cash-secured put unless you were willing to buy the stock at that time.)

- Joel
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