It is important to always be aware of the strategy risks. The primary risk when placing a bull put spread is when the share price decreases past the sold put and an ever greater concern is if the share price decreases below the bought put (protection). Since you receive a premium to enter this trade there is a required margin. This margin can increase to as much as 1.2 times your maximum loss. For example if you were risk $2,000 the cash margin required in the account can increase to $2,400 (2000 *1.2) which includes the premium received. So it is important to know your maximum risk and make sure there are enough funds to cover the worst case scenario.
Another risk inherent with selling options is volatility. When you open the bull put spread you want the volatility to be high so you can sell the put options for as much value as possible. Once the trade is placed you want the volatility to drop off and time decay to kick in. So even if the share price stays still but volatility increases the position may not profit in the short-term. Increased levels in volatility mean to close out it will cost more to buy back the sold put. If the share price decreases below the sold put prior to expiry there is potentially a risk of exercise.
The main risk of credit spreads is the risk of being exercised. If the sold put is exercised it means that you are obligated to buy shares at the exercise price of the sold put. This can have a negative impact in terms of you have bought shares you do not own which means you need to sell them back at the lower level and therefore locking in a loss on the share position. If the share price is below the bought put (protection) when exercised then you can sell the put option which will reduce the loss from being exercised. It is still not possible to lose more than the maximum risk before entering the trade. Another disadvantage of being exercised is the brokerage on the share purchase and sale so it is a good idea to try an avoid exercise. To avoid being exercised you need to monitor your position and more importantly the delta on the sold put. If the share price is below the sold put an indication of the likelihood of being exercised can be identified by the delta. If the delta on the sold call is below -0.95 there is a chance being exercised. If the delta is below -0.98 then it is necessary to implement one of your exit strategies.
To avoid exercise there are two options. If you think the share price will keep decreasing you can close the trade for a loss. If you think you view is correct and the share price will rise from this level and want to keep the position you can roll out to the next month. What this means is you can close the positions you have an open the same position for the next month and do this for no cost or a small credit. Therefore if the share price then increases above the sold put by the next month you can still make maximum profit.
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