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The American option is a widely utilized stock option that affords traders increased flexibility in exercising their option rights. The option characterized by a high degree of flexibility enables investors to capitalize on market price fluctuations and achieve enhanced profitability.

The distinction between an American-style option and a European-style option is significant. Both contract options possess distinct advantages and disadvantages, necessitating thoughtful consideration of one’s trading style and market navigation preferences to arrive at an optimal decision. An in-depth analysis of the American option shall now be undertaken, encompassing its definition, inherent advantages, illustrative examples, and additional pertinent details. 

What Exactly Is Meant by the Term “American Option”?

The American option is a variant of options contracts wherein traders can exercise their option rights at any point until the agreement’s expiration date. This particular option style enables traders to leverage market fluctuations to generate financial gains strategically.

As per the terms outlined in an American option contract, a trader possesses the right to purchase or sell an underlying asset at a predetermined price within the designated timeframe leading up to the expiration date. The trading options on a contract provide traders with a flexible time frame to exercise their rights.

Traders can exercise their rights either before or on the expiration date, provided they identify a price that is deemed profitable. Suppose the party in question chooses not to proceed. In that case, they may allow the contractual agreement to naturally reach its expiration, thereby avoiding any potential financial detriment associated with Trading at a loss.

Comparing the Benefits and Drawbacks of the American Option

The American option is widely recognized as a prominent trading option that offers investors heightened flexibility. However, it is essential to acknowledge that, as with any financial instrument, there are inherent advantages and disadvantages associated with its utilization. Below, you will find an objective analysis outlining the advantages and disadvantages related to engaging in trading activities involving the American option:

The advantages are as follows:

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  • The asset in question is listed on a formal exchange platform instead of being traded through informal channels, thereby facilitating the trading process.
  • Trading can be conducted at any given moment.
  • A widely embraced and readily available alternative
  • The inherent flexibility of this particular attribute enables the potential for increased earning capacity.

The disadvantages are as follows:

  • A notable premium elevation characterizes the pricing structure the entity implements.
  • The situation at hand presents a significant level of risk.
  • The buyer of the option may miss the potential for profits.
  • Formulating hedge strategies for it presents a considerable challenge.

When and How Investors Put Their “American Option” to Use

The American option provides traders a versatile temporal framework to execute their trades. The ability to engage in the purchase or sale of an underlying asset remains unrestricted until the contractual agreement reaches its expiration. This allows for the execution of the task at any juncture when a financially advantageous valuation is identified.

Frequently, traders refrain from exercising the option altogether, as it presents a more beneficial opportunity to retain the contract until its organic expiration. The correlation between the stock’s premium and its price is favorable. The trader can strategically leverage the augmented value through the early exercise of the American option.

What Are the American Call Option and American Put Option?

The American call option grants the contract holder the privilege to exercise their entitlement to receive the delivery of an underlying asset at any juncture throughout the contract. The delivery shall be executed at the previously established price. Notwithstanding those above, it is imperative to note that the holder bears no compulsion to solicit it, as they may exercise this prerogative solely at their discretion. The American put option gives the buyer the right to compel the seller to accept the delivery of the underlying security. The occurrence transpires when the value of the stock descends beneath the pre-established strike price. 

Pricing of American Options Based on the Binomial Model

The Binomial Model is a widely employed American option pricing formula that facilitates the assessment of options by utilizing a comprehensive numerical methodology. A series of iterative procedures were used throughout the duration, spanning from the inception of the contractual agreement to its termination. As indicated by its vocabulary, each iteration presents two potential outcomes: an upward movement or a downward movement.

The model is predicated upon assumptions regarding prospective effects derived from historical data, rendering it a user-friendly and straightforward tool. However, the matter becomes intricate when multiple periods are implicated. The model in question is widely utilized and considered more productive than the Black-Scholes model. In contrast, the binomial model facilitates viewing a spectrum of potential outcomes by a broader and more evenly distributed set of inputs.

Various Examples of the American Option

In the context of investment, it is not uncommon for an individual to purchase an American option contract. As an illustrative example, let us consider a scenario where said investor acquires a specific American option contract encompassing ten shares of a particular company. This acquisition is made at a premium price amounting to $50. The duration of the contractual agreement spans six months, while the designated strike price is set at $200.

The individual remits $500 as an aggregate premium and monitors the price fluctuations over the ensuing months. The valuation of the shares appreciates to $300 within five months. The trader decides to acquire the shares at the prearranged strike price of $200, subsequently executing a prompt sale at the prevailing market price of $300. The resultant disparity, after excluding the $500 premium, amounts to $1000 for a total of 10 shares.

If the price experiences a decline to $100 within the duration of the contractual agreement, the trader can exercise the right to procure the shares at the prevailing market price of $100 and subsequently divest them at the predetermined strike price of $200. Considering the premium, a net difference of $500 is obtained.


The American option is a widely utilized contractual option that grants traders the prerogative to exercise their trading privileges at any juncture throughout the contract, extending until the culmination of the expiration date. A trader can exercise their right prematurely, specifically on the expiration day, or allow the contract to naturally expire, thereby availing themselves of enhanced flexibility and potential for substantial earnings.

Traders must exercise caution and remain vigilant about the heightened risk associated with the potential for increased returns. Multiple methodologies can be employed to derive an American call option formula, thereby facilitating the acquisition of comprehensive insights to enable well-informed decision-making within the market.

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Nathan Boardman

By Nathan Boardman

Nathan Boardman, acclaimed Forex trader and author, specializes in market analysis, strategy development, and risk management. His insightful articles, published in Forex Profiles, empower readers to navigate the currency market successfully.

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