Understanding Intrinsic Value

Published at Feb 16, 2017, in Features

Understanding intrinsic value is very important to understanding the movements in option and spread prices over time writes Sam Green.

Intrinsic value represents how far in the money a particular option is; for call options, each cent the underlying share price is above the call’s strike is one cent of intrinsic value. For put options, each cent the underlying price is below the strike price is once cent of intrinsic value. Any residual value, i.e. the cost of the option minus intrinsic value, represents the amount of time value left in the trade. This time value will slowly decline as the option approaches expiry.

“In the Money”

Only trades that are “in the money” hold intrinsic value.

A call option is considered “in the money” if the share price is above the strike price. A put option is considered “in the money” if the share price is below the strike price of the option. When an option is “in the money”, it has “intrinsic value”. For call options, intrinsic value is the price of the underlying index or share, minus the strike price of the call. For put options, intrinsic value is the strike price of the put, minus the price of the underlying share or index.

It should be noted here that no matter what investment strategy is used, investors should seek professional financial advice for further information about those strategies and the stocks they are interested in.

Now let’s look at how it works.

If CBA on expiry is trading at $82.50 and you own a call option with a strike price of $82.00 your call option is “in the money” and has an “intrinsic value of $0.50. If the option price in the open market before expiry is valued at $0.70 the $0.20 difference is known as time value. On expiry one of two thing can happen if you own that call option:

  1. Sell the call option on the open market as it has value because of its “intrinsic value”, the selling price will be determined by the open market.
  2. The holder of the option can exercise their right and buy the stock at $82.00 “the strike price”.

If BHP on expiry is trading at $35.30 and you own a put option with a strike price of $36.00 your put option is “in the money” and has an “intrinsic value of $0.70. If the option price in the open market is valued at $1.00 the $0.30 difference is known as time value. On expiry one of two thing can happen if you own that put option:

  1. Being sell the put option on the open market as it has value because of its “intrinsic value”, the selling price will be determined by the open market.
  2. The holder of the option can exercise their right and sell the stock at $36.00 “the strike price” when the share is trading at $35.30.

“At the Money” or “Out of the Money”

Trades that are “At the Money” or “Out of the Money” hold no intrinsic value. That is not to say that the options are worthless. Rather, any value left in the option is purely time value, reflecting the probability of the underlying index or share price moving back into the money between now and the option’s expiry date. Therefore, this time value will decline over time as the option approached expiry. “At the Money” or “Out of the Money” options at expiry point will hold no value as both the intrinsic and time value components will be zero.

S3 Consortium Pty Ltd (CAR No.433913) is a corporate authorised representative of LeMessurier Securities Pty Ltd (AFSL No. 296877). The information contained in this article is general information only. Any advice is general advice only. Neither your personal objectives, financial situation nor needs have been taken into consideration. Accordingly you should consider how appropriate the advice (if any) is to those objectives, financial situation and needs, before acting on the advice.

Conflict of Interest Notice

S3 Consortium Pty Ltd does and seeks to do business with companies featured in its articles. As a result, investors should be aware that the Firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this article. Investors should consider this article as only a single factor in making any investment decision. The publishers of this article also wish to disclose that they may hold this stock in their portfolios and that any decision to purchase this stock should be done so after the purchaser has made their own inquires as to the validity of any information in this article.

Publishers Notice

The information contained in this article is current at the finalised date. The information contained in this article is based on sources reasonably considered to be reliable by S3 Consortium Pty Ltd, and available in the public domain. No “insider information” is ever sourced, disclosed or used by S3 Consortium.

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