Problem 1.7. Suppose that you write a put contract with a strike price of $40 and an expiration date in three months. The current stock price is $41 and the contract is on 100 shares. What have you committed yourself to? How much could you gain or lose? You have sold a put option. You have agreed to buy 100 shares for $40 per share if the party on the other side of the contract chooses to exercise the right to sell for this price. The option will be exercised only when the price of stock is below $40. Suppose, for example, that the option is exercised when the price is $30. You have to buy at $40 shares that are worth $30; you lose $10 per share, or $1,000 in total. If the option is exercised when the price is $20, you lose $20 per share, or $2,000 in total. The worst that can happen is that the price of the stock declines to almost zero during the three-month period. This highly unlikely event would cost you $4,000. In return for the possible future losses, you receive the price of the option from the purchaser. Problem 1.21. “Options and futures are zero-sum games.” What do you think is meant by this statement? The statement means that the gain (loss) to the party with the short position is equal to the loss (gain) to the party with the long position. In aggregate, the net gain to all parties is zero. Problem 1.30 The price of gold is currently $1,000 per ounce. The forward price for delivery in one year is $1,200. An arbitrageur can borrow money at 10% per annum. What should the arbitrageur do? Assume that the cost of storing gold is zero and that gold provides no income. The arbitrageur should borrow money to buy a certain number of ounces of gold today and short forward contracts on the same number of ounces of gold for delivery in one year. This means that gold is purchased for $1000 per ounce and sold for $1200 per ounce. Assuming the cost of borrowed funds is less than 20% per annum this generates a riskless profit. Problem 2.3. Suppose that you enter into a short futures contract to sell July silver for $17.20 per ounce. The size of the contract is 5,000 ounces. The initial margin is $4,000, and the maintenance margin is $3,000. What change in the futures price will lead to a margin call? What happens if you do not meet the margin call? There will be a margin call when $1,000 has been lost from the margin account. This will occur when the price of silver increases by 1,000/5,000 $0.20. The price of silver must therefore rise to $17.40 per ounce for there to be a margin call. If the margin call is not met, your broker closes out your position. Problem 2.10. Explain how margins protect investors against the possibility of default. A margin is a sum of money deposited by an investor with his or her broker. It acts as a guarantee that the investor can cover any losses on the futures contract. The balance in the margin account is adjusted daily to reflect gains and losses on the futures contract. If losses are above a certain level, the investor is required to deposit a further margin. This system makes it unlikely that the investor will default. A similar system of margins makes it unlikely
that the investor’s broker will default on the contract it has with the clearing house member and unlikely that the clearing house member will default with the clearing house. Problem 2.11. A trader buys two July futures contracts on frozen orange juice. Each contract is for the delivery of 15,000 pounds. The current futures price is 160 cents per pound, the initial margin is $6,000 per contract, and the maintenance margin is $4,500 per contract. What price change would lead to a margin call? Under what circumstances could $2,000 be withdrawn from the margin account? There is a margin call if more than $1,500 is lost on one contract. This happens if the futures price of frozen orange juice falls by more than 10 cents to below 150 cents per pound. $2,000 can be withdrawn from the margin account if there is a gain on one...
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