If you're wondering "what is a put in stocks," then this post is for you. Here, we'll explain how puts work and when they might be useful to investors.

If you’re new to investing, you may have heard the term “put in stocks” and wondered what it means.

A put option gives the owner of the option the right, but not the obligation, to sell a security at a fixed price within a given time period.

In other words, it’s a way to protect yourself against potential losses if the stock price drops.

Here’s what you need to know about puts in stocks and how they can help you protect your investments.

What Is a Put?

A put is an options contract that gives the holder the right, but not the obligation, to sell a security at a specified price within a certain timeframe. Puts are often used as a form of insurance to protect against downside price movements in a stock.

For example, let’s say you own 100 shares of XYZ stock that you purchased for $50 per share.

You are worried that the stock might drop in value, so you decide to buy a put option that gives you the right to sell your shares at $50 per share anytime in the next month.

If the stock does drop in value, you can exercise your put option and sell your shares at the strike price of $50. This will allow you to avoid losses (or at least minimize them).

Puts can also be used to speculate on the future direction of a stock’s price. If you believe that a stock is going to drop in value, you can buy a put option and hope to sell it at a higher price later on.

Whether you are using puts as insurance or as a speculation tool, it is important to remember that there is always the potential for loss.

If the stock does not drop in value, you will not be able to exercise your put option and will lose the premium that you paid for the option.

The Gist: Puts can be used as insurance against downside price movements or to speculate on future stock prices.

How do Puts Work?

When you buy a put, you are buying the right to sell a stock at a certain price within a certain time frame. If the stock price falls below the put’s strike price, you can sell the stock at the strike price and make a profit.

Puts are a way to protect your portfolio from a decline in stock prices, and they can also be used to make money if you think a stock’s price will fall. To use a put, you first need to find a stock that you think is going to fall in price.

Then you need to buy a put option on that stock. The put option gives you the right to sell the stock at a certain price (the strike price) within a certain time frame (before the expiration date).

If the stock price falls below the strike price, you can exercise your put option and sell the stock at the strike price. This will give you a profit equal to the difference between the strike price and the stock’s actual price.

For example, let’s say you buy a put option on XYZ stock with a strike price of $50. This means you have the right to sell XYZ stock at $50 anytime before the expiration date.

If the stock price falls to $40, you can exercise your put option and sell the stock at $50. You will make a profit of $10 per share.

If the stock price doesn’t fall below the strike price, you can let the option expire, and you will lose the premium you paid for the put option. Puts are a great way to protect your portfolio from a decline in stock prices.

They can also be used to make money if you think a stock’s price will fall.

The Gist: Puts are a way to make money from a decline in stock prices by selling the stock at a strike price.

When Might You Use a Put?

In your 20s, you might be just starting to invest. And while there are a lot of different strategies and terms out there, one thing you might come across is a put.

So, what is a put?

A put is basically a contract between two parties. The buyer of the put has the right, but not the obligation, to sell an asset at a certain price within a certain timeframe.

The seller of the put, meanwhile, has an obligation to buy the asset at that price if the buyer decides to exercise their option.

Why might you use a put?

Well, let’s say you’re bullish on a particular stock. You think it’s going to go up in the short-term, but you’re not sure about the long-term.

You could buy a put to protect yourself in case the stock does drop in value. Or, let’s say you’re bearish on a stock.

You think it’s going to go down, but you’re not ready to short it just yet. You could buy a put as a way to bet on the stock going down.

There are a lot of different ways to use a put, but these are just a few examples. If you’re thinking about using a put, make sure you do your research and understand the risks involved.

The Gist: A put is a contract between two parties that gives the buyer the right to sell an asset at a certain price.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Puts

Advantages and disadvantages of using puts. When it comes to investing in stocks, there are a lot of different strategies that people can use.

Some people prefer to buy stocks and hold onto them for a long period of time, while others trade stocks frequently in an attempt to make quick profits.

One strategy that some investors use is known as “puts.” A put is basically a contract that gives the holder the right, but not the obligation, to sell a certain stock at a set price within a certain period of time.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to using puts.

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons:

Advantages:

1. Puts Can Help to Protect Your Portfolio from a Sudden Drop in the Stock Market.

If you are worried about a particular stock or the market in general, buying a put can help to hedge your bets.

2. Puts Can Also Be Used to Generate Income.

If you sell a put, you are essentially agreeing to buy a stock at a lower price. If the stock price does not fall to that level, you get to keep the premium that the put buyer paid.

3. Puts Can Be Used to Speculate on a Stock Price Decline.

If you think a stock is overpriced and due for a fall, buying a put gives you the opportunity to profit from that decline.

Disadvantages:

1. Puts Can Be Expensive.

The price of a put is influenced by a number of factors, including the stock price, the strike price, the time until expiration, and the volatility of the underlying stock.

2. Puts Can Be Complicated.

If you don’t understand how puts work, you could end up losing a lot of money.

3. Puts Are Not a Perfect Hedge.

While they can help to protect your portfolio from a sudden drop in the stock market, they will not completely eliminate the risk. Overall, puts have both advantages and disadvantages.

You need to carefully consider whether or not buying a put is the right move for you.

The Gist: Puts can help protect your portfolio from a sudden drop in the stock market, but they are not a perfect hedge.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Put

You’re essentially betting that the price of the security will go down.

Before you buy a put, there are a few things you need to consider:

1. What Is Your Motivation for Buying the Put?

Are you trying to protect your portfolio from a potential decline in the market?

Or are you trying to speculate on a particular stock that you think is going to go down in value?

2. What Is Your Time Frame?

Are you looking to hold the put for a short period of time, or are you willing to hold it for longer?

3. What Is Your Risk Tolerance?

Buying a put is a risky investment, so you need to make sure you’re comfortable with the potential for losses.

4. What Is the Price of the Put?

Puts are priced at a premium, so you need to make sure you’re comfortable with the price you’re paying.

5. What Is the Strike Price?

The strike price is the price at which you can sell the security. Make sure you’re comfortable with the strike price before you buy the put.

6. What Is the Expiration Date?

The expiration date is the date at which the put expires. Make sure you’re comfortable with the expiration date before you buy the put.

7. What Is the Underlying Security?

The underlying security is the security that you’re buying the put on. Make sure you’re comfortable with the underlying security before you buy the put.

8. What Is the Market for the Underlying Security?

The market for the underlying security is the market where the security is traded. Make sure you’re comfortable with the market before you buy the put.

9. What Is the Liquidity for the Underlying Security?

The liquidity for the underlying security is the ability to buy and sell the security. Make sure you’re comfortable with the liquidity before you buy the put.

10. What Is the Volatility for the Underlying Security?

The volatility for the underlying security is the amount of price movement for the security. Make sure you’re comfortable with the volatility before you buy the put.

The Gist: Puts are a risky investment, so make sure you know what you’re doing before you buy one.

FAQs About What Is a Put in Stocks?

What is a stock put example?

A stock put example is when an investor buys a put option on a stock. This gives the investor the right to sell the stock at a certain price, known as the strike price, within a certain time period.

How do you make money on puts?

A put in stocks is an options contract that allows the holder to sell a certain number of shares of the underlying stock at a set price within a specified time period.

The buyer of the put option hopes the stock will fall below the strike price before the expiration date, so they can sell the shares at a higher price than what they paid.

Why would you buy a put option?

A put option is a contract that gives the holder the right, but not the obligation, to sell a security at a specified price within a certain time frame.

The buyer of a put option believes that the underlying stock will fall below the strike price before the expiration date.

Is buying a put the same as shorting?

No, buying a put is not the same as shorting. Shorting is when you sell a security you do not own and hope to buy the same security back at a lower price so you can profit.

Buying a put is an options strategy where you pay for the right to sell a security at a certain price within a certain time frame.

Summary

Puts can be used as insurance against potential losses or to speculate on expected stock price declines.

While they can be helpful for investors, puts also come with risks and should be understood before being used in your portfolio.

About the author

Chris Muller picture
Total Articles: 231
Chris has an MBA with a focus in advanced investments and has been writing about all things personal finance since 2015. He’s also built and run a digital marketing agency, focusing on content marketing, copywriting, and SEO, since 2016. You can connect with Chris on Twitter.