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Options can provide leverage.This means an option buyer can pay a relatively small premium for market exposure in relation to the contract value (usually 100 shares of underlying stock). An investor can see large percentage gains from comparatively small, favorable percentage moves in the underlying equity. Leverage also has downside implications. If the underlying stock price does not rise or fall as anticipated during the lifetime of the option, leverage can magnify the investment’s percentage loss. Options offer their owners a predetermined, set risk. However, if the owner’s options expire with no value, this loss can be the entire amount of the premium paid for the option. An uncovered option writer, on the other hand, may face unlimited risk.

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