Definition of LEAPS

Financial Terms Beginning with L

What are Long-Term Equity Anticipation Securities (LEAPS)

Long-term equity anticipation securities (LEAPS) represent a unique investment opportunity within the world of options trading, as they are publicly traded option contracts with expiration dates extending beyond one year. With a longer time horizon as compared to standard options, LEAPS allow investors to gain exposure to prolonged price changes in the underlying financial instruments, such as stocks or indices. Introduced in 1990, LEAPS were initially sold as derivative instruments for stock trading, extending options on securities and assets for up to two years.

Advantages of LEAPS

LEAPS offer several advantages for investors. One of the primary advantages of LEAPS is the lower time decay (theta) as compared to shorter-term options. This means that the option's value decreases at a slower rate as it approaches its expiration date. By providing an extended timeframe, these options will better allow investors to speculate on long-term market movements or hedge against potential risks associated with their stock or index holdings. Furthermore, the longer expiration dates may appeal to both long-term investors and traders who are interested in leveraging the potential benefits of options contracts, with less time-sensitive pressure than standard options.

Challenges of LEAPS

LEAPS can also present challenges for investors. They may be more expensive than shorter-term options due to their longer time to expiration, which means that investors must weigh the potential benefits against the higher upfront cost. Additionally, LEAPS may have lower liquidity as compared to shorter-term options, which could impact the bid-ask spread and make entering or exiting positions more challenging.

Types of LEAPS

In addition to equity LEAPS, index LEAPS are also available, enabling investors to trade, hedge or invest in the entire stock market or specific industry sectors over a longer time frame. These options can be utilized to take bullish or bearish positions on the entire market. They can also be an effective tool for investors looking to hedge their investments against adverse market moves.

Option Premium on LEAPS

One important aspect to consider when investing in LEAPS is the premium, which tends to be higher than standard contracts due to the extended expiration dates. However, the longer timeframe also provides investors with greater flexibility to sell their options before the expiration date, either over-the-counter (OTC) or on an options exchange.

Why Purchase LEAPS

LEAPS can also be used as an alternative to purchasing stocks, allowing investors to use less capital while still benefiting from potential gains in the underlying shares. Moreover, LEAPS can be employed to hedge long-term holdings or portfolios with less risk and they provide longer-term traders with exposure to the markets.

Final Thoughts on LEAPS

In summary, long-term equity anticipation securities (LEAPS) are a distinctive investment option within the realm of options trading, offering extended expiration dates for investors who seek to speculate on long-term market movements or hedge against potential risks. With higher premiums and greater flexibility, LEAPS can be a valuable addition to an investor's portfolio, providing exposure to both equity and index markets over an extended time frame.

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Related Investment Terms

Call Option

Exercise Price

Put Option

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