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Use Volatility In Your Favor With Robinhood Options Trading In April, Volatility Index VIX Hit Highest Mark

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By Meg Flippin, Benzinga

Thanks to their large upside potential, many seasoned traders choose to trade options to play the markets. Fintechs like Robinhood have made accessing the market easier for seasoned traders to fine-tune their strategies, building based on their trading level.

With inflation remaining stubborn, the markets appearing to be waiting for the Federal Reserves next move on interest rates and the U.S. about to enter what is expected to be a polarizing presidential election, volatility has been high. In April, the VIX Index which Wall Street uses to gauge volatility in the market hit its highest level since late October 2023, when the Israel-Hamas conflict began. Year-to-date, the VIX Index is up more than 12%.

Options Abound With Options Trading

While volatility may scare buy-and-hold investors, for active options traders, some look at it as an opportunity. After all, with options trading, investors can engage in a variety of diverse strategies that have the potential to work in all sorts of market conditions, whether it's speculating stocks will go up or down based on their bearish and bullish outlooks. Options are also cheaper than buying shares outright, creating leverage, which means the gains on your investment could be amplified as can losses. However, options expire, and you can lose your entire investment in a short period of time. Some strategies present a potential for substantial or even unlimited losses.

Then there are the hedging capabilities that come with options, which can help mitigate the dangers of high-risk, high-reward instruments. If an investor is worried a stock is going to fall they can purchase puts that enable them to sell the stock at a strike price, regardless of where the stock falls prior to expiration of the option. The same cant be said of stocks. If shares tank, you dont have any downward protection other than to sell and limit your losses. However, if the stock goes up or doesnt move prior to expiration, the option will expire worthless and the loss is equal to the premium paid.

Leveling The Playing Field For Options Investors

Accessing options trading is getting even easier thanks to Robinhoods trading platform. Not only do customers get access to options but also advanced charts, including the ability to track and modify technical indicators such as moving average, relative strength index and moving average convergence divergence. Furthermore, there are no contract fees.*

Other powerful features of Robinhoods platform include the ability to save and monitor options contracts to see hypothetical returns and options rolling in which you can seamlessly adjust and extend your positions. And lets not forget 24-hour support. If you have a question on your option strategy even in the wee hours of the morning, Robinhood has you covered.

Even retirement accounts and cash account holders can trade options with Robinhood. The same cant be said of some of Robinhoods rivals.

Robinhoods efforts to improve access are not surprising. For some time now, the company has been on a mission to level the playing field when it comes to investing by providing access to an array of investment and retirement products, keeping costs down and commissions at zero (other fees apply). Take Robinhood Gold for one example. Gold subscribers get 5% APY on uninvested cash in their brokerage account, a 1% boost on brokerage transfers and instant deposits.

None of this is lost on options traders, which is why that part of Robinhoods business is growing, and options traders are taking note. Robinhood is making moves to grow its market share even more. We want to be number one in the active trader market. So active traders are very important for us, Robinhood CEO Vladimir Tenev said in a recent interview. They care about very specific things like performance, pricing, user experience. And we're making lots of investments there both in the user experience and in new product innovations that other competitors don't offer, 24-hour market being a great example there.

Options trading is growing in popularity as regular retail investors learn its virtues. Robinhood wants to be a leader in the space and is pulling out all the stops to achieve that.

If you are interested in trading options and want to do so at a low cost with all the support you need, then check out Robinhoods offering here.

Featured photo by Nicholas Cappello on Unsplash.

Benzinga is a leading financial media and data provider, known for delivering accurate, timely, and actionable financial information to empower investors and traders.

This post contains sponsored content. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.


*There are no contract fees charged directly by Robinhood. However Robinhood does pass through certain fees charged by securities regulators and exchanges.

Commission-free trading of stocks, ETFs and options refers to $0 commissions for Robinhood Financial self-directed individual cash or margin brokerage accounts that trade U.S. listed securities and certain OTC securities electronically. Keep in mind, other fees such, Gold subscription fees, wire transfer fees, and paper statement fees may apply to your brokerage account. Please see Robinhood Financial's Fee Schedule to learn more.

Options trading entails significant risk and is not appropriate for all customers. Customers must read and understand the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before engaging in any options trading strategies. Options transactions are often complex and may involve the potential of losing the entire investment in a relatively short period of time. Certain complex options strategies carry additional risk, including the potential for losses that may exceed the original investment amount.

Robinhood Financial does not guarantee favorable investment outcomes. The past performance of a security or financial product does not guarantee future results or returns. Customers should consider their investment objectives and risks carefully before investing in options. Because of the importance of tax considerations to all options transactions, the customer considering options should consult their tax advisor as to how taxes affect the outcome of each options strategy. Supporting documentation for any claims, if applicable, will be furnished upon request.

Rolling options does not ensure a profit or guarantee against a loss. An investor may also end up compounding their losses. By rolling out, the duration is extended, which can also increase risks as there's more time for the underlying security's price to move unfavorably.

One of the key downsides of options vs stocks is that options contracts expire over time. For puts, If the stock price is at or above the strike price, the option expires worthless, and you can lose the money you paid for the options contract.

Risk of VIX options:

The prices of VIX options can fluctuate significantly and thus increase the risk for investors.

The VIX is a synthetic value that is calculated on the basis of option prices. Investors who invest in VIX options should therefore be aware of the special features of this asset class.

In some market situations, the VIX and thus also the prices of VIX options may not move in the expected direction. This means that in some cases VIX options may not help to reduce the risk of a portfolio, but rather increase it.

VIX options generally have a term of only a few months and are therefore more suitable for short-term trading.

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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Marketwise Analytics journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.