Glossary

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Look up the meaning of hundreds of trading terms in our comprehensive glossary.

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  • Keep the powder dry
    To limit your trades due to inclement trading conditions. In either choppy or extremely narrow markets, it may be better to stay on the side lines until a clear opportunity arises.
  • Kiwi
    Nickname for NZD/USD (New Zealand dollar/US dollar).
  • Knock-ins
    Option strategy that requires the underlying product to trade at a certain price before a previously bought option becomes active. Knock-ins are used to reduce premium costs of the underlying option and can trigger hedging activities once an option is activated.
  • Knock-outs
    Option that nullifies a previously bought option if the underlying product trades a certain level. When a knock-out level is traded, the underlying option ceases to exist, and any hedging may have to be unwound.
  • Knockout options

    A knockout option is a type of option that will automatically expire if its underlying market hits a specific price level. This sets a cap on the potential risk associated with the options trade.

    Knockout options can be bought for a smaller premium than an equivalent option without a knockout condition because they limit the profit potential for the option buyer. As such, knockout options limit both potential losses and profits.

    Types of knockout options

    There are two main types of knockout options, up-and-out barrier options and down-and-out options.

    • Up-and-out option

      An up-and-out barrier option will give the holder the right to buy or sell an underlying asset at a specific strike price if it doesn’t exceed the price barrier during the option’s lifetime. It gets knocked out if the cost of the underlying asset moves above the barrier.

      Suppose an investor buys an up-and-out put stock option with a strike price of $30 and a barrier of $51. Over the option’s life, the stock hits a high of $52 but drops to $30.

      The option automatically expires because the $51 barrier got breached. If the stock hadn’t gone above $51 and eventually sold off to $30, then the option remains in place with value to the owner.

    • Down-and-out option

    A down-and-out option gives the owner the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an underlying asset at a pre-set strike price, but only if the underlying asset’s price doesn’t fall below the specific barrier during the option’s life.

    If the underlying asset price falls below the barrier during the option’s life, the option expires and becomes worthless.

    Let’s imagine an investor purchases a down-and-out call stock option with a strike price of $45 and a barrier of $40. If the stock trades below $40 before the call option expires, then the down-and-out call option ceases to exist.

    The investor loses the premium they paid for the option, but nothing else.