Rajandran R Creator of OpenAlgo - OpenSource Algo Trading framework for Indian Traders. Telecom Engineer turned Full-time Derivative Trader. Mostly Trading Nifty, Banknifty, High Liquid Stock Derivatives. Trading the Markets Since 2006 onwards. Using Market Profile and Orderflow for more than a decade. Designed and published 100+ open source trading systems on various trading tools. Strongly believe that market understanding and robust trading frameworks are the key to the trading success. Building Algo Platforms, Writing about Markets, Trading System Design, Market Sentiment, Trading Softwares & Trading Nuances since 2007 onwards. Author of Marketcalls.in

Constructing a Delta-neutral strategy

7 min read

A delta-neutral strategy is an investment strategy in which the overall delta of a portfolio is zero, meaning that the portfolio is not exposed to changes in the price of the underlying asset. Delta is a measure of the sensitivity of an option’s price to changes in the price of the underlying asset.

In options trading, a delta-neutral strategy involves constructing a portfolio of long and short options and/or the underlying asset in such a way that the net delta of the portfolio is zero. This can be achieved by holding a combination of options with different deltas, such as a short a call option (negative delta) and short a put option (positive delta). By balancing the deltas of the options in the portfolio, the overall portfolio remains neutral to changes in the price of the underlying asset.

Delta-neutral strategies can be used by investors to reduce risk, generate income, or take advantage of market volatility. However, it is important to note that delta-neutral strategies do not completely eliminate risk, and they require ongoing monitoring and management to maintain delta-neutrality.

Why Option Sellers Prefer Delta Neutral Trading Strategies

Option sellers often prefer delta-neutral trading strategies because they can generate income and reduce risk. Delta-neutral strategies involve constructing a portfolio of long and short options and/or the underlying asset in such a way that the net delta of the portfolio is zero. This means that the overall portfolio is not exposed to changes in the price of the underlying asset.

By selling options, option sellers can collect the premium paid by the option buyer. This premium represents the option seller’s potential profit. However, option sellers also face the risk of potentially unlimited losses if the underlying asset moves against them.

Delta-neutral strategies can help option sellers reduce this risk by balancing the deltas of the options in the portfolio. For example, an option seller could sell a call option (negative delta) and sell a put option (positive delta). This would create a delta-neutral position that is not exposed to changes in the price of the underlying asset.

Option sellers may also use delta-neutral strategies to take advantage of market volatility. By selling options with high implied volatilities, option sellers can generate income from the time decay of the options. However, it is important to note that delta-neutral strategies do not completely eliminate risk, and they require ongoing monitoring and management to maintain delta-neutrality.

Understanding Option Positions Vs Option Greeks Signs

Option Greeks are measures of the sensitivity of the price of an option to various factors, such as the underlying asset’s price, time to expiration, volatility, and the risk-free interest rate. Here is a table that shows the relationship between options positions (long or short) and the signs of the most common option Greeks:

Option PositionDeltaGammaThetaVega
Long callPositivePositiveNegativePositive
Short callNegativeNegativePositiveNegative
Long putNegativePositiveNegativePositive
Short putPositiveNegativePositiveNegative

A positive sign for an option Greek indicates that the option’s price will increase if the corresponding factor increases, while a negative sign indicates that the option’s price will decrease if the corresponding factor increases.

For example, a long call option has a positive delta, which means that the option’s price will increase if the underlying asset’s price increases. A short call option, on the other hand, has a negative delta, which means that the option’s price will decrease if the underlying asset’s price increases.

It is important to note that the signs of the option Greeks depend on the direction of the option’s position (long or short) and the underlying asset’s price. The signs may be different for options with different strike prices or expiration dates. Option Greeks are useful tools for evaluating and managing the risk of options positions, but they should be used in conjunction with other risk management techniques.

Understanding Delta-Neutral Strategy with a Simple Example

Assuming that Nifty Spot is trading at 18191 and Nifty 25th Jan 2023 Futures at 18299, and that the implied volatility is 14.98, the following table illustrates how a delta neutral strategy could be constructed using the options positions of a 25th Jan 2023, 17300PE at Rs 42 points premium and a 25th Jan 2023, 19000CE at Rs40.5:

OptionStrike PricePremiumDeltaNet Delta
25th Jan 2023, 17300PE1730042-0.13-0.13
25th Jan 2023, 19000CE1900040.50.130.13
0

In this example, the delta of the 25th Jan 2023, 17300PE is negative (-0.13), which means that the option’s price will decrease if the underlying asset’s price increases. The delta of the 25th Jan 2023, 19000CE is positive (0.13), which means that the option’s price will increase if the underlying asset’s price increases. The net delta of the overall portfolio is zero, indicating that the portfolio is not exposed to changes in the price of the underlying asset.

Delta Neutral – Payoff Graph

Popular Delta Neutral Trading Strategy

There are several popular delta-neutral strategies that investors may use in options trading:

  1. Short straddle: This strategy involves selling both a call option and a put option with the same strike price and expiration date. The short straddle generates income through the sale of the options, but it also exposes the investor to unlimited potential losses if the underlying asset moves significantly in either direction.
  2. Short strangle: This strategy involves selling a call option with a higher strike price and a put option with a lower strike price, both with the same expiration date. The short strangle generates income through the sale of the options, but it also exposes the investor to unlimited potential losses if the underlying asset moves significantly in either direction.
  3. Short iron condor: This strategy involves selling a call option and a put option with a higher strike price, and buying a call option and a put option with a lower strike price. The resulting position has a limited profit potential and a limited risk of loss, but it requires a narrow price range for the underlying asset in order to be profitable.
  4. Short butterfly: This strategy involves selling a call option and a put option with a middle strike price, and buying a call option and a put option with higher and lower strike prices. The short butterfly has a limited profit potential and a limited risk of loss, but it requires a narrow price range for the underlying asset in order to be profitable.
  5. Short calendar spread: This strategy involves selling an option with a shorter expiration date and buying an option with a longer expiration date. The short calendar spread generates income through the time decay of the short option, but it also requires the underlying asset to remain within a narrow price range in order to be profitable.

Steps to implementing a Delta hedging strategy

Identify the underlying asset and options to use in the portfolio:

The first step in implementing a delta hedging strategy is to choose the underlying asset and options that will be included in the portfolio. This may involve selecting a specific stock, index, or another financial instrument, as well as identifying the appropriate options contracts to use.

Determine the desired delta neutrality level:

The next step is to determine the desired level of delta neutrality for the portfolio. This may involve setting a specific target delta value, or it may involve setting a range within which the delta of the portfolio should remain.

Construct the portfolio by buying and selling options and/or the underlying asset:

Once the underlying asset and options have been selected, the next step is to construct the portfolio by buying and selling options and/or the underlying asset. This may involve buying call options, selling put options, or a combination of both. It may also involve buying or selling the underlying asset, depending on the desired level of delta neutrality.

Monitor and adjust the portfolio as needed to maintain delta neutrality:

The final step in implementing a delta hedging strategy is to continuously monitor the portfolio and make adjustments as needed to maintain delta neutrality. This may involve buying or selling options, rolling options positions to different strike prices or expiration dates, or buying or selling the underlying asset.

What is Delta Neutral Rebalancing?

Delta-neutral rebalancing is the process of adjusting a delta-neutral portfolio in order to maintain delta neutrality. Delta-neutral portfolios are constructed in such a way that the overall delta of the portfolio is zero, meaning that the portfolio is not exposed to changes in the price of the underlying asset.

Traders may need to rebalance a delta-neutral portfolio in order to maintain delta neutrality as the value of the options in the portfolio changes over time. This can happen due to changes in the price of the underlying asset, time to expiration, volatility, or the risk-free interest rate. If the delta of an option changes significantly, it can shift the overall delta of the portfolio away from zero, which can expose the portfolio to risk.

Delta-neutral rebalancing involves adjusting the portfolio by adding or removing options or the underlying asset in order to bring the overall delta back to zero. This may involve buying or selling options, or rolling options positions to different strike prices or expiration dates.

Delta-neutral rebalancing can be an important part of risk management for traders who use delta-neutral strategies. By maintaining delta neutrality, traders can reduce the risk of the portfolio being exposed to changes in the price of the underlying asset. However, it is important to note that delta-neutral strategies do not completely eliminate risk, and they require ongoing monitoring and management to maintain delta-neutrality.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind when implementing a delta hedging strategy:

  1. The underlying asset’s price, time to expiration, and volatility: The price, time to expiration, and volatility of the underlying asset can all affect the delta of options, and therefore impact the effectiveness of a delta hedging strategy. It is important to carefully consider these factors when selecting the underlying asset and options for the portfolio.
  2. The cost of trading options and the underlying asset: The cost of trading options and the underlying asset can impact the overall profitability of a delta hedging strategy. It is important to consider the fees and commissions associated with buying and selling options and the underlying asset, as well as any other costs such as margin requirements.
  3. The tax implications of options trades: Options trades can have different tax implications depending on the specific circumstances of the trade and the trader’s tax situation. It is important to be aware of the potential tax consequences of options trades and to consult with a tax professional if necessary.
  4. The potential for counterparty risk: When trading options, there is a risk that the counterparty to the trade (typically the option seller) will not fulfill their obligations under the contract. This is known as counterparty risk. It is important to carefully consider the potential for counterparty risk when implementing a delta hedging strategy, and to take steps to mitigate this risk if necessary.

What is Delta Neutral Arbitrage?

Delta neutral arbitrage is an investment strategy that involves taking advantage of mispricings in the options market in order to generate a risk-free profit. This is typically done by constructing a delta neutral portfolio that consists of a combination of long and short options positions, and then taking advantage of discrepancies in the prices of the options to generate a profit.

For example, consider a situation where the market price of a call option is higher than the price that can be obtained by selling a put option with the same underlying asset, strike price, and expiration date. An investor could take advantage of this mispricing by buying the call option and selling the put option, creating a delta-neutral portfolio. If the market prices of the options converge to their fair values, the investor could realize a profit without being exposed to changes in the price of the underlying asset.

Delta neutral arbitrage can be a complex and sophisticated investment strategy that requires a deep understanding of options pricing and market dynamics. It also requires the ability to identify mispricings in the options market and to quickly execute trades in order to capture the profit opportunity. As with any investment strategy, it is important to carefully consider the risks and potential rewards before implementing a delta-neutral arbitrage strategy.

Delta-Neutral Automation

Delta-neutral algorithms are computer programs that are designed to trade options in such a way as to maintain a delta-neutral portfolio. Delta-neutral algorithms are often used by market makers and other professionals who seek to take advantage of market volatility or generate income from options premiums without being exposed to changes in the price of the underlying asset.

Delta-neutral algorithms work by continuously monitoring the prices of options and the underlying asset, and executing trades as needed to maintain delta neutrality. This may involve buying or selling options, or rolling options positions to different strike prices or expiration dates.

Delta-neutral algorithms can be complex and sophisticated, and they typically require a high level of expertise in options pricing and market dynamics. They also require access to sophisticated trading platforms and the ability to execute trades quickly in order to take advantage of market opportunities. As with any investment strategy, it is important to carefully consider the risks and potential rewards before implementing a delta-neutral algorithm.

Rajandran R Creator of OpenAlgo - OpenSource Algo Trading framework for Indian Traders. Telecom Engineer turned Full-time Derivative Trader. Mostly Trading Nifty, Banknifty, High Liquid Stock Derivatives. Trading the Markets Since 2006 onwards. Using Market Profile and Orderflow for more than a decade. Designed and published 100+ open source trading systems on various trading tools. Strongly believe that market understanding and robust trading frameworks are the key to the trading success. Building Algo Platforms, Writing about Markets, Trading System Design, Market Sentiment, Trading Softwares & Trading Nuances since 2007 onwards. Author of Marketcalls.in

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13 Replies to “Constructing a Delta-neutral strategy”

  1. dear rajendran,

    u r doing v good job. thanks and wish u all success in yr life.

    I need to know the afl code for stock d & k as mentioned in the 5 day chart. if u can send me that by my email [email protected]

    thanks in advance
    pravin
    mob 9979471784

  2. Sir Please Constructing Delta-neutral strategy on NIFTY FUTUR with Example.
    Rajandran sir I need to know delta-neutral strategy and example with NIFTY FUTURE please send me on my email.

  3. When Delta Neutral Position is created, then your Position of delta is zero. So how to make profit out of it?

  4. I did paper trading today to see what you mentioned above is right. But it did not follow so. Here is the data. Nifty Fut was 7650 @ 12 noon on 7/8/14 and the 7650 PE was 88.50 with a Delta of -0.43. When the nifty future moved to 7669 @ 13.30 Pm today, the 7650 PE fell down to 76.10. So calc. would be as follows;

    1. Nifty Future profit – 7669 – 7650 = Rs. 19 Profit * (1 lot or 50 shares) = Rs. 850/= Profit
    2. 7650 PE Loss – 76.10-88.85 = Rs.12.75 Loss * (2 lots of Nifty to neutralize delta) = Rs. 1275/= Loss
    3 Net loss = Rs. 425/ =

    Please comment.

  5. Uday, This delta neutral strategy is positional and you need to hold for few days. this is definitely not for 90 ( 12.00 to 1.30) minutes trading. you need to stay calm for few days then the time volatility will automatically reduce the premium of Option and then you will start seeing PROFITS. Prasanna.

  6. I am planning to trade in nifty options from next month using Delta Neutral Strategy. But instead of Shorting any option at some strike price and buying the same at another strike price, I am planning to short both put and call options. For example if Nifty is trading at 8300 I will sell put option at strike price say 7900/7800 and also sell call option at strike price say 8700/8800 and try to earn full premium amount at the time of expiry assuming hopefully that nifty doesn’t cross either strike price. Please tell me will this strategy work? Also inform me what precautions should I take?

    1. Hi MukesSabharwalh,
      If I’m not wrong this sound like Short Strangle. Of course it works.
      High Implied Volatility is good when initiating Short Strangle Trades
      and Timedecay is your friend….

      huge risk on both sides (if underlying makes a big moves).

      Instead prefer IronCondor.

      Mahender

  7. Dear Sir,

    I want to know how to protect my sell option. I am comfortable with option selling . So if i sort any call option with delta less than 0.5 then how i can protect my loss in case the underlying increases and due to that delta increases . I want to know about strategy to minimise my risk with put sell and future call . Looking forward for your response.I have seen your description above but not able to formulate. So request you to please explain as mentioned in my subject.

    Regards

    Nitesh Kumar

  8. Sir how would it be good if I short in the money put and call options. like if market is 9300 I will sell 10000 put and 8600 call. what happens till expiry in different situations. Waiting for your fast reply sir.

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