Long and Short Positions

The two sides of a transaction that two or more parties enter to make a deal, maybe within the next few weeks

An investor can take two positions when trading assets: long positions and short positions. In addition, an investor has two options: sell an asset or purchase it. Unfortunately, the two forms of options, call and put, significantly complicate long and short positions. 

Long And Short Positions

Investors have the option of engaging in a long put, long call, short put, or short call. Additionally, a trader or investor can create intricate trading and hedging strategies by combining long and short positions.

Long and short positions are the two sides of a transaction that two or more parties enter to make a deal, maybe within the next few weeks. Then, to sell the shares to another investor, the investor borrows them from the investment firm in this procedure. 

To lend money to an investor, companies can have many shares in hand or borrow from other businesses. However, an investor does return the borrowed shares. 

The primary goal is to sell the stock for more money than it is worth today and later purchase it back at that lower price.

Long Positions

A long investor (buying) a stake anticipates a price increase. A price increase will be profitable for an investor holding a long investment. 

Long term And Short term

An investor who acquires a call option is said to be in a long call position. Therefore, a long call also profits from an increase in the underlying asset's value.

The purchase of a put option constitutes a long put position. The "long" component of the put makes sense the same way as the long call does. 

When the value of the underlying asset decreases, the value of a put option increases. With a decline in the underlying asset, a long put gains value.

Long term

Long Position profits

The purchase price represents the possible downside or loss in a lengthy asset transaction. Here, the benefits are endless. On the other hand, the drawbacks are more complicated for long calls and puts.

Short Positions

The complete opposite of a long position is a short position. The investor profits from a decline in the security price. It's a little trickier to execute or open a brief place than it is to buy the asset.

Long term And Short term

With a short stock position, the investor expects to make money if the stock price declines. This is accomplished by borrowing a certain number of shares from a stockbroker and then selling the stock at the going rate. 

The investor now has an open position with the broker for X shares that must be closed in the future. 

If the price falls, the investor can buy X shares lower than the total price at which they previously sold X shares. Their benefit is the extra money.

Many investors find it challenging to understand the idea of short selling, but it's a pretty straightforward procedure.

The previous investor establishes a short position, and selling the stock is known as short selling.

He sells the stock by borrowing it with the belief that the price of these shares will fall, and he would benefit by purchasing them back at a lower price later.

The highest profit for the short-selling individual is the difference between the stock price when the temporary position was taken and zero.

As a result, the maximum profit an investor may gain via short-selling is guaranteed. At the same time, the most significant probable loss from a short-selling deal is unknown in advance.

A short position is an excellent strategy for an investor who understands the strategy's risk and reward.

By theory, the investor is attempting to capitalize on information that is not readily available in the market and is certainly not under the prevailing opinion.

Example of Short Position

Assume the investor borrows and shorts the shares at their initial trading price of $90. The share price then climbed to $105, defying investors' expectations that it would fall.

The loss can be calculated as

For $27,000, the investor borrows and sells 300 shares at $90 each. The 2% broker fee on $27,000 is $540, and the investor is left with $26,460. The price rises to $105 per share, and the investor buys back 300 shares for $31,500.

The 2% broker fee of $31,500 is $630, which leaves the investor with $30,870. 

The loss on the transaction is $4,410 ( $26,460 - $30,870 ).

Since it takes a lot of confidence between the investor and broker to lend shares to execute the short sale, short stock positions are usually offered to authorized investors.

In reality, even if the short is performed, the investor is sometimes obliged to give the broker a margin deposit or security in return for the lent shares.

Other Short Position

When an investor "writes" or sells a call option, a short call position is created. The opposite of a long call is a short call position. If either the call's value or the value of the underlying asset declines, the writer will profit from the temporary call position.

Short term

Investors who write a put option engage in a short put position. If the put's value decreases or the underlying value rises over the option's strike price, the writer profit from work.

In contrast, a short position refers to a circumstance in which a trader sells the security or commodity, intending to repurchase it later at a lower price. 

Long positions are essentially those in which a trader buys security, stock, currency, or commodity with the anticipation of making a profit.

1. Long Position: Buy Low, Sell High

Buying shares of an asset with the expectation that its value will rise over time is known as taking a long position in that asset. Using this method, one purchases stocks at a discount and then sells them for a profit.

After researching the company's solid fundamentals and growth, let's consider that Mr. Z decided to buy 100 shares of stock in Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A).

Mr. Z purchases 100 shares at a closing price of $90 per share. The total worth of the shares is 100 * $90 = $9000.

One year later, with a hike of $7 per share, the price is $97 per share. So the value of Mr. Z's investment would be 100 * $97 = $9700.

The gain of $700 will be booked in the extended position by Mr. Z using the Buy low Sell high concept.

Line chart visuals

2. Short Position: Sell High, Buy Low

It is a strategy used by investors who anticipate that the value of an asset will drop temporarily.

derivative swap can carry out short bets on other assets. If the underlying asset fails or defaults, the issuer of a credit default swap, for instance, will pay the buyer a certain amount. Before attempting to include them in their trading strategy, an experienced investor will understand the benefits and drawbacks of each specific sort of long and short position.

What Is the Difference Between a Long and Short Position?

Analysts and market makers frequently use the terms "long positions" and "short positions" when discussing stocks and options.

Difference Between a Long Position and a Short Position?

Though "long" and "short" can mean various things in economic contexts, long and short positions here relate to the equities an investor needs to own rather than their length.

Long and short positions have significantly different connotations when an investor employs options contracts in an account. 

An investor has the right to sell or purchase the securities from the other investor at a specific price; purchasing or holding a call or put option constitutes an extended position.

A short position is created by selling or writing a call or put option because the writer must either purchase or sell shares from the person holding the extended position or the option buyer.

Long term And Short term

For example, 

An individual buys Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) call option from a call writer for $90.50, and the writer shorts the call. 

The strike price on the option is $185.00. If Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) trades above $303.70 on the market, there is value in exercising the option.

The writer gets the premium payment of $90.50 but is obligated to sell Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) at $185.00 if the buyer exercises the contract before expiry. 

The call buyer (who is long) has the right to buy the shares at $185.00 before expiration and will do so if the market value of Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is more significant than $270.50 ($185.00 + $90.50 = $270.50).

Understanding Long-position and Short-Position

Further understanding the two positions:

1. Long position

A long position indicates that the investor has purchased and acquired the stock shares. On the other hand, a short place suggests that the investor owes someone money for those stocks but does not yet possess them.

For instance, an investor is considered long if he has 100 shares of Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) stock in his portfolio. This investor has fully paid for the cost of owning the shares.

Long term And Short term

2. Short Position

Using Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) as an example, an investor who sold 100 shares of the company but did not own them is said to have short 100 shares.

The investor is requested to deposit more cash or securities to raise the margin account's minimum maintenance margin.

At settlement, the short investor owns 100 shares and must repay the debt by getting the shares from the market to deliver.

To make the delivery, the short investor frequently borrows the shares from a brokerage house in a margin account. 

The investor then purchases the shares at a lower price to repay the dealer who lent them in anticipation that the stock price will decline. However, the short seller can face a margin call from their broker if the price doesn't drop and instead keeps rising.

When an investor's account value drops below the minimum value needed by the broker, a margin call is issued.

Key Takeaways

  • A long position in stocks denotes the investor's purchase and ownership of stock.
  • On the other hand, the investor with a short position owes shares to a third party but has not yet purchased any.
  • Purchasing or holding a call or put option is a long position in options; the investor has the right to buy or sell to the writing investor at a specific price.
  • The opposite is true when writing or selling a call or put option; in this case, the writer must sell to or buy from the person holding the long position or who purchased the option.
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Researched and authored by Akhilesh Jagtap | LinkedIn

Reviewed and Edited by Parul Gupta | LinkedIn

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