LEAP stock options have more than six months until expiration. They can have a lifespan of up to three years, and they expire in January. The option exchanges list new LEAPS in June. The name originates from Long-term Equity AnticiPation Securities. As the name implies, the options are designed for investors who have a long-term horizon. The options are very expensive on a dollar basis, and the probability that the stock will move past the strike price in a three-year period is very high. These options carry a huge time premium component and they move rather slowly relative to the underlying stock. The Delta of an option measures the dollar change of an option relative to a one dollar change in the underlying stock. For at the money LEAPS, the Delta is relatively low. Buying LEAP calls is a good investment strategy when the market is in the beginning stages of a long-term bullish cycle. Some investors like buying shares of stock and selling LEAP options against the shares. This is a long-term covered call and it produces consistent returns and a decent yield relative to other fixed income alternatives. The key is in the stock selection. Very consistent stocks with a stable history are well-suited for this approach.
November 11, 2008