A long put option added to long stock insures the stock’s value. The choice of strike prices determines where the downside protection ‘kicks in’. If the stock stays strong, the investor still gets the benefit of upside gains. (In fact, if the short-term forecast brightens before the put expires, it could be sold back to recoup some of its cost.) However, if the stock falls below the strike, as originally feared, the investor has the benefit of several choices.
One option is to exercise the put, which triggers the sale of the stock. The strike price sets the minimum exit price. If the long-term outlook has turned bearish, this could be the most prudent move.
If the worst seems to be over, an alternative for still-bullish investors is to keep the stock and sell the put. The sale should recoup some of the original premium paid, and may even result in a profit. If so, it in effect lowers the stock’s cost basis.
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