A stock option is essentially a contract that gives one party the right to purchase or sell a stated number of shares of a stock at a specified price. The price at which the shares may be purchased or sold is known as the strike or exercise price. The right to exercise lasts for a stated period of time, which may be months or years, until the expiration date. If not exercised on or before the expiration date, the option expires. Trading options can offer potential advantages and risks.
Stock option trading may be available to more advanced Merrill Edge self-directed investing clients who are willing to assume a very high level of risk. Options carry a high level of risk and are not suitable for all investors. Certain requirements must be met to trade options. Please read the options disclosure document titled "Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options" before considering any option transaction. Click here for the document. Separate client agreement is needed. Please note that you will also need to be pre-approved prior to implementing this strategy.
You should consult a qualified tax advisor as to how trading options may affect your tax situation.
Competitive Options Pricing
Learn more about our competitive options pricing.
Option Trading Tools and Resources
Our online option trading service offers sophisticated resources to help you select the products that may meet your needs:
- Options Finder with ability to save screening criteria to help you discover potential option trades
- Industry-leading research on underlying securities from BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, Standard & Poor's, Morningstar and more for expert opinions as you make your decisions
- Comparison tool to compare securities by performance, ratings, earnings and growth, and fundamentals
- Profiles display all of the details you need on one page for each stock
- Company announcements and up-to-the-minute news
- Live coverage of the broad market indices and expert analysis of recent economic reports
- Upgrades and downgrades on underlying securities from well-known analysts
- Index and sector performance tracked in real-time
- Alerts for price and volume changes, ratings changes, announcements, news and updates on underlying securities