Option screener

An option screener is a tool that evaluates options based on criteria and generates a list of potential trading ideas. Most people who trade options are technical traders. It essentially means they look for patterns in charts. Also they use statistical correlations and deviations and give them greek names like alpha beta theta gamma. Technical analysis can be very useful, but very few professional money managers would dare use it by itself. It's counterpart, fundamental analysis, similarly uses some math to generate ratios, but the inputs and outputs are much more tangible (e.g. income, revenue, assets).

Overview

Options, particularly exchange-traded options, are highly volatile securities whose market prices can change rapidly. In addition, the number of options in a market can be large. For instance, as of October 2006, there are over 185,000 individual equity option contracts, written on nearly 3,000 underlying stocks, that are listed on the various U.S. options exchanges. Each contract is typically listed on multiple exchanges, resulting in nearly 1,000,000 separate option prices that all change in real-time.

Screening criterion

Being able to isolate option plays that appeal to a specific trader is a vital component of a useful option screener. To do this, the option screener needs to allow the trader to define filters that narrow down the ideal options based upon what the trader deems important. Typical filters include, but are not limited to:

List of popular screeners

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