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Is there an understood way of determining how far out the money an option can be, before it starts/stops responding to the underlying asset price changes?

I usually look at the greeks, gamma, delta, theta and volatility to determine how an options price will change, but a certain many strikes out of the money (low gamma and low delta), the option will no longer increase or decrease with the underlying asset price, and instead only be affected by volatility and time decay

the greeks clearly explain and illuminate how this phenomena is supposed to happen, but this behavior is different for different assets, and not the same.

One stock, for instance, may have options 10 strikes out of the money that do not experience pricing fluctuations with the underlying asset, while another stock may have options 20 strikes out of the money that reply very actively to the pricing of the underlying asset

is there a way to determine, by just looking at an option chain, how many standard deviations out of the money that the options price will increase / decrease one:one with the underlying assets fluctuations?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

At a high level, just look at the delta. If it's so close to zero that it won't shift the price of the option by a penny, then you could say, "the option no long responds to the price of the underlying" Any price it has more or less a function of theta and vega only.

In practice however, depending on the model you use, delta has some volatility input. To answer your question to find the particular strike where the price of the option only responds to volatility, simply goal seek(or iterate starting from the at-the-money strike) until delta is within some tolerance (e.g. absolute value of delta < .01) while inputting a constant for volatility(and ttm etc..), and using strike price as your only dynamic variable.

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