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Protective Call (Synthetic Long Put) Vs Short Box (Arbitrage) Options Trading Strategy Comparison

Compare Protective Call (Synthetic Long Put) and Short Box (Arbitrage) options trading strategies. Find similarities and differences between Protective Call (Synthetic Long Put) and Short Box (Arbitrage) strategies. Find the best options trading strategy for your trading needs.

Protective Call (Synthetic Long Put) Vs Short Box (Arbitrage)

  Protective Call (Synthetic Long Put) Short Box (Arbitrage)
Protective Call (Synthetic Long Put) Logo Short Box (Arbitrage) Logo
About Strategy The Protective Call strategy is a hedging strategy. In this strategy, a trader shorts position in the underlying asset (sell shares or sell futures) and buys an ATM Call Option to cover against the rise in the price of the underlying. This strategy is opposite of the Synthetic Call strategy. It is used when the trader is bearish on the underlying asset and would like to protect 'rise in the price' of the underlying asset. The risk is limited in the strategy while the rewards are unlimited. How to use a Protective Call trading strategy? The usual Protective Call Strategy looks like as below for State Bank of India (SBI) Shares which are currently traded at Rs 275 (SBI Spot Price): Protective Call Orders - SBI Stock Orde... Read More Short Box is an arbitrage strategy. It involves selling a Bull Call Spread (1 ITM and I OTM Call) together with the corresponding Bear Put Spread (1 ITM and 1 OTM Put), with both spreads having the same strike prices and expiration dates. The short box strategy is opposite to Long Box (or Box Spread). It is used when the spreads are overpriced with respect to their combined expiration value. This strategy is the combination of 2 spreads (4 trades) and the profit/loss calculated together as 1 trade. Note that the 'total cost of the box remain same' irrespective to the price movement of underlying security in any direction. The expiration value of the box spread is actually the difference between the strike prices of the options involved. ... Read More
Market View Bearish Neutral
Strategy Level Beginners Advance
Options Type Call + Underlying Call + Put
Number of Positions 2 4
Risk Profile Limited None
Reward Profile Unlimited Limited
Breakeven Point Underlying Price - Call Premium

When and how to use Protective Call (Synthetic Long Put) and Short Box (Arbitrage)?

  Protective Call (Synthetic Long Put) Short Box (Arbitrage)
When to use?

The Protective Call option strategy is used when you are bearish in market view and want to short shares to benefit from it. The strategy minimizes your risk in the event of prime movements going against your expectations.

Being risks free arbitrage strategy, this strategy can earn better return than earnings in interest from fixed deposits for any investor. The earning from this strategy varies with the strike price chosen by the trader. i.e. Earning from strike price '10400, 10700' will be different from strike price combination of '9800,11000'.

The short box strategy should be used when the component spreads are overpriced in relation to their expiration values. In most cases, the trader has to hold the position till expiry to gain the benefits of the price difference.

Note: If the spreads are underpriced, another strategy named Long Box (or Box Spread) can be used for a profit.

This strategy should be used by advanced traders as the gains are minimal. The brokerage payable when implementing this strategy can take away all the profits. This strategy should only be implemented when the fees paid are lower than the expected profit.

Market View Bearish

When you are bearish on the underlying but want to protect the upside.


The market view for this strategy is neutral. The movement in underlying security doesn't affect the outcome (profit/loss). This arbitrage strategy is to earn small profits irrespective of the market movements in any direction.

  • Sell Underlying Stock or Future
  • Buy ATM Call Option

  • Buy Call Option 2
  • Sell Call Option 1
  • Buy Put Option 2
  • Sell Put Option 1 (2>1)

Say for XYZ stock, the component spread is relatively overpriced than its underlying. You can execute execute Short Box strategy by selling 1 ITM Call and 1 ITM Put while buying 1 OTM Call and 1 OTM Put. There is no risk of loss while the profit potential would be the difference between two strike prices minus net premium.

Breakeven Point Underlying Price - Call Premium

When the price of the underlying is equal to the total of the sale price of the underlying and premium paid.

Compare Risks and Rewards (Protective Call (Synthetic Long Put) Vs Short Box (Arbitrage))

  Protective Call (Synthetic Long Put) Short Box (Arbitrage)
Risks Limited

The maximum loss is limited to the premium paid for buying the Call option. It occurs when the price of the underlying is less than the strike price of Call Option.

Maximum Loss = Call Strike Price - Sale Price of Underlying + Premium Paid


The Short Box Spread Options Strategy is a relatively risk-free strategy. There is no risk in the overall position because the losses in one spread will be neutralized by the gains in the other spread.

The trades are also risk-free as they are executed on an exchange and therefore cleared and guaranteed by the exchange.

The small risks of this strategy include:

  1. The cost of trading - Some brokers charges high brokerage/fees, which along with the taxes could make the overall loss-making trade.
  2. The box spread can be liquidated by an offsetting transaction easily and transparently on an exchange with minimal loss/profit.
Rewards Unlimited

The maximum profit is unlimited in this strategy. The profit is dependent on the sale price of the underlying.

Profit = Sale Price of Underlying - Price of Underlying - Premium Paid


The reward in this strategy is the difference between the total cost of the box spread and its expiration value. Being an arbitrage strategy, the profits are very small.

It's an extremely low-risk options trading strategy.

Maximum Profit Scenario

Underlying goes down and Option not exercised

Maximum Loss Scenario

Underlying goes down and Option exercised

Pros & Cons or Protective Call (Synthetic Long Put) and Short Box (Arbitrage)

  Protective Call (Synthetic Long Put) Short Box (Arbitrage)

Minimizes the risk when entering into a short position while keeping the profit potential limited.

  1. In short box, you are taking money in, so there's no capital tied up.
  2. This is an Arbitrage strategy. This strategy is to earn small profits with very little or zero risks.

Premium paid for Call Option may eat into your profits.

  1. It's a professional strategy and not for retail investors. The opportunities are closely monitored by High-Frequency algorithms. These arbitrage opportunities are usually for the high-frequency algorithms and need large pools of money to make it worth it and usually with better brokerage commission schemes.
  2. This strategy has high margin maintenance requirements and in many cases, the trader won't have the margin available to do that.
  3. For retail investors, the brokerage commissions don't make this a viable strategy. Only low-fee traders can take advantage of this.
  4. In theory, this strategy sounds good but in reality, it may not as profits are small.
  5. Locking the box - Trader has to wait until to expiry by keeping the money stuck in the box.
Simillar Strategies Long Put


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