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

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

Synthetic Call Vs Short Box (Arbitrage)

  Synthetic Call Short Box (Arbitrage)
Synthetic Call Logo Short Box (Arbitrage) Logo
About Strategy A Synthetic Call strategy is used by traders who are currently holding the underlying asset and are Bullish on it for the long term. But he is also worried about the downside risks in near future. This strategy offers unlimited reward potential with limited risk. The strategy is used by buying PUT OPTION of the underlying you are holding for long. If the price of the underlying rises then you make profits on holdings. If it falls then your loss will be limited to the premium paid for PUT OPTION. 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 Bullish 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 + Put Premium

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

  Synthetic Call Short Box (Arbitrage)
When to use?

A Synthetic Call option strategy is when a trader is Bullish on long term holdings but is also concerned with the associated downside risk.

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 Bullish

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.

  • Buy Underlying
  • Buy Put Option

The strategy is used by buying PUT OPTION of the underlying you're holding for long. If the price of the underlying rises then you make profits on holdings. If it falls then your loss will be limited to the premium paid for PUT 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 + Put Premium

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

  Synthetic Call Short Box (Arbitrage)
Risks Limited

Maximum loss happens when price of the underlying moves above strike price of Put.

Max Loss = 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

Maximum profit is realized when price of underlying moves above purchase price of underlying plus premium paid for Put Option.

Profit = (Current Price of Underlying - Purchase 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 up

Maximum Loss Scenario

Underlying goes down and option exercised

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

  Synthetic Call Short Box (Arbitrage)

Provides protection to your long term holdings.

  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.

You can incur losses if underlying goes down and the option is exercised.

  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 Married Put


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