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8 Best Stocks for Options Trading

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 5/16/2024 19 min read

Options trading offers a dynamic approach to the stock market, providing investors with strategies for profit, regardless of market direction. By leveraging options, traders can manage risk effectively, maximize returns through leverage, and hedge against market volatility. The best stocks for options trading often feature high liquidity, substantial volatility, and significant market capitalization, ensuring that options contracts can be bought and sold with minimal slippage.

Read this article for a rundown of the best stocks for options trading, guiding you in leveraging market volatility and liquidity to your advantage.

I’ll answer the following questions:

  • What are options and how do they work?
  • Why is liquidity important in options trading?
  • What factors make a stock good for options trading?
  • How can Tesla’s volatility benefit options traders?
  • What role do earnings reports play in options trading strategies?
  • How does market sentiment affect options trading?
  • What are some examples of high volatility stocks good for options trading?
  • How do product launches and corporate announcements impact stock options?

Let’s get to the content!

Table of Contents

What Are Options?

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Options are contracts that give the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy (call options) or sell (put options) a stock at a predetermined price (strike price) before a specified date (expiration). This financial instrument is crucial in the stock market as it provides flexibility and leverage, allowing traders to speculate on future price movements or hedge existing positions.

Examples of options include:

  • Call Options: Allow the holder to buy a stock at a set price within a specific timeframe.
  • Put Options: Permit the holder to sell a stock at a predetermined price within a designated period.

I don’t trade options — I leave it to pros like tech entrepreneur and trader Ben Sturgill. His Spyder webinars are the product of more than 2 decades of experience in the market and a unique technology, and they’re well worth checking out.

Check out the webinar here to see why Ben’s smart-money scanner has been going haywire lately!

Why Liquidity Is Important in Options Trading

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Liquidity in the options market is vital because it affects the ease with which options can be traded and the pricing of those options. High liquidity means tighter bid-ask spreads and more efficient execution of trades, which is essential for minimizing costs in fast-moving markets.

Day trading options can make the most of liquidity and volatility in the stock market. This approach requires an understanding of short-term market movements and the ability to act quickly on opportunities as they arise. Day trading with options involves specific strategies designed to capitalize on daily fluctuations, making it a fit for traders who prefer fast-paced, high-stakes trading environments. For effective strategies, check out my day trading options guide.

8 Best Stocks for Options Trading

This curated list of stocks is specifically tailored for options traders, focusing on factors such as liquidity, volatility, and market capitalization which are crucial for profitable options trading. Each stock listed here offers unique opportunities based on its market behavior, industry sector, and the specific trading dynamics associated with its options volume.

Before you send in your orders, take note: I have NO plans to trade these stocks unless they fit my preferred setups. This is only a watchlist.

The best traders watch more than they trade. That’s what I’m trying to model here. Pay attention to the work that goes in, not the picks that come out.

Sign up for my NO-COST weekly watchlist to get my latest picks!

1. Tesla (TSLA)

Tesla’s stock is notoriously volatile, which significantly enhances the attractiveness for options traders. This volatility reflects the rapid changes in price levels that can lead to high profit potential from options trading.

  • Innovation Announcements: New vehicle launches or updates to existing models often lead to large price movements.
  • Regulatory Changes: Adjustments in government policy regarding electric vehicles can affect stock price.
  • Earnings Reports: Tesla’s quarterly financial disclosures are pivotal moments for traders, as unexpected results can cause substantial price shifts.
  • Market Sentiment Fluctuations: Shifts in investor sentiment, often driven by Elon Musk’s public statements, frequently impact TSLA’s stock price.

2. Nvidia (NVDA)

Nvidia’s groundbreaking advancements in graphics processing units (GPUs) and AI technology make it a standout in the tech sector. These factors are crucial for options traders considering the direct impact of technological innovations on stock volatility.

  • New GPU Releases: Launches of new or improved GPUs can significantly affect stock prices.
  • AI Development Milestones: Breakthroughs in AI applications using Nvidia technology often lead to increased stock valuation.
  • Strategic Partnerships: Collaborations with major tech firms can influence investor perceptions and stock volatility.

3. Apple (AAPL)

Apple’s market performance is marked by remarkable consistency and stability, making it a favored stock among options traders. The predictable nature of its product release cycles and the solid financial foundation offer a balanced risk-reward scenario for options trading.

  • Product Launches: New product announcements, especially iPhones, can cause significant market movement.
  • Corporate Announcements: Major changes in corporate strategy or leadership are closely watched by traders.
  • Dividend Announcements: Changes in dividend payouts can influence stock price movements.

4. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)

AMD has been a rising star in the semiconductor industry, experiencing significant volatility, which presents lucrative opportunities for options trading. Its rapid growth and the frequent market-moving news provide continuous trading opportunities.

  • New Chip Technologies: Introduction of advanced processing technologies can drive stock prices up or down.
  • Significant Contracts: Announcements of new supply deals with major tech companies often lead to positive price adjustments.

5. Amazon.com (AMZN)

Amazon’s dominance in e-commerce and its significant presence in cloud computing make it a pivotal stock for options traders. Its large market cap and high transaction volume facilitate substantial options trading activities.

  • Expansion into New Markets: Entering new geographical markets often results in stock price volatility.
  • Acquisitions: Amazon’s acquisitions can redefine its competitive landscape and affect stock prices.

6. Palantir Technologies (PLTR)

Palantir operates within the high-stakes world of big data analytics, and its stock is subject to high volatility, which is ideal for options trading. Government contracts and large-scale data analysis projects can lead to sudden shifts in stock valuation.

  • Government and Big Data Contracts: New or renewed government contracts can significantly impact stock prices.
  • Strategic Alliances: Partnerships with large corporations for data analysis projects are critical for stock performance.

7. Marathon Digital Holdings (MARA)

Marathon Digital’s role in cryptocurrency mining ties its stock performance to the highly volatile crypto market, creating unique options trading opportunities.

  • Crypto Market Fluctuations: Changes in Bitcoin prices can dramatically impact MARA’s stock.
  • Regulatory News: Announcements regarding cryptocurrency regulations can lead to quick and significant price changes.

8. Microsoft (MSFT)

Microsoft’s consistent growth and strong position in the software and cloud sectors make it a staple for options traders looking for stability combined with sufficient market movement.

  • New Product and Service Expansions: Launches of new products or major updates to existing services, like Azure, can influence stock prices.
  • Corporate Growth Strategies: Announcements related to strategic plans or earnings outcomes can provide opportunities for options trading.

Key Factors to Consider When Selecting Stocks for Options Trading

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Choosing the right stocks for options trading involves a careful analysis of various market and company-specific factors. The aim is to maximize profits while managing the inherent risks associated with options trading.

You’ll need a broker — Robinhood is one of the most popular. Options trading on Robinhood provides a streamlined, user-friendly interface that makes it accessible even for those new to options. This platform allows you to engage with options trading seamlessly, leveraging market movements more effectively with minimal fees. If you are interested in incorporating options into your trading strategy using Robinhood, learn more about how to navigate options trading on this platform.

Do Some Research

Thorough market research is foundational in options trading. Understanding the intricacies of the options market, including the specific behaviors of different stocks, helps in crafting effective trading strategies.

  • Market Analysis Tools: Utilize tools like technical analysis software or financial news aggregators to stay informed.
  • Historical Data Review: Look at past performance as a guide for future movements.

Choose the Liquidity Factor

Liquidity is crucial as it impacts the ease with which options can be bought and sold. High liquidity in both the stock and its options ensures that orders are filled at optimal prices without significant slippage.

  • Trading Volume: Higher volumes typically indicate better liquidity.
  • Market Presence: Stocks with a strong presence in the market generally offer better liquidity.

Keep Track of Implied Volatility

Implied volatility is a key metric in pricing options. Understanding how it influences option prices can significantly impact the success of your trading strategies.

  • Volatility Tracking Tools: Use software that can monitor and analyze volatility trends.
  • Volatility Indexes: Refer to indexes that measure market volatility to gauge potential price movements.

Identify Upcoming Events that Impact Stock Prices

Events such as earnings announcements, product launches, and regulatory changes can cause significant price movements, affecting the profitability of options trades.

  • Corporate Calendars: Keep an eye on scheduled events that could impact stock prices.
  • News Alerts: Set up alerts for real-time news that could affect your trading decisions.

Stick to Your Watchlist

Maintaining a focused watchlist helps in monitoring and reacting quickly to opportunities in the stocks best suited for your trading strategies.

  • Selection Criteria: Develop criteria based on liquidity, volatility, and market capitalization to refine your watchlist.
  • Regular Updates: Continuously review and adjust your watchlist based on market conditions and individual stock performance.

Determine Your Investment Objective

Your investment objective should guide your options trading strategy, whether you’re looking to generate income, engage in speculation, or use options for hedging purposes.

  • Income Generation: Focus on options strategies that provide regular income, such as selling covered calls.
  • Speculation: Engage in strategies that capitalize on expected stock movements, like buying calls or puts.
  • Hedging: Use options to protect other positions in your portfolio from adverse price movements.

Options trading can be great for traders with smaller accounts, as it requires less capital compared to traditional stock trading. It allows traders to leverage a relatively small amount of capital to potentially generate substantial returns. Understanding the specific strategies that can be utilized in small account trading can significantly enhance your ability to succeed in this area. For detailed strategies and tips on managing small trading accounts effectively, explore how to maximize your trades with a small account.

Key Takeaways

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  • Options Trading Flexibility: Options provide unique opportunities to profit from market movements in ways not possible with traditional stock trading.
  • Selection Criteria Importance: Selecting the right stocks based on liquidity, volatility, and other relevant factors is crucial for successful options trading.
  • Strategic Approaches Required: Effective options trading requires a strategic approach tailored to your specific financial goals and market conditions.
  • Continuous Learning and Adaptation: Staying informed and adaptable in response to market changes enhances your ability to succeed in options trading.

Trading isn’t rocket science. It’s a skill you build and work on like any other. Trading has changed my life, and I think this way of life should be open to more people…

I’ve built my Trading Challenge to pass on the things I had to learn for myself. It’s the kind of community that I wish I had when I was starting out.

We don’t accept everyone. If you’re up for the challenge — I want to hear from you.

Apply to the Trading Challenge here.

Trading is a battlefield. The more knowledge you have, the better prepared you’ll be.

What stocks do you have on your options trading watchlist? Let me know in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Options Trading Better Than Stocks?

Options trading offers more flexibility and higher potential returns compared to traditional stock trading, but it also comes with higher risk. The ability to leverage your investment with options can result in significant profits, but losses can be equally dramatic if not managed properly.

Can You Get Rich From Options Trading?

While options trading has the potential for substantial profits, it requires a sophisticated understanding of the markets and sound risk management practices. Success in options trading is achievable, but it demands diligence, research, and a well-thought-out strategy.

Which Option Is Best for Day Trading?

Short-dated options are typically preferred for day trading due to their high liquidity and lower capital requirements. They allow traders to capitalize on quick, short-term movements in the stock market. When selecting options for day trading, consider the underlying stock’s performance and overall market trends to optimize your trading outcomes.

What Is the Impact of Dividends on Option Pricing for ETFs and Funds?

Dividends can affect option pricing significantly as they contribute to the underlying value of ETFs and funds. Options on dividend-paying stocks may have their premiums adjusted to reflect expected dividend payments, which can influence both call and put option values.

How Can Hedging Strategy Minimize Loss Potential in Portfolio Management?

Implementing a hedging strategy involves using financial instruments like options and futures to offset potential losses in a portfolio. This strategy can protect against downside risk without foregoing the opportunity to participate in the upside potential of market movements.

What Role Does Financial Analysis Play in Setting Price Targets for Securities?

Financial analysis helps in assessing a company’s financial health and projecting future performance, which is crucial for setting price targets for securities. Analysts use various metrics such as revenue forecasts, earnings potential, and economic conditions to estimate a fair value for stocks.

How Do Fundamental Analysis and Financial Analysis Differ in Evaluating ETFs?

Fundamental analysis of ETFs involves assessing the economic indicators, sector performance, and financial metrics of the constituent stocks, whereas financial analysis might focus more on the ETF’s trading patterns, historical performance, and comparative metrics against benchmarks.

How Does Market Volatility Estimation Influence Futures and Options Trading?

Market volatility estimation is critical in pricing options and valuing futures contracts. Higher volatility generally increases the premium for options due to greater risk, and similarly affects futures pricing by increasing the potential range of future prices.

What Are the Key Factors Driving Revenue Upside in Share Investments?

Key factors include market demand, economic conditions, company performance, and industry trends. Effective portfolio management and strategic investment decisions based on these factors can enhance the potential for revenue upside in share investments.

How Do Market Transactions Impact the Valuation of Investment Funds?

Market transactions reflect buying and selling activities that can directly influence the valuation of investment funds. High transaction volumes can signal high interest or disfavor in a fund, thereby affecting its market price and valuation.

What Investment Strategies Best Manage Portfolio Risks in Volatile Markets?

Diversification, asset allocation, and regular portfolio rebalancing are effective strategies to manage risks in volatile markets. These strategies help spread risk and adjust investments to align with market conditions and risk tolerance.

How Do Recommendations and Forecasts Affect Decisions on Securities Trades?

Recommendations from analysts and market forecasts play a significant role in trading decisions by providing informed perspectives and predictions which investors use to shape their buying or selling strategies, impacting securities trades.

What Is the Role of Premium in Options Valuation and How Does It Relate to Risk?

The premium in options trading is the price paid for the option itself. It is directly related to risk as it reflects the underlying asset’s volatility and the time value—higher risk associated with an asset or a longer time until expiration generally leads to a higher premium.

How Does Option Valuation Reflect the Fundamental Value of Stocks?

Option valuation typically incorporates the fundamental value of stocks through the use of models like Black-Scholes, which consider the stock’s current price, expected dividends, and the risk-free interest rate to determine the fair price of an option.

Can Financial Analysis Predict the Downside Risks in ETF Investments?

While financial analysis can highlight potential downside risks by examining past performance and current trends, it cannot predict these risks with complete accuracy due to unforeseen market dynamics and external economic factors.

What Investment Advice Would You Give for Managing a Diverse Portfolio?

The best advice for managing a diverse portfolio is to ensure it is well-balanced across different asset classes and industries, regularly reviewed, and adjusted in line with changing market conditions and personal financial goals.

How Do Price Targets Influence Option Trading Strategies for Securities?

Price targets influence option trading strategies by providing a benchmark for expected price movement, which traders use to strategize positions in call and put options based on whether they believe the security will reach, exceed, or fall short of these targets.

What Are Effective Portfolio Management Techniques for ETFs and Futures?

Effective portfolio management techniques for ETFs and futures include using a mix of strategic asset allocation and tactical adjustments based on short-term market forecasts and volatility estimates, allowing for flexibility and risk management in a diversified portfolio.

How Does Investment Strategy Influence the Outlook and Performance of Shares?

An effective investment strategy considers the economic outlook, company performance, and market trends to make informed decisions about buying and selling shares. By aligning investment actions with a well-researched outlook, investors can potentially enhance the performance of their shares, maximizing returns while managing associated risks.

What Role Does Information and Opinion Play in Shaping Investment Styles and Chances of Success?

Information serves as the foundation for forming opinions and developing an investment style. Access to quality, timely insights and information allows investors to evaluate the chances of various investment opportunities accurately. Opinions, shaped by this information, help define an investor’s approach—whether conservative, moderate, or aggressive—each carrying different potential rewards and risks.

How Should Investors Manage Portfolios to Balance Money Allocation Across Different Assets?

Investors should manage portfolios by strategically allocating money across different asset classes, such as shares, bonds, and alternative investments, to diversify and mitigate risk. Regular portfolio reviews and rebalancing ensure that the allocation remains in line with the investor’s financial goals and market conditions, helping to optimize returns and manage exposure to potential losses.

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Author card Timothy Sykes picture

Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”