What is an Index Call? Overview of Index Call Options

6 mins read
by Angel One
Index call options offer a way to speculate or hedge against market index movements involving risks, strategies, and understanding market dynamics. Read on to learn more about Index call options.

An index call is a type of derivatives contract that plays a vital role in the financial markets, particularly within index options. These contracts offer traders and investors a unique opportunity to speculate on or hedge against the movements of major market indexes, such as the S&P 500 or the Nifty 50

In simple terms, an index call gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy a specific index at a predetermined price, known as the strike price, by a specific date. 

In this article, we will demystify the concept of index calls and index options, providing a comprehensive guide to understanding index options trading.

Understanding Index Calls and Index Options

At the heart of index options trading is the concept of leverage, allowing traders to control a large amount of the underlying asset (in this case, an index) with a relatively small amount of capital. Index options are broadly categorised into two types: calls and puts. 

An index call option is optimistic in nature. It is based on the expectation that the underlying index’s price will rise above the strike price before the expiration date. If this happens, the holder can purchase the index at the lower strike price, potentially selling it at a higher market price to realise a profit.

Conversely, the seller or writer of the index call hopes the opposite. They prefer the price of the index to remain below the strike price, allowing them to avoid selling at a loss. This interplay of expectations and strategies makes index option trading a dynamic and potentially lucrative aspect of the financial markets.

The Significance of Index Options

Index options hold a special place in the derivatives market. They provide a mechanism for speculating on the future direction of entire market segments represented by indexes like the Nifty, Sensex, and others. The ability to trade on the movement of a basket of stocks rather than individual securities offers diversification and reduces the impact of volatility associated with single stocks. This makes index options a preferred instrument for many traders and investors.

Types of Index Options

Index options can be classified into several categories:

  • Call and Put Options: A call option provides the right to buy the underlying index, while a put option provides the right to sell the underlying index at a specified price.
  • In-the-Money (ITM), Out-of-the-Money (OTM), and At-the-Money (ATM) Options: These classifications are based on the relationship between the index’s current price and the option’s strike price. ITM options are profitable if exercised, OTM options are not profitable, and ATM options have a strike price close to the index’s current market price.
  • Expiry Periods: Options come with different expiration periods, with monthly and weekly expiries being common. The specific expiry dates provide flexibility in trading strategies.

Example of Trading Index Options

Let’s illustrate index option trading with a straightforward example. Imagine you buy a Nifty 15,800 index call option for a premium of ₹54. This option allows you to buy the Nifty index at a strike price of 15,800. For one lot (75 shares), you pay ₹4,050 (75 shares x ₹54). If the Nifty index climbs to 15,810 before the option expires, and the option’s premium rises to ₹70, you can sell the option to secure a profit of ₹1,200 (75 shares x ₹16).

Volatility in Index Options

Volatility is a critical concept in index options trading. It refers to the degree of variation in the price of an index over time. Index options are known for their high volatility, which can present risks and opportunities for traders. Implied volatility (IV) is a key metric that reflects market expectations of future price movements and influences option pricing. Understanding and monitoring IV can help traders make informed decisions, especially during major economic events that can cause significant market shifts.

What Is the Correlation Between Option Price and Index?

The correlation between the price of an option and the underlying index is a fundamental concept in options trading. This relationship is influenced by several factors, including the option’s intrinsic value, its time value, and the volatility of the underlying index. To understand this correlation, let’s break it down into simpler terms:

  1. Intrinsic Value: This is the immediate exercise value of the option. For a call option, it’s the difference between the current index price and the option’s strike price if the index price is above the strike price (making the option in-the-money). For a put option, the difference between the strike price and the current index price is determined if the index price is below the strike price. The intrinsic value directly correlates with the index price; as the index moves further in-the-money, the option’s intrinsic value increases, and vice versa.
  2. Time Value: This represents the additional value traders are willing to pay over the intrinsic value based on the time left until the option’s expiration. The more time an option has until it expires, the higher the chance that the index price could move in a favourable direction, increasing its price. Time value decreases as the option approaches expiration (known as time decay), making it an inversely proportional relationship with time but not directly correlated with the index price itself.
  3. Volatility of the Underlying Index: Volatility measures the degree of variation in the index price over time. Higher volatility increases the potential for the index to move significantly, which can increase the option’s price due to higher perceived risk and potential reward. Options on a highly volatile index typically have higher premiums than those on a less volatile index.
  4. Interest Rates and Dividends: While not a direct measure of correlation, interest rates and expected dividends from the stocks comprising the index can also influence option prices. Generally, higher interest rates can increase call option prices and decrease put option prices, and expected dividends can have the opposite effect.
  5. Directional Correlation:
  • For call options, there is a positive correlation with the index price. If the index price rises, the call option’s price is likely to increase, assuming other factors remain constant.
  • For put options, there is a negative correlation with the index price. If the index price falls, the put option’s price is likely to increase, with other factors held constant.

The overall correlation between an option’s price and the underlying index is dynamic and affected by these factors.


Index calls and index options are indispensable tools in the derivatives market. They offer a way to speculate on or hedge against market movements, providing flexibility and opportunities for profit in a complex financial landscape. By understanding how index calls work and the dynamics of index option trading, traders and investors can enhance their strategies and potentially achieve significant returns.

However, it’s crucial to approach index options trading with a thorough understanding of the risks and mechanics involved, making informed decisions based on market analysis and individual risk tolerance. So what you’re waiting for? Start trading in Index Options today! Open your Demat account with Angel One and get ₹0 brokerage up to ₹500 for the first 30 days. 


Can I lose more than my initial investment with index call options?

No, the maximum loss is limited to the premium paid for the option.

How do I choose the right strike price and expiration for my index call option?

This decision depends on your market outlook and risk tolerance. Longer expirations give the market more time to move in your favour, but they can be more expensive due to higher time values.

Can index call options be used for income generation?

While primarily used for speculation or hedging, certain strategies can generate income, like selling covered calls on index ETFs. However, this involves different risks and considerations.

How do index call options work?

Index call options give the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy an index at a specified price within a certain period. They offer exposure to the entire market or sector with one transaction, hedging or speculative opportunities.

Which is better, stock or index option?

Choosing between stock or index options depends on individual goals. Stock options offer high potential returns with company-specific risks, while index options provide broader market exposure with reduced volatility, making them better for diversification and lower-risk strategies.