Barrier Options

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Barrier Options

Attribution Non-Commercial (BY-NC)

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arrier options are extensionsof stan&rd stock options. Standard calls and puts have payoffi that depend on one market level: the strike. Barrier options have

. Euer.rusr, Denuex is head of the Quantitative Stratcgies Group at Goldman, Secbs & Co. in NewYork. Inry Kem is a vice presidentin the Quantitative Strategies Group at Goldman,Sachs & Co. io NcwYork.

payoffsthat dependon two market levels:the strike and the barrier. Investorscan use them to gain exposure to (or enhancercturns from) firturc marketscenarios more complex than the simple bullish or bearishexpectations embodiedin standard options. [n addition, their premiumsare usudly lower than those of sandard options with the same strike and e4pintion. Part 1 of this article describes many of the most commonbarrier optionsavailable, aswell as when to use them in place of standard options. We alsodescribe why their sensitiviryto market movesoften exceeds that of standard options. This is depictedin severalcases with ables and plots, showingthe theorctical vduesand sensitivities for diferent marketlevels. Part 2, which will appearin the Spring 1997issueof Deriuatiues on this Quarufly,expands presentation. Somewhatmore exotic barrier optionsareexplored, anda surrmaryof the mathematicdtheorybehindthe vduationsis presented.

BARRIER OPTIONSDEFINED

StandardEuropean-style options on stock arc characterized by their time to expiration and strike level. At expiration, standard cdl options pay the owner the difference between the stock

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price and the strike level if the stock is above the strike, and zero otherwise. Similarly' standard put options pay the owner the difference benveen the strike and the stock price if the stock is below the strike, and zero otherwise. A call owner benefits from an upward stock move; a Put o$tner benefits from a downward stock move. Banier optionsare a modified form of standard options that include both pus and calls.They are characterized by a strike level and e banier level, as well as by a ush rebateassociatedwith crossing the barrier. As with standard options, the strike level determines the payoff at expiration. The barrlgr options contract specifies,however, that the payoff depends on whether the stock price the barrier level during the life of the ever crosses addition, if the barrier is crossed,some In option. barrier option contracs specify a rebate to be paid to the optionholder. This article discussesonly European-sryle barrier options. Furthermore, in most caseswe assumethe rebateis zerc. Barriers come in two types. We call a barrier above the current stock level an up barrie6 if it is ever crossed,it will be from below. We call a barrier below the current stock level t ilown baniq, it will be from above. if it is ever crossed, options come in two types: r'r Barrier options and out options. An in barrier option, or knock-in option, pays off only if the stock finishes in the money and if the barrier is crossedsometime before expiration. When the stock crosses the barrier, the in barrier option is knocked in and becomes a standard option of the same tlpe (cdl

or put) with the same strike and expiratr the stock never crossesthe barrier, the optio.expires worthless. An out barrier option, or knockoutoption, pays off only if the stock finishes in the money and the barrier is never crossedbefore expiration. the barrier, the As long as the stock never crc,sses out barrier option remains a standard option of the same type (call or put) with the same strike the barrier, the and expiration. If the stock crosses out and expires worthles. option is knocleeil Therefore, barrier options can be up-anilout, up-and-in, down-anil-out, or iloum-anil-in.The different barrier options and the effect of crossing the barrier on their payoff are described in Exhibit 1. In principle, all barrier options can have associatedcash rebatesthat are paid to the optionholder when the barrier is crossed.In practice, however, only out option contracts provide cash rebates,paid to the optionholder as a sort of consolationprize when the option is knocked out.

There are three basic reasonsto use barrier oprions rather than standarrd options:

Traders value options based on options theory. In liquid markets, you can rnlue options

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Barrier Option Effect ofBarrier on Payoff Not Crossed Crossed Worthles StandardCall Worthles StandardCall WortNes StandardPut Worthless Put Standand StandardCall Worthless StandardCdl Worthles StandardPut Worthles StandardPut Worthless

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by calculating the expected value of their pa)'o6, averaging over all stock scenarioswhose mean price is the stock's forward price at each future time. According to the theory you pay for volatility around the forward price. By buying a barrier option, you can eliminate paying for those scenarios you think are unlikely. Alternatively, you can enhance your return by selling a barrier option that pays off only on scenariosyou think are improbable. Suppose the forward price of the stock a year from today is 105% of spor. You believe rhat the market is very likely ro rise, but that if it somehow drops below a supporr level of 97Yo,it rvill instead decline further. You can buy a downand-out call struck at 105o/o that gets knocked out if the stock, at any time, falls below 97%. In tltts way, you avoid prying for scenariosin which the stock first declines substantially and then rises again. At 2Q% volatility, this can reduce your premium by half. Alternatively, you can enhanceyour return by selling a down-and-in cdl srruck 705yo thet ^t gets knocked in only if the market falls below 97Yo.You can then pick up premium by betting againsta scenarioyou feel is unlikely.

corresponding standard options. For example, knockout options wont pay offif the stock crosses the knockout barrier. Therefore, they are cheaper than an otherwise identical option without the knockout feature. If you think the chance of knockout is smdl, you can ake advantageof the lower premium and get the samebenefits. Or, you can even pay more premium to receive a cash rebateif the option is knocked out. Similarly, knock-in oprions have lower premiums than corresponding standard options with the samestrike and expintion. You may find these attractively cheap ifyou feel the probability of getting knocked in is high.

Managing the risk of an options position is more complicated than managing a stock position alone. You can dynamically hedge options by going short an amount dehaof stock againsta long options position, where delta is the theoretical hedge ratio. If delta is negarive,you go long that amount of stock. The value of the oprion and its delta depend upon both market level and volatility. Standard call options, for example, have delta values between zero and one, and call values increasewith increasing volatility. Barrier options are similar to, but more complicated than, standard options, becausethey sample payoft of a smaller and more specialized set of future stock paths. You can dynamicdly delta hedge them, just as you do with standard options, by using a theoretical model to ralue the option and cdculate its delta. You can also use other options to create static hedges that approximately duplicate the barrier option's payo6. The price sensitiviries of barrier options can differ markedly from those of standard options. Comparc an up-and-out cdl option with a standard cdl option. As the stock price moves up, a standard call dwaln garns in ralug while an up-and-out cdl is subject to two opposing effects. fu the stock price moves up, the up-and-out cdl's payoffbecomes potentidly larger, but the upward move simultaneously thrcatens to extinguish the total vdue of the contract by moving it closer to the out barrier. The conflict between these rwo tendencies makes it extremely sensitive to the

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Suppose you own a srock and have decided that if it ever rises by more than 5% over the next year, you will sell it, but you still want protection aEainstmarket declines of more than 5%. You can buy a stan&rd put option struck at 95Yo of spot, but then you get protection even when the market rises more then 5% and you no longer need it. lnstead, it would be better to buy an up-and-out put with strike at g|yo, barrier at l05yo, and no cashrebate.This pur will disappear as soon as you sell the stock and have no further need ofit.

ARE GENERALTY LowER THAN

Barrier options are often attractive to investors because their premium is lower than Wnrmn1996

stock's movement near the barrier, and delta can go rapidly from positive to negative rnlues. We describe the behavior of barrier options in more deail as we examine each type. Meanwhile, be awarc of two key ways in which barrier options differ from standard options when the underlying stock or index gets near the barrier level. First, the delta of the barrier option can differ significantly from the delta of the corresponding standard option. For example, a barrier call can have delta rnlues les than zero or greater than one; an up-and-out deep in-the-money cdl whose rnlue must vanish at the barrier has a negative delta near the barrier becauseof the rapid decline in its vdue there. Second, barrier option ralues can actudly decreasewith increasing volatility. The up-and-out call just described becomes more likely to get knocked out near the barrier asvolatility increases. In options parlance, even though you are long volatiliry or "long gamma" relative to the strike level, you are short volatiliry or "short gamma" relative to the barrier. You can often get a good feel for the way a barrier option will behave as the underlying stock price rnries by classifying the strike and barrier levels with regad to volatiliry and then combining their effects.The owner of a barrier option is long volatility at the strike, long volatility at an in barrier, and short volatfity at an out barrier. We make use of this type of analpis later. In certain cases,like the ones listed next, the strike level of an in option relative to the barrier is such that any non-zerio payoff at expiration guarantees that the barrier will be crossed. Such European-style barrier options are identicd in payoff and value to standard European-style options with the corresponding strike and expiration. For example: . Any up-and-in call with strike above the in barrier is worth the same as a stan&rd cdl, because all future stock paths that lead to payoffalso lead to beingknocked in. For similar reasons,any down-and-in put with strike below the in barrier is worth the same as a stan&rd put. Similarly, if the strike level of an out barrier 58 tic l.rsersp orm or BlnnlrnOrrpns:Panr1

option relativeto the barrier is such that any nonzero payoffguaranteesthe option will be knocked out, then the option is worthles. So, an up-andout cdl with strike above the barrier is worthless. Also, a down-and-out put with strike below the barrier hasno rnlue. There is a simple relationship between European-srylein options, out options, and standard options. If you own both an in option and an out option of the sametype (call or put), wirh the same e:cpiration, the same respective strike, and the same respective barrier level, you are guaranteed to receive the payoff of the corresponding standard option whether the barrier is crossed or not. Therefore: o The vdue of a down-and-in call (put) plus the value of a down-and-out call (put) is equd to the rnlue of a corresponding standard cdl (put). The value of an up-and-in cdl (put) plus the rnlue of an up-and-out call (put) is equd ro the value of a correspondingsan&rd cdl (put).

SOME EXAMPLES

In this section, we give examples of both out and in European-style options with zero rebate, and compare their theoreticd values with those of corresponding European-style standard options. Later, we show how their values and sensitivities vary with market levels for a wide rnriety of barrier options. The down-and-out call is close in ralue to the standardcall, becauseit ges knocked out as the stock moves down to levels wherc the standard cdl haslitde rnlue. The down-and-out put is worth much less than the sandard put, becauseit gets knocked out as the stock price moves down to lerrelswherc ttre san&rd put becomes deep in the money. The down-and-in call is worth much less than the standard cdl. It is knocked in only when the stock has made a large and unlikely downward move. The down-and-in put is close in vdue to the standard put, because the standard put geB most of is value fiom downwand moves in the stock price, which would also trigger the knock-in of the down-and-in put.

Wnnen1996

Exhibits 2 and 3 show that the sum of the values of a down-and-in European option and a down-and-out European option equds the vdue of a corresponding standardEuropean option. The up-and-out cdl is worth only a fraction of the standardcall'svalue. It is knocked out for those upward stock moves that contribute most of the value to the standard cdl. The upand-out put is similar in value to the standardput. It is knocked out on upward stock moves to levels where the standardput is so far out of the money that it is almost worthless. The up-and-in call is worth almost the sameas the standardcall. [t is knocked in for those upward stock moves that contribute most of the value to the standard call. The up-and-in put is worth much less than the standard put. [t is knocked in on upward moves to levels where the standard put is so far out of the money that it is almost worthless. Exhibis 4 and 5 show that the sum of the values of an up-and-in European option and an up-and-out European option equalsthe value of a corresponding stan&rd European option.

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StockPrice: 100 Strike: 100 Barrier: 90 Rebate: Time to E><piration: 1 year Dividend Yield: 5.0% (annudly compounded) Volatility: 15%6 PetYeer Nsk-Free Rate: 10.0%(annuallycompounded) Standard European Value: Call 7.840 Down-and-In Call Value: 0.618 Standard European Put Value: 3.749 Down-and-In Put Value: 3.463 deltas,and gammasof a variety of European-style barrier options with zero rebate. For comparison, we also present the samevalues and sensitivities for the corresponding standard options. Common parametersused in all plots are shown in Exhibit 6. In all plots, delta is the number of sharesof stock that has the same instananeous exposure :rs the option has to infinitesimal changes in the

This section presentsplots of the values,

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Stock Price: 100 Strike: 100 Barrier: 90 Rebate: Time to Expiration: 1 year Dividend Yield: 5.0% (annuallycompounded) Volatility: l5To per yeat Risk-Free Rate: 10.0%(annudly compounded) StandardEuropean Call Value: 7.840 Down-and-Out Call Vdue: 7.222 Srandard European Put Value: 3.749 Down-and-Out Put Vdue: 0.286

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StockPrice: 100 Strike: 100 Barrier: r20 Rebate: Time to Expiration: 1 year Dividend Yield: 5.0% (annuallycompounded) Volatility: 25Toper year Risk-FreeRate: 10.0%(annuallycompounded) Standard European Call Value: 11.4U Up-and-Out Cdl Value: 0.657 StandardEuropean Put Vdue: 7.344 Up-and-Out Put Value: 6.705

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Stock Price: Strike: Barrier: Rebate: Time to E:eiration: Dividend Rate:

1 year 5.0% (annuallycompounded) per yezr 25o/o

Volatiliw: 10.0%(annudly compounded) Risk-Free Rate: StandardEuropean 11.434 Cdl Value: Up-and-In r0.779 Cdl Value: StandardEuropean 7.344 Put Value:

six months, and one month to expiration. Some of the feanrreswe cornment on, for e:rample, negative garnrna, may be specific to the particular barrier option plotted, and may not apply to similar options with di{ferent barrier levels, di{ferent market parameters,'or different times to e4piration. In the following plos we assumeall barrier options have zero rcbate. The rebate contribution to the rnlue and sensitivity of barrier options can be separatedfrom the option payoff itself. The rebate associatedwith an up barrier has the contribution of the binaryup-and-inull, which we explain in Part 2 of this study (in the Spring 1997 issueof Duivativa Quartulyl. The rebate associated with a down barrier has the contribution of the binary down-anil-in prt, which will also be explainedinPert,2.

of stock stock price. You have to short dela shares to dynamicdly hedge the option. Rapid changes in delta with stock price (high gamma) make the stock dificult to hedge. Gamma is the sensitivity of delta to changes in stock price. We define it as the ratio of the changein delta for an infinitesimal changein stock price to the corresponding percentage change in stock price.l Therefore, gamrn:ris a measureof the degree to which delta hedging becomes more dificult and inaccurate asthe stock price changes. Think of gamma as the risk inherent in trylng to trade a hedged options position, or as a measureof the option's sensitivity to volatility. An option with greater gamma must be rehedged more frequendy; it takes more premium to pay for greater rcbalancilg coss. We plot the value, delta, and gamma for each option as the stock price rnries, for one year,

Take care in interpreting the plots in Exhibits 7-16. From the point of view of deltahedging risk, the important regions of stock price are those where delta changes rapidly, and the magnitude of gamma, positive or negative, is correspondingly large. For barrier options, therc are often two separate regions where gamma becomeslarge. The first is exacdy at the barrier. There, a small changein stock price causes a discontinuous change in delta, and gamma becomes in6nite. To illustrate, see Exhibit 10, where the call is knocked out at a barrier et 120.Just to the left of this region, the gamma of the one-month upand-out call is positive. To the right, the cdl has been knocked out and gamma is zero. At the barrier, gamma is infinite, reflecting the one-time risk that, if the stock price is just below the barrier and moves just above it, continuous delta hedging is impossible. We cannot plot the infinite value of gamma at the barrier. Therefore, for all barrier options, the rnlues of gamma and delta that we display at the barrier are, stricdy speaking, the valuesjust left and just right of the barrier. But remember that, even though we don't display it, gamma is infinite at the barrier. The second rcgion where gamma becomes large is near (but away from) the barrier, where its major effect is Glt. It ir to see this region in ""ry

Wnrrrn 1996

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Strike: Barrier: Rebate: Dividend yield: Volatility: Nsk-free rate:

100

80 if down, 120 if up 5.0% (annudly compounded) Zff/oFer\eer 1O.0%(annually compounded)

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all of our plots. In Exhibit 10, it is the rcgion with the peak of large negativegammaaround a stock price of 112. lf the stock price oscillates in this tlpe of high-gammaregion, the fuquent rcadjustmens of deltacan generate largerchedgingcosr. In PanelA of Exhibit 7, the value of the sandard cdl increases with increasing stock price

and with time to expiration. As expiration approaches, the call value nears the terminal for stock prices below the strike payoff level of 100, increasing proportionally to the stock price above 100. At very low stock prices, delta approaches zero (Panel B). You have dmost no exposure to the stock. At high stock prices delta approaches one. Owning a deep in-the-money call is like owning the stock itself. The transition from a delte of zero to a delta of one is sharper the closer you are to expiration. The gamma of the sandard call is alwap positive (Panel C) and is greatest for an at-themoney call where continuous hedging is most dificult. The peak gets more pronounced as the time to expiration nears. fu Panel A of Exhibit 8 shows, the value of as the stock the down-and-out call decreases declines, and must vanish at the barrier where a standard cdl would still have a smdl value. The down-and-out call is dwal's worth less than the corresponding standard cdl, but approaches the sameralue at very high stock prices. Below the barrier, the down-and-out call is worthless and has zero delta (Panel B). Above the barrier, delta is alwap positive. As the stock price moves up from the barrier, the call value inflates rapidly, with a delta just above the barrier that can be larger than that ofthe corresponding standard call. At higher stock prices, where the effect of the barrier is intangible, the delta is close to that of a standard call. Between the barrier and the region of high stock prices, delta for this particular call with a one-year expiration actually decreases, as)'ou can seein Panel B. At high stock prices the barrier is irrclerant and the gamma of the down-and-out cdl is similar to that of the sandarrdcall @anel C). Near the barrier, however, the one-year cdl has a negative ganuna, reflecting the fact that the optionholder is redly "short volatility," or short an option stmck at the barrier. For stock prices near the barrier, an increase in volatility would acbudly make knockout for this particular option morc likely, and so decrcaseoverall option value. Gamma is infnite at the barrier. As Panel A of Exhibit 9 shows, for stock 51 Dmrvrrrvns Qunnrenrv

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prices below 80, the cdl is knocked in and worth the same as a sandard cdl. Its rnlue incrcasesas the stock price rises. Above 80 the cdl is not yet knocked in. As the stock price increases, the chance of getting knocked in declines, and the cdl falls in rnlue. Is wlue is greatest at the barrier. For 62 nra ns elo Oursor Bennnn Onom: Prrr 1

dl stock prices, it is dwap worth lessthan the corrcsponding sandardcdl. Below the barrier, the delta is that of a stan&rd call and riseswith stock price (PanelB). Just aborrcthe barrier the option o$/ner is effectively short stock (negative dela), because upward

Wnnrn1996

stock moves make knock-in less likely and decreaseoption value. The sharp change from positive to negative delta acrossthe barrier makes hedging extremely difficult. As the stock moves below 80, you would have to suddenly switch &om being long stock to being short. Gamma is always positive here, as Panel C shows, becausethe call owner is long volatility at both the strike and the barrier. Gamma is infinite at the barrier where there is a discontinuous changein exposure. In Panel A of Exhibit 10, above the strike of 100 the call moves in the money, and would increase in value from then on were it not for the up-and-out feature that extinguishes its value at 120. This accounts for the peak in the distribution. For low stock prices, the exposureincreases as the stock moves up toward the strike (PanelB). and becomes Nearer the barrier, delta decreases ofthe value-quenchnegativeabove 110, because ing effectsof the barrier. The call owner is long gamma near the strike and short gamma near the barrier (PanelC). The large negative garnmabetween 110 and 120, corresponding to the rapid change from positive to negative delta near 110 in Panel B, makes hedging inaccurate and dificult, and makes transaction costslarge. Gamma is infinite at the barrier. As Panel A of Exhibit 11 shows, the upand-in call will knock in only if the stock crosses the barrier before expiration. In that case,the option immediately becomes a deep in-themoney call. That is why the value of the onemonth call increasesso sharply as the stock approaches120. . Analogously, as Panel B shows, at 120 the delta of the one-month cdl spikes far above the delta of a standard call. Above 120, the call has knocked in and has the same positive delta as a deep in-the-money standardcall. The owner of the cdl is long considerable volatility at the 120 barrier, whose crossing suddenly brings into existence a valuable deep inthe-money option (Panel C). The call close to e4piration has a gamma about three times larger at 110 than that of the corresponding sandard call at the strike of 100. Gamma is infinite at the barrier. In Panel A of Exhibit 12, the value of the standardput increases with decreasing stock price.

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Note that a short-term deep in-the-money put is worth more than a long-term one, because the present vdue of the strike received is worth more. As Panel B shows, at lower stock prices the put owner is effectively short the stock, with a delta value of -1. At high stock prices the delta

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approaches zero. The gamma of the sandard European-sryle put is identicd to the gamma of the corresponding standard call (Panel C). This follows from put-cdl parity. As Panel A of Exhibir 13 shows, below the 64 nrr nrsrt.o Oursor Bannne Orrrolr: parr I

strike of 100, the one-month put moves rapidly into the money. Ticvnrd the barrier of 80 its wlue declinesto zeto. The peak occuts at about 90. Just above the barrier, clelta is large and positive - the put owner benefits grcady from upward price moves away from the extinguishing

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barrier (Panel B). For higher stock prices, the effect of rhe barrier diminishes, and delta approaches the negative values of a standard put. The rapid change from positive to negative dela makes hedging inaccurate. For large stock prices delta approaches zero. Wnnrn1996

The put owner is long volatility (positive gamma) at the srike of 100 and shorr volatility (large negativegamma) near the barrier of 80 (panel C). In addition, gamma is infinite at the barrier. ln Panel A of Exhibit 14, the down-and-in one-month put knocls in deep in the money at DrruvrrrvnsOuanmnrv 55

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80. Approaching the stock price of 80 from above, its value therefore stePsuP sharply. Below 80, it is knocked in and its value is that of a standatd pur In Panel B, below 80 the delta is that of a standardput, close to -1. Just above 80, the delta of the one-month put droPs far below that of a OrrroNs: P*r 1 Ocmor Bennsn 66 Tru Irrrs er.rp

standard put becauseof the rapid decline in its with value as the chance of knock-in decrcases increasing stock price- Dela is everywhete negative, and approacheszero for large stock prices where the put is far out of the money. The put owner benefis &om any volatility Wnrrm196

that moves the stock into the money or near the knock-in barrier. Therefore, gamma is large and positive near 80 (Panel C). In addition, gmma is infinite at the barrier. In Panel A of Exhibit 15, the value must \nnish at the 120 barrier, where the standardput is worth litde aq'uny. Thereforc, the dependence on stock price is similar to that of a sandanil put. The barrier has little effect in this case,and the option is no riskier than a standardput. Below the 120 barrier @anelB), the delta is similar to that of a standardput and is dways negative. Above the barrier, the put is extinguished and the delta is zerc. Gamma is similar to that of a standald put below the barrier, and zero above (Panel C). At the barrier, gamma is infinite. Panel A of Exhibit 16 shows that, as the stock rises to the 120 barrier, the put value increaseswith its chance of getting knocked in. Above 120, the put is worth the sameasa standand put with strike 100, and its vdue declinesas the stock p:ice increases. Therc is a sharppeak at 120. The sharp break in delta at 120 makesthis put difrcult to hedge dynamically (Panel B). As the stock moves above 120, you would have to suddenly switch from shorting stock to going long and buying it. In Panel C, gamma is everywhere positine, and is very large exacdy at the 120 barrier, where sensitivity to volatility is great. Gamma is infinite at the barrier.

SI,JMMARY

Barrier options on stocl$ create opportunities for investors that are not arailable with sandard puts and calls, frequently with lower premiums than standard options with similar strike. The payo6, being a function of both the strike and the barrier, can be complicated. The pricing characteristics,captured by delta and gamrna, can change dramaticdly through time, and exhibit discontinuities. Options vduation models are theory and, like all models, are more limited than the real world they attempt to represent. Provided the potential users of barrier options are aware of these limitations, the additiond power and flexibility of such options can be important contributors to an overall investrnent strategT.

ENDNOTES

This article is basedon "The Ins and Ous of Barrier Options," a Goldman SachsQuantitative Strategies Research Notespaper,June1993. The authon are gntcfirl to Ken Iseya and Yoshi Kobashi, who cncouraged them to write this article aftcr many stimulating conversatioruabout barrier options. They also thank Deniz Ergencr, who helped obtain the resuls dccribcd here, and Alcx Bergier and BarbaraDunn, who patiendy read the manuscript and made many hclpful and clri$ing sugcstiors. 'Mathematically, T = (5/100) aLlas, where S is thc stockprice.

Wnrmn196

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