How to read an options table

An options table may appear confusing at first, but it simply lists the pricing and expiry information you need to buy the right option contract.

An options table will list all of the open put and call options for a given underlying stock. Options contracts are numbered in a way that corresponds to the underlying stock symbol, expiry date and strike price. For example, a call option contract for a stock called ABC that has a strike price of $25 and an expiry date of October 20, 2012, would be identified as ABC121020C25.

Other information that you will find in an options table includes the following:

Last: this is the price (premium) at which the option contract last traded.
Bid: the highest price any buyer is willing to offer to buy the option contract.
Ask: the lowest price any seller or writer is willing to sell the option contract for.
Open interest: the number of contracts available that have not been settled (i.e., closed or exercised).
Volume: the number of contracts that have been traded on that day.
Expiry: the month in which the expiry date for that option contract occurs.
Strike: the exercise price for the option contract.