# Probabilistic Stock Outcomes (w/ Spreadsheet)

The Skinny On Options Data Science

Options involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before deciding to invest in options.

SUMMARY
The Black-Scholes formula for pricing options assumes stocks will have a normal distribution (a graph provided an example of a normal distribution). Using that assumption we can calculate the probability that a stock will fall between two price points (or above or below a single price point) and different variations. How do we do that? Michael Rechenthin, Ph.D., the head of our research team, aka Dr. Data, joins the guys to use the tools of Data Science to explain things in a way that is easily understood. He also has a spreadsheet available in both Windows and Mac versions for download (see links at top) that will help calculate more complex probabilities.

A graph of two separate methods to find out the probability that a stock will fall between Price X1 and Price X2 was displayed. Method 1 was the one found in most textbooks while method 2 “calculated the probability of things falling on the extremes” and is the way many traders think.

Getting more complicated, Mike next explained how we would calculate the probability that stock A would fall below price 1 and that stock B would fall below price 2 which someone doing a Pairs Trade would find of interest. Should there be no correlation between the stocks it’s a simple multiplication problem. The chance for stock A is 72% and for B is 40%, so 0.72 multiplied by 0.40 is 0.288 which is rounded off to 29%. Given a perfect correlation between the two the calculation is simply to take the lower of the two probabilities (40%).

Dr. Data wrapped things up by explaining how his spreadsheet works. The Windows version works easily with thinkorswim while the Mac version requires manual inputs. It can calculate the probabilitiy of both single options like a short Put or something more complex like a short Straddle or Strangle.

Watch this segment of Skinny on Options Data Science with Tom Sosnoff, Tony Battista and Dr. Data, aka Michael Rechenthin, Ph.D., to find out the probability of a stock, option or option strategy being above or below a certain price, between two prices as well as more complicated equations all made simple using Dr. Data’s incredible spreadsheet.

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