I will be testing out the feature once I can get the SQL Server analysis service to setup on my computer. Meanwhile in today’s posting, I am going to continue on the Analysis of warrant data. I have been busy preparing my CFA level II examination and hence have not been updating my blog as regularly. This is the second last post on Analysis of warrant data which I will talk about Delta.

Put simply, delta measures how much, in theory, the warrant price will move for a $1.00 change in the underlying price (For me, I treat this as the first derivative of warrant price, typical engineer thought). For investors, delta is meaningful in the following aspects:

**Relationship between delta and ITM/ATM/OTM**

Call warrants have a positive delta, which means that the underlying price and the warrant price move in the same direction. On contrary, put warrants have a negative delta, which means that the underlying price and the warrant price move in opposite direction.

The value of delta lies between 0 and 1 for a call warrant, and between 0 and -1 for a put warrant. When a call warrant is at-the-money (ATM), its delta should be around 0.5. This value will move closer to 1 in the case the warrant becomes deeper in-the-money (ITM), or closer to 0 in the case the warrant moves further out-of-the-money (OTM). For a put warrant, when it is ATM, its delta should be around -0.5. Likewise, this value will move closer to -1 in case the warrant becomes deeper ITM or closer to 0 in case the warrant moves further OTM.

Delta reflects the degree of probability that a warrant will be ITM at maturity. A far OTM warrant has a delta close to 0, indicating almost zero chance that it will become ITM at maturity. An ATM warrant has a delta of around 0.5 and there is about 50% chance that the warrant will become ITM at maturity. A deep ITM warrant has a delta close to 100%, and this means there is nearly 100% chance that the warrant will stay ITM at maturity.

**Prediction of changes in the warrant price**

In general, investors can use delta to predict how much the warrant is likely to move for a $1.00 change in the underlying price. Say, for example, UOB BNP ECW100319 has a delta of 0.7468 after market closed yesterday. The conversion ratio is 14.993. The closing price for UOB was $18.42 yesterday. If the underlying price goes up by $1.00, the warrant price should, in theory, rise by $1.00 * 0.7468 / 14.993 = $0.05.

In reality, when the underlying price goes up or down by $1.00, the warrant is unlikely to move by the exact amount suggested by its delta, which is not a constant, but a variable. It will vary along with the underlying price, implied volatility and days to maturity. For example, assuming that the underlying price remains constant, with its time value or implied volatility falling, an OTM warrant will see a decline in its delta while an ITM warrant will see a rise. Usually, investors focus only on the relationship between delta and changes in the underlying price, and neglect the effect of changes in the implied volatility and time value.

Besides, the price of a warrant is determined by the market, and will be affected by market sentiments, market making activities, and the outstanding quantity of warrant. Hence, warrant usually trade at a level different from the theoretical price suggested by its delta.

**Finding out the number of units of the warrant to be bought**

Investors can also use delta to roughly estimate how many units of a warrant should be bought to reap a potential return close to that from a given units of the underlying. For example, a certain investor is optimistic about the UOB counter and wants to invest with a smaller amount of capital. If the investor wants to get an exposure to 1000 shares of UOB stock, using the previous warrant as an example, the delta is 0.7468, the number of units of warrant the investor should buy is equal to 1000 (the number of shares) divided by 0.7468 (the delta of the warrant), that is, 1340 units.

**Finding out the number of units of new warrant to be bought for switching**

Besides, investors can also use delta to roughly estimate how many units of a warrant need to be bought for switching to maintain the potential return. If the warrant on hand is about to expire or is going further OTM, one should consider switching. To find out how to use delta to calculate the number of units of the new warrant that need to be bought to replace the old warrant in order to maintain potential return at the original level, we can simply divide the delta of the warrant we intend to switch with that of the warrant we are switching to.

For example, CAPITALAND DB ECW080616 and CAPITALAND DB ECW080616 A have a strike of $7.30 and $6.30 respectively. Both have a conversion ratio of 5:1 and same maturity date. At point of writing, CapitaLand has a price of $6.62. Hence CAPITALAND DB ECW080616 A is ITM and CAPITALAND DB ECW080616 is OTM. CAPITALAND DB ECW080616 A has a delta of 63.27% and an effective gearing of 5.08x while CAPITALAND DB ECW080616 has a delta of 43.11% and an effective gearing of 5.44x. We noticed that CapitaLand share price has been going up for at least the past two weeks and says we remain positive that CapitaLand will move further up in price for next two weeks. Hence we want to switch from CAPITALAND DB ECW080616 A to CAPITALAND DB ECW080616 since it has a higher effective gearing even though CAPITALAND DB ECW080616 A has a higher delta. Therefore, we need to buy 63.27/43.11 = 1.46 units of CAPITALAND DB ECW080616 for each unit of CAPITALAND DB ECW080616 A to maintain the potential return.

You may ask, since the potential profit remains more or less the same, why should be bothered with switching at all? Why should we pay the additional transaction costs for selling CAPITALAND DB ECW080616 A and buying CAPITALAND DB ECW080616?

The purpose of switching is to allow us to sell a warrant with a higher price for another warrant with a higher effective gearing so as to invest with less capital for better utilization of funds. We do not have to be bound by the switching ratio, but it will give us an idea about how many units of new warrant we should buy to maintain potential profit as the same level.

The examples given are for illustration purpose and not my recommendation. I have tried to use real examples to illustrate my points. I will be positing my last post on analysis of warrant data soon.

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