I'm new to option trading but when comparing put/call options on the S&P 500 (ETFs) or the Dow Jones Index (ETFs) available in the US and Germany, it seems like the Options in Germany are far superior.

For example, here are S&P 500 (ETF) options available in the US, which all seem to be issued by the CBOE:

SPX options

Here are the bid / ask prices


Here are some I can buy in Germany:


Ways in which options available in Germany seem better: - Spread between ask and bid is much lower - They are mostly American Style, which means I can exercise them whenever I want (before expiration) not just on a very specific date. This gives me more flexibility to react to the market. - They are settled in cash, not actual ETFs which makes settlement easier

So here is my question: Do I have a complete misunderstanding of how options work or is there some market imbalance (e.g. the CBOE has a monopoly on index fund options in the US and that's why they are so much worse)?

1 Answer 1


In the US, equity and ETF options are American Style exercise and they can be exercised at any time.

Most index options are European Style which means that they can only be exercised at expiration and they are cash settled.

SPX options are European Style index options. If you prefer American Style, look at SPY options.

Normally, the spreads on near-the-money options for the next few weeks on the SPY are a few cents wide, widening as you go deeper in or out-of-the-money as well as further out in time. Bid-Ask spread width is a function of volatility and in the US the market is VERY volatile right now so the spreads are much wider.

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