I picked up this idea from Jeff Augen’s book, "Trading Realities: The Truth, the Lies and the Hype In-Between." Augen has written a fine series of books on trading options and I have bought and sampled from all of them. He notes the favorable risk/reward profile on buying VXX, which is a ETN attempting to track the short-term futures on the VIX, and selling at-the-money calls on it while the VIX is low. Augen notes that theoretically you could lower your cost basis in a year’s time to almost zero using this method every month. But it gets even more interesting using weekly options. I bought VXX ETN at $14.92 today and sold the $15 strike on the October 22 weekly options for $.58. That is about 3.8% profit if VXX does not move at all.
That is what I’m trying to average on a trade per month!
Let’s take a look at the one year chart on VXX:
You can see how low VXX has dropped. Unlike a stock you know this chart is not going to drop to zero. Volatility cannot disappear or go bankrupt. There will always be some level of volatility, so there is a limit to downside risk. The VIX, which is a measure of put buying, closed at 21.68 today, which is fairly low volatility. If you had to say which way volatility is moving right now, is it more likely to go up or down in the next month? I’m voting for up, since we have earnings season, elections and a rally that looks like it could roll over at any time. With a low VIX and higher expected volatility events, doesn’t it make sense to sell covered calls on volatility at least until the VIX clears 25.
I’m planning to sell the weekly at-the-money calls up to that point, which may only be one week if the market drops. I’m sure speculators could arrange more profitable trades, but I am looking for income and retirement investments, so I’m not getting greedy and buying calls or some other idea. I am considering selling at-the-money puts in my margin account. Let me know what you think of the idea. The risks I can foresee are poor tracking of the VIX by VXX and that volatility is driven into oblivion. But the VIX rarely drops below 15, which would be a 25%…
Sellers hit indices hard on Friday, leaving markets vulnerable to breaks of nearby support. The S&P managed to find some traction at trendline support and 50-day MA, but it won't be able to handle any further loss on Monday. To add insult to injury, volume climbed to register as distribution, and there were 'sell' triggers between +DI / -DI and On-Balance-Volume. The Nasdaq also dug in at trendline support and 50-day MA. However, the +DI / -DI bearish cross, and On-Balance-Volume 'sell' add to the sell side. ...
With a “defiant” Syriza determined to hold onto any shred of dignity and legitimacy that may remain in the wake of months of painful negotiations with its creditors and with a €5 billion advance from Russia (a large chunk of which will promptly be paid to the IMF which use it to bailout Ukraine which will hand it right back to Russia) shaping up to be the last lifeline for Greece before Athens is reduced to issuing IOUs to pay ...
China’s central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said the world’s second-largest economy has scope compared with other nations to ease its monetary policies though won’t necessarily take advantage of it. (Read more)
When it comes to investing in the stock market, do you feel leadership can be important. If so, you might want to pay attention to price action from a key global stock index. China has been in the news for hot stock market performance that past couple of months. When it comes to the past couple of years, Germany has been stronger than China and the S&P 500. In the past two years the DAX index has gained 18% more than the S&P 500, which is a 60% greater return.
The chart below looks at conditions in the DAX at this time and what message is coming from this index.
As we get into the heart of earnings season and anticipate the GDP report for Q1, the investor spotlight has been taken off the Federal Reserve and timing of its first interest rate hike, at least temporarily. Even though Q1 economic growth will undoubtedly look weak, the future remains bright for the U.S economy – even though many multinationals will struggle with top-line growth due to the strong dollar – and any near-term selloff resulting from weak economic or earnings news should be bought yet again in expectation of better results for the balance of the year. High sector correlations remain a concern, reflectin...
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As noted earlier, with equities now a barren wasteland of volume (and liquidity), the last remaining HFT master (of whale order frontrunning)has been forced to go to those asset classes where organic flow is still abundant such as FX, courtesy of central banks engaged in global currency wars. However, HFTs rea...
Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene
The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below.
Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets)
Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies)
Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...
In my last post (Part 1 of this article), I looked at alternative ETFs that could be used as hedges against the corrections that we have seen during that long 2 year bull run. Looking at the results, it seems that for short (less than a month) corrections, a VIX ETF like VXX could actually be a viable candidate to hedge or speculate on the way down. Another alternative ETF was TMF, a long Treasuries ETF which banks on the fact that when markets go down, money tends to pack into treasuries viewed as safe instruments. In some cases, TMF even outperformed the usual hedging instruments like leveraged ETFs. There could of course be other factors at play since some of 2014 corrections were related to geopolitical events which are certain...
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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