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%…
Following yesterday's polls, we suspect this cartoon sums up the view of many 'faithful' as they head into the new year. Of course, no matter what faces change next year, the Fed will always be there...
"...if you like your seat, you can keep your seat..."
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The Downside Hedge Twitter sentiment indicator for the S&P 500 Index (SPX) is chasing price in a fairly violent way even though price has been in a tight 2% range for nearly three weeks. Over that time period the daily indicator has printed several reading in the +20 range then dropping quickly toward or below zero on the slightest price weakness. Traders on Twitter have the jitters. This sets up a situation where the market could fall quickly if any important support level is broken.
Smoothed sentiment is maintaining a fairly steep uptrend and making higher highs, but is currently painting a small divergence with price. The divergence is only one week long so it's too early to be anything more than something to k...
The Washington Post reports Majority of youngest voters would recall Obama. Young people, who played a major role in putting President Obama in the White House in 2008 and keeping him there after 2012, now say they would vote to recall the president if given the chance.
A new Harvard University Institute of Politics poll shows 52 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 say they would vote to recall Obama. Among young people aged 18 to 29, the number is 47 percent. I am not sure how the Washington Post calculated the first breakdown unless they had more access to the data. Let's head straight to the Harvard ...
Celgene International Sàrl, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG) announced Saturday that results from an ad hoc analysis of a subset of subjects with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) from two ongoing phase I/II studies of oral epigenetic agent CC-486 (oral azacitidine) were presented at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting in New Orleans, La.#ASH13
BIG – Big Lots, Inc. – Shares in the largest U.S. broadline closeout retailer are down big today, with the stock dropping nearly 14% to $32.00, the lowest level since August 23rd., after Big Lots posted a wider than expected third-quarter loss of $0.18 a share on revenue that came in below the average analyst estimate for the metric.
December expiry options changing hands on Big Lots in the early going today indicate some traders are positioning for the price of the underlying to sell down further during the next couple of weeks. Traders appear to have purc...
As the charts last week indicated might happen, the S&P 500 has fallen four straight days and failed to hold its breakout above 1800 while the Dow Jones Industrials lost 16,000. Only the NASDAQ is still holding on to its breakout above 4000. Although the Basic Materials sector was the leader on Wednesday, the Technology sector was strong, as well, and in fact Tech stocks have been the strongest over the past week and the past month.
As markets finally show a willingness to pullback somewhat from their torrid pace, the bears are trotting out every naysayer they can lay their hands on to scare investors away, including smart folks like Carl Icahn, who is “very cautious,” and Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller and his stock market “bubble” assertions. Sure, valuations are high on a historic...
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This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).
We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options.
Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.
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These rallies are becoming familiar. In early July we saw a streak of 12 of 13 sessions in a row up, early September 11 of 12, and mid October 11 of 13 (current streak). It is a bit uncanny the similarities and how the escalator goes straight up in vertical ascent as we see indexes come out of mini corrections during QE. So we are about at the same stage where the last two began to tire, so it will be interesting if this is similar or if the current consensus of the market that there is nothing to worry about until next year as the Fed and D.C. are both off the table and this 3% annual growth rate in earnings we are now seeing in the S...
Welcome to the fouth update of the IRA Virtual Portfolio. First I am going to summarize the current state of the Portfolio then I will get into all the activity we had during September expiration.
Profit and Loss – Net of closed positions the portfolio is up a total of $769
Market Commentary – Last expiration I said, "I would like to put a total of $20,000 to work by the end of SEP expiration. If the VIX pops up to around 20 I plan to put about $50,000 total to work." The market didn't quite reach the goal but I did manage to deploy $15,000 of buying power. I still feel the market is too high and expect a correction during October. If the vix pops up to around 20 I still plan to put about $50,000 to work. If a correction doesn't happen I still plan to have a total of $25,000 in buying power put to work by October expiration. Now on to the act...
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Come and get it! Read all about it! Biotechs, biotechs and more biotechs to buy buy buy for your portfolio! To date, almost 30 biotech companies have hit the market. Most of the time, there are fewer than 10-12!
For the last five years, biotechs have had issues obtaining offer prices above expectations. In 2013, that trend looks to be broken. According to BiotechNow, the offer prices are 4% above expectations! In addition, biotechs are going public with little more than a wing and a prayer (pre-clinical or Phase 1 data only). Really? What this means is that the drug or technology looks good in mice, rats, or dogs, etc, but there is no smidgen of evidence that it will work in humans. That's what is called an appitite for RISK!
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