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%…
Plenty of excuses out there for this evening's collosal miss in Chinese exports (-18.1% YoY vs an expectation of a 7.5% rise) mainly based on timing issues over the Lunar New Year (but didn't the 45 economists who forecast this data know the dates before they forecast?) This is a 6-sigma miss and plunges China's trade balance to its biggest miss on record and 2nd largest deficit on record. Combining Jan and Feb data (i.e. smoothing over the holiday), exports are still down 1.6% YoY - not good for the much-heralded global recovery. Exports to the rest of the BRICs were all down over 20% but no there is no contagion from an emergin...
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There is a fairly regular pattern to how the market behaves during what is called the "four-year election cycle." Typically, we get a peak in the spring, a bottom in late summer, and then a strong rally into the pre-election year:
We more or less had that pattern in 2010-2011, where we peaked in the spring, bottomed in the summer, and then rallied into the middle of the pre-election year (2011):
The Global X Social Media Index ETF (Ticker: SOCL) touched fresh record highs on Thursday morning, surprising no one given the top three holdings of the Fund are Hong Kong-based Tencent Holdings (12.678%), Facebook Inc. (12.506%) and LinkedIn Corp. (8.166%), which are up 130%, 160% and 22%, respectively, since this time last year. The SOCL reflects the performance of companies involved in the social media industry, including companies that provide social networking, file sharing and other web-based media applications. Shares in the ETF rose 1.3% today to a new high of $23.00, and have soared approximately 65% since this time last year.
Today brought three better than expected economic releases from Construction Spending, ISM Manufacturing, and Personal Income. The ISM figure was quite unexpected and Personal Income was well above expectations. If we ignore for a moment that the Final GDP reading for Q4 was lowered on Friday (which may or may not have been primarily caused by severe weather), we have had a week of better than expected economic numbers. Corporate earnings have also continued to exceed forecasts, albeit with a bit more cautious guidance.
Of course, none of that matters when the “war drums” start beating. Russia and the Ukraine are engaged in a serious game of “chicken” with a bear in the hen house. The Russian ruble has borne the brunt of the damage so far with a double digit drop today again...
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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.
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Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.
And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014? The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.
As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...
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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