by phil - June 5th, 2010 7:12 am
Like any good car race, the lead changes often in the markets. Yesterday the bears took the lead as the combination of Hungarian debt issues and a disappointing jobs number were like a tire blow-out for the bulls, who were forced to pull in for a pit stop. Fortunately, we had our seat belts on and had assumed the crash position as I had warned Members on THURSDAY Morning at 10:04:
Watch that 666 line on the RUT – we don’t want to lose that or even show weakness there… ISM a bit disappointing, now we’ll see what holds but I’m out of short-term, unhedged, upside plays here.
I felt strongly enough about it that we also posted it on Seeking Alpha, to warn as many people as possible, under the heading: "Phil Calls Short-Term Top." I don’t post live trade ideas on Seeking Alpha but in Premium Member Chat (and you can subscribe here) I followed right up at 10:17 Thursday morning with the following trade idea:
BGZ (large-cap bear) is at $15.27 and I like them as a hedge here with the (June) $14/16 bull call spread at .75, selling the July $14 puts for .95 and that’s a net .20 credit on the $2 spread with about $2.70 in margin so you can do a 10 contract spread for a $200 credit and $2,700 in margin (according to TOS standard) with a $2K upside if the market even twitches lower. Worst case is you own BGZ as a hedge to a dip below Dow 10,600 (your put-to area) at net $13.80 (9% lower than current price).
That’s what hedged trade ideas look like in our Member Chat. At PSW, you need to put some time in LEARNING how to trade and, more importantly, how to hedge. This is a fairly complicated options play but we take it BECAUSE IT WORKS! There are many, many simpler ways to play that don’t work (or carry far more risk) but we prefer to teach our Members how to do the things that do work. As it stands, just 48 hours later, BGZ is up 10% on Friday to $16.89 (so the spread is now 100% in the money) and June $14/16 bull call spread is now $1.50 while the July $14 puts are Down to .60 so net .90 already on the spread that already paid…
by phil - March 14th, 2010 5:20 am
I’m having writer’s block this weekend.
Usually when I can’t think of what to write it helps me to go over our virtual portfolios so I started this morning reviewing the Buy List but I didn’t get far because it was silly. Of 43 plays on the buy list, 39 are doing well – too well in fact to the point where it’s hard for me, in good conscience, not to say let’s kill the whole thing and get back to cash as we’re up about 20% in 2 months and that’s just ridiculous – most people would call that a good year and go on vacation.
The Buy List was 100% bullish and we did catch a good bottom on our early February entries. I was gung ho bullish then because I felt comfortable that the 10,000 line on the Dow would prevail and that we were good for a run back to the top (10,700), following, more or less, the pattern we had in 2004 (see original post for charts). Well that’s pretty much what’s happened since then but that’s not making me happy because I see no reason we won’t complete that pattern and begin falling off a cliff shortly.
As you all know, I’m not a big fan of TA, or patterns for that matter but the reason I started looking for patterns was to try to get a handle on how long market could really keep going up before falling victim to exhaustion. To me it seemed we weren’t at that point on Feb 6th but now that we’ve put in that big push back up – if we can’t punch up to new highs on all our indexes then I do think it’s time for the markets to take a break.
Clearly I’ve been too bearish for the past couple of weeks and we are now 224 points over 10,400 on the Dow which is where I turned bearish as the January data made me lose faith in our ability to get back to 10,700. I should have stuck to the TA because we’re a lot closer to 10,700 than we are to 10,400. With the Russell and Nasdaq exploding to their own new highs. You can see though, from the above chart, why I do want to wait to see the NYSE, Dow and S&P confirm this move up – it’s not far now!…
by Option Review - September 11th, 2009 4:39 pm
Today’s tickers: XLK, RF, NBR, MCD, KEY, MGM, HBAN & LVS
XLK - The tech-sector exchange-traded fund attracted a hoard of call buyers this afternoon amid a less than 0.5% decline in shares during the session to $20.62. Traders expecting upward momentum in the price of the stock looked to the December 22 strike price where approximately 35,000 call options were purchased for an average premium of 43 cents per contract. Investors will turn a profit on the calls if shares of the XLK rise 9% from the current level to surpass the breakeven price of $22.43 by expiration in December. – Technology Select Sector SPDR –
RF - Investors exhibited near-term bearish sentiment on RF today by piling into put options on the stock. Shares of Regions Financial have slipped 1% lower today to stand at the current price of $5.54. The heaviest volume was observed at the September 5.0 strike where about 31,000 puts look to have been purchased for an average premium of 11 cents apiece. More pessimistic traders looked to the lower October 4.0 strike to get long of 3,100 puts valued at 10 cents per contract. Perhaps traders exhibiting such behavior are long shares of the underlying stock. If this is the case, the put action was inspired by traders seeking downside protection through expiration next Friday and through October’s expiration day. – Regions Financial –
NBR The largest onshore drilling firm edged onto our ‘hot by options volume’ market scanner today due to call action in the October contract. Investors were apparently not discouraged from taking bullish stances on the stock even though shares are currently lower by about 1% to $18.84. Approximately 6,000 calls were coveted at the October 20 strike for an average premium of 95 cents apiece. Traders long the calls are hoping to see shares rally about 11% higher by expiration so that they may begin to garner profits above the breakeven point at $20.95. – Nabors Industries Limited –
MCD - Traders hungry for calls – or perhaps a Big Mac – placed bullish bets on the golden arches using options despite a 1% decline in the price of its shares to $54.36. Nearer-term optimism was observed at the October 60 strike where approximately 4,500 calls were pocketed for an average premium of 12 cents per contract. Perhaps the continued rise in unemployment has helped fuel bullish sentiment on the fast…
by phil - August 8th, 2009 8:23 am
Next week will be the last week for our very profitable virtual portfolio, that started with $100,000 on April 10th.
This virtual portfolio has already made 19% in 16 weeks and many members wanted to start a new one from scratch. So, by popular demand, we will be restarting a brand new virtual portfolio the week after options expiration, also with $100,000 and also a hedged virtual portfolio but this time with the goal of drawing a monthly income. I got this idea when I went down to Florida last week and spoke to many people who asked me about their investing accounts. Many of these "safe" accounts had been cut in half or worse and the returns they were producing were coming in at 5% year – if that and people were counting on this money for their monthly expenses. I spoke to many people with $1M in the bank who were living off $50,000 a year in interest and dividends!
Using options and good hedging strategies, we have been able to produce a return in our virtual portfolio of 19% in just 16 weeks (12% cash, 7% unrealized). I’m not advocating someone take a whole $1M and shift it to stocks and options but, if you can make 20% on $200,000 while your other $800,000 makes a "safe" 5%, your annual income goes from $50,000 to $80,000 – that’s a lot of early-bird specials! I will, of course, be happy to answer any adjustment questions on this virtual portfolio anytime during chat but we will no longer be tracking it weekly or making new plays. The goals of the new virtual portfolio will be similar and the new trade ideas can be applied whether you are looking to draw an income or just start building long-term set of holdings for reinvestment.
In the last $112,007 Virtual Portfolio Update, from July 28th, we remained bullish and it really paid off with another $2,117 in unrealized gains ($6,690 not included in above total) as we made a very well-timed bottom call the week before and ran with it. We have haven’t had to call an "audible" in two weeks, sticking to our plan as the market held up nicely.
The first few weeks after you sell options are usually the worst and the rising VIX had boosted the premiums of the puts and calls we sold but none of that matters because we played a little more aggressive to the upside and, despite losing…
by Option Review - August 3rd, 2009 4:22 pm
Today’s tickers: AA, KEY, EWZ, F, CBS, TCK & OSK
AA – The aluminum producer has experienced a more than 7.5% rally in shares today to $12.66. Commodity stocks rose on reports indicating manufacturing has declined less than previously forecast, in addition to an unexpected increase in spending on construction. Options activity on Alcoa suggests near-term bullish sentiment and medium-term bearishness. Bullish traders targeted the August 13 strike price to buy more than 5,700 calls for 36 cents apiece. Meanwhile, one investor rolled 2,000 call options up from the August 12 strike price by selling the lots for 83 cents, which he then spread against the purchase of 2,000 calls at the higher August 14 strike for 14 cents a-pop. A much gloomier tale was inferred from the actions of bearish individuals in the October contract. The now in-the-money October 12.5 strike has approximately 12,900 calls shed for 1.15 apiece. We note that the call sales could represent the work of investors banking gains due to the existing open interest at the strike of 71,000. However, a similar picture was seen at the October 15 strike where approximately 25,000 calls were sold for 48 cents per contract. The October 15 strike previously had open interest of just 6,900 contracts compared to the more than 30,900 lots which exchanged hands there today. Perhaps call sellers do not see shares of Alcoa rising through $15.00 by expiration. Otherwise, investors could be long shares of the underlying and establishing pseudo-covered calls by shedding the contracts at the higher strike. Finally, the January 2011 5.0 strike price had 18,500 puts trade for 40 cents apiece. We believe it is likely that the investor is closing out a short put position originally established back on May 8, 2009. It appears that the trader sold 18,000 puts for 83 cents and today bought the lots back for 40 cents apiece. If this is indeed the direction of the trade, the investor has banked profits of 43 cents per contract, or a total of $774,000. – Alcoa, Inc.
KEY – Shares of the banking services firm have rallied nearly 11.5% higher during today’s trading session to stand at the current price of $6.44. One long-term options bull was observed initiating a call spread in the January 2010 contract. It appears that the investor purchased 4,000 now in-the-money calls at the January 6.0 strike price for an…