Author Archive for revtodd64

Writing Calls on Volatility

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:

VXX chart 

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%…
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September Expiration Results

I took a conservative approach for September and wrote only deep in-the-money calls on stocks that had the edge I was looking for at entry.  Here are the percentage gains for my five trades that are called out today:

TSL –     3.68% 

WFR  -  3.31%

VMW  - 3.10%

CCJ  -   2.67%

CMI  -   2.2%

Total Average Gain = 2.99%

Since I was not fully invested for September, my actual virtual portfolio gained about 1.2%.  I took early positions for October as I found good entry points that worked for my strategy.  I am tracking my virtual portfolio compared to the SPY, which moved from 107.53 at August close to 107.88 yesterday, which is a .32% move upward. So even partially invested I beat the S&P 500 by nearly 1 percent.   

At some point I will calculate how much I would have made if I had bought the stocks outright and I’m guessing it would have been a very nice number since they all went up and every stock but CCJ was up more than 5 percent.  My checkpoints should make for a great stock picking system for straight stock purchases to hold for 3 to 6 weeks.  So why don’t I do that instead?  My trading style is very cautious.  I hate to lose money.  I have tried other systems and found myself vulnerable to buying high and selling low, or getting too nervous and shaken out of positions early, when I could have made a profit with patience.  This month I would have had a hard time fighting off all the negativity in the market to even enter positions unless I had a hedged entry with a covered call.  Since I have a master’s in psychology, my world view is that trading success has as much to do with psychology and emotions as it does fundamental and technical analysis.  I have confidence in my system and feel more secure investing when I know I am hedged and can roll into the next month.  I feel like I have taken back control from the market manipulators by selling options to give myself flexibility and a cushion against whatever crazy thing happens out there.

(Click on my user id to go to the website for complete trade updates.  I monitor comments more closely at the site as well.)

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Always Trade with Your Edge

Always Trade with Your Edge

Courtesy of Rev Todd

As I near the first option expiration next Friday during my one year plot to make 3% a month for a year, I know I won’t make 3% the first month and I am OK with that.  I did not fully invest right away and phased in investments as I found stock patterns that fit my philosophy.  After three weeks I am still not fully invested.  I will probably make up ground by October because I have put in a number of positions already that will make more than 3%, so I’m not going to go crazy trying to hit my target every month.  While I want to make money, I’m going to meet that goal by not losing money and not taking unnecessary risk.  I believe I will still meet my overall goal without 3 percent this month by following this simple advice:

Always trade with an edge. 

What is the trading edge when writing monthly covered calls?  I am trying to take advantage of one of the three certainties in life – death, taxes and premium decay on options.  I don’t know what the stock market or the company I invest in will do. I do know with certainty that when I sell an option I will get paid and the premium will drain to zero by the third Friday of the next month.  I sell monthly options because the premium is compressed to a greater degree than LEAPS (long-term) options.  My first edge is very simple, sell premium that allows for 3 percent in profit per month.  Since my current bias is that the market is ranging, I’m playing it safe and writing in-the-money calls that allow for a 5 to 10 percent downside protection, which seems reasonably safe for now.

I never write a covered call on a stock just because of a compelling premium.  My goal is to make a stable income on the stock every month, not to speculate.  High premiums are a sign of high volatility in the stock, which makes the investment more speculative.  I want a high degree of certainty, so I follow some basic rules, which you can see in every trade alert I post.…
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Week 4: How do you make your IRA safe?

Courtesy of Rev Todd

Money safe, close-up

What is the safest way to invest with an IRA? The housing bubble (which should really be called an avalanche, since bubbles don’t sound dangerous) challenged traditional notions of safety.  I remember reading several articles in 2007 about how safe REITs were, and they paid double digit dividends at the time.  “Everyone pays their mortgage, right?  It’s like investing in the American Dream!”  Financial planners focused on asset allocation strategies, blending domestic and international stocks, bonds, and advocating that being spread out everywhere insured that you would gain in some places and lose in others, but over time you should make 10 percent a year. 

Then we find out that the first decade of the 21st century was a complete wash in the stock market.  In September of 2008, do you know how many of the several thousand mutual funds were beating the market?  17!  And five of those funds were run by the same woman!  Wish I could remember where I read that.  So I could have put all my money in a couple of ETFs and done better than a mutual fund and avoided all the fees.  So much for safety.

Where do you feel most safe investing now – stocks, government or corporate bonds, gold, real estate, commodities?  Wrong on all the above.  Chocolate is the best performing asset over time.  Do you think Warren Buffett invests in Hershey and Cadbury because he has a sweet tooth?  You could have skipped the dot.com and housing avalanches and retired with a pile of Hershey’s kisses, which taste much better than gold. 

Here’s my answer the question of safety.  Invest with options!  People forget that options are designed to hedge against risk, not as speculation tools.  My Grandfather ran a farm, feed store and trucking business in a tiny Iowa town.  When I was 13 years old, he taught me about corn and soybean futures.  He left me in charge of the feed store and a telephone number in Chicago to call if any farmers came in to hedge their crops for the fall.  I drew up three contracts that afternoon for small farmers looking to lock in their grain prices while the market was high and…
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Three Styles of Buy-Writes in an IRA

A whipsawing market can disturb your sleep to the point where you feel like you spent the night sailing around the Cape of Good Hope in a hurricane rather than dreaming about how you will spend your retirement. I batten down the hatches by writing covered calls in my IRA virtual portfolio. Covered calls enhance returns in a range-bound market and make the IRA ship sail a little smoother in choppy wakes caused by the latest CNBC “USS Dome and Gloom” and “USS BuyBuyBuy” sail at your stern. The Education section at Phil’s Stock World (PSW) gives three great strategies on how to buy-write your way to a more peaceful retirement. I suggest you read the details of each of these strategies as you get the chance, but I will provide a brief summary and what I see as the strengths of each style of writing covered calls.

 
Discount Buy-Write
 
This is the backbone strategy at PSW to build a core virtual portfolio. The strategy is to buy a great stock coming off a market bottom and sell a call and put at a strike price that allows for a 20 percent or better discount on the purchase of the stock. Here is a great example from PSW sent to members on July 7.
 
XOM is a good inflation hedge and so beaten down (back to Sept 2008 spike lows, when oil was $40) that I have to include it.  They have a 3.1% dividend of $1.76 with the stock at $57.46 and we can sell the 2012 $55 calls for $9.20 and the 2012 $52.50 puts for $7.35 for a net $40.91/46.71.  That brings the dividend up to 4.3% and you make another 34% if called away at $55 with your worst case being owning 2x XOM at an 18.7% discount to today’s price.
 
The obvious advantage of this strategy is that you can make a decent income even if your stock drops and you get a 15 to 20 percent downside hedge. Even in a huge market drop, that will pay off leaving you greater capital to work with as you build your virtual portfolio back up. Second, these are long-term writes, often 6 to 18 months into the future. If you don’t have time to monitor your virtual portfolio every day or week, this strategy allows peace of mind while vacationing or just living your life. Third, if you are a PSW


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IRA Plot Week II: Why Margin is the Suspected IRA Killer

Courtesy of Rev. Todd, Rev Todd’s IRA Plot, PSW member 

I love the way Phil does buy-writes that leads to buying stocks at a 20 percent discount and a nice long-term, no stress profit.  Add in some debit spreads on TZA, SDS or whatever else to protect and I sleep very well at night.  I am quick to load up on buy-writes whenever Phil gives the word.  But a silent killer lurks in the shadows when I walk the dark alleys of my IRA account – margin requirements.  (Cue the scary organ music.)

To illustrate the dilemma, look at CSCO on Phil’s buy list.  He recommends buying Cisco and selling the $20 strike on calls and puts.  If I go into that trade today, CSCO is at $22.23, and I would sell the Jan. 2012 call at $4.90 and the put for $2.55 for a great entry and a break even point that is 22% down.  If Cisco holds above $20, the profit is $529 on 100 shares.  Since the margin requirement (buying power in TOS) is only $1316, that makes for a 40% profit in 16 months, about 2.5% a month.  Very nice!

So I move to my IRA account to do the same trade, set things up very quickly and get ready to pull the trigger and look at the margin requirement, which is now $3471!  I would still make $529 profit, but gain is only 15% or just under 1% a month.  What happened?  In a margin account I only have to put up half of the $2223 to buy the 100 shares of CSCO, minus $$490 for selling the call, plus about $590 in margin to sell the put, which comes to only $1316.  In my IRA I have to put down $1745 to sell a cash secured put ($20 put strike minus the $2.55 sale = $17.45 per share).  Plus I have to put up all the purchase cost of the stock minus the cash I get for selling the call which is a whopping $3471. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with making the trade in my IRA account.  I want security in my retirement, and 1% a month profit with downside protection is certainly better than the bobble-headed shark working for DaBoyz while taking 2% in yearly fees out of my account is going to make for me.  But I would like to do…
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IRA Plot Week I: Some checkpoints for monthly covered calls

CCJ trade:  Some checkpoints for monthly covered calls 

Courtesy of Rev. Todd, Rev Todd’s IRA Plot

 
This is a repost from the PSW list on Wednesday, August 18:
 
This morning I am looking at CCJ, which is already on the PSW buy list. For those of you following the strategy, read http://www.philstockworld.com/2010/03/27/7-steps-to-making-40-returns/ because that is a great summary of what I’m trying to do in my IRAs. 
 
Buy CCJ at $25.64 and sell the Sept $25 call at $1.45. Cost basis is $24.19. If called out in Sept. this is a 3.78% profit and you get a 7.93% downside protection.
 
Here are the technicals I look at for covered call writing. 
  1. CCJ is above the 50 day moving average (50 MA) and just regained the 20 SMA. I like to write on stocks moving back upward.
  2. There is support at the 50 SMA, which is at $24 pre-market. Remember the cost basis is at $24.09
  3. Volume just moved up nicely yesterday. I like to buy things as others are buying it, instead of selling it.
  4. Open interest on the option is 3244. I like it to be over 2500 so there is plenty of liquidity. If I have to kill this trade or roll it down, I want to be able to move in and out of it easily.
  5. CCJ will not report earnings before Sept expiration. I do not like to write calls with earning ahead of expiration because it is hard to say what will happen to the price. Phil has some nice trades to take advantage of the volatility at earning, which I do in my margin account, but with covered calls I want predictability and as much safety as possible. I want to hit a very high percentage of these trades, say 90 percent or better. 
  6. I also like to look at the sector and see how it is doing. Phil has already done the fundamentals on this, but right now uranium miners seem to be doing well with a lot of demand out there.
So that is the basics of what I try to do. The numbers here will move around a little as the market get going. In fact if you can only get $1.35 for the $25 calls that drops the profit to around 2.8% and downside protection is only 5.25%. I would want to get a little more and get closer to 3% profit. I like to be at


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What “the plot” is all about

What “the plot” is all about

Courtesy of Rev. Todd, Rev Todd’s IRA Plot

Business people looking down at man lying on pavement, elevated view

For several years I have been a wandering stock market pilgrim seeking the holy grail of trading. I started with $2500 from a tax rebate and started climbing the volatile active volcano of penny stocks. I barely escaped the lava and moved through a series of gurus. I journeyed through the lands that were infested with gold bugs; flew (and crashed) with the iron condors, traveled with a trading tribe of “turtle traders” until whipsawed unconscious; and flew too near the sun with Icarus-like option traders.  None of these proved to be the holy grail, since I either had too little cash, too little time or too little patience since I work full-time and cannot devote myself to day trading.

In September of 2008 I discovered covered call writing. Once again I took a beating as the market underwent cardiac arrest in the ICU, but I noticed that while mutual funds were down 40-50%, I was “only” down 30% at the bottom and I recovered all my capital by the following February. I could also sleep at night and didn’t have to be glued to the screen. In the 1st quarter of 2009 I had 14 of 14 successful trades, made 15% writing covered calls, and followed that with making 14% in the 2nd quarter. Sounds like the holy grail, right? However, the VIX was at a peak and the premiums were more magnificent than the pearly gates and heavenly streets paved with gold. Then I got greedy. I succumbed to the sirens promising 100% a year and once-in-a-lifetime investments in breakthrough technologies.  I started to lose money again. 
 
I stumbled into PSW a few months ago and the buy-write strategies and hedges made sense to me. I started making money again. I didn’t find a holy grail, a messiah, nirvana, or the Kingdom of God, but I did start getting my daily bread. Oddly enough I make more money by being conservative than by taking risks.
 
So how did “IRA plot” come about? I assure you I am not affiliated with any Irish revolutionary groups, though I did spend a summer in Belfast. I’m talking about the Roth kind of IRAs. I recently took over managing my new wife’s IRA and my mother’s IRA. Not all the strategies at PSW work in IRA accounts. While Interactive Brokers allows me to sell cash covered naked puts, I cannot buy


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Phil's Favorites

Investors Peddling Themselves into Frenzy

 

Citron Research Presents Peloton – Investors Peddling Themselves into Frenzy

Courtesy of Citron Reseach 

2020 Target Price – $5

Before we even start with the narrative, we are obligated to show the only chart that matters.

Unless Peloton invents a piece of equipment that works out for you – this is going to $5 (which is still a $1BN-$2BN market cap).

Looking back over the past 5 years, one of the biggest trading regrets held by Citron was not being more aggressive and staying short GoPro from the article we published in late 2014.

While Wall St was giddy over the new “must-have product”, Citron maintained that GoPro sold a consumer electronics device that would eventually show decelerating growth...



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Zero Hedge

Stocks Drop As Tariff Deadline, Central Banks Looms

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Global stocks, US equity futures, 10Y TSY yields and the US dollar dropped for a second day on Tuesday, amid what conventional wisdom said was "caution over a Dec. 15 deadline for the next round of U.S. tariffs" as well as looming Fed and ECB meetings and UK elections (although the real risk factor is the repo market as we will discuss shortly).

Following their counterparts in Asia, European shares fell again, with the Stoxx 600 index down over 1%  on course for its bigges...



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Insider Scoop

41 Healthcare Stocks Moving In Tuesday's Pre-Market Session

Courtesy of Benzinga

Gainers
  • ObsEva, Inc. (NASDAQ: OBSV) stock increased by 24.8% to $4.03 during Tuesday's pre-market session. The market cap seems to be at $337.6 million. The most recent rating by H.C. Wainwright, on December 02, is at Buy, with a price target of $36.00.
  • ContraFect, Inc. (NASDAQ: CFRX) shares increased by 24.7% to $0.36. The market cap seems to be at $25.8 million.
  • Aevi Genomic Medicine, Inc. (NASDAQ: GNMX) shares increased by 8.1% to $0.15. The market cap seems t...


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Kimble Charting Solutions

Are Bank Stocks Sending Bullish Message To Investors?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Just as the health of the banking sector is a big deal to the economy, it’s equally important to the S&P 500 (SPY) and broader stock market.

Although the bull market has grinding higher, it’s awaiting confirmation from the banks and banks stocks.

Today’s chart is of the S&P 500 Bank ETF (KBE) and shows how the banks are at an important juncture in time and price.

KBE (the bank ETF) is testing the upper end of a falling channel, offering bulls an opportunity for a breakout – see point (2).

The banks were at a similar juncture nearl...



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Digital Currencies

The Road To Retirement: Millennials Put Their Faith In Bitcoin But Goldman Says Go With Gold

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

"Drop Gold" - the ever-present tagline of Grayscale's Bitcoin Trust TV commercial - appears to be working its magic on a certain cohort of society.

2019 has seen assets under management in GBTC soar...

Source: Bloomberg

And for Millennials, according to the lates...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Chart Shows the Fed Ramping Up Not QE - Funding Almost All Treasury Issuance

 

Chart Shows the Fed Ramping Up Not QE – Funding Almost All Treasury Issuance

Courtesy of Lee Adler, Wall Street Examiner 

The Fed is ramping up “Not QE” .

The Fed bought $2.2 billion in notes today in its POMO, “not QE,” operations. Actually $2.15 billion because they sold back a whole $50 million. Must have been a little glitch in the force.

This brings the Fed’s total outright purchases of Treasuries to $170 billion since it started Not QE, on September 17.

It also did $107 billion in gross new repo loans to Primary Dealers to buy Tre...



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Chart School

Silver stock taking the sector higher

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

As the US economy begins to show late cycle characteristics like: GDP slowing, higher inflation, higher wage costs, CEO confidence slump. 

Previous Post: Gold Stocks Review

The big players in the market are looking for the next swing off good value lows. This means more money is finding it way into the gold and silver sector, and it is said gold and silver stocks actually lead the metal prices.

The cycle below shows prices are ready to move in the months ahead (older chart re posted).


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Members' Corner

Sacha Baron Cohen Uses ADL Speech to Tear Apart Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook

 

Sacha Baron Cohen Uses ADL Speech to Tear Apart Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook

By Matt Wilstein

Excerpt:

Sacha Baron Cohen accepted the International Leadership Award at the Anti-Defamation League’s Never is Now summit on anti-Semitism and hate Thursday. And the comedian and actor used his keynote speech to single out the one Jewish-American who he believes is doing the most to facilitate “hate and violence” in America: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

He began with a joke at the Trump administration’s expense. “Thank you, ADL, for this recognition and your work in fighting racism, hate and bigotry,” Baron Cohen said, according to his prepared...



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The Technical Traders

VIX Warns Of Imminent Market Correction

Courtesy of Technical Traders

The VIX is warning that a market peak may be setting up in the global markets and that investors should be cautious of the extremely low price in the VIX. These extremely low prices in the VIX are typically followed by some type of increased volatility in the markets.

The US Federal Reserve continues to push an easy money policy and has recently begun acquiring more dept allowing a deeper move towards a Quantitative Easing stance. This move, along with investor confidence in the US markets, has prompted early warning signs that the market has reached near extreme levels/peaks. 

Vix Value Drops Before Monthly Expiration

When the VIX falls to levels below 12~13, this typically v...



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Biotech

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Why telling people with diabetes to use Walmart insulin can be dangerous advice

A vial of insulin. Prices for the drug, crucial for those with diabetes, have soared in recent years. Oleksandr Nagaiets/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Jeffrey Bennett, Vanderbilt University

About 7.4 million people ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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