An $AMZN trade that was a coulda, shoulda, but not a woulda…

Shared the chart below of AMZN around the internet after the close last night with the suggestion that this was an obvious setup to buy puts or sell calls.

It was prompted by this post here yesterday:

$AMZN – a leader stumbles?

The idea was that the stock would continue its stumble today (and maybe for a week or so). See the blue boxes marking the spots on the chart when that has happened before as it comes off overbought (the yellow color coding on the chart).

Since long-term breadth had just turned down after a long run up and everything in the market was pretty much overbought, it was likely there would also be market pressure on the stock besides it being overextended on its own. Then there was that history thing in play again – the best indicator of all since it repeats or rhymes or whatever but it mostly whispers what’s going to happen next again and again.

It was a trade for today’s open. The most aggressive and least expensive entry would be an in-or-at-or-just-out-of-the-money put expiring Friday.

I coulda and probably shouda but I did not trade this. In general I don’t like stock options, don’t like the spreads, don’t like the lack of liquidity when it’s time to close it out, don’t like the complications (all those Greeks and spread strategies). I like my options trading plain and simple – it either goes up or it goes down, it is either a call or a put. I trade SPY options.

I threw this out there last night for entertainment purposes primarily, and, as it turned out, it turned out to be quite instructive for anyone who does like stock options. To each his or her own way to play these money games…

AMZN had a big move down (as history whispered it would). The 1995 Put, expiring Friday, from the open peaked during the day up 260% and ended the day up 161% (see the companion chart below). That’s somewhere between $26,000 and $16,000 on a small $$10K capital commitment. Not bad for a day trade? This could drop more tomorrow making that put even more profitable but come on…it’s a home run with no need to risk an overnight reversal.

And besides, moves like this happen again and again, nearly everyday, somewhere in the market.

I didn’t even notice TWTR. Market-timing, options-trading bears must have made some serious money there today.

(click on the charts for a larger view)

The $SPY $10K day trade for 26.7%

Just a quick note on the $10K SPY options day trade for Thursday.

The long signal triggered just after the open and rose to a 97% peak (see the chart below) and closed the day up 26.7 percent, $2,670 for each $10K trade (see the white profit flag on the lower right). The is the day trade, start to finish.

Note, though, I consider a 100% gain a “trending day”, which are obviously the most important days to capture. Had this position passed above that threshold it could be locked in that profit level with a trailing stop. Just missed it today. Shucks!

However, it also should be noted that light blue candle after the peak on the chart was a chance to take at least some profits – the $10K was up 56.9% at the point. Short-circuiting the day-trade has not be more profitable over the long run this year than just letting it ride, but there at times when it just looks so obvious…

These trades are all day trades, either in the nearest in-the-money SPY calls or puts (in this case the 283 call, expiring Friday, and are closed at the close of each day. There was no signal for the puts today but on some days there are both calls and puts in play. My entry signal is proprietary, and should be tuned to any individual trader’s courage and risk tolerance.

Keep in mind, these posts are only for entertainment and educational purposes and should not in any way be construed as trading or investment advice.

$SPY options – can little losers be the prelude to a big winner?

I came into today expecting a sell-off in the general market.

It didn’t happen, at least not right off the bat. At the end of the day, it sort of sold down in a way that may mean the market “plop” I suggest yesterday will come tomorrow.

For the past three days the market has been in a very tight range – for instance SPY opened Tuesday at 285.39, opened Wednesday again at 285.39 and today at 285.53, a total range of 14 cents in three days. This might be great if one is selling SPY options but I don’t even look at the short side naked because it takes too much margin. Instead in what I’ve been calling, tongue-in-cheek “the fool’s game,” these three days have been yuck. I mean PURE YUCK!

Today was a little loser again.

Because I’ve been posting winners, primarily to explore the potential of day trading SPY calls and puts on the long side (“the fool’s game”), I’ve been met on the internet as expected by a chorus of naysayers who believe what I’m saying is far “too good to be true.” So I’ve decided to post this loser to reassure that while it is good and it is true it is not every day.

Today’s loss came from trading $10K on each trade, first the 284 call, expiring tomorrow (see the the chart on the left below), then the 286 put on the day-trading reversal. The call lost 22.8% percent on the $10K trade, $2282. The put, which was deeply underwater most of the day (see the white profit histogram on the chart on the right below), managed to surge to a .9% profit on the SPY sell-down into the close, $958. Total loss for the day was $1324 for $10K traded, 13.2% for the day.

That 22% loss on the calls and the 13% loss overall is why money management is most important in trading anything, especially any strategy like this. It is intended to be traded small versus one’s overall portfolio and traded everyday.

The tight range of the past three days suggest SPY could go big either way tomorrow. My hope is it will be a trending day either up or down since the real money here is made on trending days, usually days of options expiration like Friday (in fact, YTD Friday’s have been the best days of the week), or like last Monday…

Monday’s SPY 283 call (see the pattern on the charts) trended all day. As a result, the profit for week remains at 57% despite the yuck, yuck chop of Tuesday, Wednesday and today.

As a great, wise film fool once said: “That’s…

(click on the chart for a larger view)

Wednesday in the $10K Day Tradeā€¦Final gain 14%

The SPY options trade had huge swings on the Fed announcement today.

The action was not in the calls which never triggered a system buy despite the AAPL news and gains, but in the 282 put, expiring today, first a plummet (see the chart below), then an immediate snap back to a new high for the day before a final grind down into the close. At its low the trade was down 43% and at its high up 84%, all within 20 minutes.

It was enough to make a trader, long the puts, as dizzy as whirling dervish.

Despite the gyrations, at the close the day trade managed to nab a 14% profit, $1469 on the $10K committed to the trade (see the white flag on the lower right of the chart below).

Still, not a bad day in options no matter what.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

Tuesday in the $10K day Trade…Final 10% gain

Tweeted this trade near the highs of the day. SPY 280 Call, Wednesday expiration, up 38%. TQQQ at the time was up 1.5% ($1500 per $100K).

This was a display of a day trade based on the suggestion (see post below) that Tuesday after three days down in the Nasdaq (two of them hard down) would bounce today with an entry into the trade near the open.

Some defense (like a trailing stop) had to be played to lock in gains intraday since once again with long-term breadth still negative there was the possibility of another fade into the close, which happened. Still (see chart below), the SPY trade netted 10% for the day, and TQQQ added another $450 on its $100K buy.

Not a bad return for the day even if the defense stayed on the bench.

Tomorrow, AAPL will be the focus of the day for the general market. The company reported earnings after the close today and rose eight points in the after-market to an new all time high. The question will be can it vault the market higher for the day or will this be a “sell the news” time?

(click on the chart for a larger view)

Monday in the $10K day trade FINAL gain 76%

SPY 282 put, expiring today. Final day’s gain 76%.

“THE FOOL’S GAME”

The $10K Day-Trade – $SPY Options on Fridays

This is all about buying calls and puts for day trades.

And again, ITM 261 SPY weekly option, expiring today, has vaulted past 100% for the day for another trending day (see other posts below).

The white flag on the lower right of the chart below is the dollar gain today so far per $10K traded, also the percentage gain.

The key to these trades is they are day trades in the most liquid call or put, in or at the money, on the nearest expiration to minimize time decay and to get the biggest bang for the buck; using whatever entry a trader is comfortable with, using a stop loss to guard against big losers; and finally taking full or partial profits when one has them, on a breakeven reversal, or on a trailing stop, or into too much strength, but no later than the close of the day.

The day trades on Friday have accounted for 57% of the gains this year.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$SPY options – massive trending day

In what I have tongue-in-cheek called the “Fool’s Game” I define trending days as any day the system of buying puts or calls goes past a 100% gain.

“THE FOOL’S GAME”

Just now today went flying past 200% on a $10K buy in the 4/25 SPY 268 at-the-money put, expiring tomorrow. See chart below, the white flag on the lower right is the current gain per $10k invested, also the a percentage calculation.

I may have to change the name of this game to “Options Trading with Henry David Thoreau” — as in “simplify, simplify, simplify.”

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$SPY OPTIONS – buying calls and puts in a fool’s game of “dailies”

I was going to do a wrap-up of the returns for the first quarter in what I tongue-in-cheek called “the fool’s game” but decided not to because I doubt anyone would believe it.

Even after trading it (off and on) and tracking it (completely) I have trouble believing how astounding it is myself. See note below.

THE FOOL’S GAME – BUYING CALLS AND PUTS

I had tried trading options 30 years ago when I first started trading and it was obvious I didn’t know what I was doing. After being inundated by deltas and thetas and gammas and IVs, as well as strategies like verticals and calendars and strangles and straddles and busted wing whatevers, iron condors, I got killed ever time I tried to put all that stuff to use. It was just too big a jungle to juggle for the average guy.

It was an iron condor that finally told me I had to quit. How anyone executes a four-legged trade in options, going in and coming out, was way beyond me. It still is.

So what to do? What to do?

Do what I do in every other aspect of my trading for the past 30 years – simplify, simplify, simplify. The market either goes up or it goes down. Why wouldn’t it be the same for options?

But in options one is told BY EVERYONE that in buying puts and calls only three things can happen and two of them are bad. It either goes your way right away (the one good thing) or it goes against you (obviously a bad thing), or it goes no where and dies in time decay (the other really bad thing). What to do? Can’t do anything about the “for you” or the “against you” but time decay can be reduced if not eliminated by day trading. Not much decay with a buy on the open and a sell no later than the close.

Last fall I tracked this on the SPY monthly options, but by the beginning of the year, I tracked and started trading the at-the-money weekly options (for a bigger bang to the buck). Much of the tracking had be done manually and by trial and error because the strikes change often daily with the SPY movements, but the trading could be automated in TradeStation. In looking back at the end of the quarter I discovered that most of the really big winners, which I define as more than a 100% gain on the day, came on Fridays, the day of the weekly expiration (8 out of 14 of the big winners).

The day of the expiration? The thing of it is SPY now has options expiration days on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It seems possible the Friday expiration phenomenon could be present Monday and Wednesday too.

Call it day trading the dailies.

Which brings us to today. Granted it was a big one but in options lots of days are big ones. The SPY 263 in-the-money put expiring today netted 238% on my date-trade signal. And the same 263 puts for Wednesday and Friday trailed with 110% and 85% respectively. (The white flags on the right-hand axis in the charts below show the total gain for $10K traded, so chosen to also correspond to a percentage gain.)

Not a bad start to a quarter.

NOTE: Probably should say something about the first quarter in this “fool’s game” just for the record… There were 62 trading days in the quarter with 40 of them profitable for a win rate of 64%. Not going to say how much it made overall (everyone would say “oh, come on, that can’t be!”) but think about these numbers… As I said above there were 14 big winners of 100% or more. The biggest winner in the calls was 252% on 3/9. The biggest winner in the puts was 265% on 2/2. The biggest winning week was the week of 2/5 to 2/9 at 650% and the biggest losing week was 3/12 to 3/16 for a negative 208% (obviously one does not trade this strategy with one’s entire account).

All of this is simply buying calls or puts as day-trades.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$SPY options – another freaky Friday?

Last Friday, the calls in what I’ve ironically labeled for myself the “Fool’s Game” exploded 250%.

In my post in this link below I noted that going into that Friday, my game was looking at its first losing week this year and there had been no trending day during the week also for the first time this year. I define a trending day as any day either the weekly SPY calls or the puts close with a 100% or more gain.

TRENDING DAYS IN THE FOOL’S GAME

So what’s this week look like? Pretty much the same as last week.

As of today’s close, this day-trading system, buying SPY calls and/or puts, expiring either Wednesday or Friday, is losing money, a jarring 81% for each $10K traded (it was losing 152% at last Thursday’s close). Obviously, one does not trade this with any more than a small portion of any account. In addition, this week again there has been no trending day.

Can last Friday be happening again this week? I’m going to suggest — yes!

SPY is down this week four days in a row (not much) which tends to be a magical number for a turn-around in my experience with swing trading, especially in this bull market. The Nasdaq Comp is down three consecutive days. CNN Finance’s “Fear and Greed” Index is down four days to 21, an “extreme fear” level, a neighborhood in which one should consider going long. Yesterday, 40 of the stocks in my nifty-50 stock list were on sells (that is usually the bottom or the beginning of the bottom in any downswing, however small). Today those stocks clicked up to just 38 on sells. The VIX gave a swing buy signal to go long on tomorrow’s open.

And tomorrow is Friday. There have been twelve trending days by my definition so far this year and seven of them have come on Friday. Freaky.

Added all up, tomorrow looks like a run to the upside again and the calls could go crazy, again, if its another trending day.

Or the market could have a monster fifth-day-down crash…but then that would also be a trending day, only in the puts instead.