$TSLA – Day trading short strangles for simplicity’s sake

I’ve been told repeatedly on Facebook and Reddit that no one can day trade options on stocks. No one?

Is that a flat-out challenge or what?

So I set about to see if it could be simple enough to be possible. Simple because it’s a day trade, and because I’ve been chasing the simple in trading forever. To my mind Henry David Thoreau -“Simplify, simplify, simplify’ – is the greatest stock market guru of all. And I wanted it to be systematic so it could be done day in and day out as rhythmically as a perfect golf swing.

First, a few simple basics.

When one buys an option in the stock market there are only three things that can happen and two of them are bad for the buyer. It goes your way right away which is good. It goes against you, which is bad. Or it goes sideways and time decay eats away the premium paid, which is bad. It’s the same selling an option but much better because the time decay is on the seller’s side. If the stock goes sideways, the seller keeps the premium on the option. In other words, if one buys an option, one has a 66% chance of losing money; if one sells the option, it’s a 66% chance of making money.

So, obviously, it’s best to be on the sell side…

Simple as that?

Not so fast, if one does this without owning the stock, it’s called being “naked”, being naked a call, naked a put. The trouble is the margin requirement on those are often times so high one might as well be trading the stock. One might have to put up as much as $20,000 on a day trade with the prospect of making a couple of hundred bucks. A lot of risk, it would seem, for not much return. And it’s a day trade so there’s not all that much time to have the stock go your way or sideways.

No wonder the guy knocking me on Facebook is certain day-trading options of stocks can’t be done.

He’s wrong, of course, or I wouldn’t writing this.

On the table below I’ve taken the margin requirements calculated by the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and applied to day trading short strangles on weekly TSLA options for every trading day for a month. A short strangle is selling both an out-of-the-money call and an out-of-the-money put.

To illustrate the day trade:

Let’s take the last trade on the table, the 3/13 short selling the 540 call and the 520 put while TSLA itself was at 530.89. This is a trade on the day of the weekly expiration.

The maximum gain on this trade would have been $1,511 if TSLA had stayed between 540 and 520 by the end of the day. But TSLA vaulted to 546 on the market’s last-half-hour rally cutting the gain at the close to $810, a 53% gain on the actual credit received for selling the two options. Not bad. However, the margin requirement was $11,217 on the naked sales for the expiration day so the gain was actually 7.2% on overall margin for the day. Also not bad.

This is a strategy that can be used on a any prominent stock — AAPL, NFLX SHOP, NFLX BA, NVDA — with decent options liquidity and worthwhile price swings. And it’s a strategy that can be used week in and week out without ever having to buy the stock itself.

On the table below, there are the details for each day trade on TSLA (peruse if you choose), but what’s most important are the weekly totals in green boxes for each week, the net cash for the week and the percentage gain; and the final gain for the past four weeks in the yellow stripe, $11,478, generally a 57.3 gain on margin.

Because this is a day trading strategy the same cash margin is being used over and over again anew each day and although it is most often a lower requirement day by day, the percentage gain here is calculated on a flat $20,000 margin requirement…for simplicity’s sake.

(click on the table for a larger view)

On $AAPL — its broken parabolic updated…

AAPL keeps trying to bounce off the market’s gaps down, but as time goes by it is still working its way down to where its recent parabolic rise began.

This decline with take some time. There will be bounces to sell along the way but when a parabolic breaks it creates so much overhead supply (i.e. holders who want to get out) the stock’s decline is usually inevitable.

The target price for the stock is approximately $220 to $230.

This was first outlined in this link:

#STOCKS – on $AAPL gone parabolic

And reiterated in this link when its parabolic rise first broke:

ON $AAPL gone parabolic – with an updated chart…

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – From the Kerplunk to a bounce

Warned of a sell-off here back in February 9th in this post:

$SPY – Up, up, up…and KERPLUNK?

Well, the market defied the sell-off warning for a couple of weeks as it ran up past the setup, but that run up is gone now in the rubble of the last four days.

TVIX and UVXY, the leveraged VIX ETFs were backing into the starting blocks, backing into the starting blocks — here $TVIX – Just a heads up… and here $TVIX – Just a heads up… — until finally there were off with TVIX up 92% in the last four days, and UVXY up 67%. I remember when I posted that heads up someone on Twitter or Facebook scoffed at me an told me I basically full of shit (I get a lot of that at market tops).

Now there are stocks all over the place down 20% or more just on market timing. It’s likely nothing as changed at many of those companies since four days ago except for the market sell off. Such is the madness of crowds.

None of this is any surprise really, since there were signs everywhere that the indexes were running on the fumes of AAPL vapor and a, I guess, a whopping TSLA short squeeze (everyone said Elon Musk was crazy, and then it turned out is was more like crazy smart). Over at Virgin Galantic (SPCE), where Richard Branson’s company has put a mere two winged space craft in space for short jaunts, there are passengers buying seats on flying ships to Mars. Say what?

As the indexes made new highs, there were divergences on the NYMO/NYSI, CNN’s Fear and Greed Index, S&P 500 stocks versus their 200-day moving average, and news lows were gradually climbing above new highs before bolting much higher (see the chart below).

Then there is the Coronavirus…and again news comes along like black swans crying when market internals are obviously falling apart.

So what now?

This sell off is so extremely oversold there is going to be a bounce. Likely tomorrow.

Forty-eight of the stocks on my nifty-50 stock list are on sells with 36 individually oversold (that is a lot). The indexes are down more in this four-day thrust than they’ve been in more than a year. It is just too much too quickly.

However, the question is going to be what to do with this bounce? Hang on and hope it’s V-bottom? Or sit on the edge of your seat looking for a chance to SELL EVERYTHING?

The bull market of the past year would suggest the former, everything else suggests the later. But it should be noted that CNN’s Fear and Greed Index is at 22 today. While that’s an “extreme fear” level, it has more room to move down which suggests when the bounce happens, tomorrow or whenever, the low of left behind will be tested, and if by then this is a full-fledged bear market, this bounce is going to be remembered as a last chance to sell for a long time.

P.S. And if it doesn’t bounce? Ai-Yi-Yi!

(click on the chart for a larger view)

ON $AAPL gone parabolic – with an updated chart…

This is a followup to the post below as AAPL takes a predictable hit today.

Wrote the following in this link a couple of week ago: On $AAPL Gone Parabolic.

At the risk of a massive understatement, let’s just say AAPL has gone up…a lot.

In fact one look at its chart below reveals is has gone parabolic.

Let’s define a parabolic move first. Basically, according the website, Prometheos Market Insight, when a stock makes a enough of a move to create three distinct supporting trend lines (see the green lines on the chart below), then accelerates, it is in a parabolic move (the red line on the chart).

There is both good news in that, and bad news.

The good news you own it, the bad news its latest rise is unsustainable. Although one can only guess when and at what level it parabola ends (the way it always is with that phenomenon), but when the inevitable end comes it will likely be violent and the stock could eventually go back to where the parabolic began.

At this point, a rough estimate of where it began in AAPL is around $230.

It’s hard to believe it will ever quit going up as it’s wildly (exuberantly) rising, but I would suggest there is no profit here until one sells.

Also, one other thing to keep in mind, AAPL today, according to Yahoo Finance, has a market cap of 1.377 trillion dollars. That in itself is unprecedented in market history, but it is also nearly $100 billion higher than next highest market cap, MSFT (but that as they say is another story).


(CLICK TO SEE A LARGER VIEW OF THE UPDATED CHART)

$TSLA – Update as its stock price launches like a rocket

Elon Musk launched his cherry red roadster into a Mars orbit last year.

TAKE A LOOK:

TSLA Roaster takes a space ride

Today he launched the company’s stock into a Wall Street orbit (see the link and charts below). You’ve heard it here before…

TWO YEARS AGO:

Is TSLA the best long term investment since AAPL?

AND NOW ON ITS LATEST EARNINGS:

(Click on the chart for a larger view)

#STOCKS – on $AAPL gone parabolic

At the risk of a massive understatement, let’s just say AAPL has gone up…a lot.

In fact one look at its chart below reveals is has gone parabolic.

Let’s define a parabolic move first. Basically, according the website, Prometheos Market Insight, when a stock makes a enough of a move to create three distinct supporting trend lines (see the green lines on the chart below), then accelerates, it is in a parabolic move (the red line on the chart).

There is both good news in that, and bad news.

The good news you own it, the bad news its latest rise is unsustainable. Although one can only guess when and at what level it parabola ends (the way it always is with that phenomenon), but when the inevitable end comes it will likely be violent and the stock could eventually go back to where the parabolic began.

At this point, a rough estimate of where it began in AAPL is around $230.

It’s hard to believe it will ever quit going up as it’s wildly (exuberantly) rising, but I would suggest there is no profit here until one sells.

Also, one other thing to keep in mind, AAPL today, according to Yahoo Finance, has a market cap of 1.377 trillion dollars. That in itself is unprecedented in market history, but it is also nearly $100 billion higher than next highest market cap, MSFT (but that as they say is another story).

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – the Santa Claus rally goes crazy

The Santa Claus rally which arrived with a buy signal on the open of December 9th, is still going and going and going…

I wrote about this quiet rally trigger first in this link:

#MarketTiming – with not much fanfare Santa slips into view

Then, as the fanfare took hold:

#MarketTiming – the Santa Claus Rally, a progress report

Since that second post, TQQQ has gone from up from 9% to 17.7%, UPRO from 6% to 11.2%. The 3x-leveraged sector ETFs continue to surge: TECL (tech) up 21% now, ERX (energy) up 18.1% and SOXL (semis) up 29.9%. Among the bellwether stocks I follow, TSLA is leading the pack, up 27% now; NVDA up 13.4%; WYNN up 18.2% on a big jump out of a high-level consolidation today.

AAPL, which lagged early on, has now moved up a nice 10.9%, closing above 300.

Big gains in not much time – the rally is a mere 17 trading days old.

All of which is great for the bulls…except it’s all begun to go kind of crazy.

AAPL has a market cap of $1.3 trillion, somewhat insane no matter how much cash the company generates for buy-backs. MSFT is at $1.2 trillion; both GOOGL and AMZN are knocking on the trillion-dollar door. These stocks have market caps four and five times such “puny” companies as Walmart, Coca-Cola, Nike, Proctor and Gamble, Home Depot and even Exxon-Mobil. How crazy is this?

Speaking of buy-backs, corporate debt is likely piling up more and more as the FED keeps its foot on the printing-press pedal – margin debt did not move much last month so all this “irrational exuberance” has to be coming from somewhere.”

CNN Money’s “Fear and Greed” Index is at 97. Ninety-seven! That in and of itself is the stratosphere of extreme greed. It can’t go higher than 100. A year ago it touched 3, on a trap door that swings both ways.

Still, the market can go higher, and probably will, since there is momentum in that 97 number. It usually takes a divergence (a high below a high) in that index to trigger a decent down swing (see the red circles on the chart below). The index has to back off on a market dip (which is likely imminent) then fail to go higher as the market resumes its advance to another high.

And both breadth measures, the NYMO (short-term) and the all-important NYSI (longer-term) remain positive. So there is time for more rally.

Not much more to say at this time…except to note in markets going crazy (like 1999, like now) there is, in the end, no profit until one sells.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – the Santa Claus Rally, a progress report

On December 6th, the all-important NYSI, measuring longer-term market breadth, turned up signalling an on-coming upswing in the market beginning the open of Monday, December 9th. It was an unusual turn in that it preceded the NYMO short-term breadth indicator.

That doesn’t usually happen unless there’s been a V-bottom in price on the most recent downswing. And, in this case there was, and the NYMO confirmed the rally on 12/11 giving its own buy signal for the open of 12/12 when I wrote this entry below:

#MarketTiming – with not much fanfare Santa slips into view

Since then most of the major indexes, and their 3x-leveraged ETFs, have been up a cumulative eight days. Needless to say, the market is overbought. CNN Money’s Fear and Greed index is at 90, an “Extreme Greed” level, a level which eventually leads to sells downs.

Consequently, the market could take a dip or a tumble anytime (although with Christmas yet to come everything remains bullish). With that in mind, me thinks it’s time for swing traders and anyone else who feels comfortable taking profits should either tighten stops under the advance or cash out some of the gains.

Among the major leveraged ETFs, TQQQ is 9.0% for the eight days, TNA up 6.3%, UPRO up 6.0%. In the leveraged sector ETFs, TECL is up 10.4%, ERX (remarkably) up 10.3% and SOXL is up a whopping 19.6%. Eight trading days.

Notable stocks in my bellwether group include TSLA up 19.5%, NVDA up 11.3%, SHOP up 7.5%, NFLX up 7.9%. AAPL usually gets the press coverage but it’s a laggard at up 3.6%. Still, it’s just eight trading days.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#ShortStrangles on #Stocks – 11/18 – 11/22

Trades on the strangles for AAPL, FB, TSLA and NFLX were in direct relation to this post below to show how selling naked would work as a hedge on cash alone:

#ShortStrangles on #Stocks – stealing money weekly in cash

It was not a spectacular week but there was a gain 2.3% on total margins for the trades (still, scale that over a year and happiness will reign).

Should note only AAPL steadily decayed through week. FB came within a whisper of being stopped out with a loss but righted itself by Friday and expired worthless. TSLA slightly touched its upper strike stop at 360.84 but sold off so quickly I didn’t close it.

MADE A MISTAKE AND GOT AWAY WITH IT – NOT GOOD

Should have closed NFLX which showed a 47% loss for the position, a 2.8% loss on the margin requirement, but with the stock itself up a virtual six days in a row, wildly overbought and ripe for a bit of end-of-the-week profit taking, so decided to hold it into Friday. Probably because I wrote the post in the link above, I was thinking too much. Not a good thing to do in options trading.

Not honoring the NFLX stop was a mistake and I’m rationalizing its profit since it worked out great but doing that on a regular basis is a road to ruin. Being rewarded for making a mistake makes one think it can be done again…and again…until one comes along and kills you.

THIS WEEK’S STRANGLES:

#ShortStrangles on #Stocks – stealing money weekly in cash

Let’s say you have $200,000 or so in a margin account at a brokerage — $206,400 to be precise (but more about that number later).

The account is in cash. Probably because as at some point you took to heart Bernard Baruch’s famous comment that he made his fortune in the stock market because he “sold too soon”, and now so have you as this bull market continues to climb leaving you, you think, behind.

What to do? What to do?

Let’s take AAPL, FB, TSLA and NFLX as examples, not as stock holdings, which are far too expensive for a $200K account, but as option trading opportunities using the cash margin your money provides.

I didn’t post these on Twitter this week to verify the timeliness (see more entries below for some of that) so this is a study in retrospect, a look at possibilities, not what was done but instead what could have been done this week, and what can be done any week going forward.

On Monday (11/11), 30 minutes after the open, AAPL was a 259, the price to set up a “short strangle” on its stock. In this case, I’m suggesting selling a 265 call above the market and a 255 put below the market, 10 contracts each, for a combined credit of $1,230 with a margin requirement of about $49,000. Same day, same time, FB was at 189 so a 195 call with a 185 put for a combined credit of $1,100 with a margin requirement of $34,800. Same day, same time, TSLA was at 346 so a 355 call and a 335 put at a combined credit of $6,600 with a margin requirement of $67,700. Same day, same time, NFLX was at 292, so a 300 call above the market and a 285 put below the market for a combined credit of $3,320. The margin requirements are those prescribed for each short strangle strategy by the CBOE, the Chicago Options Exchange.

Hope no one got lost in the thicket of dollar signs in the paragraph above. It all adds up to $12,250 added to you account at the beginning of the week. Now let’s see if you can keep it.

You are going to have to buy back the options you sold to get those credits or let them expire worthless if they are not in the money by the end of the week. All of these options are out of the money and will expire worthless at the end of the week if the stock does not rise above the call strike or drop below the put strike. That is the point of the strangle strategy, to have them all expire worthless.

Drum roll please…

At the end of the week, the AAPL strangle was down $520, which is a profit on the short sale, a gain of about 42% on the position.

At the end of the week, FB had a profit of about $990, a gain of 93% on the strangle position.

At the end of the week, TSLA had a profit of about $6,580, a gain of 99% on the position.

At the end of the week, NFLX had a profit of about $3,500, a gain of 99% on the position.

The total gains on all four stock strangles for the week was approximately $11,590. That is a 94.6% gain on the positions, but not on the margin requirements. The combined margin requirement for the four trades would have been $206,400 (ah-ha!, there’s that “more about that number later” number), which would make the actual percentage gain in the account for the week about 5.6%.

Five-point-six percent may not seem like all that much in volatile options trading but week in and week out for 52 weeks…

It must be said, however, there can be losses, and big losses if there is no stop-loss discipline, but short strangles on stocks could be as close as one can get to safely and legally stealing money in the stock market with just cash to work with.