#DayTrading $SPY #Options – Buying Calls and Puts

The contents of this blog entry was first posted here a year or so ago about buying SPY calls and puts for day trades.

I am copying the contents of that post here in order make it easier for me to find. Plus, the current volatility in the market makes this strategy better than ever.

There are so many options strategies in the stock market the head spins – a straddle, a strangle, a naked and/or a covered put and/or call, a calendar, a condor, an iron condor, an iron butterfly (isn’t that a rock band?) and any combination of any of these for hedging purposes, for capital appreciation or preservation, for gambling. Mind boggling.

But buying options…

Buying options, just plain buying a call or a put, everyone will say is a “fool’s game.”

Regardless of whether a trader buys calls or puts on index ETFs like SPY or QQQ or IWM, or buys options on stocks, there are only three things that can happen – the option goes the trader’s way (good), or the option goes against the trader (bad), the option goes sideways with price decay over time (also bad).

Two out of the three possibilities for the option buyer are losers. What fool would want to play that game?

But is it really a fool’s game, like everyone in options trading says?

For day traders it doesn’t have to be. If the trader is persistent, discipline and experience, it almost never is.

Let’s take SPY options as the prime example — very liquid across multiple strikes, tight spreads, hardly any time decay on a trade for only a day, a stop-loss is close by and immediate, and the profits, if there is a trend for the day, can be substantial, even rather astounding.

Also great for scalping on any time frame intraday.

Again, I must stress the key, as always, is persistence, discipline, experience, and an entry signal the trader is comfortable taking.

I have included the chart below from today as an example – the SPY 278 in-the-money call, expiring Friday, up 106% to close the day trade. (I will probably edit this out of this post, along with the chart, as time goes by.)

(Click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – six days up and what now? – UPDATED

UPDATE: What now?

As suggested in the post below, I expected the market to move up this week, not as much as it did, but no matter.

Anytime one is on he right side of a six-day swing, either up or down, one cannot complain.

In this case, it’s six days up.

TQQQ, the 3x-leveraged and preferred trading ETF for the Nasdaq, gained 22% on the swing. Some major bellwether stocks have powered the six days, AAPL, MSFT, NVDA, AMZN FB, all up six days in a row; TWLO up six days and 73% on the move is by far the most spectacular example I follow.

Swing trading…what more can you say?

But what now?

This could stop right here. The NYMO was down today (see the chart below). How many times have we seen that mark the end, or at least a pause, after a four or more consecutive days up?

However, the all-important NYSI continues to rise so, unless this is going to drop right out of the sky, it’s probably a pause or a stall — it takes time to work off $2 trillion of Federal Reserve funny money spent in all the wrong places.

This has been a long spectacular rally since March, a fast up characteristic of bear-market rallies. If this is the end bullish traders and long-term investors who believe the bull market lives on will be in great danger.

If the market drops here and takes the NYSI negative, watch out…

An always remember there is no profit until you sell.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – one more hiccUP before the plunge?

The bear market rally isn’t quite over yet…

I’m not one for fundamentals but in the current market environment that doesn’t matter since there are none other than the FED throwing in a couple of trillion dollars to replace a bubble that burst with yet another bubble.

A couple of trillion dollars…and not even going to the small businesses and everyday people who need it most (and can spend it to fuel a recovery) as an incompetent businessman slash so called President goes on babbling about what a good job he’s done killing 70,000 Americans so far and sinking the entire economy while blaming everyone and everything else for his personal incompetence. Up until now Herbert Hoover was the biggest historical disaster of a President in the last 100 years, but Donny Trump who brags about being best at everything may be only best at this.

So if you’re long-term investor and you are not selling into this good-luck rally, all I can say for the longer term is “good luck.”

However, NYSI is still rising and the NYMO, which is so far pulling back, probably needs to hiccup to one more high below a high before this is done.

That hiccup appears to have begun as today’s general market price action climbed out of the today’s opening gap down to finish positive.

The tweet Friday:

#MarketTiming – another day, another dollar or two

As market sold off it gaped-up gains Tuesday, the NYMO and NYSI did not turn down.

Today showed why traders always want to be on the same side as those two breadth indicators.

It’s been a great bounce and so far there’s not sign it’s done, except we’re running into a holiday in a bear market. I haven’t studied those occurrences but I would not be surprised if there’s a stall tomorrow.

No telling what more three days of news can bring during a world-wide pandemic.

Anyway, some highlights in this spectacular bounce suggested to start on on the open of March 23rd in this post: Reading history on the #MarginDebt chart. Since then UPRO, the SPX leveraged ETF, is up a whopping 60%, TQQQ is up 52%, TNA 45%; among the leveraged sector ETF’s I follow, ERX is up 82% and SOXL 74%.

Spectacular numbers.

So spectacular in fact that going into the weekend traders might want to move up to the edge of their seats to insure nothing goes wrong with the profits grabbed in this fierce bear-market rally. Investors can go on praying there’s more to come after the harrow plunge they’ve just seen. I hear a lot of happiness among those who did not buy and hold and bought sometime in the past two weeks and a lot of hoping from those blistered by what the hope is a “black swan” interruption of last year’s bull market.

I still believe this is a bounce to be slaughtered because of the unraveling of margin debt discussed in that link above but I guess we’ll see in the fullness of time.

In the meantime, this was my play for today, the SPY 267 in-the-money call expiring today, stopped out once but finished up 149% for the day trade.

Like I said above, another day, another dollar or two…in a spectacular week.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – this week’s up leg UPDATED

In Sunday’s post below it was said:

“Monday will be important but I’m going guess… The market is going to pop and take a leg up for at least a couple days this week.”

Got the pop. Got the couple of days up. Anyone sell the open today?

The market gaped on the overnight futures again but a turn-around-Tuesday did not another Monday make. Unlike Monday there was no follow through on the gap today. Although the bull-market-hope-to-be buyers made a game try to bring it back mid-day after the first slip and slide down, but the bear gave a little push with his paw to bring on a true turn-around Tuesday.

There were reversals all over the board.

That mid-day sway was rather nerve wracking for the 274 put that triggered on my SPY day-trading system but, all’s well that ends well. It finished with a 33% gain.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

As for the day itself…

Hmm…. That big black thing on the daily chart does not…well, that does not look good, but the NYMO and the NYSI continue to rise so there is still some hope for the bulls.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming looking for a swing leg up…UPDATED.

This is a results update for this post yesterday:

#MarketTiming – looking for a swing leg up…

#MarketTiming $SPY – Buy now, resell later…

Gotta be a bounce if only because it can’t go down forever.

CNN Money’s Fear and Greed Index is at one. One. It can’t go below zero.

Forty-nine of my nifty-50 stock list are on sells with forty-eight of them oversold. I can’t remember 48 oversold all at once before.

The VIX is at 75. That is virtually a bear market momentum number.

The VIX leveraged ETFs, TVIX and UVXY, have been the stars of this market plunge. See the charts below. Since the NYSI downturn 13 trading days ago UVXY is up 40% and TVIX is up 72%

TVIX was at 40 when I posted this advance notice in January – $TVIX – Just a heads up… – and closed today at 399. Absolutely f-ing spectacular if I was so myself.

So what now?

This is a only a guess because I have no actual upturns anywhere – not in the NYMO, let alone the NYSI, not in price, not in volatility, definitely not in fear and greed but this exercise band is stretched so far, the market ether has to crash tomorrow or snap back.

I’m guessing the shorts cover only because they have made so much profit this week and it would be prudent to take some before the weekend.

Could be wrong.

President Incompetent could try to “reassure” the market again, or claim everything is hunky-dory again, or blame Obama again or blame the Fed yet again. (Hell, the Fed fought the NYSI mid-day today and lost that battle big time by the close.) Yes, yes he claims he knows a lot about the stock market but knows nothing so he slam the market down another thousand points or more…again

But if he shuts the tweet up…

My guess is it’s a buy now – not for the long term – and a resell later.

Regardless – tight stops.

(click on the charts for a larger view)

$SPY – Up, up, up…and KERPLUNK?

Just got back from a week in New Orleans so if my head feels a bit thick, don’t blame me, blame the Nawlins’ food, drink, the music.

W.C. Fields once said: “I spent half my money on gambling, alcohol and wild women. The other half I wasted.” New Orleans is a perfect city to not do the wastin.’

Anyway, the market after a break of its December/January uptrend line, took another shot and manage another high on SPY (among other index ETFs) last week but dropped back down below the January high (332.95) to close at 332.20 Friday.

Not such a big deal except the NYMO after the rally off a double-bottom earlier in the week (see the white line with the red dots on the chart below) fell with the price weakness to turn the all important NYSI (longer-term breadth) negative.

That’s an automate sell on its own but there’s maybe more…

In his book “Methods of a Wall Street Master,” Trader Vic Sperandeo says determining the trend is a simple as 1-2-3. One is the break of the trend line, which happened on the gap down from 1/24 to 1/27 (see the chart); two is the attempt to resume the recent trend that fails, which may have just happened; three is a fall back to through the low after the trend line break.

Since “three” hasn’t happened yet, there’s a chance, and maybe even the likelihood, the pattern here is just a pause before more advance but…

But Trader Vic Sperandeo’s has more. His most classic set up for aggressive traders is right here, right now. He calls it “2B”, as in “2B or Not 2B, that’s where the money is made.” The fade off the old high on Friday is the 2B, as pretty as can be (see the chart).

This a short.

And it is made all the better by the stop being close by at the old high at 334.20.

That simple. And if it follows through, without stopping out, it could be a great big KERPLUNK right at an all time high.

P.S. There’s also a bearish full moon today for those who put some store in such lunar signs.

(click on the chart for a larger view)
and

$TSLA – #DayTrading options on stocks for less risk and more gain.

TSLA announced earnings on yesterday’s close and gaped up 50 dollars a share today, closing finally at 640, up 63 dollars.

And to think not that long ago the company and its founder, Elon Musk, was the mockery of the market.

After cruising most of last year below 300 a share, it broke above 300 on October 25th and hasn’t looked back.

I wrote this back in August of 2017, giving a long term heads up on the stock:

Is TSLA the best long term investment since AAPL?

But this post is not about that.
This is about options trading. And more specifically day trading stock options.

I wrote about this strategy for the first time in August of last year but primarily in this post in November:

#ShortStrangles on #Stocks – stealing money weekly in cash

That post was about holding the weekly options to week’s end and did not yet consider day trading. Still, as that post indicated there was a 5.6% gain on the margin requirement for the stocks that week. If consistent each week, that would add up to something for the year.

But could it be consistent when the risk on a short strangle strategy is unlimited while the gain is locked in on the credit received? Probably not. Take TSLA today – that 50-point gap on the open would have killed any short strangle, and it would have been even more devastating by the end of the day.

So day trading…

See the chart panel below. The top row of charts in the panel are last week’s four days (Tuesday through Friday) since the holiday. The lower row is this week through today (Thursday).

In the last eight days, day-trading short strangles in TSLA has gained 16.7% against the margin required each day. The margin fluctuates a bit each day depending on the call strikes and puts strikes executed but since the strategy is a day trade on the weekly options the margin remains roughly the same each day.

On the charts the negative numbers in the white flags on the lower right are actually the pluses on the shorts per contract, and the positive numbers are negatives.

For example, Tuesday (the chart second from left on the lower row) the loss was $365 per contract while today (the last chart on the right on the lower row) the gain was $660 per contract. All total, those profits equal $2,012 per contract over the eight days, give or take a bit for commissions and slippage. That’s about 16.7% against an approximate $12K margin requirement day in and day out. With the risk limited to a single day (with stops), there is likely much more consistency in the trades.

I’ve been by a lot of pundits on the internet, so-call options experts parading the common wisdom, day trading on stocks can’t be done (to say nothing about SPY which I’ve written about many times now).

And of course, it takes persistence and discipline and experience to day trade options on anything but in at least this case with stocks, the common wisdom is, again, suspect.

P.S. One final note on TSLA today.The trade was made after its earnings were in the market. Note on the chart for today (lower row, far right) how flat the price action was for the rest of the day as time decay racked up an approximate 5.5% against margin, a 54% gain on the actual money, per contract, put into the trade.

(Click on the chart panel for a larger view)

$SPY #Options – $DayTrading Calls 1/28

Haven’t posted the day trades in SPY calls and puts for quite a while but the strategy still holds – tight spreads, high liquidity, less time decay.

The trades are always the nearest expiration (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), the closest in-the-money (ITM) or at-the-money (ATM) strikes, and never hold overnight (it’s always a day trade). They are posted on Twitter to get the time stamps.

Today was a good day, and a good day to drop this post here.

LAST TWEET

(A note on the “added note” in this tweet for the reentry later in the day – it was up 16% at one time but pulled back and broke even at the close)

EXIT ON MAIN TRADE

TAKING PROFITS ON FIRST HALF

PUTTING ON A TRAILING STOP

INITIAL ENTRY -BEGINNING OF THE TRADE