#ShortStrangles on #Stocks – day trading the weekly #options

Interesting week last week in the strategy to day trade short strangles on various stocks.

The basic idea with this strategy is limit risk while taking advantage of daily time decay on the calls and puts expiring on each Friday.

The trades are taken 30 minutes into each day and closed at the close. The protective stop is a 5-minute close either above the upper strike or below the lower strike. If a protective stop is hit then both sides are closes on the stop.

Since the opposite strike hedges the losing strike, a stop at that point is usually a breakeven or small loss for the trade, and sometimes, depending how long during the day the trade has run, yields a small profit. When the stop is hit and the trade closed, if there is a enough time left in the day, the strangle can be rewritten and reentered at the next strike levels.

Last week the short strangles were on TSLA, NFLX and SHOP. See the table below for the day-by-day trading.

TSLA stopped out on Thursday for a 3.6% loss on the margin requirement (see the table) but the reentry has a 2% gain before the end of the day, mitigating the initial loss.”

What is obvious is how steady the week was for logging profits. Since this is day trading, the trades are using roughly the same cash margin over and over each day. As a result, although the daily gains for options trading may be relatively small, the accumulated profits for the week can have a notable return.

Margin requirements can vary day by day, strike by strike and, I supposed, broker by broker. Those listed here are calculated on the margin calculator at the CBOE. For presentation purposes, I’ve calculated the dollar amount on these trades as per each contract.

The short TSLA strangles gained 18.79% for the week, SHOP gained 6.52% and NFLX gained 11.03%. See the green blocks on the table to those results.

In the last green block, I averaged the margins across the week and across the three stocks and came up with the $11,857 number. The highest requirement was the $20K per contract on TSLA at the beginning of the week (that would also be the minimum required to trade this for the week).

The total profit for the trades was $4,759 for the week, a yield of 10% on the three strangles combined.

That’s what I meant when I said above it can have a “notable return.”

(click on the table 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)

$SPY – The drop too far, too fast?

The market took a plunge today and all the why-did-it-happen pundits are citing the Chinese coronavirus fears for the sell-off.

Once again, this is news arriving to confirm what’s already happened. The NYSI, measuring long-term breadth on the New York Stock Exchange, turned negative last week. That was the tell that the market’s advance was faltering. News can accelerate a decline, but no-news would have also but probably at a slower pace.

What we have now is a fast fall and based on one of my key charts it is likely too far, too fast. See the chart of SPY below and note nearly every time the average SPY pull-back (as displayed as a histogram) pierces one of lower green lines, it bounces, and sometimes runs. The Nasdaq Composite chart is showing the same pattern.

In addition, 45 of the stocks on my nifty-50 stock list are on sells and 23 are oversold. Forty or more on sells is usually the bottom or the beginning of a bottom of a down swing.

Although today looked relatively ominous, not a lot of damage has been done – most of my bellwether stocks are only down two to three or so percent since the NYSI down turn.

So what’s next?

I think the market bounces tomorrow. The question for the week is will it be a dead cat? Or will it, in this bull market, be the start of another run to the highs?

If it turns out it’s no more than a dead cat bounce, or the market doesn’t bounce and keeps on going right down without pause, then the damage to the stocks and indexes not done yet will be done on the next plunge.

For now, as laid out in the post below the long VIX ETFs and ETNs are the play on this drop. Stops should be tightened to preserve the quick profits on TVIX (29.9%) and UVXY (22.7%). If the market weakness continues, TVIX and UVXY will no doubt be easy swing trades to jump into and out of going forward.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – Usually the market loves a war but…

But maybe not this one.

Finally?

The market took a hit five days ago when President Orangutan ordered the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand (Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani) in Iraq. That was a strategic strike mostly aimed at distracting the country from his impending impeachment trial (Trump’s, not Soleimanini’s), a violation of international law and practice, in other words an act of war. Over the weekend, the world held its breath waiting to see how Iran would respond.

Today, the Iranian response, or part of the response began, as Iran has been launching missiles into bases in Iraq where U.S. military forces are stationed.

If the overnight futures are any indication, the market is not pleased. As I write this the ES is down 40, the NQ down 130, the Dow futures are down more and 300 points. The market may recover during the night (after all, it is a bull, or at last count a bull in a blow off) if Tweeter can keep his Tweeter trap shut (when’s that ever happened?). But now it’s the world again holding its breath to see is the U.S. crank is going to crank up the conflict further.

This is how stupid accidental world wars can begin. See Barbara W. Tuchman’s history, “The Guns of August.”

Setting news aside for a moment…

After two highs below highs on the NYMO (short-term breadth), the important NYSI indicator (longer-term breadth) turned negative today giving a sell for tomorrow’s open (see the chart below).

Funny how news comes along to validate what the market internals have been saying all along.

I’ve been warning here that the rally, which began in early December, could be getting too exuberant for its own good, most recently in the post below — #MarketTiming – the Santa Claus rally goes crazy.

In addition, CNN Money’s “Fear and Greed” Index is at 89, coming down from 97 four days ago (it can’t go higher than 100) but still at an “extreme greed” level. It has a long way to fall.

For the record, on today’s close, the Nasdaq 3x-leveraged ETF, TQQQ, was up 16.5% in the 20 trading days of this rally; among leveraged sector ETFs TECL was up 17.6%, SOXL 25.1% and FNGU, which simulates the FANG stocks, was up 41.6% (this was primarily a tech rally). Notable stocks from my bellwether list include TSLA up 38.4% (remember, that’s in 20 trading days), SHOP up 13.3%, WYNN up 16.8%, and AMD up 22% – true evidence that the Santa rally did go crazy.

If this sell-off continues overnight into tomorrow’s open, all those above are going to get hit.

One last note, the leveraged energy-stock ETF, ERX, was up 19.3 and GUSH, the 3x-leveraged daily S&P Oil and Gas ETF from Direxion, was up 54.3%.

No matter what, oil and gas will still love a war.

(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.

#MarketTiming – $NYSI $10K stock trades

Long-term breadth (the NYSI) turned up Friday giving a buy signal for the open of the market today.

As suggested in this link #MarketTiming – the NYMO low above a low that was expected and would be necessary to have a chance for a rally. Today’s trading was sloppy sideways, probably just digesting last week’s gains, and although the NYSI did decline it stayed in positive territory.

If there is further weakness, there could be a whipsaw, but we’ll see when we see…

In the meantime, I expect more follow through to the upside.

In this link: #MarketTiming with $10,000 to trade I thought I’d sometimes address trading on limited capital — for the fun of it, for entertainment here and for anyone with limited capital.

The late great Kennedy Gammage of the Richland Report and for many years the keeper of the McClellan Oscillator flame, once wisely said: “Buy when the market tells you, sell when the stock tells you.” If I may, I would add to that “Also buy when the stock tells you.”

If one has but $10k, one needs to study up and pick stock favorites that have the ability to move with the market. Most stocks do move with the market but obviously some move better than others.

Today on Twitter I posted some Day-1 results selected by from my own bellwether stock list as examples of buying with the market as measured by the NYSI either turning up or turning down. Although, $10k readily computeS to a percentage gain or loss, I’m stating those gains in dollars gained or lost.

Clicking on the charts here will display larger chart details on Twitter.

THE WINNERS:

AND ONE LOSER TO SHOW NOTHING’S PERFECT:

#ShortStrangles on Stocks 9/30 – 10/04

This week’s setups:

Last week’s results: