#ShortStrangles on stocks – the weekly on $SHOP WITH UPDATES

Didn’t get around to posting this on Twitter Monday to get the real-time stamp as is often my custom with trades like these but now that’s it is stopped out, I thought I’d note it anyway.

I first wrote about this short-strangle strategy in this post in September:

#ShortStrangles on #Stocks – stealing money weekly in cash

As per the strategy, this was a position to be taken 30 minute into the open Monday (see the green vertical line on the chart below for reference). SHOP closed that bar at 441.01 which made the short strangle an out-of-the-money 450 call and the 430 put, a ten-point spread on each side of the stock price and a 20-point spread over all. The option expiration was this Friday, 1/17.

The stop loss was on a five-minute close by the stock above or below either strike.

If all went well, meaning SHOP stayed between 450 and 430 for the week both the call and the put would expire worthless and earn approximately $850 per contract, a 9.6% gain on the cash margin required for the trade.

All did not go well as the stock broke 450 this morning (see the red line on the chart for reference), which closed out the strangle. Still there was bit of profit, about $183 per contract, 19% on the price of the strangle, 2% on the margin required. SHOP could fade back below 450 by Friday’s close (which wouldn’t surprise me) which would reap the full reward for the strategy but this stop discipline is crucial, otherwise this strategy can have unlimited losses.

UPDATE: At the close of the week SHOP did not slip back below 450 but the flush in the call premium, along with the put going worthless, would have this strangle gaining approximately $427 per contract, a gain of 4.8% on the margin requirement. But it would haven’t taken a different stop-loss strategy to capture the end-of-the-week return.

P.S. Shorted a 460c/440p strangle on the bar after the other stopped out for a potential gain of about $485 per contract on Friday’s expiration.

UPDATE: This strangle which replace the other went well with both the call and the put expiring worthless for a gain of about $475 per contract, a gain of 5.5% on the margin requirement.

(click on chart for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – with not much fanfare Santa slips into view

On a FED day as the Federal Reserve held firm on low interest rates, it appears the annual Santa Claus rally may have quietly slipped into view despite the tight trading of the past few days.

Possibly it’s even set up a for a fast move by the tight trading.

Appropriate timing, I guess, since it’s hard to fathom this market continuing to rally on anything other than the FED pump, pump, pump…

Regardless, the NYMO put in a low above a low today (see the chart below), to go along with the important NYSI’s rise for the past four days. That completes the breadth pattern that is a most reliable trigger for a sustained up swing.

Since the last time the NYMO put in a low above a low on October 8th, SPY has rallied seven percent.

I would venture to suggest about the only thing that could abort the rally would be the Tweeter in chief scattering the trade-talk sticks again. Reportedly he is meeting tomorrow with advisors to discuss the proposed Dec 15th tariffs against China. Since when has he listened to advisors? So anything can happen.

In the meantime, one has to respect the signals and be long, and buying dips, until further notice.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

$SPY #OPTIONS – Day trading puts – 12/02

A fast and furious drop-down day…





$SPY #OPTIONS – Day trading calls – 11/26

Truly a grinding day as one follower on Twitter so aptly noted, but at least managed to escape with a small profit.






#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.


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.


$SPY #OPTIONS – Day trading calls on 11/25




$SPY #Options – Day trading puts 11/21

A rather tiresome day as the SPY chopped to a small profit with two stops at breakeven.





#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.

$SPY #Options – Day trading calls 11/01





#ShortStrangles on #Stocks – 10/14-10/18