A Simple Strategy For Day Trading Short Strangles On Stocks

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. Being nakedly short both the call and the put is a naked short strangle.

The trouble is the margin requirement on those are often times so high one might as well be trading the stock, and requirement often varies from brokerage to brokerage. So let’s say 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.

But day trading is the key to this strategy.

First off, short strangles on volatile stocks can be extremely risky. If the price of the stock gets over the call strike or below the put strike, and runs, the loss can be virtually astronomical.

Day trading eliminates the overnight risk, and that is saying a lot. News after the market close, or just plain irrational exuberance in a volatile stock, can absolutely slaughter a short trader in strangles.

In addition, risk can be further controlled during the day, when the trade can be monitored, by using a tight stop-loss to guard against big price movements.

Secondly, with this day trading strategy the same expensive cash margin is being used over and over again anew each day and it usually is a lower requirement day by day as the strangle moves to the Friday expiration each week. But let’s say it’s an average $20,000 margin requirement…for simplicity’s sake.

This is a strategy that can be used on the weekly options for a any prominent stock — TSLA, 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.

So what’s the result?

Today a TSLA a short 575/555 strangle gained $600 per strangle for the day trade. Let’s say one averages $600 per day through the week, and keep in mind both side the trade can expire worthless on Friday’s giving a big win (Friday’s are the best day obviously), yielding a weekly return of $3000.

A steady gain of 15% for the week, based on the $20,000 margin requirement without ever owning the stock. Multiply that by 52 weeks on same margin and…aw, you do the math.

This is just an example of how a trade can go. Other day trades (obviously) can be greater or less.

On the chart below the green dots are the price of the strangle, the green horizontal line at 21.66 is the price of the entry, the red horizontal line at 23.66 is the stop-loss, a $200 risk per strangle shorted. The white flag on the right axis is the profit for the the day trade. It is a negative number because it is a short.

(Click on the chart for a larger view)

$SPY #Options #DayTrade – recent tweets

THE DAY-TRADING DAZZLE OF BUYING OPTIONS UPDATED

FIRST PUT TRADE

SECOND PUT TRADE

This chart is set to display return per $1K in play in the white flag or horizontal line on the right axis (the #1Kdaytrade on Twitter), and the #10Ktrade in dollars in the green flag or horizontal line on the right axis, which also makes for easy percentage calculations.

THE TRADING STRATEGY

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 day-trade scalping with the weekly calls and puts on various liquid stocks. Must be stressed the key to trading the weekly stock option is liquidity in order to avoid spreads too wide to turn around a profit during a single day.

One last note: again, the key, as always, is persistence, discipline, experience, and an entry signal the trader is comfortable taking.

Simple Trades In Options – a 44% day trade

Published this today on Medium.com as an introduction on that platform.

Welcome to The God of Trading.

Here and on Twitter, the use of the title “The God of Trading” is a homage to he who rewards persistence, discipline, experience, and absolutely nothing else trading the financial markets.

The intent is to journal day trading and swing trading signals that can but used by anyone market timing to make trading and investing as effectively simple as simple can be, and to keep a record of involvement in the stock and options markets.

All content is presented as entertainment, not investment advice. If this is a guide so be it, but all traders and investors must use their own due diligence and market knowledge to make their own trades.

That having been said below is chart of a SPY Options day trade today (1/13/21) based on this strategy published here:

THE DAY-TRADING DAZZLE OF BUYING OPTIONS

SPY 378 Call, expiring today. Finished up 44%, $448 on a $1K trade (7 contracts). The actual trade topped out at more than 100% intraday before finishing with the 44% gain on the close.

The signal for the call, which is color-coded on the chart, is based on SPY, not on the option itself.

(CLICK ON THE CHART FOR A SEPARATE VIEW)

$SPY #Options #DayTrading – FED CALLS an hour rally, then it’s all ka-PUTS

Today was a Federal Reserve open market pronouncement day. Pretty much as expected, no change in rates and no likely raise of rates at any time in the future.

One would think that’s pretty bullish, and it was for an about an hour (see the CALLS chart below), but like a lot rally days recently there’s a sell-off into the close (see the PUTS chart below).

When the market doesn’t charge ahead on so-called good news, it is not good news and it could turn bad in a hurry.

FIRST OPTION PLAY: THE CALLS

SECOND OPTIONS PLAY: THE PUTS

A SIDE NOTE ON THE PUTS PLAY:

Had that stayed with the initial breakeven and held to the close the second half would have been up around 130%. Them’s the breaks.

(click on the chart for a larger view)

#OptionsStrategy – #DayTrading $TSLA strangles

“No one can day trade stock options!” an irate administrator of a Facebook options trading group told me back at the beginning of the year.

His group was centered on “investment income using options.” He was basically doing covered calls or puts, rolling them forward when necessary, in an effort of adding ten or so percent to ownership of the stocks themselves. Fine.

I just happened to blunder into the group day trading SPY calls and puts for ten times that return. I don’t know if it was the returns or, as he said, his belief the practice was so risky I should not be suggesting it anyone.

I argued there were ways to control risk and he might want to open his mind.

He didn’t want to evidently since he blocked from the room.

Well, at the time I got tossed, I thought maybe he might right – after all, trading SPY options was not the same as stock options. As the most popular ETF its option were extremely liquid, with tight spreads, and three expiry days per week. I’ve chronicled much of the SPY trading in posts below so I won’t get into it anymore in this one.

Stock options didn’t have those qualities but some came close – AAPL and FB particularly, others like NFLX, NVDA. The trouble with each of the stock-option trades, however, was that not only did one have to get the direction right for the day (it is a call or a put?) but one also had to have enough movement to make it worthwhile, and then each trade needed to be monitored pretty much constantly all day.

What I was after was a strategy that could be put on early and ignored to the end of the day unless it hit a stop loss during the day, at which time there might have to be a reentry if there was still time to reap some reward.

The trouble with even the best stocks like AAPL, FB, etc. was there was usually not enough bang for the buck in a single day.

Then along came TSLA.

It didn’t take to discover TSLA weekly options were as good as it gets for day trading short strangles, lots of premium, a big range of movement and enough liquidity to fairly easy to put on the trade and, most importantly, to get out of the trade.

In a short strangle, one is playing time decay (theta) every day on the strikes both above and below the stock’s price at the start of the trade.

And one has to keep in mind that shorting options naked (without owning the stock) requires considerable margin buying power – one ends up needing to put up $30K to $50K to maybe make $500 on some days. That might not seem worth it, but the ringer in a day trade is it’s the same margin every day and stays the same as the daily profits pile up all week long. Oftentimes, the day by day ends up making double-digit on the margin requirement for the week (see the green cells in the table below).

Using a tight stop (like $200 per contract) and selecting the right spread of strikes prices, significant returns can be had in a month.

For August, the TSLA short strangles yielded $18,800 per contract on a maximum margin requirement of $50,521 per contract (as prescribed by the CBOE MARGIN CALCULATOR, a 37.4% return for the month (see the yellow cells in the table below).

That’s without having to know what TSLA was going to do on any given day in any volatile month of wild price swings.

(click on the table for a larger view)

#DayTrading $SPY #Options – Buying calls and puts

The contents of this post appeared here last on June 11th. I’m lifting it intact because nothing ever changes in the strategy.

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, disciplined and experienced, 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, the key, as always, is persistence, discipline, experience, and an entry signal the trader is comfortable taking.

$SPY #Options – #DayTrading a day to “put” on the record

A day in the SPY 317 put, expiring Friday, 7/10.

FIRST TRADE HALF UP 53%:

EXIT SECOND HALF OFF 230%:

SECOND TRADE ENTRY:

FINAL EXIT HALF UP25%, SECOND HALF 12%:

$SPY #Options – #DayTrading Friday 6/26

Didn’t get around to compiling this blog entry Friday nor over the weekend. Was a bit numb from action of the day. Pleased, of course, since it was another dazzling day down to end the week.

Posting today (6/29) to as a record for this blog.

See the tweets below for the entries and results of the trades Friday:

FRIDAY’S 307 PUT AT 2.00. RESULTS: HALF UP 125%, SECOND HALF UP 175%.

FINAL TRADE FRIDAY’S 305 PUT AT 3.14. RESULTS; HALF UP 50%, SECOND HALF UP 63%.

$SPY #Options – #DayTrading Puts on a dazzling down day

SPY today dropped below its open twenty minutes into the day and never looked back.

So as day trading SPY options went, and at the risk of oversimplification, it was basically buy the blue, sell half into strength, cover on the rest on the yellow, rinse and repeat using ever lower strikes.

See the chart below for the color coding.

First – the 311 put, expiring today, for a 70% gain on one half, and a 50% gain on the second half.

Second – the 309 put, expiring today, for a 100% gain on both halves.

Third – the 305 put, expiring today, for a 50% gain on one half, and a breakeven on the second half.

This is what one always wants day trading options, a trending day down.

FIRST ENTRY AND EXIT

SECOND ENTRY AND EXIT

THIRD ENTRY AND EXIT

AND FOR GOOD MEASURE THERE WAS THIS EXCHANGE TODAY:

(click on the chart for a larger view)