UPDATE (12/5): $QQQ and $SPY weekly options – a recurring plus 100% dream…

UPDATE (12/5): As suggested yesterday the day began with the Nasdaq (TQQQ) rallying, but unlike yesterday, which was perfect for a QQQ weekly option trade, today would have taken some nimble trading to secure any profits in the QQQ calls and the SPY calls. On a $5k buy close to the open, the QQQ in-the-money call for this week (152 strike) rallied up 56% at its peak, violated a trailing moving average at up 48% ($2400), before selling off all the way to breakeven. Two $5K buys on the SPY in the money calls first stopped out for a 1.2% loss, and on a reentry rallied up about 25% before collapsing again to breakeven.

However, the options day-trade play of the day came in the SPY in-the-money put (265 strike) which triggered later in the day and finished at the close up 66% ($3300 on $5K.

Not a terrible day, but a trading test at best.

Haven’t had a chance to update entries here since Wednesday (11/19). Given what happened in the market today, it is as if nothing has happened since. Today was almost an exact replay of last Wednesday with the Dow up, the SPX relatively firm and Nasdaq Composite slamming down 72points.

Take a look at the post below. My first sentence was:

The Nasdaq sold down hard right from the start today, and that is a day-traders dream in weekly options.



If there are recurring nightmares in life, can there be recurring dreams?

No doubt.

With the Nasdaq selling down hard right from the start today, the $5K day-trade in the weekly QQQ in-the-money put finished on its peak at the end of day up 120%, $6000 on a $5000 commitment to the trade. Even the SPY in-the-money weelky put cash in on the market’s the slide, netting 118%, $5900 on the $5000 play in the option. The key to this day-trading system for options (as I have written before) is having an entry a trader is comfortable with, likewise a comfortable protective stop, and on the days (like today) when the stop is not hit, the gain, obviously, can be substantial.

I’ll let the great trader and “market wizard” Linda Bradford Raschke sum it up: “Always take the trade,” she once said, “and sometimes you just get lucky.”

So what now? Once again TQQQ may have dropped too far too fast so I will not be surprise if that 3x-leveraged Nasdaq ETF bounces tomorrow like it did last Thursday and takes the rest of the market with it. Maybe for a couple of days…or more.

LONG-TERM BREADTH: Buy (Day 9).

PRICE: Sell. (Day 2).
SHORT-TERM BREADTH: Sell. (Day 2).
VOLATILITY: Sell, (Day 2).

CONTEXT:

SPY CLOSE – 264.14
QQQ CLOSE – 152.71
CNN MONEY’S FEAR AND GREED INDEX: (63, falling, greed level).
NIFTY-50 STOCK LIST: 20 Buys; 13 Overbought, 13 Oversold, 7 new buys today, 4 new sells.

Playing the Nasdaq drop in the weekly $QQQ puts…

The Nasdaq sold down hard right from the start today, and that is a day-traders dream in weekly options.

The system I’ve been developing a system for day-trading weekly options with a mere $5K in capital on each trade on the major ETFs SPY and QQQ has its main premise discussed here:

Buying options – is it a “fool’s game”?

Today, the QQQ puts put on the show. And an almost completely incredible show it was!

The drop in the Nasdaq (the composite would close down 87 points) began on the first five-minute bar (see charts below) and quickly became a bloodbath before leveling out in the usual mid-day to the close sideways chop. At the peak of the bloodbath, the gains in the weekly puts were astonishing and even with the leveling and sideways late in the day they remained spectacular.

My main trade was in the in-the-money 157 put, expiring Friday. It peaked at 330% and closed he day up 210%. Great, great as trades go, a definite home run, but on days like today, the in-the-money is the “conservative trade.” Out of the money has possibilities beyond home runs, beyond hitting it out of ball park itself…more like hitting it clear out of town.

See the charts below: the closest out-of-the money QQQ put, the 156, peaked at up approximately 395% and closed at up about 345%; the next strike, the 155, peaked at up 844% (about $42K on a $5k trade!) and was up about 585% ($29k on the $5k) at the end of the day trade. I don’t even want to talk about the 154, the next strike’s peak and return, in which on would have to buy nearly 500 contracts at around 12 cents each.

The “approximately” and all of the “abouts” in the above paragraph are because I didn’t trade those out-of-the-money positions. I just charted them to see the “entertaining” returns (see charts below). Out-of-the money options two days before expiration are really just wild-ass gambles while in-the-money can be methodical.

Remember all of this is just a journal for me alone and presented for no more than entertainment purposes here and should not be construed in any way as trading or investing advice.

(click on the charts for a larger view)

#MarketTiming – hard to call a pause, let alone a pullback…

But if there is to be a pause, there’s a good chance it will be now.

All of my short-term signals — Price, Breadth, Volatility – turned down on this lackluster day (see table below), and CNN Money’s Fear and Greed Index turned down too. Twenty of the stocks in my nifty-50 stock list gave individual sell signals. That may be a bit deceptive since the stock list was sorted over the weekend and came into the day maybe too strongly bullish, and then again it may be a harbinger of a pause when even the strongest slow down.

So, if there’s a pause here, can it turn into a pull back?

This could be tricky since long-term breadth continues to climb (up for the fourth day). Given that, if short-term breadth turns up here in the next day or two (or bless a bottom dollar, three days), the market would get another bullish boost. If long-term breadth turns down, this could very easily become the hook that catches every bull off guard. Although the bull market has so far defied the signs over and over again, it is inevitable that one of these times, like today, when the signals signal a turn, the turn will come. Probably when the bears are worn out and the bulls don’t expect anything of on their blindside.

Maybe right now is day one. Maybe not.

SWING TRADING SIGNALS:

LONG-TERM BREADTH: Buy (Day 4).

PRICE: Sell. (Day 1).
SHORT-TERM BREADTH: Sell. (Day 1).
VOLATILITY: Sell, (Day 1).

CONTEXT:

SPY CLOSE – 260.23
QQQ CLOSE – 156.19
CNN MONEY’S FEAR AND GREED INDEX: (52, falling, neutral level).
NIFTY-50 STOCK LIST: 14 Buys; 10 Overbought, 0 Oversold, 2 new buys today, 20 new sells.

#MarketTiming – up strong today, more tomorrow…

As projected yesterday, when all the short-term signals turned up in unison, the market had a strong blast to the upside today.

Long-term breadth turned positive after a 25-day decline so one assume there is more to come in pre-holiday trading. Except for being overbought – forty of the stocks in my nifty-50 stock list are on buys with 28 overbought – this rally could carry beyond the Thanksgiving holiday.

Bulls, give thanks.

SWING TRADING SIGNALS:

LONG-TERM BREADTH: Buy (Day 1).

PRICE: Buy. (Day 2).
SHORT-TERM BREADTH: Buy. (Day 4).
VOLATILITY: Buy, (Day 4).

CONTEXT:

SPY CLOSE – 259.99
QQQ CLOSE – 155.50
CNN MONEY’S FEAR AND GREED INDEX: (54, rising, neutral level).
NIFTY-50 STOCK LIST: 40 Buys; 28 Overbought, 4 Oversold, 6 new buys today, 2 new sells.

IS IT A “Fool’s Game” ?

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 tell 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?

Doesn’t have to be. Not for day traders.

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 trend for the day, can be substantial, even rather astounding. Also great for scalping.

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