from the desk of Dr. Terry F Allen

Skip navigation

Member Login  |  Contact Us  |  Sign Up

802-877-8330

Archive for October, 2021

An Intuitive Trade

Monday, October 25th, 2021

Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) – the maker of the da Vinci robotic surgical system – reported earnings on Tuesday that showed a solid increase from a year earlier and beat estimates, though not by much. The company shipped 72% more da Vinci units compared to a year earlier. Also, the company tightened – but did not increase – its 2021 guidance. The report was accompanied by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) announcing a two-year delay in developing a rival soft-tissue surgical robot.

Though there were no upgrades, analysts apparently approved of the numbers through price target increases. One went as high as $381 (ISRG closed at $341.52 on Friday). The stock reacted well to the report, gaining 2.8% through the end of the week. In the process, the shares moved above the 20-day moving average for the first time in six weeks. The stock has tended to respect the 20-day, using it as support during a three-month, 34% rally and as resistance during the recent three-week decline. Note that the short put of our credit spread is below this trendline.

ISRG Chart

If you agree that ISRG will stay atop its 20-day moving average (blue line in chart) line in chart), consider the following trade that relies on the stock remaining above $330 (red line in chart)  (through expiration in four weeks.

Buy to Open ISRG 19Nov 325 call (ISRG211119C325)
Sell to Open ISRG 19Nov 330 call (ISRG211119C330) for a credit of $1.55 (selling a vertical)

This credit is $0.02 less than the mid-point of the option spread when ISRG was trading at $341.52. Unless the stock falls quickly from here, you should be able to get close to this amount.

Your commission on this trade will be only $1.30 per spread.  Each spread would then yield $153.70. This trade reduces your buying power by $500 and makes your net investment $346.30 ($500 – $153.70) for one spread.  If ISRG closes above $330 on November 19, both options will expire worthless and your return on the spread would be 44% ($153.70/$346.30).

No Progress Here

Sunday, October 17th, 2021

Amid the giddiness over solid earnings from the big banks, you may have missed the lousy earnings report from insurance giant Progressive (PGR) on Thursday morning. Earnings plunged 90% from a year ago and fell 10% shy of estimates. Revenue came up a billion dollars short of expectations. The company also swung to a loss in September due to payouts for Hurricane Ida. Analysts apparently weren’t paying attention, as there were no upgrades, downgrades or target price changes issued after the news.

The stock didn’t do much after the report, falling less than a percent on Thursday. On Friday, the shares gained that all back – and more – and closed right on their declining 20-day moving average. Despite the rebound, PGR has been trading sideways for three weeks after suffering a 6.2% drop in September that was guided by the 20-day. All relevant moving averages sit at or above the stock price, ready to lend resistance. We are therefore playing a bearish call credit spread with the short call sitting above PGR’s 20-day moving average.

If you agree that PGR will struggle with its 20-day moving average (blue line in chart) line in chart), consider the following trade that relies on the stock remaining below 92.5 (red line in chart)  (through expiration in five weeks.

Buy to Open PGR 19Nov 95 call (PGR211119C95)
Sell to Open PGR 19Nov 92.5 call (PGR211119C92.5) for a credit of $0.80 (selling a vertical)

This credit is $0.05 less than the mid-point of the option spread when PGR was trading at $91.25. Unless the stock falls quickly from here, you should be able to get close to this amount.

Your commission on this trade will be only $1.30 per spread.  Each spread would then yield $78.70. This trade reduces your buying power by $250 and makes your net investment $171.30 ($250 – $78.70).  If PGR closes below $92.50 on November 19, both options will expire worthless and your return on the spread would be 46% ($78.70/$171.30).

Not Cloudy for Oracle

Monday, October 11th, 2021

Cloud infrastructure and software provider Oracle (ORCL) has been weathering the market’s recent storm better than most. While the broader market has struggled since the start of September – the S&P 500 is down 3% – ORCL has thrived, gaining 6%. In fact, the stock closed at a record high on Friday. That move pushed the shares above the top of a trading range between 85 and 92 that has been in place since early July.

ORCL’s recent earnings report on Sept. 13 was in line or beat both analyst estimates and guidance. The stock dropped 3% the day after the report, which is typical of the stock’s post-earnings performance. So is the subsequent strong recovery, as ORCL is up 9% since the initial drop.

Likely helping the cause were a few target price increases. It’s notable that analysts may be jumping on ORCL’s bandwagon. In September, just six of 30 (20%) covering analysts rated ORCL a buy or better. Today, 26 of 36 analysts (72%) are in the bullish camp.

We are playing a bullish put credit spread with the short put sitting just above ORCL’s 50-day moving average. This trendline will likely beak above the short strike at 90 in the next few days based on the stock’s recent strength.

If you agree that ORCL will stay above 50-day moving average ( (blue line in chart) line in chart), consider the following trade that relies on the stock remaining above 90 (red line in chart)  (through expiration in six weeks.

Buy to Open ORCL 19Nov 87.5 put (ORCL211119P87.5)
Sell to Open ORCL 19Nov 90 put (ORCL211119P90) for a credit of $0.45 (selling a vertical)

This credit is $0.03 less than the mid-point of the option spread when ORCL was trading above $94. Unless the stock rises quickly from here, you should be able to get close to this amount.

Your commission on this trade will be only $1.30 per spread.  Each spread would then yield $43.70. This trade reduces your buying power by $250 and makes your net investment $206.30 ($250 – $43.70).  If ORCL closes above $90 on November 19, both options will expire worthless and your return on the spread would be 21% ($43.70/$206.30).

Making 36%

Making 36% — A Duffer's Guide to Breaking Par in the Market Every Year in Good Years and Bad

This book may not improve your golf game, but it might change your financial situation so that you will have more time for the greens and fairways (and sometimes the woods).

Learn why Dr. Allen believes that the 10K Strategy is less risky than owning stocks or mutual funds, and why it is especially appropriate for your IRA.

Order Now

Success Stories

I have been trading the equity markets with many different strategies for over 40 years. Terry Allen's strategies have been the most consistent money makers for me. I used them during the 2008 melt-down, to earn over 50% annualized return, while all my neighbors were crying about their losses.

~ John Collins