from the desk of Dr. Terry F Allen

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On Target Trade

Target (TGT) reported earnings before the bell on Wednesday that beat estimates on both revenue and profits. The company also expects its fiscal Q4 comparable sales growth to be higher than previous forecasts. Moreover, TGT claimed the supply chain mess has not been an issue – store shelves are full and ready for the holiday buying onslaught.

Analysts were mostly bullish on the report, giving TGT several target price increases (there was one lower price). One went as high as $350, a 38% premium to Friday’s closing price. The stock price was not rewarded, however. The shares dropped 4.7% on Wednesday and slid further the rest of the week. However, this was a common theme among several retailers, including Walmart (WMT). In fact, the overall retail sector was lower for the week.

The pullback dropped the shares to just above their 50-day moving average (blue line in chart). This trade is thus a bet that TGT will regain its footing and stay above the 50-day as holiday sales numbers – that are predicted to be robust – start rolling in. The short 245 strike (red line) of our put credit spread is below the 50-day, relying on trendline support to hold through expiration.

If you agree that TGT will stay atop its 50-day moving average line in chart), consider the following trade that relies on the stock remaining above 245  (through expiration in six weeks.

Buy to Open TGT 31Dec 240 put (TGT211231P240)
Sell to Open TGT 31Dec 245 put (TGT211231P245) for a credit of $1.60 (selling a vertical)

This credit is $0.02 less than the mid-point of the option spread when TGT was trading around $251. 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 $158.70. This trade reduces your buying power by $500 and makes your net investment $341.30 ($500 – $158.70) for one spread.  If TGT closes above $245 on December 31, both options will expire worthless and your return on the spread would be 46% ($158.70/$341.30).

Making 36%

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

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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