Posts Tagged ‘AAPL’

Closing Out The Options Play For The Apple Earnings Announcement

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Last week just before the Apple earnings announcement after the close on Thursday, I published an article on Seeking Alpha which suggested an options strategy to play prior to the announcement.  Basically, I spoke about taking advantage of the big Implied Volatility advantage for calendar spreads, and placing long-December (IV = 74) short-November (IV = 40) calendar spreads at many strike prices, both below and above the stock price.

Today I would like to offer you a link to the follow-up article also published at Seeking Alpha.

Closing Out The Options Play For The Apple Earnings Announcement

Here is the link:

Closing Out The Options Play For The Apple Earnings Announcement

IV for the December options fell more than we expected after the announcement.  This means that our original projections were too rosy.  We were fortunate enough to make a gain on the strategy nevertheless.   The learning experience was more valuable than the loss or gain.

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Posted in AAPL, Monthly Options, Stock Option Trading Idea Of The Week, Stock Options Strategies, Terry's Tips Portfolios, Weekly Options | No Comments »

An Interesting Options Play for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

If you like a stock, there is a much better way to make money on it other than buying shares.  The answer is to use options, of course.  Today I would like to share one simple trade you can make as an alternative to owning the stock.  It should gain over 50% in two months even if the stock does not go up by a penny.  If the stock falls by 10% over that period, you should make about 20%.  Meanwhile, people who bought the stock would have absolutely nothing to show for their investment (except maybe a loss).

Why would you ever buy a share of stock when options could deliver these kinds of returns?

An Interesting Options Play for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) has had a rocky year, but for the last few months it seems to have stabilized and might be worth a second look (especially if you could make 20% or more on it with options in just two months as I propose here).  First, check out a recent Seeking Alpha article Green Mountain: Stock Is A Good Brew.  It might give you a little confidence in the stock.
 
In the interests of presenting both sides, check out the downside case, also at Seeking Alpha – Stay Away From Green Mountain Coffee.  However, even this critic advises against shorting the stock. 

GMCR is selling at 9x or 10x earnings and doesn’t appear likely to have a big sell-off in the near future.  One option investor recently made a huge options bet that the stock will move higher – see Bulls Smell the Coffee at Green Mountain.  These options could return $5 million to the buyer if the stock is above $30 when the November options expire on the 17th.

The option strategy I suggest should make about 20% in two months even if GMCR falls by 10% over that time period.

I have watched this company for many years.  It is located in my home state of Vermont.  I used to play tennis with its founder, Bob Stiller, every week.  (I don’t want to brag, but I remember that I won about 90% of the matches – he seemed to be more interested in growing his company than staying in tennis shape.)   Just today, Bob donated $10 million to Champlain College, a local business school that has also been one of my favorite charities (and where I was a trustee for 11 years).

Here is what the risk profile graph looks like for the stock (currently trading at just under $24).  These positions cost about $2700 to put on:

 

The graph shows that a nice profit averaging over 30% can be made in two months at any ending price on December 21st which is higher than $22, and a profit of some sort at any price higher than $20.50.  This downside break-even point would mean that the stock fell by 14% from its current level.

Here are the actual positions that create the above risk profile graph:

 

I used 10 diagonal call spreads, buying January 2013 calls and selling December 23 calls for about $2.70 ($270 per spread).  This simple trade is far superior to owning the stock as far as I am concerned.  If the stock falls 10%, you still make about 20% on your investment.  If the stock stays exactly where it is on January 18th you should earn almost 60% on your money.

Why would anyone buy the stock when they could place a simple spread like this and make money even if the stock goes nowhere or even falls by as much as 10%?  It just doesn’t make sense to me.

—-

Any questions?   I would love to hear from you by email (terry@terrystips.com), or if you would like to talk to our guy Seth, give him a jingle at 800-803-4595 and either ask him your question(s) or give him your thoughts.

You can see every trade made in 8 actual option portfolios conducted at Terry’s Tips and learn all about the wonderful world of options by subscribing here.   Why wait any longer to make this important investment in yourself?

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Posted in Monthly Options, Stock Option Trading Idea Of The Week, Stock Options Strategies, Terry's Tips Portfolios, Weekly Options | No Comments »

An Options Strategy for Apple Bulls to Protect Against a $50 Drop in the Stock Price

Monday, October 8th, 2012

I have submitted an article to Seeking Alpha that I would like to share with you.

An Options Strategy for Apple Bulls to Protect Against a $50 Drop in the Stock Price

Here’s the linkApple Option Strategy

There seems to be a lot of interest in Apple (AAPL) these days.  While many investors are bullish on the long-run prospects for the company, many are concerned that in the short run they may have to endure a good-size drop in the stock price. 

A properly-devised options strategy can protect you against a $50 drop in the price while leaving you plenty of room to prosper if the stock continues to rise over time.

Any questions?   I would love to hear from you by email (terry@terrystips.com), or if you would like to talk to our guy Seth, give him a jingle at 800-803-4595 and either ask him your question(s) or give him your thoughts.

You can see every trade made in 8 actual option portfolios conducted at Terry’s Tips and learn all about the wonderful world of options by subscribing here.   Why wait any longer to make this important investment in yourself?

I look forward to having you on board, and to prospering with you.

Terry

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Posted in AAPL, Monthly Options, Stock Option Trading Idea Of The Week, Stock Options Strategies, Terry's Tips Portfolios, Weekly Options | No Comments »

Caterpillar Options

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Today I submitted an article to Seeking Alpha that I would like to share with you.

Here’s the link – Caterpillar Options

There are lots of ways to make money with multiple calendar spreads.  Finding an underlying stock which enjoys an implied volatility (IV) advantage is a good start.  That is where Caterpillar (CAT) is right now.

While having an IV Advantage stacks the deck in your favor, it should not be used as a sole determinate in choosing an underlying instrument to trade options on.  It is possible to make good returns with the 10K Strategy when you don’t enjoy an IV Advantage, but it is extremely helpful whenever option prices make it possible.   

Any questions?   I would love to hear from you by email (terry@terrystips.com), or if you would like to talk to our guy Seth, give him a jingle at 800-803-4595 and either ask him your question(s) or give him your thoughts.

You can see every trade made in 8 actual option portfolios conducted at Terry’s Tips and learn all about the wonderful world of options by subscribing here.   Why wait any longer to make this important investment in yourself?

I look forward to having you on board, and to prospering with you.

Terry

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Posted in AAPL, Monthly Options, Stock Option Trading Idea Of The Week, Stock Options Strategies, Terry's Tips Portfolios, Weekly Options | No Comments »

How We Made 613% With Apple Options In 7 Weeks And Expect To Do It Again In 4 Months

Monday, September 17th, 2012

The Apple portfolio has now made 613% over the last 7 weeks and today I would like to tell you more about it, including every current position that it has.

How We Made 613% With Apple Options In 7 Weeks And Expect To Do It Again In 4 Months

Here’s the linkHow We Did It

To accommodate those folks who signed up for our free newsletter after Labor Day because of the Seeking Alpha article, we are extending the special offer we made last week for an extra week.

The Special Offer – To Celebrate the re-establishment of Auto-Trade at TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim, we are offering our Premium service at the lowest price in the history of our company.  We have never before offered such a large discount for the Premium Service.  If you ever considered becoming a Terry’s Tips Insider, this would be the absolute best time to do it.

And now for the Special Offer – If you make this investment in yourself by midnight, September 18, 2012, this is what happens:

1)    For a one-time fee of only $75.95, you receive the White Paper (which normally costs $79.95 by itself), which explains my favorite option strategies in detail, , 20 “Lazy Way” companies with a minimum 100% gain in 2 years, mathematically guaranteed, if the stock stays flat or goes up, plus the following services:
 
2)    Two free months of the Terry’s Tips Stock Options Tutorial Program, (a $49.90 value).  This consists of 14 individual electronic tutorials delivered one each day for two weeks, and weekly Saturday Reports which provide timely Market Reports, discussion of option strategies, updates and commentaries on 8 different actual option portfolios, and much more. 

3)    Emailed Trade Alerts.  I will email you with any trades I make before I make them so you can mirror them yourself or have them executed for you by TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim through their Auto-Trade program. These Trade Alerts cover all 8 portfolios we conduct.

4)    Access to the Insider’s Section of Terry’s Tips, where you will find many valuable articles about option trading, and several months of recent Saturday Reports and Trade Alerts.

5)    A free copy of my e-book, Making 36%: Duffer’s Guide to Breaking Par in the Market Every Year, In Good Years and Bad (2012 Updated Version).

With this one-time offer, you will receive all of these Premium Service benefits for only $75.95, (normal price $119.95). I have never made an offer anything like this in the eleven years I have published Terry’s Tips.  But you must order by midnight on September 18, 2012. Click here and enter Special Code Auto12 in the box located on the right side of your screen.

I feel confident that this offer could be the best investment you ever make in yourself.  Celebrate the resumption of Auto-Trade at TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim with us.  But do it before the September 18th, as this offer will not be available after that day.

I look forward to prospering with you. 

Terry

P.S.  If you would have any questions about this offer or Terry’s Tips, please call Seth Allen, our Senior Vice President at 800-803-4595.  Or make this investment in yourself at the lowest price ever offered in our 11 years of publication – only $75.95 for our entire package (regular price $119.95). Click here and use Special Code Auto12.

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Posted in AAPL, Monthly Options, Stock Option Trading Idea Of The Week, Stock Options Strategies, Terry's Tips Portfolios, Weekly Options | No Comments »

A Calendar Spread Strategy to Capitalize on Apple’s Expected Announcement Next Wednesday

Monday, September 10th, 2012

This week is an unusual one for the Idea of the Week.  For the second week in a row, this newsletter supplies a link to that report. (My apologies if you came on board because of the earlier article.

Enjoy the report, and the report inside the article which documents every trade we made in an actual portfolio that gained us 452% after commissions in six weeks this summer.

A Calendar Spread Strategy to Capitalize on Apple’s Expected Announcement Next Wednesday

Here’s the linkA Calendar Spread Strategy

To accommodate those folks who signed up for our free newsletter after Labor Day because of the Seeking Alpha article, we are extending the special offer we made last week for an extra week.

The Special Offer – To Celebrate the re-establishment of Auto-Trade at TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim, we are offering our Premium service at the lowest price in the history of our company.  We have never before offered such a large discount for the Premium Service.  If you ever considered becoming a Terry’s Tips Insider, this would be the absolute best time to do it.

And now for the Special Offer – If you make this investment in yourself by midnight, September 11, 2012, this is what happens:

1)    For a one-time fee of only $75.95, you receive the White Paper (which normally costs $79.95 by itself), which explains my favorite option strategies in detail, , 20 “Lazy Way” companies with a minimum 100% gain in 2 years, mathematically guaranteed, if the stock stays flat or goes up, plus the following services:
 
2)    Two free months of the Terry’s Tips Stock Options Tutorial Program, (a $49.90 value).  This consists of 14 individual electronic tutorials delivered one each day for two weeks, and weekly Saturday Reports which provide timely Market Reports, discussion of option strategies, updates and commentaries on 8 different actual option portfolios, and much more. 

3)    Emailed Trade Alerts.  I will email you with any trades I make before I make them so you can mirror them yourself or have them executed for you by TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim through their Auto-Trade program. These Trade Alerts cover all 8 portfolios we conduct.

4)    Access to the Insider’s Section of Terry’s Tips, where you will find many valuable articles about option trading, and several months of recent Saturday Reports and Trade Alerts.

5)    A free copy of my e-book, Making 36%: Duffer’s Guide to Breaking Par in the Market Every Year, In Good Years and Bad (2012 Updated Version).

With this one-time offer, you will receive all of these Premium Service benefits for only $75.95, (normal price $119.95). I have never made an offer anything like this in the eleven years I have published Terry’s Tips.  But you must order by midnight on September 11, 2012. Click here and enter Special Code Auto12 in the box located on the right side of your screen.

I feel confident that this offer could be the best investment you ever make in yourself.  Celebrate the resumption of Auto-Trade at TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim with us.  But do it before the September 11th, as this offer will not be available after that day.

I look forward to prospering with you. 

Terry

P.S.  If you would have any questions about this offer or Terry’s Tips, please call Seth Allen, our Senior Vice President at 800-803-4595.  Or make this investment in yourself at the lowest price ever offered in our 11 years of publication – only $75.95 for our entire package (regular price $119.95). Click here and use Special Code Auto12.

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Posted in AAPL, Last Minute Strategy, Stock Option Trading Idea Of The Week, Stock Options Strategies, Terry's Tips Portfolios | No Comments »

Two Strategies For Making Extraordinary Returns With Apple Options

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

This week is an unusual one for the Idea of the Week.  For the first time ever, I submitted an article to Seeking Alpha, and this newsletter supplies a link to that report. (My apologies if you came on board because of this article – our regular Idea of the Week will resume next Monday.)

Enjoy the report, and the report inside the article which documents every trade we made in an actual portfolio that gained us 357% after commissions in four weeks this summer.

Two Strategies For Making Extraordinary Returns With Apple Options

Here’s the linkTwo Strategies

To accommodate those folks who signed up for our free newsletter after Labor Day because of the Seeking Alpha article, we are extending the special offer we made last week for an extra week.

The Special Offer – To Celebrate the re-establishment of Auto-Trade at TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim, we are offering our Premium service at the lowest price in the history of our company.  We have never before offered such a large discount for the Premium Service.  If you ever considered becoming a Terry’s Tips Insider, this would be the absolute best time to do it.

And now for the Special Offer – If you make this investment in yourself by midnight, September 11, 2012, this is what happens:

1)    For a one-time fee of only $75.95, you receive the White Paper (which normally costs $79.95 by itself), which explains my favorite option strategies in detail, , 20 “Lazy Way” companies with a minimum 100% gain in 2 years, mathematically guaranteed, if the stock stays flat or goes up, plus the following services:
 
2)    Two free months of the Terry’s Tips Stock Options Tutorial Program, (a $49.90 value).  This consists of 14 individual electronic tutorials delivered one each day for two weeks, and weekly Saturday Reports which provide timely Market Reports, discussion of option strategies, updates and commentaries on 8 different actual option portfolios, and much more. 

3)    Emailed Trade Alerts.  I will email you with any trades I make before I make them so you can mirror them yourself or have them executed for you by TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim through their Auto-Trade program. These Trade Alerts cover all 8 portfolios we conduct.

4)    Access to the Insider’s Section of Terry’s Tips, where you will find many valuable articles about option trading, and several months of recent Saturday Reports and Trade Alerts.

5)    A free copy of my e-book, Making 36%: Duffer’s Guide to Breaking Par in the Market Every Year, In Good Years and Bad (2012 Updated Version).

With this one-time offer, you will receive all of these Premium Service benefits for only $75.95, (normal price $119.95). I have never made an offer anything like this in the eleven years I have published Terry’s Tips.  But you must order by midnight on September 11, 2012. Click here and enter Special Code Auto12 in the box located on the right side of your screen.

I feel confident that this offer could be the best investment you ever make in yourself.  Celebrate the resumption of Auto-Trade at TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim with us.  But do it before the September 11th, as this offer will not be available after that day.

I look forward to prospering with you. 

Terry

P.S.  If you would have any questions about this offer or Terry’s Tips, please call Seth Allen, our Senior Vice President at 800-803-4595.  Or make this investment in yourself at the lowest price ever offered in our 11 years of publication – only $75.95 for our entire package (regular price $119.95). Click here and use Special Code Auto12.

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Posted in AAPL, Monthly Options, Stock Option Trading Idea Of The Week, Stock Options Strategies, Terry's Tips Portfolios, Weekly Options | No Comments »

An Interesting Statistic for Apple (AAPL)

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Today I would like to share with you one startling fact about Apple stock and a relatively low-risk way to earn over 50% in one year with a simple options trade. 

In a world when most people are complaining that it is really difficult to make a nickel in this market, options still offer alternatives that you are unlikely to find anywhere else.

An Interesting Statistic for Apple (AAPL)

AAPL has fluctuated all over the place for the past several years.  Most of the movement has been to the upside, but there have been serious downdrafts as well.  Following last April’s earnings announcement, for example, the stock rose to a new high of about $644 and then proceeded to fall about $100 over the next two months.

One thing has been constant, however, and knowing about it could be the most profitable idea you will encounter this year.  Here it is – ever since the market meltdown in late 2008 – there is not a single six-month period of time when the price of AAPL was less at the end of the six-month period than it was at the beginning of that period.  True, the stock tumbled about $100 from its high reached just after the April 2012 earnings announcement, but it has now more than recovered that entire loss and moved much higher (and we have not reached the six-month mark yet).

For the past 3 ½ years, there has never been a six-month period when AAPL was lower at the end of the six months than at the beginning of that stretch.  Think about that.  If you could count on that pattern continuing, it would be possible to make a single option trade, wait six months, and expect a significant gain at that time.

In June of this year when AAPL was trading about $575, I told my paying subscribers about a spread that I had personally placed (using large amounts of cash, in fact) in my family charitable trust account.  I placed what is called a vertical call spread on AAPL.  I bought AAPL 550 calls which would expire on January 18, 2013 (about 7 months away) and sold AAPL 660 calls with the same expiration date.

I paid just under $24 for the vertical spread ($2400 per contract).  If, seven months later, AAPL was at any price above $600, I would be able to sell the spread at exactly $50 ($5000 per contract).  If AAPL had not gone up, and was only at the current price ($575), the spread would be worth $25, and I would still make a small gain.

Of course, since that time, AAPL has moved much higher.  Now I am in a position where the stock could fall by $65 a share between now and January 18, 2013 and I will still double my money.

The spread I purchased for $24 is now trading for about $40.  I am still recommending to my risk-averse subscribers that it still might be a good investment, even at this price.  If you were to purchase the same spread for $40 or less, you would make 20% on your investment in January even if the stock were to fall by $65 during that time.

Meanwhile, my charitable trust account is prospering.  In two short months, its value has increased by 60%.  There will be a lot of happy Vermont charities when I send out donations at the end of this year.

Next week, I will discuss my latest thoughts on exactly which vertical spreads I would buy right now on AAPL to take advantage of the unusual pattern that is the subject of this week’s Idea of the Week.

There are many other ways that you can use options to make extraordinary gains when you feel fairly certain that a stock is headed higher.  One of our 8 portfolios is a bullish bet on AAPL.  Over the past five weeks, the stock has moved 13.3% higher, and this actual portfolio (mirrored by a large number of Terry’s Tips subscribers) has gained 360%.  Our portfolio has gained 27 times as much as the stock has gone up.

To celebrate the re-establishment of Auto-Trade at TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim, we are offering our Premium service at the lowest price in the history of our company.  We have never before offered such a large discount.  If you ever considered becoming a Terry’s Tips Insider, this would be the absolute best time to do it.

And now for the Special Offer – If you make this investment in yourself by midnight, September 4, 2012, this is what happens:

1)    For a one-time fee of only $75.95, you receive the White Paper  (which normally costs $79.95 by itself), which explains my favorite option strategies in detail, 20 “Lazy Way” companies with a minimum 100% gain in 2 years, mathematically guaranteed, if the stock stays flat or goes up, plus the following services:
 
2)    Two free months of the Terry’s Tips Stock Options Tutorial Program, (a $49.90 value).  This consists of 14 individual electronic tutorials delivered one each day for two weeks, and weekly Saturday Reports which provide timely Market Reports, discussion of option strategies, updates and commentaries on 8 different actual option portfolios, and much more.  

3)    Emailed Trade Alerts.  I will email you with any trades I make before I make them so you can mirror them yourself or have them executed for you by TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim through their Auto-Trade program. These Trade Alerts cover all 8 portfolios we conduct.

4)    Access to the Insider’s Section of Terry’s Tips, where you will find many valuable articles about option trading, and several months of recent Saturday Reports and Trade Alerts.

5)    A FREE special report  “How We Made 100% on Apple in 2010-11 While AAPL Rose Only 25%”.

6)    A free copy of my e-book, Making 36%: Duffer’s Guide to Breaking Par in the Market Every Year, In Good Years and Bad (2012 Updated Version).

With this one-time offer, you will receive all of these Premium Service benefits for only $75.95, (normal price $119.95). I have never made an offer anything like this in the eleven years I have published Terry’s Tips.  But you must order by midnight on September 4, 2012. Click here, and enter Special Code Auto12 in the box on the right side of the screen.

I feel confident that this offer could be the best investment you ever make in yourself.  Celebrate the resumption of Auto-Trade at TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim with us.  But do it before the day after Labor Day, as this offer will not be available after that day.

I look forward to prospering with you. 

Terry

P.S.  If you would have any questions about this offer or Terry’s Tips, please call Seth Allen, our Senior Vice President at 800-803-4595.  Or make this investment in yourself at the lowest price ever offered in our 11 years of publication – only $75.95 for our entire package (regular price $119.95) using Special Code Auto12.

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Posted in AAPL, Monthly Options, Stock Option Trading Idea Of The Week, Stock Options Strategies, Terry's Tips Portfolios, Weekly Options | No Comments »

Buying Strangles With Weekly Options (and How We Made 67% in a Single Day Last Week)

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Exactly one year ago, we spoke about an interesting options play that might be made before the July jobs report came out.  This Friday, the July 2012 report will come out before the market opens, and a similar trade might be in order.  It is interesting to note that one year ago, the market (SPY) was almost exactly where it is today.

 

Here are my exact words delivered on the Monday following the jobs report: “This week I would like to share an actual investment we made last Thursday which involved buying a close relative of a straddle called a strangle (buying a put and a call but at different strike prices).  Admittedly, the word strangle does not have the greatest of connotations, but it can be a wonderful thing as we learned last week.

 

Terry

 

Buying Strangles With Weekly Options (and How We Made 67% in a Single Day Last Week)

 

On Thursdays which precede the government monthly job reports,  we have sometimes employed a strategy that only does well if the stock (SPY) moves significantly in either direction once the report is published (we have noticed that volatility tends to be extreme on those days when the jobs report comes out).  Rather than betting that SPY will fluctuate by less than a dollar on Friday (the usual kind of bet we make), on the Thursday preceding the Friday jobs report, we sometimes buy either a straddle or strangle that will most likely make money if SPY moves by more than a dollar on Friday.

 

This was the Trade Alert we sent out to Insiders on Thursday, July 7, 2011 with about 10 minutes remaining in the trading day:

 

“July 7, 2011  Trade Alert  -  Last Minute  Portfolio


With the government jobs report due tomorrow, we would rather bet that the stock moves by a dollar or more rather than placing calendar spreads that make a gain only if the stock moves by less than a dollar.  We will invest only about a quarter of our available cash:

 

BTO 30 Jul2-11 135 put (SPY110708P135)

BTO 30 Jul2-11 136 call (SPY110708C136) for $.68 (buying a strangle)”

 

With SPY trading just about half way between $135 and $136 Thursday afternoon, we decided to buy the above strangle rather than a straddle.  If the stock had been closer to one particular strike price, we would have opted for a straddle instead.

 

We bought 30 strangles for $68 each, investing $2040.

 

If at any point on Friday, SPY changed in value by more than $1.00 in either direction, we could probably sell those options at a profit.  (At any price above $136.50, the calls could probably be sold for more than $68 we paid for the strangle, and at any price below $135.50, the puts could be sold for more than we paid for the strangle.)  A small amount could also probably be gained by selling the other side of the strangle as well (unless the stock moved well more than a dollar).

 

When the government report came out on Friday, the market was spooked by the poor numbers  – Non-farm private payrolls were expected to grow by 110,000 while the actual number was a disappointing 57,000.  Total nonfarm payrolls grew only 18,000 compared to an expected 80,000 (government jobs dropped by 39,000). The stock (SPY) opened down $1.40 and moved down almost $2 during the day.

 

Early in the day while the 135 puts were trading at about $1.00, we placed a limit order to sell 25 of our 30 puts at $1.10, and the order was executed about a half hour later. This would insure that we made a profit for the day no matter what happened from that point forward.  We were hoping that either the stock moved lower and we could sell the remaining 5 puts for a higher price or the stock would make a big move upward and maybe we could collect something from selling our 30 calls at the 136 strike.

 

The stock continued to fall, and later in the day we placed an order to sell the remaining 5 puts. We collected $1.52 ($152) each for them.  That wasn’t the absolute high for the day but it was darn close.  Had we waited until the close, we would have only received $.37 for those puts, and lost money on our investment.  This proves the value in taking a profit on the great majority of positions whenever it might come up rather than waiting for a possible windfall gain if the stock continues in only one direction.

 

Bottom line, we collected a profit for the day of $1363 after commissions on our investment of $2040, or 67%.

 

Straddle buyers like volatility as much as we don’t like it in our other portfolios.   There are many ways to profit with options. It is best to remain flexible, and use the option strategy that best matches current market conditions. Buying straddles or strangles when option prices are low and volatility is high is one very good way to make extraordinary gains, as we happily did last week.

 

The downside to buying straddles or strangles is that if the market doesn’t fluctuate much, you could lose every penny of your investment (although if you don’t wait too much longer than mid-day on the day options expire, even out-of-the-money options retain some value and should be able to be sold for something).  This makes it a much riskier investment than the other option strategies we recommend at Terry’s Tips.  However, straddle- or strangle-buying can be quite profitable if the current market patterns persist.

 

A personal thought – I think that expectations are so low for Friday’s jobs report (and May’s report was so disappointing), that there is a good chance that the market will surge on Friday.  Instead of buying a straddle or strangle, I plan to spend a very small amount of money buying an out-of-the-money Jul1-12 Weekly call (maybe paying $10 or less per option) just in case the stock skyrockets.  It is my lottery ticket purchase for the week, a reward to myself for having had such a good week (I have been quite long AAPL).  Chances are, I will lose the entire investment, just as the chances are hopelessly against you when you buy a lottery ticket.  At least my odds are better than being hit by lightning (the lottery ticket odds).

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Posted in AAPL, Stock Option Trading Idea Of The Week, Stock Options Strategies, Terry's Tips Portfolios, Weekly Options | No Comments »

Using a Vertical Call Spread to Bet on Apple

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

For the second straight week, six of the eight portfolios carried out at Terry’s Tips gained last week, and the average of all eight portfolios was a whopping 16% gain.  Each week, after commissions.  Where else other than options can you enjoy returns like this?

Today I would like to discuss one of my favorite option spreads if you like a particular stock.  I like Apple, and have recently placed the spread discussed today in my personal account.

Using a Vertical Call Spread to Bet on Apple

I think there are about a dozen reasons why Apple (AAPL) will be trading at a higher price next January than it is right now.  First of all, in spite of growing at about 80% a year, it sells at a lower p/e ratio than the average company in the S&P 500.  Second, the company’s last earnings exceeded analyst expectations by a wide margin (year-to-year growth of about 90%) yet the company is trading at a lower price than before the announcement.  Fundamentally, the stock is clearly undervalued. But the real story is in what is likely to happen over the next six months or so.  Look at this list of possibilities:

1)    A dividend will be made in July for the first time ever.  As soon as it is declared, many big mutual funds (whose charter does not allow them to buy companies which do not pay a dividend) will finally be able to buy shares (and they most certainly will).
2)    A pre-announced $10 billion stock buy-back will start in January.
3)    The iPhone 5 will be available before Christmas.  Many analysts believe that this will be the biggest new product introduction of any company in 2012.
4)    A revolutionary interactive iTelevision product is rumored to be coming, with an announcement possible as early as June (at the same technology conference where Steve Jobs often announced new products).
5)    The company is rumored to be offering a new way of paying for most everything with a mobile device (as is becoming the norm in Europe).  You will be able to pay tolls or get Coke from a vending machine with your cell phone. With an installed base of 200 million iPhones, they seem to be in an excellent position to become the PayPal of mobile devices (which may explain why they are sitting on much of their $100-billion cash hoard rather than distributing it to stockholders).  
6)    They apparently still can’t make iPhones in China fast enough to satisfy the demand, and the largest Chinese telephone company has not yet been allowed to offer the phone to its customers.

And the list goes on.  I think it is highly likely that AAPL will be selling for significantly more next January than it is right now.  So how do I use options to bet on a higher stock price?

I generally do not like to buy calls, or puts, when I believe the market or a particular stock is headed in a certain direction.  Buying an option is putting your money on a depreciating asset.  If the underlying doesn’t move the way you want it to, your investment goes down in value every day.

Rather than buying a call on a stock that you believe is headed higher, you might consider buying a vertical spread.  A vertical spread is simply the purchase of an option and simultaneous sale of another option at different strike prices in the same expiration month (same underlying security, of course).  A vertical spread is a known as a directional spread because it makes or loses money depending on which direction the underlying security takes.

Here is what I did with AAPL.  I bought the January 2013 530 calls and sold the January 2013 580 calls for $25 ($2500 per spread) last week when the stock was trading about $562 (Friday’s close).  If AAPL is trading above $580 in January as I expect it will, this spread will be worth $50, and I will double my money in about seven months.

The downside of buying a vertical spread is that if you are right and the underlying moves in the direction you had hoped, your gain will be limited by the strike prices of your long and short positions.  No matter how high AAPL goes by next January, this spread will never be worth more than $50.

However, the neat thing about vertical spreads is that if the stock doesn’t move at all, you might just make a gain.  With this spread, if the stock is trading exactly where it is today ($562), my investment will be worth $3200, or $700 more than I paid for it, making about 28%, and the stock hasn’t gone up a penny.

Most people would be delighted if they made 28% on their money in a year.  Here is an opportunity to make that much in seven months even if you are wrong (for betting that it will move higher).

Vertical spreads are just another reason why I love options.

Bottom line, buying a vertical spread lowers your potential loss and also lowers the potential gain.  In most instances, I prefer buying a vertical spread to the outright purchase of puts or calls.  In the above example, I would gladly trade the benefit of making 28% if I am wrong and the underlying didn’t change in value with the limited gain I could make if I were right (I’m not a greedy guy – I will be happy with a 100% gain for seven months). 

Of course, if I am totally wrong and the stock moves dramatically lower, I could lose my entire investment.  Just like I could do if I bought any stock or option.  You have to be willing to take a little risk to make a big reward.  I am comfortable enough with Apple’s prospects to take this risk (in fact, I own vertical spreads on AAPL at many other strike prices and expiration months as well).

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Posted in AAPL, Monthly Options, Stock Option Trading Idea Of The Week, Stock Options Strategies, Terry's Tips Portfolios | 1 Comment »

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