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Posts Tagged ‘Calendar Spreads’

Consider IPG Photonics (IPGP) Following the Technical Breakout

Monday, May 14th, 2018

This week we are looking at another of the Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) Top 50 List companies.  We use this list in one of our options portfolios to spot outperforming stocks and place option spreads that take advantage of the momentum.

Terry

Consider IPG Photonics (IPGP) Following the Technical Breakout

In addition to being listed as one of the IBD Top 50 companies, Investor’s Business Daily recently wrote about IPGP, outlining the reasons why the growth stock is setting up for another advance.  Also take a look at this publication which discusses why IPGP is trending.

IPGP broke higher late last week from a bullish flag pattern that has been setting up for most of the year thus far.  Technical traders tend to keep a close eye on flag patterns, especially in assets that have had a strong trend which IPGP certainly displayed in 2017.  Technical support is found nearby from a horizontal level at $248 which marks last years high.  Also near the level is additional support from the top of the broken flag pattern.

IPGP Chart May 2018 credit spread

IPGP Chart May 2018 vertical spread

*source Tradingview.com

If you agree there’s further upside ahead for IPGP, consider this trade which is a bet that the stock will continue to advance over the next five weeks, or at least not decline very much.

Buy To Open IPGP 15JUN18 240 Puts (IPGP180615P240)
Sell To Open IPGP 15JUN18 250 Puts (IPGP180615P250) for a credit of $3.58 (selling a vertical)

This price was $0.02 less than the mid-point of the option spread when IPGP was trading near $151.  Unless the stock rallies quickly from here, you should be able to get close to this amount.

Your commission on this trade will only be $2.50 per spread (the rate charged by thinkorswim for Terry’s Tips’ subscribers).  Each contract would then yield $355.50 and your broker would charge a $1000 maintenance fee, making your investment $644.50 ($1000 – 355.50).  If IPGP closes at any price above $250 on June 15, both options would expire worthless, and your return on the spread would be 55% (627% annualized).

Changes to Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) Top 50 This Week:

IBD Underlying Updates May10, 2018

IBD Underlying Updates May10, 2018

We have found that the Investor’s Business Daily Top 50 List has been a reliable source of stocks that are likely to move higher in the short run.  Recent additions to the list might be particularly good choices for this strategy, and deletions might be good indicators for exiting a position that you might already have on that stock.

As with all investments, you should only make option trades with money that you can truly afford to lose.

Happy trading,

Terry

Is Floor & Decor (FND) stock offering an entry point?

Monday, February 19th, 2018

This week we are looking at another of the Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) Top 50 List companies.  We use this list in one of our options portfolios to spot outperforming stocks and place option spreads that take advantage of the momentum. The actual portfolio we conduct at Terry’s Tips using these trades has gained 36% over the first six weeks of 2018 in spite of losing money on one of the spreads.  The average of all our portfolios has gained 23.2% while the market (SPY) is up only 2.2%.

Terry

Is Floor & Decor (FND) stock offering an entry point?

Several analysts expect further upside for FND stock, one analyst has recently revised up price targets to $50 and this article discusses recent favorable coverage in the media.

FND is seen bouncing from a  notable confluence of support near the $43 price point.  The area contains a horizontal level at $42.43 that was previously major resistance that is not seen as support.  Also, the lower line of a rising trend channel is found near the horizontal level.  The combination offers strong downside support and price action so far has shown buyers to protect the area.

FND Chart February 2018

FND Chart February 2018

*source Tradingview.com

If you agree there’s further upside ahead for Floor & Decor, consider this trade which is a bet that the stock will continue to advance over the next four weeks, or at least not decline very much.

Buy To Open FND 16Mar18 40 Puts (FND180316P40)
Sell To Open FND 16Mar18 45 Puts (FND180316P45) for a credit of $1.53 (selling a vertical)

This price was $0.02 less than the mid-point of the option spread when FND was trading near $45.  Unless the stock rallies quickly from here, you should be able to get close to this amount.

If you use our favorite broker for this trade, tastyworks, your commission on this trade will only be $1 per opening contract ($2 per spread) (and there is no commission on closing trades, only the $.10 clearing fee).  Each contract would then yield $1.51 and your broker would charge a $500 maintenance fee, making your investment $349 ($500 – $151).  If FND closes at any price above $45.00 on March 16, both options would expire worthless, and your return on the spread would be 43% (632% annualized).

Changes to Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) Top 50 This Week

IBD Underlying Updates February 15, 2018

IBD Underlying Updates February 15, 2018

We have found that the Investor’s Business Daily Top 50 List has been a reliable source of stocks that are likely to move higher in the short run.

As with all investments, you should only make option trades with money that you can truly afford to lose.

Happy trading,

Terry

Coherent Inc. (COHR) Jumps After Earnings Beat, Is There More Upside Ahead?

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

This week we are featuring another of the Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) Top 50 List companies.  We use this list in one of our portfolios to identify stocks with momentum and place spreads that profit if the momentum continues, at least a little.

I would also like to include a table which reviews how the previous 12 Trading Idea of the Week selections have worked out in the real world.  We have had an exceptionally good record.

Terry

Coherent Inc. (COHR) Jumps After Earnings Beat, Is There More Upside Ahead?

Before we discuss this week’s trading idea, I would like to review the past 12 ideas we have published here.  Each of these ideas was first distributed to Terry’s Tips’ paid subscribers in our weekly Saturday Report, and then on Monday or Tuesday, to the free newsletter subscribers such as you.  Here are the results:

Trading Idea of the week Summary Chart November 2017

Trading Idea of the week Summary Chart November 2017

The expiration prices for the 3 spreads which expire next Friday are today’s prices.  All of them are safely above the max gain price for the spread.

The only losing trade would have been the BABA one which was a minor loss.  The stock closed at $.85 below the max gain price and we had collected $.75 from the spread.  Presumably, rather than accept this small loss, we would have rolled over the vertical credit spread to a future date.  If we had, it would now look pretty good because BABA closed yesterday at $186.41, well above the max gain 177 strike.

The average gain for the 12 spreads (including the loss) was 39%.  If you had risked the same amount on 12 trades that averaged a 39% gain, you would have picked up 468% on your original investment.  While these results are a extremely encouraging, we must recognize that the past few months have been ones of generally higher stock prices across the board.  Future results might not be this great.

Now, back to our Trading Idea of the Week:

Several analysts have expressed their bullish outlook towards Coherent Inc. following their recent earnings report.  Here are two of them – Coherent price target raised to $330 from $270 at Needham and Coherent Inc. can’t be more hot.  Just reaches record high.

From a technical perspective, COHR had been consolidating mostly sideways for nearly six months ahead of last week’s earnings report.  The earnings beat triggered a gap higher for a range break and the stock held gains to close the week out at record highs.  The range break suggests the broader bullish trend has resumed.

COHR Chart November 2017

COHR Chart November 2017

*source Tradingview.com

If you agree there’s further upside ahead for Coherent Inc., consider this trade which is a bet that the stock will continue to advance at least a little over the next five weeks.

Buy To Open COHR 15Dec17 305 Puts (COHR171215P305)
Sell To Open COHR 15Dec17 310 Puts (COHR171215P310) for a credit of $2.53 (selling a vertical)

This price was $0.02 less than the mid-point of the option spread when COHR was trading near $309.  Unless the stock rallies quickly from here, you should be able to get close to this amount.

If you use our favorite broker for this trade, tastyworks, your commission on this trade will only be $1 per opening contract ($2 per spread) (and there is no commission on closing trades, only the $.10 clearing fee).  Each contract would then yield $251 and your broker would charge a $500 maintenance fee, making your investment $249 ($500 – $251).  If COHR closes at any price above $310 on December 15, 2017, both options would expire worthless, and your return on the spread would be 101% (1150% annualized).

Changes to Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) Top 50 This Week:

We have found that the Investor’s Business Daily Top 50 List has been a reliable source of stocks that are likely to move higher in the short run.  Recent additions to the list might be particularly good choices for this strategy, and deletions might be good indicators for exiting a position that you might already have on that stock.

As with all investments, you should only make option trades with money that you can truly afford to lose.

Happy trading,

Terry

Black Friday Special Offer Lowest Price Ever

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Learn the Exact Details of the Options Strategies That Have Resulted in Average Gains of 120% so far in 2017…

…at a Near-Give-Away Price Never Offered Before

Terry’s Tips is an options newsletter that has been around for 16 years.  Over that time period, we have developed and refined several options strategies that are enjoying unprecedented success.

We carry out 10 separate options portfolios for our subscribers to follow on their own with our favorite brokerage tastyworks or by having the trades executed automatically through thinkorswim’s Auto-Trade program.

Each portfolio is carried out in a separate account available for everyone to see (we don’t just publicize the most successful ones).  Each portfolio employs a specific pre-defined strategy using one or more underlying stocks or ETPs (Exchange Traded Products).   Unlike other options newsletters, we include the actual commissions in all our results.

The composite average gain for 2017 for our 10 portfolios through the first week of November was 120%.  Subscribers who mirrored all 10 of our portfolios would have invested $48,600 in January.  Those portfolios were worth $107,103 last week.  But of course, you can mirror just the portfolios that you like or choose.

We have made these gains with various strategies including Credit Spreads and Selling Naked Puts.  But for the last 16 years our flagship strategy is what we call the 10K Strategy.  It involves selling short-term options on individual stocks and using longer-term (or LEAPS) as collateral.  It is sort of like writing calls, except that you don’t have to put up all that cash to buy 100 or 1000 shares of the stock.  The 10K Strategy is sort of like writing calls on steroids.  It is an amazingly simple strategy that really works with the one proviso, that you select a stock that stays flat or moves higher over time.

How else in today’s investment world of near-zero dividend yields can you expect to make these kinds of returns?  Find out exactly how to do it by buying yourself a Black Friday gift for yourself and your family.  They will love you for it.

Lowest Subscription Price Ever:  As a Black Friday special, we are offering the lowest subscription price that we have ever offered – our full package, including:

    • Over 10 case study reports
    • my 60+ page White Paper – which explains my favorite option strategies in detail and shows you exactly how to carry them out on your own
    • a 14-day options tutorial program which will give you a solid background on options trading
    • and two months of our weekly newsletter full of tradable option ideas.

Here is a sampling of the additional free reports you will get with a subscription to Terry’s Tips:

How We Made 100% on Apple

VXX – The Holy Grail for the 10K Strategy

Using the Vertical Credit Put Spread

Eight Consecutive Earnings Play Wins and What We Learned

An Options Strategy That Could Realistically Make 40% a Month

Two 2015 Case Studies of Option Portfolios – COST and SBUX

It is hard to place a value on these special reports – if they helped you improve your investment results for the rest of your life, how much might they be worth to you?  Not exactly priceless, but maybe getting close to it.

For this lowest-price-ever $37.95 offer, click here, enter Special Code BF117 (or BF117P for Premium Service – $77.95).

If you are ready to commit for a longer time period, you can save even more with our half-price offer on our Premium service for an entire year.  This special offer includes everything in our basic service, and in addition, real-time trade alerts and full access to all 9 of our current actual portfolios so that you can Auto-Trade or follow any or all of them.  We have several levels of our Premium service, but this is the maximum level since it includes full access to all nine portfolios.  A year’s subscription to this maximum level would cost $1080.  With this half-price offer, the cost for a full year would be only $540.  Use the Special Code MAX17P.

This is a time-limited offer.  You must order by Monday, November 27, 2017.  That’s when the half-price offer expires, and you will have to go back to the same old investment strategy that you have had limited success with for so long (if you are like most investors).

This is the perfect time to give you and your family the perfect Thanksgiving and Black Friday gift that is designed to deliver higher financial returns for the rest of your investing life. Just imagine sitting around at the family get together and explaining to your favorite know it all buy and hold uncle about Vertical Bull Put Spreads as his eyes glaze over.

I look forward to helping you get the next investment cycle (ride the holiday retail economy cash injection) started off right by sharing this valuable investment information with you at the lowest price ever. It may take you a little homework, but I am sure you will end up thinking it was well worth the investment.

Happy trading.

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 16 years of publication – only $37.95 for our entire package.  Get it here using Special Code BF117 (or BF117P for Premium Service – $79.95).   Do it today, before you forget and lose out.  This offer expires on Monday, November 27, 2016.

P.P.S. Use special code MAX17P to get the ultimate Premium Special for $540 (normally $1080)

Back-to-School Special – Lowest Price Ever

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Back-to-School Special – Lowest Price Ever

Why must back-to-school purchases only be for the kids?  You got them new back-packs and pens and pads and lots of other things to help them make their learning experience a little easier or fun.

But how about yourself?   How about adults who would like to learn a little something, too?  What if you would like to learn how to dramatically improve your investment results?  Don’t you deserve a little something to help make that learning experience possible?

What better back-to-school gift could there be than a subscription to Terry’s Tips at the lowest price ever?  You will learn exactly how we have made over 100% so far this year trading our favorite strategy on two different stocks, and how you can do it yourself with your favorite stock.

We carry out 10 different portfolios with different options strategies, and you can learn each strategy and follow the actual results (including commissions) with all the trades we have made.  The composite average gain the 10 portfolios for the first 8 months of 2017 has been over 60%.

At the beginning of 2017, we set up an account to use our favorite strategy (we call it the 10k Strategy) using Mastercard (MA) options. MA has had a good run, gaining 27% so far this year.  Our portfolio has gained 110%, about 4 times as much.  Another portfolio was lucky enough to select Facebook (FB) as its underlying.  FB has gained 50% through the first 8 months of 2017 while our portfolio has gained 338%, over 6 times as much. Come on board and see every trade that we made in all 10 portfolios.

Many subscribers to Terry’s Tips have followed along with these portfolios since the beginning, having all their trades made for them through the Auto-Trade program at thinkorswim.  Others have followed our trades at another broker.  Regardless of where they traded, they are all happy campers right now.

We have made these gains with what we call the 10K Strategy.  It involves selling short-term options on individual stocks and using longer-term options (or LEAPS) as collateral.  It is sort of like writing calls, except that you don’t have to put up all that cash to buy 100 or 1000 shares of the stock.   It really works, especially if you select a stock that stays flat or moves higher over time.

We have other portfolios which have more modest goals.  Our most conservative portfolio selected 5 blue chip companies at the beginning of 2017 and used a strategy that would make a gain as long as these companies did not fall by 10% over the course of the year.  The annual goal for this portfolio was 30%, but it has over-achieved, picking up 32% so far, and is guaranteed to make 40% for the year as long as the underlying stocks don’t fall over 10% from here. (One of the underlyings, (JNJ) can only fall 6% for us to make the 40%.)

Another conservative portfolio was set up to make over 30% for the year as long as the overall market (the S&P 500) did not fall by more than 5% over the course of the year.  As you may know, the market has done quite well so far, gaining almost 10%, while our portfolio could be closed out for a 32% gain right now, and is on target to gain 40% for the year unless SPY drops over 15% between now and the end of the year.

These portfolios are carried out in separate broker accounts for our subscribers to follow.  We count all the commissions and don’t hide any of the trades (like many newsletters do).  Don’t you think you owe it to yourself to learn how we have done it and how you can do it on your own?

Lowest Subscription Price Ever:  As a back-to-school special, we are offering the lowest subscription price that we have ever offered – our full package, including all the free reports, my White Paper, which explains my favorite option strategies in detail, and shows you exactly how to carry them out on your own, a 14-day options tutorial program which will give you a solid background on option trading, and two months of our weekly newsletter full of tradable option ideas.  All this for a one-time fee of $39.95, less than half the cost of the White Paper alone ($79.95).

For this lowest-price-ever $39.95 offer, click here, enter Special Code BTS17 (or BTS17P for Premium Service – $79.95).

This is a time-limited offer.  You must order by Monday, September 18, 2017.  That’s when the half-price offer expires, and you will have to go back to the same old investment strategy that you have had limited success with for so long (if you are like most investors).

This is the perfect time to give you and your family the perfect back-to-school gift that is designed to deliver higher financial returns for the rest of your investing life.

I look forward to helping you get the school year started off right by sharing this valuable investment information with you at the lowest price ever. It may take you a little homework, but I am sure you will end up thinking it was well worth the investment.

Happy trading.

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 16 years of publication – only $39.95 for our entire package.  Get it here using Special Code BTS17 (or BTS17P for Premium Service – $79.95).   Do it today, before you forget and lose out.  This offer expires on Monday, September 18, 2017.

Closing Out Last Week’s Facebook Trades

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Today I would like to report on the gains I made last Friday on the trades I told you about that I had placed last Monday in advance of Facebook’s (FB) earnings announcement on May 3.  I was fortunate enough for the stock to take a moderate drop after the announcement, and have some thoughts on how I might play the FB  earnings announcement in 3 months.

Terry

Closing Out Last Week’s Facebook Trades

A little over a week ago, I passed on a pre-earnings trade I had made on Facebook in advance of their May 3 after-market announcement.  Essentially, I bought calendar spreads (long side 16Jun17 series and short side 05May17 series) at the 150, 152.5 and 155 strikes when FB was trading just under $152.

I was hoping that the stock would barely budge after the announcement.  I was lucky.  It did just that, falling a bit to close out the week at $150.24, about $1.50 lower than it was when I bought the spreads.

Near the close, I was able to buy back all of the expiring options (puts at the 150 strike, calls at the 152.5 and 155 strikes for $.02 or $.03), and sell every long call for a higher price than I had paid for the original spread.

Here are the spreads I made today when FB was trading just under $152:

Buy to Open 2 FB 16Jun17 150 puts (FB170616P150)

Sell to Open 2 FB 05 May17 150 puts (FB170505P150) for a debit of $1.49 (buying a calendar)   Spread closed for $2.19, gaining $140.

Buy to Open 1 FB 16Jun17 150 calls (FB170616C150)

Sell to Open 1 FB 05 May17 152.5 calls (FB170505C152.5) for a debit of $3.03 (buying a diagonal)  Spread closed for $3.75, gaining $72.

Buy to Open 1 FB 16Jun17 155 calls (FB170616C155)

Sell to Open 1 FB 05 May17 152.5 calls (FB170505C152.5) for a debit of $.55 (buying a diagonal)  Spread closed for $1.55, gaining $100.

Buy to Open 2 FB 16Jun17 155 calls (FB170616C155)

Sell to Open 2 FB 05 May17 155 calls (FB170505C155) for a debit of $1.59 (buying a diagonal) Spread closed for $1.62, gaining $6.

These spreads cost me a total of $974 plus $12 in commissions at tastyworks’ ultra-low rate of $1.00 per contract.  Even better, when I closed out these trades on Friday, I did not incur a commission at all (only paid the $.10 per contract clearing fee).

I made a net profit of $318 on an investment of $986, or 32% on an investment that lasted for 5 days. The Terry’s Tips portfolio that trades FB options gained 22% last week, and now has gained 215% for the year (after commissions).  The stock has gained 30% in 2017, but our portfolio has done 7 times that number.

The risk profile graph I published in the last blog assumed that implied volatility (IV) of the June options would fall from 24% to 16%.  I was a little too conservative.  IV fell to 18%, and the spreads performed a little better than the graph had projected.

While this is certainly a nice gain for the week, it only came about because I was lucky enough for the stock not to fluctuate very much.  In the future, I think I might buy more spreads at strikes below the current stock price of FB because the clear pattern around announcement time has been for the company to exceed expectations by a nice margin and the stock falls a small amount on the news.

Happy trading,

Terry

Interesting Earnings Play on Facebook

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Facebook (FB) has had a great year so far, gaining just over 30%.  Terry’s Tips has an actual portfolio that trades calendar and diagonal spreads on FB.  This portfolio has gained 157% this year, more than 5 times as much as the stock has gone up.  A big part of this gain came just after the January earnings announcement when the stock dropped a small amount on the news.

FB announces earnings after the close on Wednesday (May 3), and I would like to share some trades I made today in my personal account at my favorite broker, tastyworks.  These trades approximate the current risk profile of the Terry’s Tips’ FB portfolio.

Terry

Interesting Earnings Play on Facebook

Terry’s Tips carries out 9 actual portfolios for paying subscribers.  After the first four months of 2017, all 9 portfolios are in the black.  The composite average has gained 34.5% for the year, certainly an outstanding result.  The FB portfolio is by far the greatest gainer.  We know that we cannot expect to continue these extraordinary gains for the entire year, but we are confident that many portfolios will continue producing gains which outperform the market averages.

Implied volatility (IV) of FB options tends to escalate prior to an earnings announcement.  For example, it is about 45% for the 05May17 series that expires this Friday.  This compares to 24% for the 16Jun17 series that expires six weeks later. We will buy the relatively cheap 16Jun17 series and sell the more expensive 05May17 series.

Here are the spreads I made today when FB was trading just under $152:

Buy to Open 2 FB 16Jun17 150 puts (FB170616P150)

Sell to Open 2 FB 05 May17 150 puts (FB170505P150) for a debit of $1.49 (buying a calendar)

Buy to Open 1 FB 16Jun17 150 calls (FB170616C150)

Sell to Open 1 FB 05 May17 152.5 calls (FB170505C152.5) for a debit of $3.03 (buying a diagonal)

Buy to Open 1 FB 16Jun17 155 calls (FB170616C155)

Sell to Open 1 FB 05 May17 152.5 calls (FB170505C152.5) for a debit of $.55 (buying a diagonal)

Buy to Open 2 FB 16Jun17 155 calls (FB170616C155)

Sell to Open 2 FB 05 May17 155 calls (FB170505C155) for a debit of $1.59 (buying a diagonal)

The second and third spreads together essentially create a calendar spread at the 152.5 strike price.  This was necessary because the 16Jun17 series does not offer that strike.

These spreads cost me a total of $974 plus $12 in commissions at tastyworks’ ultra-low rate of $1.00 per contract.  Even better, when I close out these trades, probably on Friday, I will not incur a commission at all (only pay the $.10 per contract clearing fee).

Here is the risk profile graph which shows the expected gains and losses from these trades after the close on Friday, May 5, 2017.  The graph assumes that IV of the June options will fall from 24% to 16%:

FB Risk Profile Graph May 2017

FB Risk Profile Graph May 2017

These spreads will do best if the stock remains flat or moves moderately higher.  If it falls within the range of about $150 to about $155, I should make about 40% for the week.  While we all know that anything can happen after an earnings announcement, if the last announcement is any example, it could be a good week.

One thing I like about these kinds of spreads is that your risk is clearly limited, and you can’t lose your entire investment because the long options will always have a greater value than the options you sold to someone else.

As with all investments, especially with options, you should only use money that you can truly afford to lose.

Happy trading,

Terry

What Can Be Learned From Successful Option Strategies

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Today I would like to share some thoughts I sent out on Saturday to paying subscribers at Terry’s Tips.  These thoughts reflected on the recent successes of the nine actual options portfolios we carry out and comment on each week. By the way, all nine portfolios are profitable for 2017 and the composite average gain is currently 28.9% since the beginning of the year.  Last week while the market (SPY) fell 0.3%, our portfolios gained an average of 3.2% for the week, demonstrating that we don’t have to rely on a rising market to enjoy portfolio gains.

Terry

 What Can Be Learned From Successful Option Strategies

 

If we can identify the strategies that resulted in the extraordinary returns we have enjoyed in the first quarter, maybe we can use those strategies for other underlying stocks or ETPs and time periods.

First, we must admit that we had some good luck.  Anyone who makes these kinds of returns must admit that some of it was based on pure luck.  Anyone who follows the mutual fund industry knows this intimately.  Every year, millions of dollars get plowed into the top-performing funds, and a year or five years later (whichever period the top-rated award covered), those funds almost universally underperform in the subsequent period.  As Burton Malkiel explained in the oft-revised book, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, – “The past history of stock prices cannot be used to predict the future in any meaningful way.” The top stocks (or mutual funds) end up in that position largely on a random basis.  (Some of us remember way back when the Wall Street Journal had a column where monkeys throwing darts competed against the top picks of top-rated analysts, and the monkeys won about half the time.)

But luck doesn’t account for it all.  Our biggest winner was Wiley Wolf where FB rose 21.6% for the year. Our portfolio is up 117.5%, or 5.4 times greater. This is the only portfolio that uses the 10k Strategy, and we have learned that it will return a multiple of what the stock price does.  Unfortunately, that works in both directions, and if the stock had fallen by that amount, our losses would have been proportionately greater.  So we can conclude that we were lucky to be playing FB for a period when it was rising nicely, but our strategy had something to do with achieving the exceptional returns.

A less dramatic explanation of the power of an options strategy has taken place in our SPY-based Leaping Leopard portfolio.  In this portfolio, we are using the strategy of long-term vertical put credit spreads.  This is our favorite way to play underlyings which we believe will at least remain flat, or are likely to rise.  The market (SPY) has picked up 4.9% for the year to date, a wonderful record.  Our Leaping Leopard portfolio has gained 14.9%, or 3 times the size of the index gain.  Even better, our strategy is set up so that if SPY loses as much as 5% or goes up by any amount over the course of the year, we will enjoy a gain of about 40%.  The huge difference between what the market does and our portfolio performance is clearly caused by the strategy.

Returning to the being lucky theme, the volatility-related portfolios have prospered because contango has remained at an elevated level for the entire first quarter of the year.  With the election of a president whose promises and plans were seen to be unusually volatile and uncertain (which ideas would be proposed, and which might actually become real was a real question), the market expected that in the near future, volatility would be great.  Meanwhile, the market racked up small and steady gains, and VIX fell to historic lows and has pretty much remained there.  When VIX is low and the futures are predicting high uncertainty for SPY, contango rises to the historic highs we have seen pretty much all year.

This contango condition has been the major contributor to our Contango portfolio gaining 44.6% so far this year, and to a lesser degree, the 29% gain in Vista Valley and the 14.7% gain in Capstone Cascade.  In the Capstone Cascade portfolio, SVXY has soared by over 40% for the year, a perfect backdrop for a strategy of selling naked puts on the underlying ETP.  At the present level of theta, this portfolio will gain over 100% for the year. We have been selling at strikes which are seriously out-of-the-money, and we would have done just as well if SVXY had not soared like it did.  Even worse, we tried to protect against the possibility of a falling SVXY (we bought into the fears that uncertainty would be the predominant condition), and we also sold some well out-of-the-money calls on the ETP. These short calls caused our returns to be lower than if we had not been so worried that volatility would heat up.

It is far more difficult to predict the short-term movements of a stock than the longer-term movements.  Short-term fluctuations are often caused by emotionally-driven actions in response to news items such as analysts upgrades or downgrades or quarterly numbers or rumors, while longer-term fluctuations are more likely to be based on the fundamental performance of the underlying company or ETP.  In most of our portfolios, we take a longer-term perspective, such as our Boomer’s Revenge portfolio where the shortest-term spread had six months of remaining life when it was placed.  This portfolio is our most conservative, and is designed to gain 30% for the year.  So far, thanks to the rising market, it is ahead of schedule, picking up 18.2% to date.  We are now in the enviable position of being able to look forward to the full 30% annual gains even if the 5 underlying stocks were to fall by 10% between now and the end of the year.

To summarize, the first 11 weeks of 2017 have been good ones for the market.  SPY has gained 4.9%. The prudent owner of a large-market-based index fund will have gained this much so far this year.  This is about the average 2017 gain initially predicted by the composite of the published analysts we identified at the outset of the year.  So the market has achieved in 11 weeks what the analysts expected for the entire year, making it a remarkable year so far.

The difference between this 4.9% market gain and the composite 28.9% of our portfolios is clearly due to the options strategies that we have employed. Options are leveraged investments, and should be expected to perform exponentially better (or worse) than the percentage gains of their underlyings.  However, in most of our portfolios, we can look forward to unusually large gains when the underlyings remain absolutely flat or even lose a little over the course of the year.  This fact alone is proof that a well-designed and executed options strategy can be expected to outperform the market in general or any mutual fund in particular (where over 80% of the funds have underperformed the market over a multi-decade time period, yet still collect billions of dollars every year in fees for their efforts).  We like to think that the performance of our portfolios so far this year is the result of our doing a decent job in the options arena.

How to Make 27% in 45 Days With a Bet on Tesla

Sunday, March 5th, 2017

The 9 actual portfolios carried out by Terry’s Tips are having a great 2017 so far.  Their composite value has increased 23.8% for the year, about 4 times as great as the overall market (SPY) has advanced.

The basic strategy employed by most of these portfolios is to bet on what the company won’t do rather than what it will do. Most of the time, that involves picking a blue chip company that you really like, especially one paying a large dividend, and betting that it won’t fall by very much.  You don’t care if it goes up or stays flat.  You just don’t want it to fall more than a few points while you hold your option positions.

Today, I would like to offer a different kind of a bet based on what a popular company might not do.  The company is Tesla (TSLA), and what we think it will not do is to move much higher than it is right now, at least for the next few months.

Terry

 How to Make 27% in 45 Days With a Bet on Tesla

Tesla is a company which has thousands of passionate supporters.  They have bid up the price of a company with fabulous ideas but no earnings to near all-time highs.  If you peruse some of the multiple articles recently written about the company, you can’t help but wonder how the current lofty price can be maintained.

Here are some of the things that are being said:

It’s possible that the Model 3 could bury Tesla in several ways, including:

  • It being substantially late.
  • It not being profitable at the low price it was promised, and thus require a much higher selling price.
  • A much higher selling price or emerging competition leading to much lower than expected volumes.

Tesla will need to spend about $8 billion in its network of charging stations in the U.S. alone if it wants to make recharging a car as convenient as going to a gas station.

Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity was really a bailout. SolarCity was in deep financial trouble. It could have gone bankrupt, and will need a huge infusion of capital to survive.

The company has historically issued overly optimistic projections, and the recent exodus of its CFO is evidence that some executives are rebelling.

More and more traditional car companies are coming out with all-electric models that will compete directly with Tesla.

China represented 15.6% of its automotive sales during 2016. China’s market is weakening during early 2017 due to tax changes. Hong Kong will be crashing due to the elimination of a tax waiver which will nearly double the price of a Model S.

Goldman Sachs recently downgraded the stock and said it expected it would fall by 25% over the next six months.

Tesla has a market cap of $40 billion on revenue of around $7 billion, while General Motors (G) has a market cap of $55 million on revenue of $166 billion. Ford (F) has similar multiples, and Toyota (TM), despite significant topline growth, still has a P/S ratio of only 0.49. These numbers make Tesla look astronomically overvalued and are the reason TSLA is a magnet for short sellers.

TSLA will probably need $35 billion over the next 9 years to support its planned ramping up of manufacturing.  This will require additional stock sales which could dampen prices.

And there are many others out there making other dire predictions…

So what do you do if these writers have collectively convinced you that TSLA is overvalued?  One thing you could conclude is that the stock will not move much higher from here.

Here is a possible trade you might consider:

With TSLA trading about $252, you might believe that it is highly unlikely to move higher than $270 in the next 7 weeks.  This is a trade you might consider:

Buy To Open # TSLA 21Apr17 275 calls (TSLA170421C275)
Sell To Open # TSLA 21Apr17 270 calls (TSLA170421C270) for a credit of $1.10  (selling a vertical)

This spread is called a vertical call credit spread.  We prefer using calls rather than puts if you are bearish on the stock because if you are right, and the stock is trading below the strike price of the calls you sold on expiration day, both call options will expire worthless and no further trades need to be made or commissions payable.

For each contract sold, you would receive $110 less commissions of $2.50 (the rate Terry’s Tips’ subscribers pay at thinkorswim), or $107.50.  The broker will place a $500 maintenance requirement on you per spread.  Subtracting out the $107.50 you received, your net investment is $392.50 per spread.  This is also the maximum loss you would incur if TSLA closes above $275 April 21, 2017 (unless you rolled the spread over to a future month near the expiration date, something we often do, usually at a credit, if the stock has gained a bit since the original trade was placed).

Making a gain of $107.50 on an investment of $392.50 works out to a 27% for the 7 weeks you will have to wait it out.  That works out to over 200% annualized, and you can be wrong (i.e., the stock rises) by $18 and still make this gain.

If you were REALLY convinced that TSLA wouldn’t move higher in the next 7 weeks, you might consider selling this spread:

Buy To Open # TSLA 21Apr17 255 calls (TSLA170421C255)
Sell To Open # TSLA 21Apr17 260 calls (TSLA170421C260) for a credit of $2.00  (selling a vertical)

This spread does not allow the stock to move up much at all (about $3) for the maximum gain to come your way, but if you are right and the stock ends up at any price below $255 on April 21, you would gain a whopping 67% in the next 7 weeks.

As with all investments, option trades should only be made with money that you can truly afford to lose.

Happy trading.

Terry

How to Make 50% in 5 Months With Options on Celgene

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

One of my favorite option plays is to pick a company I like (or one that several people I respect like) and place a bet that it will at least stay flat for the next few months. Actually, most of the time, I can find a spread that will make a great gain even if the stock falls by a few dollars while I hold the spread.

Today, I would like to share an investment we placed in a Terry’s Tips portfolio just yesterday. By the way, this portfolio has similar spreads in four other companies we like, and it has gained over 20% in the first two months of 2017. We have already closed out two spreads early and reinvested the cash in new plays. The portfolio is on target to make over 100% for the year (and it is available for Auto-Trade at thinkorswim for anyone not interested in placing the trades themselves).

Terry

How to Make 50% in 5 Months With Options on Celgene

Not only is CELG on many analysts’ “Top Picks for 2017” list, but several recent Seeking Alpha contributors have extolled the company’s business and future. One article said “Few large-cap biotech concerns have a clearer earnings and revenue growth trajectory over the next 3-5 years than Celgene.”

Zacks said, “We are expecting an above average return from the stock in the next few months.” See full article here.

So we like the company’s prospects, and this is the spread we sold yesterday when CELG was trading at $123.65:

Buy To Open # CELG 21Jul17 115 puts (CELG170721P115)
Sell To Open # CELG 21Jul17 120 puts (CELG170721P120) for a credit limit of $1.72 (selling a vertical)

For each contract sold, we received $172 less commissions of $2.50 (the rate Terry’s Tips’ subscribers pay at thinkorswim), or $169.50. The broker will place a $500 maintenance requirement on us per spread. Subtracting out the $169.50 we received, our net investment is $330.50 per spread. This is also the maximum loss we would incur if CELG closes below $115 on July 21, 2017 (unless we rolled the spread over to a future month near the expiration date, something we often do, usually at a credit, if the stock has fallen a bit since we placed the original trade).

Making a gain of $169.50 on an investment of $330.50 works out to a 51% for the five months we will have to wait it out. That works out to over 100% a year, and the stock doesn’t have to go up a penny to make that amount. In fact, it can fall by $3.65 and we will still make 51% on our money after commissions.

If the stock is trading below $120 as we near expiration in July, we might roll the spread out to a future month, hopefully at a credit. If this possibility arises (of course, we hope it won’t), we will send out a blog describing what we did as soon as we can, just in case you want to follow along.

This spread is called a vertical put credit spread. We prefer using puts rather than calls even though we are bullish on the stock because if we are right, and the stock is trading above the strike price of the puts we sold on expiration day, both put options will expire worthless and no further commissions will be due.

As with all investments, option trades should only be made with money that you can truly afford to lose.

Happy trading.

Terry

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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