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Stock Options 101

Welcome to Stock Options 101

Our goal is to explain stock options in simple English. As you learn more, you will appreciate how difficult a task it is. People say that investing in stock is like playing checkers, while investing in options is like playing chess. We look forward to teaching you how to play the more complex game of stock options.

Are Stock Options Risky?

Most people would answer that question with a resounding "yes". True, according to some studies, over half of all options that people buy end up being worth absolutely nothing. Nada! Tear up your ticket stub and walk away.

If buying options is such a bad investment, maybe a strategy of selling options to someone else would be a better idea. Let their loss be your gain. But there is a problem here as well - it is called selling a naked option, because that is how you feel for the whole time you have sold that option. You are facing a theoretical unlimited loss. You can lose many more times the amount you invested. At least when you bet on a horse, that is all you lose when he trips on his way to the finish line.

So if buying options is usually not a good idea, and selling them can be worse, it is easy to see why people decide that options are risky no matter what you do. It does not occur to most of them that a strategy of buying an option and simultaneously selling another option to someone else might be an entirely different story.

This website is designed to explain an options strategy that we believe is less risky than buying stock or mutual funds, and potentially a whole lot more profitable. We hope you will read through this material and learn to love the world of options as we do.

Why Trade Stock Options?

Stock options are exchanged for two main reasons: for speculation (adds risk) and for hedging (reduces risk).

Speculation

Stock options are a way of leveraging your money. This is usually done by buying call options. You are able to participate in any upward moves of a stock without having to put up all the money to buy the stock. However, if the stock does not go up in price, the call option buyer may lose 100% of his/her investment. For this reason, options are considered to be risky investments.

Hedging

Stock options can be used to considerably reduce risk. Put options are usually traded for hedging purposes. While hedging reduces risk, it also limits the amounts of gains you can make. Since most stock markets go up over time, and most people invest in stock because they hope prices will rise, there is more interest and activity in call options than there is in put options.

Terry's Tips Stock Options Trading Blog

August 14, 2017

Cognex (CGNX) Is Set to Make New Records

This week we are featuring a company that was recently added to the Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) Top 50 List. The stock has displayed strong upwards momentum and we look to place spreads that take advantage of this underlying strength.

Terry

Cognex (CGNX) Is Set to Make New Records

Cognex reported earnings at the start of the month which led to a rally above a significant technical hurdle. Cowen has since raised price targets to $135 and Zack's equity research has written a compelling article outlining why they expect further upside in addition to rating the stock as a Strong Buy.

CGNX rallied to a record high after earnings, taking out a notable barrier from a horizontal level at $96.06 as well as the psychological $100.00 price point. The horizontal level had previously held the stock lower on several attempts since early June.

August 8, 2017

Global Payments (GPN) Poised to Break $100 Mark

This week we are discussing a new addition to the Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) Top 50 List. We use this list in one of our portfolios to identify stocks that have displayed strong upward momentum and place spreads to profit from the underlying trend. Actually, the stock price can even fall a little bit for the maximum gain to be realized.

Terry

Global Payments (GPN) Poised to Break $100 Mark

Several analysts have recently refreshed their bullish targets for GPN. Here are two of them – Wells Fargo Upgrades Global Payments (GPN) to Outperform and Global Payments price target raised to $105 from $98 at Barclays.

GPN boasts a strong uptrend and has recently broken above major resistance at $93.31 after correcting lower for five weeks. The stock has regained its 20-day moving average following a turn higher in the second week of July and broke to all-time highs on Friday.

July 31, 2017

Transunion (TRU): A Stable and Consistent Player

This week we are discussing another one of the Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) Top 50 List companies. We use this list in one of our portfolio's to find stocks that have displayed consistent upwards momentum and we look to place spreads that take advantage of this underlying strength.

Terry

Transunion (TRU): A Stable and Consistent Player

Several analysts have recently refreshed their bullish outlook towards Transunion. UBS Asset Management has increased their stake in the company and both Morgan Stanley as well as Deutsche Bank have raised their price targets to $50.

Transunion has been trading higher within a rising trend channel since the middle of February. After testing the lower line of the trend channel in the past week, the stock recovered to hit a fresh 52-week high. The $44.45 level held the stock price lower for a month prior to finally breaking above it earlier this month. The level is now viewed as support and its proximity to the 20-day moving average as well as the channel bottom emphasizes the area as strong support.

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.

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TastyWorks

Tastyworks is a new brokerage firm from the brains behind tastytrade and it is our top choice of options-friendly brokers. Their commission rates are extremely competitive - options trades are only $1 per contract to open and $0 commission to close (all options trades incur a clearing fee of $0.10 per contract). The tastyworks trading platform quickly became our favorite platform for options trading and it keeps getting better with new features released each week. Terry uses tastyworks and loves everything about them!

TD Ameritrade

This Chicago brokerage firm with the unlikely name thinkorswim, Inc. by TD Ameritrade is considered by many to be the best option-friendly broker. For openers, they have extremely good analytic software and their option trading platform is exceptional. Thinkorswim Mobile has been called the best mobile app in the industry. In 2017, TD Ameritrade received 4 stars out of 5 in the annual Barron`s* Best Online Brokers Survey. TD Ameritrade was tops as an online broker for long-term investors and for novices. The company is the only broker that receives the highest 5.0 score for research amenities among all firms participated in the ranking last year.

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TD Ameritrade, Inc. and Terry's Tips are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other’s services and products.

tastyworks, Inc. has entered into a Marketing Agreement with Terry’s Tips (“Marketing Agent”) whereby tastyworks pays compensation to Marketing Agent to recommend tastyworks’ brokerage services. The existence of this Marketing Agreement should not be deemed as an endorsement or recommendation of Marketing Agent by tastyworks and/or any of its affiliated companies. Neither tastyworks nor any of its affiliated companies is responsible for the privacy practices of Marketing Agent or this website. tastyworks does not warrant the accuracy or content of the products or services offered by Marketing Agent or this website.

tastyworks, Inc. and Terry’s Tips are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other’s services and products. Options are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading my expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses. Options trading in a tastyworks account is subject to tastyworks’ review and approval. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before investing in options

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