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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

February 20, 2017

Using Investors Business Daily to Create an Options Strategy

Today I would like to share an idea that we are using in one of our Terry's Tips’ portfolios. We started this portfolio on January 4, 2017, and in its first six weeks, the portfolio has gained 30% after commissions. That works out to about 250% for the whole year if we can maintain that average gain (we probably can’t keep it up, but it sure is a good start, and a positive endorsement for the basic idea).

Terry

Using Investors Business Daily to Create an Options Strategy

IBD publishes a list which it calls its Top 50. It consists of companies which have a positive momentum. Our idea is to check this list for companies that we particularly like for fundamental reasons besides the momentum factor. Once we have picked a few favorites, we make a bet using options that will make a nice gain if the stock stays at least flat for the next 45 – 60 days. In most cases, the stock can actually fall a little bit and we will still make our maximum gain.

The first 4 companies we selected from IBD’s Top50 list were . . .

February 5, 2017

An Update on Our Last Trade and a New One on AAPL

About a month ago, I suggested an options spread on Aetna (AET) that made a profit of 23% after commissions in two weeks. It worked out as we had hoped. Then, two weeks ago, I suggested another play on AET which would make 40% in two weeks (ending last Friday) if AET ended up at any price between $113 and $131. The stock ended up at $122.50 on Friday, and those of us who made this trade are celebrating out 40% victory. (See the last blog post for the details on this trade.)

Today, I am suggesting a similar trade on Apple (AAPL). It offers a lower potential gain, but the stock can fall in price by about $9 and the gain will still come your way.

Terry

An Update on Our Last Trade and a New One on AAPL

This trade on APPL will only yield about 30% after commissions, and you have to wait six months to get it, but the stock can fall over $8 during that time, and you would still make your 30%.

January 20, 2017

Another Interesting Short-Term Play on Aetna (AET)

Ten days ago, I sent you a note showing how you could make 23% on an options spread on Aetna (AET) if the stock closed at any price above $118 today. Back then, it was trading at $122.67. The day is not yet over right now, but AET is trading at $122 with an hour to go until closing, so it seems safe to say that the 23% will be enjoyed by everyone who placed the trade.

Today, I would like to suggest another trade on AET that will end two weeks from today. It will make 40% on . . .

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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