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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 5, 2018

Is Alibaba’s (BABA) Post-Earnings Dip a Buying Opportunity?

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 portfolios to spot outperforming stocks and place spreads that take advantage of the momentum. By the way, while last week was the worst week for the market in several years, our most popular portfolio managed to gain 55% for the week after its underlying (Facebook) announced earnings.

Terry

Is Alibaba’s (BABA) Post-Earnings Dip a Buying Opportunity?

Several analysts believe there is further upside ahead for Alibaba, here are two of them – Alibaba PT Raised to $218 at Deutsche Bank and Alibaba PT Raised to $250 at Morgan Stanley.

Alibaba stock fell under pressure following last week’s earnings release and is seen trading near the halfway point measured from last month’s low to a high posted at the end of January. Strong support is seen near the psychological $180 price point as it confluences with the lower line of a rising trend channel as well as the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement of the leg higher from early December.

January 29, 2018

Consider Interactive Brokers Group (IBKR) After Their Earnings Report

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 option portfolios to spot outperforming stocks and place spreads that profit if the momentum continues, at least a little bit. By the way, the 9 actual options portfolios we carry out at Terry’s Tips had a banner week again last week, with an average portfolio gain of 8.8%, 4 times the weekly gain for the market (SPY) gain of 2.2%.

Terry

Consider Interactive Brokers Group (IBKR) After Their Earnings Report

Interactive Brokers Group stock rallied to all-time highs shortly after their earnings report which was released earlier this month. Analysts at Zack’s believe there is further upside and have recently published an article indicating Why Interactive Brokers Group Stock Might be a Great Pick. Another article published on Motley Fool breaks down why Interactive Brokers is “building a sustainably profitable business heading into 2018.”

January 22, 2018

Red Hat (RHT) is Set To Extend the Momentum

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 portfolios to spot outperforming stocks and place spreads that take advantage of the momentum. We selected this same company six weeks ago, and the spread we placed at that time will have gained 60% by next Friday if the stock ends up above $123 at that time (it is about $126 right now).

Terry

Red Hat (RHT) is Set To Extend the Momentum

Red hat stock saw some strong gains in 2017 and several analysts believe there is further upside ahead including BMO Capital Markets who have raised their targets to $142.00 and Wells Fargo & Co who are looking for a rise to $144.00.

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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