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Stock Option Glossary

Hedge:

No, this is not that green growing fence in front of your house that needs trimming every year.  Instead, a hedge is a method of reducing risk by putting on one option position and simultaneously selling another that contradicts what you hoped would happen with the first option.  Sounds like something a schizophrenic might do.  But it does make sense even to a rational investor. 

With a hedged bet, you give up some possible gain in exchange for a reduced loss if the market does not behave as you expected it to do.  A good example of a hedge is any option spread you might buy.  Common examples are the calendar spread, a butterfly spread, or a vertical spread.

Intrinsic Value:

In the option's world, intrinsic value is the difference between the current selling price of the underlying stock and the strike price of the option.  If an underlying stock is trading at $45 and a call option with a strike price of 40 is trading at $6, the intrinsic value of the option is $5.  The other $1 is called the time premium of the option.  It is the extra amount you have to spend to enjoy the benefit of having the right to buy the stock at $40 without having to come up with all the cash.

Maintenance Requirement:

This is something your broker will charge when you sell a credit spread with options.  There is no interest charged on a maintenance requirement but cash in your account is set aside by the broker.  You can't use this cash to buy other options or stock.

The requirement is calculated by the maximum amount that you could theoretically lose on the spread you place.   For some silly reason, the broker wants to make sure that you end up with enough cash to cover that potential loss so that he doesn't have to cough up the money himself.  It doesn't really sound fair, does it?  With all the commissions the broker is collecting on your trades, you would think he would be willing to take a little risk once in a while.  But that's not the way it works.  They insist that you take the entire risk.

One neat thing about selling a credit spread is that the cash you collect from selling a credit spread is used by the broker to offset any margin loan you might have on stock that you have purchased.  So if you break even on the credit spread, you might save a little in interest on your stock margin loan.  It probably won't change your way of living, but it beats a stick in the eye (as my mother used to tell me whenever I complained about something that was a positive, but only slightly so).

Terry's Tips Stock Options Trading Blog

December 5, 2016

Comparing Calendar and Diagonal Spreads in an Earnings Play

Last week, in one of our Terry’s Tips portfolios, we placed calendar spreads with strikes about $5 above and below the stock price of ULTA which announced earnings after the close on Thursday. We closed out our spreads on Friday and celebrated a gain of 86% after commissions for the 4-day investment. It was a happy day.

This week, this portfolio will be making a similar investment in Broadcom (AVGO) which announces earnings on Thursday, December 8. I would like to tell you a little about these spreads and also answer the question of whether calendar or diagonal spreads might be better investments.

Terry

Comparing Calendar and Diagonal Spreads in an Earnings Play

Using last Friday’s closing option prices, below are the risk profile graphs for Broadcom (AVGO) for options that will expire Friday, December 9, the day after earnings are announced. Implied volatility for the 9Dec16 series is 68 compared to 35 for the 13Jan17 series (we selected the 13Jan17 series because IV was 3 less than it was for the 20Jan17 series). The graphs assume that IV for the 13Jan17 series will fall from 35 to 30 after the announcement. We believe that this is a reasonable expectation.

December 2, 2016

Update on Oil Trade (USO) Suggestion

On Monday, I reported on an oil options trade I had made in advance of OPEC’s meeting on Wednesday when they were hoping to reach an agreement to restrict production. The meeting took place and an agreement was apparently reached. The price of oil shot higher by as much as 8% and this trade ended up losing money. This is an update of what I expect to do going forward.

Terry

Update on Oil Trade (USO) Suggestion

Several subscribers have written in and asked what my plans might be with the oil spreads (USO) I made on Monday this week. When OPEC announced a deal to limit production, USO soared over a dollar and made the spreads at least temporarily unprofitable (the risk profile graph showed that a loss would result if USO moved higher than $11.10, and it is $11.40 before the open today). I believe these trades will ultimately prove to be most profitable, however.

November 29, 2016

Benefiting From the Current Uncertainty of Oil Supply

The price of oil is fluctuating all over the place because of the uncertainty of OPEC’s current effort to get a widespread agreement to restrict supply. This has resulted in unusually high short-term option prices for USO (the stock that mirrors the price of oil). I would like to share with you an options spread I made in my personal account today which I believe has an extremely high likelihood of success.

Terry

Benefiting From the Current Uncertainty of Oil Supply

I personally believe that the long-run price of oil is destined to be lower. The world is just making too much of it and electric cars are soon to be here (Tesla is gearing up to make 500,000 next year and nearly a million in two years). But in the short run, anything can happen.

Meanwhile, OPEC is . . .

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