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Credit Spreads

All About Credit Spreads - Definition, An Example, and How to Use

A credit spread comes about when you purchase one option and simultaneously sell an option (for the same underlying security, of course), and you end up with cash in your account.  In a credit spread, the amount that you collect by selling an option is greater than the amount you have to pay for the option that you buy.   

In a typical credit spread, you are hoping that both sides of your credit spread (i.e., the long option you bought and the short option you sold) will expire worthless, and you will be able to pocket all the cash you collected when you first sold the credit spread.

Just in case you are so lucky, and both options in your credit spread do not expire worthless, the broker will charge you a maintenance requirement which is equal to the maximum possible loss you could experience with your credit spread.  Usually, that works out to be the difference between the strike prices of the long and short option.  The maintenance requirement (i.e., the maximum loss possible) is reduced by the amount of cash you collect from the credit spread when you first placed it.

In similar fashion to all spreads, credit spreads are purchased to reduce risk.  The other side of the coin is that your maximum gain is limited. 

There are two greats feature of credit spreads.  First, if either or both of the options expire worthless, there is no commission to pay when the options expire.  Second, if you are trading in an account in which you have a margin loan on stock, the money you collect from the credit spread will offset some or all of the margin loan, and you will not pay interest.

An interesting side-note: If you sell stock short in a margin account, the cash is not generally applied to a margin loan.  Only cash received from the sale of an option credit spread will offset a margin loan.

 

Terry's Tips Stock Options Trading Blog

May 20, 2018

Bauzun (BZUN) Breaks To Fresh Highs Following 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 options portfolios to spot outperforming stocks and place option spreads that take advantage of the momentum.

Terry

Bauzun (BZUN) Breaks To Fresh Highs Following Earnings Report

Bauzun stock rose sharply late last week following their earnings figures.  Investor Business Daily has provided a narrative and an article on Seeking Alpha argues why BZUN is a stock worth holding.

May 14, 2018

Consider IPG Photonics (IPGP) Following the Technical Breakout

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.

May 6, 2018

Align Technologies Consolidates In a Range, Is It Ready To Break Higher?

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

Align Technologies Consolidates In a Range, Is It Ready To Break Higher?

Align Technology posted a strong performance last year.  Not only did it outperform its sector, it was also ranked the top-performing stock in the S&P 500 for 2017.  The following articles outline the details – 3 Growth Stocks I'm Holding Onto No Matter How Bumpy the Market Gets and Is Align Technology (ALGN) Outperforming Other Medical Stocks This Year?

From a technical perspective, ALGN has been mostly consolidating within a range over the last few months.  Ahead of the recent earning’s call, the stock briefly dipped below range support at $243 but it managed to regain it following the earnings report.  Current prices offer an opportunity to buy the stock near the lower bound of the consolidation.  There is some potential for an upside break, in line with the broader trend.  The rationale being that a quite few of the stocks listed in the IBD Top 50 list have shown strength in the past week and some have even broken to fresh highs.  This signals some potential that the bullish trend may have resumed in the markets.

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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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