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Writing Covered Calls

Many financial advisors and more than a dozen websites advocate writing (selling) covered calls as a sound investment strategy. Thousands of subscribers pay millions of dollars to get advice on profitable covered calls to write.

I believe they are wasting their money. Writing covered calls only limits the potential gain you might enjoy.

Let’s take an example. You buy 100 shares of XYZ for $80 and write (sell) an at-the-money two-month call ($80 strike price) for $4.00. If the stock stays flat, you will earn 5% on your money for the period (plus collect a dividend if there is one). If you can do this six times a year (write a two-month call six times), you will earn 30% annually (less commissions); or so goes the promise.

(In the last chapter we showed that selling calls against a one-year option rather than stock results in a hypothetical 300% gain if the stock stays absolutely flat, or ten times the amount you could earn by writing calls against the stock.)

In this covered call-writing example, 30% is the maximum amount you can earn. No matter how high XYZ goes in price, you can never earn more than 30%. The bottom line truth is that you will NEVER earn that 30%. The reason is that no stock price ever stays the same. If the stock goes up by $5 in the first 60 days, you will either lose your stock (through exercise), or more likely, you will buy back the call you wrote, paying $5, and losing $1 on the call (but making $5 on the increase in the price of the stock). So for the first 60 days, you actually made a 5% net gain ($4 net gain on a $80 stock).

Presumably, you then sell another 60-day at-the-money call (now at the $85 strike) and collect perhaps $4.25. Then the stock falls back to $80. In this time period, you gain $4.25 from selling the call but you lose $5 in stock value for a net loss of $.75.

Your gains on the calls you wrote now total $3.25 for a 120-day period (you gained $4.00 in the first 60-day period and lost $.75 in hoped would earn you 30% for the year). At this rate (four months of activity), your annual return will be $9.75, or 12.2% on the original $80 stock. Commissions on six sales of calls over the year will considerably reduce this return — to 10% or so. Not a bad return, but certainly not 30%. And it’s an awful lot of work for a 10% return.

For a full explanation of an option strategy that is designed to outperform writing covered calls, check out Dr. Terry Allen’s Free Report on calendar spreads.

Terry's Tips Stock Options Trading Blog

October 16, 2017

Consider Five Below Inc (FIVE) After The Bullish Technical Breakout

This week we are featuring another of the Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) Top 50 List companies. We use this list in one of our portfolios to identify outperforming stocks and place spreads that take advantage of the momentum.

The composite average gain for the 10 portfolios carried out for Terry's Tips paying subscribers has now reached 95.2% for 2017. Isn’t it time for you to come on board and learn exactly how our options strategies have been able to compile this kind of record so consistently this year?

Terry

Consider Five Below Inc (FIVE) After The Bullish Technical Breakout

Several analysts have been praising Five Below Inc’s business model and see further upside in the stock price. Here are two of them – Five Below Might Offer 15% Upside Potential and Amazon Who? This Fast-Growing, Teen-Focused Retailer Breaks Out.

Recently, there has been a technical breakout in FIVE as it has scaled above the 2016 and 2017 highs which were in close proximity of each other around the $53 price point. The stock has also climbed above a horizontal level at $54.77 which was major resistance in 2013, in doing so, the stock briefly traded at record levels. There has been a retracement in the past week which could be offering an attractive entry point.

October 9, 2017

Will the Nvidia (NVDA) Bull Run Continue?

This week we are discussing another of the Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) Top 50 List companies. We use this list in one of our portfolios to identify stocks with upward momentum and place spreads which will profit if the upward momentum continues for about four weeks. Actually, the stock can even fall a little for the maxium gain to be made on these spreads.

The actual portfolios carried out for Terry's Tips’s paying subscribers had another banner week, gaining an average of 4.7% while the market (SPY) rose 1.2%. Our 10 portfolios have now gained 86.7% so far in 2017. Options clearly can deliver extraordinary gains if they are set up properly.

Terry

Will the Nvidia (NVDA) Bull Run Continue?

Nvidia stock has gained significantly over the last year and several analysts believe there is further upside. Here are two of them – Buy Nvidia, market’s hottest stock, on its gaming, A.I. prowess: Citi and 14% Upside Seen For Nvidia Shares On PC Gaming, Bitcoin Mining Strength.

From a technical perspective, NVDA has been rallying in a rising trend channel since early July. There was a correction that took place late ...

October 2, 2017

Earnings Growth To Fuel Further Momentum For Red Hat (RHT)

This week we are featuring a recent addition to the Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) Top 50 List of companies. We use this list in one of our portfolios to spot outperforming stocks and place spreads which will profit if the upward momentum continues. Actually, the stock can even fall a little for the maximum gain to be realized on these spreads.

The 10 Terry's Tips option portfolios enjoyed another stellar week last week, gaining an average of 1.2%, and making the ytd number a whopping 78% for all the portfolios combined. This is over 7 times as great as the 2017 results for the market (SPY) which is up about 11%.

Terry

Earnings Growth To Fuel Further Momentum For Red Hat (RHT)

Red Hat reported above-consensus earnings in the past week and several analysts have refreshed their upside targets since. Here are two of them – Red Hat PT raised to $128 at BMO Capital and Red Hat PT Raised to $117 at JPMorgan Following 2Q.

Red Hat’s earnings report triggered a push higher above a notable horizontal level at $108.04 that held the stock price lower on several attempts throughout the month prior to the report. RHT also regained the 20-period daily moving average on the back of the same surge and hit fresh 52-week highs. The horizontal level and the moving average fall in close proximity to each other, offering a strong confluence of downside 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 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

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