from the desk of Dr. Terry F Allen

Skip navigation

Member Login  |  Contact Us  |  Sign Up

1-800-803-4595

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

July 29, 2014

3% a Week Possible With This Strategy?

Today I would like to share a strategy with you that seems to make sense to me. I have not back-tested it, and I am not exactly positive that it will work. But I think it will. And I will only need to commit $1500 to test it out (actually, a little less than that as you will see). I invite you to follow along if you wish. For the next few weeks, I will send out any trades I make so you can mirror them if you wish.

My gut feeling tells me that this strategy could make 3% each week. I have set up a separate brokerage account with $1500 to test it out.

Terry

3% a Week Possible With This Strategy? This strategy is based on my favorite . . .

July 21, 2014

Finding Lessons in a Trade

Last week I told you about a bullish short-term bet we made on SVXY because the stock had dropped over $3 in the previous week (and historically, 4 out of 5 times when that happened earlier this year, the stock rose at least $3 in the subsequent week). We placed an order to sell half the calls if they had doubled in price, and that occurred on Tuesday. On Thursday, volatility soared due to the plane being shot down over Ukraine and Israel invading Gaza. It looked like we would just break even on the trade since we had recovered the initial investment, but then, on Friday, the stock rallied $6 and we were able to sell the remaining half for enough to give us a 32% gain on the trade. Not as much as we had originally hoped, but a gain of any sort is always welcome.

Terry

Finding Lessons in a Trade

The big lesson from our experience last week, one that we have had many times, is that there is . . .

July 14, 2014

A Possible Great Option Trading Idea

Just before the close on Friday, we made a strongly bullish trade on our favorite underlying stock in a portfolio at Terry’s Tips. In my personal account, I bought weekly calls on this same underlying. As I write this in the pre-market on Monday, it looks like that bet could triple in value this week.

I would like to share with you the thinking behind these trades so next time this opportunity comes up (and it surely will in the near future), you might decide to take advantage of it yourself.

Terry

A Possible Great Option Trading Idea: As we have discussed recently, option prices are . . .

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.

Order Now

Sign Up Your 2 Free Reports & Our Newsletter Now!

Sign up for Dr. Terry F Allen’s free newsletter and get immediate access to his most current report on his stock option trading strategies.

TD Ameritrade

Member Login  |  Programs and Pricing  |  Testimonials  |  About Us  |  Legal Notices  |  Accessibility Statement  |  Privacy Policy  |  Site Map

thinkorswim, Division of TD AMERITRADE, Inc. and Terry’s Tips are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other's services and products.

©Copyright 2001–2014 Terry's Tips, Inc. dba Terry's Tips

Close Window

Sign up for the Terry’s Tips Free Newsletter and Receive 2 Options Strategy Reports:

or

Login to Your Existing Account Now

No Thanks

Newsletter Signup

Member Login

Enter your primary email below, and we'll send you a new password