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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

July 15, 2018

Palo Alto Networks (PANW) Breaks to Record Highs, What’s Next?

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

Palo Alto Networks (PANW) Breaks to Record Highs, What’s Next?

Palo Alto Networks has seen a remarkable rise in its stock price over the last few years and several articles on The Motley Fool suggest there will be further upside.  Here are the latest two – Palo Alto Networks’ Bull Run Probably Won’t Be Ending Anytime Soon and Forget Cryptocurrencies: You’re Better Off Buying These 3 Stocks.

On a daily chart, PANW appears to be consolidating in a range since around the middle of May.  However, a closer look reveals a notable technical break.  Range support near $200 wasn’t just important because of the psychological implications, the level also triggered a sharp turn in 2015 that led to a two-year correction.  Although there have been marginal breaches below the level since the stock price initially climbed above it a few months ago, bears have been unable to drive the stock price below it on a sustained basis.  To the upside, resistance near $216 had capped rallies in June but the recent bullish break of the level suggests the uptrend has resumed.

July 8, 2018

Micron Technology (MU) Dips To Support, Is It a Buy?

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

Micron Technology (MU) Dips To Support, Is It a Buy?

Micron Technology stock has been impacted by negative headline news as of late but these following two articles make a strong case for why this news is not likely to cause bearish pressure for the stock price moving forward.  Micron’s China Woes May Not Be the Disaster Investors Thought and Micron Technology is rebounding after saying China ban will have minimal impact.

July 1, 2018

Consider Integrated Device Technology (IDTI) Following the Correction

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 Integrated Device Technology (IDTI) Following the Correction

Several analysts are expecting further upside for Integrated Device Technology, here are two of them – What the market is missing about Integrated Device Technology and Two worthy stocks for investors: Hovnanian Enterprises, Integrated Device Technology.

Making 36%

Making 36% – A Duffer's Guide to Breaking Par in the Market Every Year in Good Years and Bad

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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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