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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

September 15, 2018

Has Netflix (NFLX) Found A Bottom?

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.  The actual portfolio that Terry’s Tips carries out with these plays we send to you each week has gained 98.5% so far this year.  We started out 2018 with $5000 in the portfolio and withdrew that amount in June so that subscribers who mirrored it in their own account or had trades executed for them with the free Auto-Trade service at thinkorswim have almost $5000 left and it is entirely profits for them.

Terry

Has Netflix (NFLX) Found A Bottom?

Despite a recent correction, market sentiment towards Netflix stock remains positive while certain analysts see a notable upside from current levels.  Take a look at this recent article posted on Investopedia that states a 30% rally could be in the cards for NFLX and the following article posted on Seeking Alpha that builds a strong case for remaining bullish.

September 10, 2018

Mastercard (MA) Expected to Continue the Steady Rise

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.

The actual Terry’s Tips portfolio which trades essentially every weekly play that we send to you has gained 91% so far this year (after paying all commissions, of course).  The portfolio started out the year with $5000, and on June 15, 2018, we withdrew $5000 from the portfolio so that all subscribers who followed it would all their money back and be playing with pure profits.  The portfolio is now worth $4552.

I especially like this week’s idea because I like Mastercard and believe that last week’s weakness in the stock price was unwarranted.  Enjoy the full report below.

Terry

Mastercard (MA) Expected to Continue the Steady Rise

Among the list of IBD Top 50 companies Mastercard stands out as its uptrend is far steadier than any of the other companies.  These two articles suggest the stock will continue the trend – Mastercard’s Stock May Have Big Gains Ahead and Mastercard’s Strategy Suggests Further Stock Price Growth Ahead After 60% Rise.

September 3, 2018

Can GrubHub (GRUB) Continue the Upside Momentum?

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.

The Terry’s Tips portfolio that takes actual positions in most of these weekly ideas has gained 88% (after commissions) so far in 2018, taking all the completed gains and losses into consideration.  The portfolio currently has five spreads in place, and all of the underlying stocks are trading at a price which is higher than the max gain bogey price, so we are looking for even better results going forward.

Terry

Can GrubHub (GRUB) Continue the Upside Momentum?

GrubHub’s stock price recently broke to record highs and these two analysts are optimistic there’s further growth ahead – Why GrubHub Is a Better Growth Stock Than Starbucks and Is GrubHub (GRUB) Outperforming Other Computer and Technology Stocks This Year?

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

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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