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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 14, 2015

The Worst “Stock” You Could Have Owned for the Last 6 Years

Today I would like to tell you all about the worst “stock” you could have owned for the past 6 years. It has fallen from $6400 to $26 today. I will also tell you how you can take advantage of an unusual current market condition and make an options trade which should make a profit of 66% in the next 6 months. That works out to an annualized gain of 132%. Not bad by any standards.

For the next few days, I am also offering . . .

September 8, 2015

A Low-Risk Trade to Make 62% in 4 Months

Market volatility continues to be high, and the one thing we know from history is that while volatility spikes are quite common, markets eventually settle down. After enduring a certain amount of psychic pain, investors remember that that the world will probably continue to move along pretty much as it has in the past, and market fears will subside.

While this temporary period of high volatility continues to exist, there are some trades to be made that promise extremely high returns . . .

September 4, 2015

Update on Last Week’s SVXY Volatility Trade

Last week I suggested buying two calendar spreads on the inverse volatility ETP called SVXY. At the time, it was trading at $58 and history showed it was highly likely to move higher in the short run. It didn’t. Instead, it has fallen to below $46 today. Anyone who followed this trade (as I did) is facing about a 75% loss right now.

Today I would like to discuss this trade a bit more, and tell you what I am doing about it.


Update on Last Week’s SVXY Volatility Trade

As I said last week, the market is going crazy. VIX, the so-called Fear . . .

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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