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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

January 20, 2017

Another Interesting Short-Term Play on Aetna (AET)

Ten days ago, I sent you a note showing how you could make 23% on an options spread on Aetna (AET) if the stock closed at any price above $118 today. Back then, it was trading at $122.67. The day is not yet over right now, but AET is trading at $122 with an hour to go until closing, so it seems safe to say that the 23% will be enjoyed by everyone who placed the trade.

Today, I would like to suggest another trade on AET that will end two weeks from today. It will make 40% on . . .

January 11, 2017

An Interesting Short-Term Play on Aetna (AET)

We are always on the lookout for unusual option prices that might indicate a better-than-usual investment opportunity. I would like to share one of those recent opportunities with you, one I personally acted on and passed on to Terry's Tips subscribers last Saturday. It involves the venerable insurance company, Aetna.

Terry

An Interesting Short-Term Play on Aetna (AET)

This week, we are looking at Aetna (AET), a health care benefits company. If you check out its chart, you can see that it does not historically make big moves in either direction, especially down:

January 3, 2017

How to Make 30% on 5 Blue-Chip Companies in 2017 Even if They Fall by 10%

Today, we set up a new portfolio at Terry's Tips that I would like to tell you about. It is our most conservative of 9 portfolios. It consists of selecting 5 blue-chip companies which pay a dividend between 2% and 3.6% and which appear on at least two top analysts’ “top 10” lists for 2017. This portfolio is designed to gain 30% for the year, and we can know in advance exactly what each of the 5 spreads will make in advance. For most of these companies, they can fall by 10% over the course of the year and we will still make our 30% gain.

We are also repeating our best-ever offer to come on board before January 11 rolls around.

Terry

How to Make 30% on 5 Blue-Chip Companies in 2017 Even if They Fall by 10%

The spreads we are talking about are vertical put credit spreads. Once you have found a company you like, you select a strike price which

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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