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Tip 2 - Check Out Auto-Trade

Auto-Trade is a service offered by several on-line brokers.  Auto-Trade makes it possible for an investor to carry out an options strategy in his own account without becoming an options guru or making all the trades on his or her own. 

This is how it works.  First, you subscribe to an investment newsletter (we hope you will pick Terry’s Tips, but there are dozens of others you can choose from as well).  Then you sign an agreement with a broker which authorizes him to make trades in your account in accordance with recommendations made by the newsletter.  You specify how much you cash you would like to allocate to the newsletter’s recommendations.

Terry’s Tips operates a little differently than most newsletters.  We maintain 8 actual portfolio accounts (using different underlying stocks or ETFs and risk levels). When you sign up for Auto-Trade at a broker for the Terry’s Tips newsletter, you tell the broker which portfolios you would like to mirror, and how many “units” you would like to employ.  For example, if we have a portfolio that would require $5,000 to mirror, and you would like to invest $10,000 in that portfolio, you would select 2 units. 

For most of our portfolios, when the portfolio gains more than 3% over the "starting" value, we withdraw the gains (in increments of 3%) so that new subscribers can mirror the portfolio with close to the starting value.  Of course, subscribers can decide on their own if they want to withdraw cash from their account, or use it to make other investments.

Terry’s Tips is also different from other newsletters in two important ways.  First, since our portfolios are actual broker accounts, we account for all commissions.  Many newsletters display their results and do not account for commissions.  This is extremely misleading because commissions on option portfolios can be huge – sometimes 30% or more over the course of a year.  Our results are always net of commission costs.

Second, Terry’s Tips portfolio results are an open book. We believe in full disclosure.  Insiders can see every trade ever made in every portfolio.  Nothing is swept under the rug.  Other newsletters may tell you only about the one portfolio you have signed up for, and if that one doesn’t make money for you, they might tell you that you were just unlucky because you didn’t sign up for one of the profitable ones that they conducted.

At the present time, the only broker who offers an Auto-Trade program honoring Terry's Tips Trade Alerts is a Chicago broker with the unlikely name of thinkorswim, Inc by TD Ameritrade.  Several other brokers have asked us to be added to their list of investment newsletter providers, but we have not accepted their offers because we have been totally satisfied with thinkorswim, Inc by TD Ameritrade.  In fact, our experience has taught us that there is not a single reason why any options investor should use a different broker for their Auto-Trade program.  Here are some of the reasons:

  • Extremely options-friendly
  • Best (free) options software available anywhere
  • Low commissions.
  • Choice of several commission plans depending whether your average option order quantities are small or large (10 or more).
  • Great personal service.  For example, they will set up one of our portfolios on any Wednesday for you other than during the monthly expiration week so you don’t have to place all the trades yourself.
  • No extra charge for orders placed through a broker
  • And best of all – they get excellent executions.  Barron’s named them the best broker for executing option orders, and our experience has been the same.  At one time, other brokers had Auto-Trade for Terry’s Tips, and many times we discovered that the thinkorswim, Inc by TD Ameritrade brokers had executed far better prices than the other brokers received, saving subscribers many dollars (often enough to pay for their entire Terry’s Tips Premium Service subscription price).

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Terry's Tips Stock Options Trading Blog

May 23, 2016

How To Protect Yourself Against a Market Crash With Options

Today’s idea is a little complicated, but it involves an important part of any prudent investment strategy. Market crashes do come along every once in a while, and we are eight years away from the last one in 2008. What will happen to your nest egg if it happens again this year?

Options can be a good form of market crash insurance, and it is possible to set up a strategy that might even make a small gain if the crash doesn’t come along. That possibility sets it apart from most forms of insurance which cost you out-of-pocket money if the calamity you insure against doesn’t occur.

Terry

How To Protect Yourself Against a Market Crash With Options

There are some strong indications that the old adage “Sell in May and Go Away” might be the appropriate move right now. Goldman Sachs has downgraded its outlook on equities to "neutral" over the next 12 months, saying there's no particular reason to own them. "Until we see sustained signals of growth recovery, we do not feel comfortable taking equity risk, particularly as valuations are near peak levels," the firm said in a research note.

For several months, Robert Shiller has been warning that the market is seriously overvalued by his unique method of measuring prices against long-term average p/e’s. George Soros is keeping the bears happy as well, doubling his wager against the S&P 500. The billionaire investor, who has been warning that the 2008 financial crisis could be repeated due to China's economic slowdown, bought 2.1M-share "put" options in SPY during Q1. The magnitude of his bet against SPY is phenomenal, essentially 200 million shares short. Of course, he almost always deals in stratospheric numbers, but the size of this bet indicates that he feels pretty strongly about this one. He didn’t become a billionaire by being on the wrong side of market bets.

So what can you do to protect yourself against a big tumble in the market? We are setting up a bearish . . .

May 17, 2016

How Option Prices are Determined

Today I would like to pass along some basic information about how stock options prices are determined. I have discussed this in the past, but we now have many new subscribers who may not have seen our earlier blogs. I apologize if this is old information for you.

Terry

How Option Prices are Determined

Of course, the market ultimately determines the price of any option as buyers bid and sellers ask at various prices. Usually, they meet somewhere in the middle and a price is determined. This buying and selling action is generally not based on some pie-in-the-sky notion of value, but is soundly grounded on some mathematical considerations.

There are 5 components that determine the value of an option:

1. The price of the underlying stock

May 11, 2016

An Options Play on Facebook Which Should Make 50% in 60 Days

Today I would like to suggest an options trade on Facebook (FB). It will involve waiting 6 weeks to close out. Many option players have short attention spans and don’t like to wait that long. On the other hand, I think this trade has a very high likelihood of making a profit of at least 50%, even if the stock fluctuates more than we might like. To my way of thinking, it should be worth the wait, especially since I think that there is a very small likelihood that this play would end up losing money.

Terry

An Options Play on Facebook Which Should Make 50% in 60 Days

Over the past month I have suggested legging into calendar spreads in advance of an earnings announcement for 7 different companies (FB, COST, TWX, TGT, SBUX, and JNJ, and ABBV). In every case, I was personally successful at creating a calendar spread at a credit and guaranteeing myself a profit no matter where the stock price ended up after the announcement. You should have been able to duplicate every one of these successes as well. I got a kick out of having 7 consecutive winning trades, some of which made me more than 100% on my amount at risk.

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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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