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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

April 24, 2018

Diagonal Condor Earnings Strategy Update #5 - Mastercard (MA)

When using the Diagonal Condor Earnings Strategy, one of the things we like to find is a stock about to announce earnings where the options have priced in a post-announcement price fluctuation which is greater than the historical average of the post-announcement changes for that company.

Our goal is to create two diagonal spreads at a credit (or slight debit) which allow for a profit to be made if the post-announcement fluctuation is within the historical average amount.  In the past few weeks, we have placed spreads that met these criteria on several companies, including Carmax (KMX), TD Ameritrade (AMTD), and Red Hat (RHT), and these plays were all profitable, with returns from 30% to over 70% including commissions in a single week.

This week, we are looking forward to taking a position in Mastercard (MA) which announces earnings before the market opens on May 2.  The 4May18 options have priced a 3.8% post-announcement price change while the average change for the last eight quarters has been only 1.1% (about $2 when the stock is trading about $175).

Here are the trades we made this week using . . .

April 23, 2018

Micron Technology (MU) Retreats - Can it Hold Above the Psychological $50 Handle?

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) Retreats - Can it Hold Above the Psychological $50 Handle?

Micron Technology has posted an impressive gain in the early year and several analysts are expecting more upside.  The following two articles provide the details behind this view – 3 Stocks That Could Double Your Money and Bull of the Day: Micron (MU).

April 18, 2018

Facebook (FB) Play - Diagonal Condor Earnings Strategy

Facebook (FB) announces earnings after the close on April 24, 2018.  I have submitted an article to Seeking Alpha outlining the reasons I believe that the stock will trade higher (or at least, not lower) after the announcement compared to its current level. If they accept my article for publication, I will send you the link.  If they don’t accept it in a timely basis, I will send it along to you.

Here are the trades we made this week in accordance with this positive post-announcement outlook using the Diagonal Condor Earnings Strategy that is outlined here in case you missed it earlier.  Note that one of the diagonals is being placed at a slight debit, a small deviation from the strategy.  This should not be a problem because the 1Jun18 options are considerably higher than this debit, and will surely hold up enough so that one of the two spreads is guaranteed to be a serious gainer.

BTO 1 FB 1Jun18 160 put (FB180601P160)

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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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TD Ameritrade, Inc. and Terry's Tips are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other’s services and products.

tastyworks, Inc. has entered into a Marketing Agreement with Terry’s Tips (“Marketing Agent”) whereby tastyworks pays compensation to Marketing Agent to recommend tastyworks’ brokerage services. The existence of this Marketing Agreement should not be deemed as an endorsement or recommendation of Marketing Agent by tastyworks and/or any of its affiliated companies. Neither tastyworks nor any of its affiliated companies is responsible for the privacy practices of Marketing Agent or this website. tastyworks does not warrant the accuracy or content of the products or services offered by Marketing Agent or this website.

tastyworks, Inc. and Terry’s Tips are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other’s services and products. Options are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading my expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses. Options trading in a tastyworks account is subject to tastyworks’ review and approval. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before investing in options

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