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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

February 19, 2019

Monolithic Power Systems (MPWR) Marches Higher Following Their Earnings Report

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 carried out at Terry’s Tips which trades these spreads has gained 134% in the first six weeks of 2019, making it our most profitable portfolio so far this year. (It also gained over 100% in 2018.)  Of course, past results can’t be guaranteed to repeat themselves, but we do feel pretty good about these kinds of spreads, at least when the overall market is moving higher.

Terry

Monolithic Power Systems (MPWR) Marches Higher Following Their Earnings Report

Monolithic Power Systems’ stock price has risen steadily since bottoming in late December and several analysts expect more upside, take a look at these two articles to see what the appeal is – Don’t Miss This Stock: Monolithic Power Systems and ROE & Quant Signals Under the Lens For Monolithic Power Systems.

MPWR has made some important technical breaks over the past few weeks to reaffirm its bullish trend.  First was a sustained push back above the 200-day moving average.  Second was when it climbed over a horizontal level near $132 that has been well respected since last summer as both support and resistance.  The significance of this level can be seen on a daily chart but perhaps more clearly on a weekly chart. In the past week the stock made a determined push above the level, taking out the November high at the same time to trade at a fresh 5-month high.  A hurdle is seen around $142 and a break of the level would suggest MPWR is headed for record highs.

[caption id="attachment_2338" align="alignnone" width="300"]MPWR Chart February 2019 MPWR Chart February 2019[/caption]

*source Tradingview.com

If you agree there's further upside ahead for MPWR, consider this trade which is a bet that the stock will continue to advance over the next four weeks, or at least not decline very much.

Buy To Open MPWR 15MAR19 130 Puts (MPWR190315P130)
Sell To Open MPWR 15MAR19 135 Puts (MPWR190315P135) for a credit of $1.23 (selling a vertical)

This price was $0.02 less than the mid-point of the option spread when MPWR was trading near $138.  Unless the stock rallies quickly from here, you should be able to get close to this amount.

Your commission on this trade will only be $2.50 per spread (the rate charged by thinkorswim for Terry’s Tips’ subscribers).  Each contract would then yield $120.50 and your broker would charge a $500 maintenance fee, making your investment $379.50 ($500 – $120.50).  If MPWR closes at any price above $135 on March 15, both options would expire worthless, and your return on the spread would be 32% (467% annualized).

Changes to Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) Top 50 This Week:

[caption id="attachment_2339" align="alignnone" width="238"]IBD Underlying Updates February 14, 2019 IBD Underlying Updates February 14, 2019[/caption]

We have found that the Investor’s Business Daily Top 50 List has been a reliable source of stocks that are likely to move higher in the short run.  Recent additions to the list might be particularly good choices for this strategy, and deletions might be good indicators for exiting a position that you might already have on that stock.

As with all investments, you should only make option trades with money that you can truly afford to lose.

Happy trading,

Terry

February 10, 2019

Can Microchip Technology (MCHP) Maintain its Post-Earnings 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. Our actual portfolio carried out at Terry’s Tips which trades these weekly ideas has gained 114% in the first five weeks of 2019.  This portfolio also made over 100% in 2018 and we withdrew the starting investment amount so that we are playing entirely with profits at this time.  Of course, there is no certainty that we can duplicate this success in the future, but we feel pretty good about our prospects.

Terry

Can Microchip Technology (MCHP) Maintain its Post-Earnings Momentum?

Microchip Technology saw its stock price rally just over 10% prior to pulling back as investor optimism grew following their earnings report in the past week.  Just to be clear, the report was not as upbeat as expected.  Actually, the stock had turned down initially, but it was a prediction from the company Chief Executive that caused investors to change their view and start buying.  It’s a rather interesting turn of events and the following two articles explain why the markets have put so much weight to his prediction, and why the stock may continue to rise from here – Microchip’s stock soars after CEO calls for a bottom, and he’s been right before and Microchip: A Bottom Is Possibly In.

 

The push higher following earnings led to a signifcant technical break as the stock was pressed against a confluence of resistance prior to it.  Resistance comes from the 200-day moving average as well as a declining trendline drawn from the June top.  The stock price has pulled back a bit from horizontal resistance found at $89.20 that was a prior low and prior resistance following a gap down last summer.  Support is found just above $85.  In the even the support level does not hold, stronger support is found at the prior breakout point.  Considering the significance of the technical break, bulls are likely to defend any dips in the near-term.

[caption id="attachment_2333" align="alignnone" width="300"]MCHP Chart February 2019 MCHP Chart February 2019[/caption]

*source Tradingview.com

If you agree there's further upside ahead for MCHP, consider this trade which is a bet that the stock will continue to advance over the next five weeks, or at least not decline very much.

Buy To Open MCHP 15MAR19 85.00 Puts (MCHP190315P85.00)
Sell To Open MCHP 15MAR19 87.50 Puts (MCHP190315P87.50) for a credit of $1.10 (selling a vertical)

This price was $0.02 less than the mid-point of the option spread when MCHP was trading near $87.50.  Unless the stock rallies quickly from here, you should be able to get close to this amount.

Your commission on this trade will only be $2.50 per spread (the rate charged by thinkorswim for Terry’s Tips’ subscribers).  Each contract would then yield $355.50 and your broker would charge a $1000 maintenance fee, making your investment $644.50 ($1000 – $355.50).  If MCHP closes at any price above $87.50 on March 15, both options would expire worthless, and your return on the spread would be 55% (627% annualized).

Changes to Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) Top 50 This Week:

[caption id="attachment_2334" align="alignnone" width="181"]IBD Underlying Updates February 7, 2019 IBD Underlying Updates February 7, 2019[/caption]

We have found that the Investor’s Business Daily Top 50 List has been a reliable source of stocks that are likely to move higher in the short run.  Recent additions to the list might be particularly good choices for this strategy, and deletions might be good indicators for exiting a position that you might already have on that stock.

As with all investments, you should only make option trades with money that you can truly afford to lose.

Happy trading,

Terry

February 3, 2019

PayPal (PYPL) Dips After Earnings, Is it a Buy?

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

PayPal (PYPL) Dips After Earnings, Is it a Buy?

After briefly piercing to record highs, PayPal stock declined following its earnings report in the past week.  Is the dip a buying opportunity? The following article provides some solid arguments for why it is – Buy the Dip in Paypal Stock Because $100 Is the Next Stop.  Also an article recently published on The Motley Fool makes a compelling argument for growth on the back of rising popularity and potential for PayPal’s app Venmo.  In the article, the company’s CEO was quoted as saying the P2P payment app could potentially surpass PayPal’s payment system in profitability – The Big News in PayPal’s Fourth-Quarter Update.

Aside from chart patterns, a significant appeal to PYPL is that it touched record highs this month, fully erasing the prior decline.  Not only that, it was the first IBD Top 50 listed stock to do so while most have only recovered a part of the fall that took place late in 2018.  In this context, it is certainly an outperformer.  Support is found at $87.55 as a horizontal level there has previously acted as both support and resistance dating back to June last year.  Note that this level was a major barrier in the fourth quarter.  On a weekly chart, the 20-week moving average was the equivalent barrier for Q4.  It currently falls near $85.50 to provide additional support in the event of further near-term downside.  Just above it, the 50-day moving average is found, currently at $86.14.

[caption id="attachment_2329" align="alignnone" width="300"]PYPL Chartl February 2019 PYPL Chartl February 2019[/caption]

*source Tradingview.com

If you agree there's further upside ahead for PYPL, consider this trade which is a bet that the stock will continue to advance over the next six weeks, or at least not decline very much.

Buy To Open PYPL 15MAR19 87.5 Puts (PYPL190315P87.5)
Sell To Open PYPL 15MAR19 90 Puts (PYPL190315P90) for a credit of $0.95 (selling a vertical)

This price was $0.02 less than the mid-point of the option spread when PYPL was trading near $90.  Unless the stock rallies quickly from here, you should be able to get close to this amount.

Your commission on this trade will only be $2.50 per spread (the rate charged by thinkorswim for Terry’s Tips’ subscribers).  Each contract would then yield $92.50 and your broker would charge a $250 maintenance fee, making your investment $157.50 ($250 – $92.50).  If PYPL closes at any price above $90 on March 15, both options would expire worthless, and your return on the spread would be 59% (552% annualized).

Changes to Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) Top 50 This Week:

[caption id="attachment_2330" align="alignnone" width="196"]IBD Underlying Updates February 1, 2019 IBD Underlying Updates February 1, 2019[/caption]

We have found that the Investor’s Business Daily Top 50 List has been a reliable source of stocks that are likely to move higher in the short run.  Recent additions to the list might be particularly good choices for this strategy, and deletions might be good indicators for exiting a position that you might already have on that stock.

As with all investments, you should only make option trades with money that you can truly afford to lose.

Happy trading,

Terry

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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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Options are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading my expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before investing in options

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