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Tip 5 – Shoot for the Stars Strategy

In spite of the odds against winning, many people seem to like to invest in individual stocks. It is sort of like picking horses at the race track (and often for similar sound selection reasons, like the reputation of the trainer or the jockey or the color of his silks, or the horse’s name or his recent race record, or what the touts are touting).

To our way of thinking, picking individual stocks is a lot more like gambling than carrying out a prudent option strategy such as the 10K Strategy .  But picking individual stocks is easier, and a whole lot more fun for many people.

If you insist on picking individual companies, there are two good ways to use an options strategy to multiply your gains if you are lucky enough to pick a winner.  First, the 10K Strategy, our favorite strategy, is best if you merely like a particular company.  Second, if you really LOVE the company, you might use the Shoot Strategy.

At Terry’s Tips, we conduct options strategies based on several individual companies we feel good about.  For example, in October 2013 we set up a portfolio based on Nike (NKE), a company we liked.  If we had really loved NKE, we would have used the Shoot Strategy.  We were lucky to have picked a good company. We started with $4000 in the portfolio (set up in an actual brokerage account with no other positions) when NKE was trading at $63.  By the end of November 2014, NKE had surged to $99, up 57%.  Our portfolio was then worth $11,435, a gain of 186%.  Our options portfolio had performed more than 3 times as well as the stock had gained.

If we had loved the stock at the outset, rather than just liking it, we would have used the Shoot Strategy instead of the 10K Strategy, and we would have gained even more. This time around. the Shoot Strategy would have done much better.  On the other hand, we felt pretty good about almost tripling our investment in 16 months while taking less risk than is involved in the Shoot Strategy.

While we don’t use the Shoot Strategy in any of our actual portfolios, we show you exactly how to do it if you have a company you really love.  It is more risky than our 10K Strategy but it should outperform if the stock actually does move up a lot.  If the stock stays flat, the Shoot Strategy will usually about break even. On the other hand, if the stock stays flat, the 10K Strategy is designed to make a nice gain.

The Shoot Strategy is outlined in my White Paper as the Shoot for the Stars Strategy.  Les Brown said “Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.  And Confucius said long ago “If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it's OK. But you've got to shoot for something. A lot of people don't even shoot.”

This is how the Shoot Strategy works -

1.  If the stock goes up, the Shoot Strategy will make money.  The gain will be considerably greater than the percentage gain would have been if the stock had been bought instead of the LEAPS.

2. If the stock stays flat, your account value will be about flat as well, or a small gain might result.  Since you are collecting slightly more than the average monthly decay of the LEAPS each month (until they have only a few months of remaining life) you might often make a small gain.  However, even a small gain is more than you would have made if you had bought the stock and it doesn’t go up a penny.

3. If the stock falls, a loss will usually result just like it would if you had bought the stock, and the loss will likely be a greater percentage loss than if the stock itself had been purchased instead.  However, in many cases, the loss could be reduced (or eliminated) if the stock fell during those months when our Trading Rules call for selling in-the-money calls.

General Trading Rules for executing the Shoot Strategy:

Pick a stock you believe is headed higher (we suggest using www.magicformulainvesting.com. as a guide – see discussion below).

1. Buy slightly in-the-money or out-of-the-money call LEAPS.  At least two LEAPS must be purchased.  If your budget does not warrant buying at least two true LEAPS, shorter-term calls can be purchased as long as they have at least six months of remaining life.
         Calculate the average monthly decay of the LEAPS (time premium divided by the
         number of remaining months).

2.  Sell enough slightly out-of-the-money current month calls to cover the average monthly decay.

3. Near or at expiration, roll over the short calls to the next month (if they are in the money), again selling enough out-of-the-money contracts to cover the average monthly decay.  If the expiring calls are out-of-the-money, let them expire worthless and sell the next month out, as above.

4. If short-term calls that have been sold become in the money (i.e., the stock has gone up), they must be bought back during expiration week, and the amount paid must be added to the remaining decay of the LEAPS and a new (higher) average monthly decay bogey established based on the number of remaining months of the LEAPS.

There are a number of other Trading Rules that have proved to be successful for the Shoot Strategy, including how to change tactics if the stock should fall, how to adjust which calls to sell during seasonally positive (and negative) months of the year, and the best time to sell the original LEAPS.  These important additional Trading Rules are included in the White Paper that comes with the Terry’s Tips Insider service.

Deciding Which Companies to Buy:


The best single source we have found for selecting individual companies is the Magic Formula system outlined in the small book by Joel Greenblat called “The Little Book That Beats the Market” and is available online at www.magicformulainvesting.com

Rather than relying entirely on the Magic Formula, it might be even better to select individual stocks that also rank high at Investors Business Daily (IBD), Value Line, and by composite analyst rankings.  While we prefer the 10K Strategy because of its lower risk, using the Shoot Strategy offers considerably higher returns than merely buying the stock, and if you carry it out correctly, you can sometimes make money with the Shoot Strategy even if the stock stays flat.

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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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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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