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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

December 10, 2018

Will Medpace Holdings (MEDP) Break to New All Time Highs?

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

Will Medpace Holdings (MEDP) Break to New All Time Highs?

Medpace Holdings has been getting some media attention as of late, take a look at these two articles to see what analysts are saying about this stock – MEDP vs PRAH: Which Stock Should Value Investors Buy Now? and Bullish Trend Signal for Medpace Holdings.

The technical appeal in MEDP is it’s outperformance compared to the broader markets as well as some of the other stocks on the IBD Top 50 list.  MEDP has had a pickup in upside momentum since late October which seems to suggest it has resumed it’s uptrend following a correction.  In the past week, the stock saw some sellers near the $64 price point which resulted in a decline towards its 20-day moving average.  A break of $64 would have the stock trading at all time highs.  The stock appears to be well supported here with further support slightly below the 20-day moving average at $55 which was a level that held it higher after the gap up in late July.  As well, there is a rising trendline near the horizontal level that is drawn by connecting the October and November low

[caption id="attachment_2292" align="alignnone" width="300"]MEDP Chart December 2018 MEDP Chart December 2018[/caption]

*source Tradingview.com

If you agree there's further upside ahead for MEDP, 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 MEDP 18JAN19 50 Puts (MEDP190118P50)
Sell To Open MEDP 18JAN19 55 Puts (MEDP190118P55) for a credit of $1.33 (selling a vertical)

This price was $0.02 less than the mid-point of the option spread when MEDP was trading near $58.  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 $130.50 and your broker would charge a $500 maintenance fee, making your investment $369.50 ($500 – $130.50).  If MEDP closes at any price above $55 on January 18, both options would expire worthless, and your return on the spread would be 35% (312% annualized).

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

[caption id="attachment_2293" align="alignnone" width="238"]IBD Underlying Updates December 6, 2018 IBD Underlying Updates December 6, 2018[/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

December 2, 2018

Can Intel Corp. (INTC) Overcome The $50 Psychological Barrier?

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.

Last week, the market (SPY) enjoyed its best week in 7 years.  The 8 real-life option portfolios carried out by Terry’s Tips shared in the good news.  Our composite portfolio value gained 27% for the week, one of our best weeks ever.

Terry

Can Intel Corp. (INTC) Overcome The $50 Psychological Barrier?

Several analysts think Intel stock can move a lot higher, here are two of them – Why Intel ‘s Stock Is Poised To Surge and Bull of the Day: Intel (INTC).

From a technical perspective, INTC is facing . . .

November 25, 2018

Should You Buy the Post Earnings Dip in Charles River Laboratories (CRL)?

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

Should You Buy the Post Earnings Dip in Charles River Laboratories (CRL)?

Recent price target upgrades suggest more upside for CRL.  Take a look at these two articles that contain the details – Charles River Laboratories PT Raised to $148.00 at Robert W. Baird and Charles River Laboratories Given a $147 Price Target at Royal Bank of Canada.

CRL has been contained within a rising trend channel for just over a year now.  A spike higher following their latest earnings report was met with sellers at the top of the channel, resulting in a dip back to roughly the halfway point.  Support is found at $125 which was where the stock was trading prior to the earnings inspired gap up.  CRL has been outperforming the broader markets as it traded at record highs just a few weeks ago.  The trend remains healthy, technically speaking, on a daily chart and higher time frames and there have not been any technical indications that the uptrend won’t continue.

[caption id="attachment_2281" align="alignnone" width="300"]CRL Chart November 2018 CRL Chart November 2018[/caption]

*source Tradingview.com

If you agree there's further upside ahead for CRL, 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 CRL 21Dec18 120 Puts (CRL181221P120)
Sell To Open CRL 21Dec18 125 Puts (CRL181221P125) for a credit of $1.53 (selling a vertical)

This price was $0.02 less than the mid-point of the option spread when CRL was trading near $127.  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 $150.50 and your broker would charge a $500 maintenance fee, making your investment $349.50 ($500 – $150.50).  If CRL closes at any price above $125 on December 21, both options would expire worthless, and your return on the spread would be 43% (581% annualized).

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

[caption id="attachment_2282" align="alignnone" width="239"]IBD Underlying Updates November 22, 2018 IBD Underlying Updates November 22, 2018[/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

Making 36%

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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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