from the desk of Dr. Terry F Allen

Skip navigation

Member Login  |  Contact Us  |  Sign Up


Posts Tagged ‘Weekly vs. Monthly Options’

An Interesting Statistic for Apple (AAPL)

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Today I would like to share with you one startling fact about Apple stock and a relatively low-risk way to earn over 50% in one year with a simple options trade. 

In a world when most people are complaining that it is really difficult to make a nickel in this market, options still offer alternatives that you are unlikely to find anywhere else.

An Interesting Statistic for Apple (AAPL)

AAPL has fluctuated all over the place for the past several years.  Most of the movement has been to the upside, but there have been serious downdrafts as well.  Following last April’s earnings announcement, for example, the stock rose to a new high of about $644 and then proceeded to fall about $100 over the next two months.

One thing has been constant, however, and knowing about it could be the most profitable idea you will encounter this year.  Here it is – ever since the market meltdown in late 2008 – there is not a single six-month period of time when the price of AAPL was less at the end of the six-month period than it was at the beginning of that period.  True, the stock tumbled about $100 from its high reached just after the April 2012 earnings announcement, but it has now more than recovered that entire loss and moved much higher (and we have not reached the six-month mark yet).

For the past 3 ½ years, there has never been a six-month period when AAPL was lower at the end of the six months than at the beginning of that stretch.  Think about that.  If you could count on that pattern continuing, it would be possible to make a single option trade, wait six months, and expect a significant gain at that time.

In June of this year when AAPL was trading about $575, I told my paying subscribers about a spread that I had personally placed (using large amounts of cash, in fact) in my family charitable trust account.  I placed what is called a vertical call spread on AAPL.  I bought AAPL 550 calls which would expire on January 18, 2013 (about 7 months away) and sold AAPL 660 calls with the same expiration date.

I paid just under $24 for the vertical spread ($2400 per contract).  If, seven months later, AAPL was at any price above $600, I would be able to sell the spread at exactly $50 ($5000 per contract).  If AAPL had not gone up, and was only at the current price ($575), the spread would be worth $25, and I would still make a small gain.

Of course, since that time, AAPL has moved much higher.  Now I am in a position where the stock could fall by $65 a share between now and January 18, 2013 and I will still double my money.

The spread I purchased for $24 is now trading for about $40.  I am still recommending to my risk-averse subscribers that it still might be a good investment, even at this price.  If you were to purchase the same spread for $40 or less, you would make 20% on your investment in January even if the stock were to fall by $65 during that time.

Meanwhile, my charitable trust account is prospering.  In two short months, its value has increased by 60%.  There will be a lot of happy Vermont charities when I send out donations at the end of this year.

Next week, I will discuss my latest thoughts on exactly which vertical spreads I would buy right now on AAPL to take advantage of the unusual pattern that is the subject of this week’s Idea of the Week.

There are many other ways that you can use options to make extraordinary gains when you feel fairly certain that a stock is headed higher.  One of our 8 portfolios is a bullish bet on AAPL.  Over the past five weeks, the stock has moved 13.3% higher, and this actual portfolio (mirrored by a large number of Terry’s Tips subscribers) has gained 360%.  Our portfolio has gained 27 times as much as the stock has gone up.

To celebrate the re-establishment of Auto-Trade at TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim, we are offering our Premium service at the lowest price in the history of our company.  We have never before offered such a large discount.  If you ever considered becoming a Terry’s Tips Insider, this would be the absolute best time to do it.

And now for the Special Offer – If you make this investment in yourself by midnight, September 4, 2012, this is what happens:

1)    For a one-time fee of only $75.95, you receive the White Paper  (which normally costs $79.95 by itself), which explains my favorite option strategies in detail, 20 “Lazy Way” companies with a minimum 100% gain in 2 years, mathematically guaranteed, if the stock stays flat or goes up, plus the following services:
2)    Two free months of the Terry’s Tips Stock Options Tutorial Program, (a $49.90 value).  This consists of 14 individual electronic tutorials delivered one each day for two weeks, and weekly Saturday Reports which provide timely Market Reports, discussion of option strategies, updates and commentaries on 8 different actual option portfolios, and much more.  

3)    Emailed Trade Alerts.  I will email you with any trades I make before I make them so you can mirror them yourself or have them executed for you by TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim through their Auto-Trade program. These Trade Alerts cover all 8 portfolios we conduct.

4)    Access to the Insider’s Section of Terry’s Tips, where you will find many valuable articles about option trading, and several months of recent Saturday Reports and Trade Alerts.

5)    A FREE special report  “How We Made 100% on Apple in 2010-11 While AAPL Rose Only 25%”.

6)    A free copy of my e-book, Making 36%: Duffer’s Guide to Breaking Par in the Market Every Year, In Good Years and Bad (2012 Updated Version).

With this one-time offer, you will receive all of these Premium Service benefits for only $75.95, (normal price $119.95). I have never made an offer anything like this in the eleven years I have published Terry’s Tips.  But you must order by midnight on September 4, 2012. Click here, and enter Special Code Auto12 in the box on the right side of the screen.

I feel confident that this offer could be the best investment you ever make in yourself.  Celebrate the resumption of Auto-Trade at TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim with us.  But do it before the day after Labor Day, as this offer will not be available after that day.

I look forward to prospering with you. 


P.S.  If you would have any questions about this offer or Terry’s Tips, please call Seth Allen, our Senior Vice President at 800-803-4595.  Or make this investment in yourself at the lowest price ever offered in our 11 years of publication – only $75.95 for our entire package (regular price $119.95) using Special Code Auto12.

Update on Another AAPL Spread Idea

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

This week I would like to tell you the results of the AAPL spread idea I told you about last week. 

Update on Another AAPL Spread Idea

Last week I suggested buying 3 AAPL calendar spreads (buying April-12 options and selling Mar5-12 options) at the 595 strike price (using puts) and the 600 and 605 strike prices using calls, and to increase all these strikes by $5 if the stock opened up about $5 higher on Monday (which it did).

I purchased these calendar spreads in my own account at the 600, 605, and 610 strikes, paying an average of $11.50 ($1150), slightly higher than I expected they would cost in last week’s report.

When AAPL fell by $10.30 on Friday, all of my short call options expired worthless and I had to pay $.50  ($50) to buy back the about-to-expire Mar5-12 600 put.  The value of my remaining April-12 options were $16.85, $14.45, and $12.30, and my net gain after commissions was $905, or about 38% on my $3500 investment.  Not bad for a week’s effort.

The gains I made were remarkably similar to those that the risk profile graph I included last week said they would be.  That gives me confidence in those graphs I refer to every day and display for my paying subscribers each week.

In spite of AAPL being essentially flat for the week, the Terry’s Tips portfolio which has traded this company exclusively for almost two years has now gained 703% over that time period.  It is our most successful portfolio.

I think the exact same spreads I suggested last week could be placed again this week, this time selling the Apr1-12 Weeklys and buying the Apr-12 monthlys.  The spreads should be less expensive this week (averaging about $8.50 per spread rather than $11.50.

Happy trading if you choose to duplicate those positions.  Of course, you should never risk money that you can’t afford to lose.

We have made 3 short videos which explain the 3-week results of our AAPL trading. The original positions were set out in an actual account carried out at Terry’s Tips.  The YouTube link is

The portfolio was updated in the Week 2 video – 

And finally, adjustment trades we made were displayed in this little video –  Be sure to enlarge it to full-screen mode so you can see the numbers. 

Another AAPL Spread Idea

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Last week I suggested buying a SPY Weekly strangle to take advantage of the unusually low option prices that exist today.  Last Monday, I bought a Mar4-12 141 call and 140 call for $1.09 ($111.50 including commissions).  For the first three days, the stock did not budge beyond the $1.50 in either direction that I needed to make a profit on the trade.  Finally, on Thursday it fell enough so that I could at least break even so I placed an order to sell the strangle for $1.14 which executed, exactly covering my cost after commission.  If the stock had fallen that much earlier in the week, I would have held off selling it in hopes of a nice profit.  But I was happy with a break-even trade in a very quiet week.  I plan to place a similar strangle buy on Monday (today).

You may be bored from hearing about another AAPL trade.  But here is another one this week.  Terry’s Tips carries out two option portfolios that use AAPL as the underlying.  Last week was a quiet week for AAPL.  It went up only 1.8%.  Both of our actual portfolios gained over 23% after commissions for the week.  We don’t think that is boring.  Most investors would be happy with that size gain for two years, not seven days.

One of our AAPL portfolios has been running for just under two years, and has gained just shy of 700% while the stock doubled in value.  So we are partial to this stock.

Today I will discuss an AAPL option play that is similar to one in one of our actual portfolios.

Another AAPL Spread Idea

AAPL option prices are high compared to historical levels.  Since there is an earnings announcement coming late in April, option prices tend to move higher.  The stock also tends to move higher in advance of earnings announcements.  So we set up the following portfolio with a slightly bullish stance. 

To keep it simple, with AAPL trading at $596 where it closed Friday we will buy three calendar spreads.  We will buy the Apr-12 options (which expire April 21, 2012) and sell the same-strike Mar5-12 options which expire on Friday, March 30, 2012. 

We will buy one calendar spread using puts at the 595 strike, and one calendar spread using calls at both the 600 and 605 strikes.  These spreads will cost an average of about $11.25 ($1125 plus a commission of $2.50 which is what thinkorswim charges Terry’s Tips subscribers).  So the total investment will be about $3500, and we set aside another $1200 or so in case we need to add another similar spread this week at a higher or lower strike price (based on which way the stock moves).

This what the risk profile graph shows for the above three calendar spreads:

The P/L Day column in the lower right-hand corner shows the expected gain if the stock remains at $596 or goes up or down by $10 during the week.  You can see that there should be a gain if the stock ends up within a range from about $585 to $612.  If the stock stays about flat or goes up by $10, we could make as much as 25% on our investment in five short days.  If it moves by a much larger amount we could lose money, however.

If AAPL moves about $5 higher or lower before we buy these spreads on Monday, we would raise or lower the strike prices we used by that amount, using puts for spreads at strikes below the stock price and calls for strikes which are higher than the stock price.

If, during the week, the stock moves by $10 in either direction, we would use the cash we set aside to buy another calendar spread using the same option series at either the 620 strike (using calls) if the stock has gone up by $10 or at the 580 strike (using puts) if the stock has fallen by $10.  The additional spread would provide some protection against a loss if the stock continued to move in the same direction.

If you think AAPL is headed higher next week you would start out with spreads at higher strike prices than we have used in our sample, and vice versa.  We take the position that we really don’t know which way it is headed, but we know from experience that the weeks leading up to an earnings announcement are usually up weeks, so we have set up spreads which make about as large a gain if the stock goes up by $10 as they do if the stock remains flat.

Happy trading if you choose to duplicate our positions.  Of course, you should never risk money that you can’t afford to lose.

We have made 3 short videos which explain the 3-week results of our AAPL trading. The original positions were set out in an actual account carried out at Terry’s Tips.  The YouTube link is

The portfolio was updated in the Week 2 video – 

And finally, adjustment trades we made were displayed in this little video –  Be sure to enlarge it to full-screen mode so you can see the numbers. 

Lessons Learned Around the Apple New Product Announcement

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Three weeks ago, we set up a special portfolio with a goal to make 100% on AAPL options in 4 weeks.  We closed out the positions last Friday, a week early.  We failed to reach our goal.  The portfolio started out with a value of $4488 and after 3 weeks, it was worth $7172.

The gain for the 3 weeks was 60% (after commissions).  Even though we failed in our initial goal, most of us were happy with making 60% in less than a month on our money.

For two years, Terry’s Tips has carried out at least one portfolio (and sometimes two) which use AAPL as the underlying, and we have noticed some patterns of stock price actions and option values that I would like to share with you today.

Lessons Learned Around the Apple New Product Announcement

AAPL has been a great underlying stock for Terry’s Tips subscribers.  In April, 2010 (just under two years ago), we set up an actual brokerage account to trade options on AAPL.  We started with $5000 in the account. 

We maintained a bullish position in this portfolio because we liked the prospects for this company.  Actually, it performed quite a bit better than we expected.  Over the two years, whenever the portfolio value grew to over $10,000, we withdrew cash from it so that new Terry’s Tips subscribers who wanted to mirror the portfolio in their own account (or have trades made for them through the Auto-trade program at thinkorswim) could get started with $10,000.

A total of $13,000 was withdrawn from the portfolio over two years, and the account today is still worth more than $10,000, or double what subscribers started with.  It works out to a gain of about 565% over the period.

We learned some things along the way.  First, in the few weeks leading up to an announcement of earnings or a new product release, the stock tended to move higher.  Once the announcement was made, the stock usually fell back a bit (market expectations seem to be greater than the reality). 

There is an old saw in the market – “buy on the rumor and sell on the news,” and it seemed to prevail after the Apple announcements most of the time.

Last week, we expected a similar pattern once the news about the new iPad was announced.  We added new spreads to our portfolio to provide downside protection in case the pattern continued (we bought new calendar spreads at strike prices well below the current price of the stock).  These spreads ultimately lost money when the stock did not fall this time around.  At one point shortly after the announcement, it did fall by almost $30 but quickly reversed itself.

In spite of this experience, we expect that in future AAPL announcements, such as the quarterly earnings announcement due near the end of April, we plan to add downside protection once again.

The second big pattern we noticed concerned the option prices around announcement time.  Leading up to the announcement, option prices soared.  The implied volatility of the March options got up to 40, and fell all the way to 25 after the announcement.  In the experimental portfolio we started with $4488, we had used Weekly Mar2-12 as the long side, and these prices collapsed after the announcement.  The portfolio lost money for the week.

In our other AAPL portfolio, the one we have been running for almost 2 years, our long positions were in further-out months, and these option prices did not collapse.  As a result, this portfolio gained 11% for the week (even though we had placed some downside protection spreads in it as well).

In future announcement periods, we intend to use longer-term call options as the long side to avoid the collapse of shorter-term option prices once the announcement has been made, even though those options are quite a bit more costly.

We have made 3 short videos which explain the 3-week results of the special shorter-term portfolio (which we have now closed down and replaced with a new set of AAPL options).  If you have not already seen these videos, you might check them out.

The original positions were set out in an actual account carried out at Terry’s Tips.  The YouTube link is

The portfolio was updated in the Week 2 video – 

And finally, adjustment trades we made were displayed in this little video –  Be sure to enlarge it to full-screen mode so you can see the numbers. 
_ _ _
Any questions?   I would love to hear from you by email (, or if you would like to talk to our guy Seth, give him a jingle at 800-803-4595 and either ask him your question(s) or give him your thoughts.

You can see every trade made in 8 actual option portfolios conducted at Terry’s Tips (including the two AAPL-based portfolios) and learn all about the wonderful world of options by subscribing here.   Why wait any longer to make this important investment in yourself? 

I look forward to having you on board, and to prospering with you.



Interesting AAPL Stock Options Strategy – Week 2

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Last week I offered a video which showed the actual positions of an AAPL options portfolio designed to gain as much as 100% over the next 4 weeks.  While it probably won’t be quite that good, we might come close.

The first week was encouraging.  We had been hoping that AAPL would stay flat or move slightly higher. It had a great week, moving up by $20.29, or about 4%.

Our little portfolio gained 35%, almost 9 times as much as the stock gained.  Ironically, we would have done better if the stock had not gone up so much.

This week I would like to show the actual trades we made last week to get set up for next week, and our current positions.  I am sending this to you earlier than usual in case you might like to duplicate these positions in your own account on Monday.

Enjoy the videos.

Interesting AAPL Stock Options Strategy – Week 2

A week ago, the original positions were set out in an actual account carried out at Terry’s Tips.  The YouTube link is

It is important to click the lower right-hand corner of the YouTube video to enlarge it to full-screen mode.  Otherwise, you can’t see the numbers.

This week’s video can be seen at 

Again, switching to full-screen mode is advised.

In this week’s video, I show how we would adjust the portfolio if AAPL were to reverse direction and start going down next week.

Follow-Up on Last Week’s 10K Bear Portfolio

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Last week I discussed our 10K Bear portfolio, the one that is designed to do best when the market falls.  Today I would like to expand that discussion and report on how well the portfolio did last week when there was extreme volatility (SPY fell over 4% on Wednesday but managed a gain of about 1% for the week).

Once again, I hope you will spend a few minutes studying the graph below.  If you can see what will happen in the next few days (ending Friday, November 18th), you will have a much better understanding of why I believe that options offer more potential than just about any other investment you can make.

I hope you will make a 5-minute investment in yourself and study the graph carefully.

Follow-Up on Last Week’s 10K Bear Portfolio: 

Most people own stocks or mutual funds that do best when the market moves higher.  How do they make out when the market moves lower?  Presumably, their portfolio value goes down.  Maybe they don’t feel so badly because all of their friends have also suffered a loss as well.

But if you’re anything like me, you hate to lose money, even if all my friends are losing at the same time.

Doesn’t it make sense that some of your money should be invested in something that does best when the market moves lower?  It’s called hedging.  Hedge funds do it all the time.  They even have named themselves after the idea.

We have set up a portfolio that is designed to do to just that.  We call it the 10K Bear portfolio.  Many Terry’s Tips subscribers (myself included) duplicate the trades made in this portfolio in their own account through the Auto-Trade program at TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim.  Others copy the trades on their own in their account.

The neat thing about this portfolio is that it can make gains even if the stock goes up.  How many investments make gains when the stock moves in the opposite direction that you are betting on?  Therein lies the magic of options trading.

Two weeks ago, the S&P 500 (“the market”), SPY, fell 2.4%.  Our 10K Bear portfolio gained a whopping 24% for the week.  Last week, SPY rose $1.18, about 1%, and our portfolio gained 5.8%.  I call that having your cake and eating it too. 

Obviously, this portfolio does not make money every single week, regardless of what the market does.  But it almost always makes gains if the market stays flat or falls moderately, and also can make smaller gains if the market moves just slightly higher.  At the beginning of each week, we create a risk profile graph like the one below so we know exactly how the portfolio will perform at the various stock prices where it might end up on Friday.

The 10K Bear is a portfolio currently worth about $4200.  We own puts at several different strike prices (between $124 and $128).  These puts will expire on the third Friday in January of 2012.  Against these long puts we have sold Weekly puts which will expire on November 18, 2011.  These Weekly puts are at lower strike prices (from $122 to $126).

The Weekly puts that we have sold have higher decay rates than the January puts that we own (all options fall in value, or decay, every day the underlying stock remains flat).  This means that every day that the market does not fluctuate, our portfolio value grows larger.   That is the neat thing about a properly-designed options portfolio.  You can make gains even if you are wrong.  When you buy stock, the only way you make money is if the stock moves higher.  With options, you can make substantial gains even if the market stays absolutely flat (or moves moderately either up or down).

Here is the risk profile graph for our 10K Bear portfolio.  It shows how much the portfolio will gain or lose at the possible ending stock prices this Friday.

The second column from the right (under P/L Day) gives the dollar loss or gain at the three selected prices in the first column (Stk Price), and you can estimate the losses or gains from the graph curve at other possible stock prices.  At last Friday’s close, SPY was trading at $126.66.

You can see that if the stock is absolutely the same at the close next Friday, the portfolio will gain $470, or just over 10%.  If the stock falls moderately, by $2, and ends up at $124.66, the gain should be $970, or about 20%.  (Both these numbers will be reduced slightly from commissions and trading costs when the Weeklys are bought back next Friday and replaced with Weeklys that expire on November 25th.)

The stock can go up as high as $128 before a loss should result.  In other words, the portfolio makes excellent money if the stock stays flat, even more money if the market falls moderately, and it also can gain if the market goes up (as long as the rise is not too great).

Where else can you invest your money and expect these kinds of returns?  If you know of anything that can offer even remotely as great as these gains, please send the details along to me.  If you like, I would share them with my subscribers so we all could benefit.

Why are you waiting any longer before you learn the details of how you can start making money using the 10K Strategy that is the basis of the 8 actual portfolios that we carry out (and you can easily duplicate in your own account, either on your own or through the Auto-Trade program at thinkorswim)?

Give yourself (and your loved ones) an early Christmas gift, and increase your earning potential exponentially by subscribing today.  Do it right here.

Follow-Up on Low Cost SPY Calendar Spread

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Last week I told you about a simple calendar spread that might double your money in a week or two.  Today I would like to follow up on that idea, and tell you exactly how it worked out in my account.

Even though the iPhone 5 was not introduced as we had expected last Tuesday, we are holding the special Terry’s Tips discount offer open until October 11 – see details below.

Follow-Up on Low Cost SPY Calendar Spread    

On Monday, October 3, just after I sent out the Idea of the Week to you, I bought the exact spread that I spelled out in that report:

BTO (buy to open) 1 SPY Oct-11 115 call (SPY111022C115)
STO (sell to open) 1 SPY Oct1-11 115 call (SPY111007C115) for $1.80 (buying a calendar spread)

I bought 11 of these spreads, paying only $163 per spread ($165.50 including commissions at thinkorswim).  My total investment was $1820.50.  As I said in last week’s report, I expected that the spread would cost less on Monday than it did on Friday, and that was the case.

I chose the 115 strike because that was about half-way between the $112 and $120 that SPY had been fluctuating between for the past several weeks.  It started out the week on the downside, falling below $108 at one point on Tuesday.  I was a little concerned because when you buy a calendar spread, the maximum gain comes when the stock closes at exactly the strike price you select on the day that the short options are due to expire.

On Friday morning, October 7th, the day that the Oct1-11 116 calls were due to expire, SPY had shot up to over $116.  I made two trades in the morning.  I sold 6 of the original calendar spreads, collecting $2.19 ($219 less commissions of $2.50, or $216.50 per spread, or $1299.00 total).

If I had sold all 11 spreads at this price, I would have collected $2318.50 for a net profit after commissions of $561.00, or 31% on my investment for one week.

In the second trade, I rolled over the Oct-1 11 116 calls to the next week, buying back the calls expiring that day and selling the Oct2-11 116 calls.  I collected $1.30 per spread ($130 less commissions of $2.50, or $127.50 x 5 spreads, or $637.50 total).

I had collected a total of $1936.55 after paying all commissions.  This was greater than my total investment of $1820.50 by $116, and I am guaranteed a much greater profit a week from now when I close out the remaining 5 calendar spreads I now own.  I could collect as much as $200 per spread if the stock manages to close very close to $115 on Friday.

While I am delighted with these results so far, I could have done much better if I had waited until near the end of the day on Friday.  At that time, I could have rolled over the Oct1-11 calls to Oct2-11 calls and collected my entire $1.63 investment back rather than the $1.30 I collected early in the day.  (I was afraid that SPY was going up fast and I would gain less if it moved further away from $115 – instead, it fell back closer to the 115 strike at the end of the day.)

Several subscribers have written in to say they tried this spread in their own accounts, many of them picking different strike prices.  Happily, some of them who made money on the trades have decided to use $59.95 of their winnings to subscribe to Terry’s Tips where they might learn how to make some really big returns in future months and years.

Here is the special Terry’s Tips offer:

iPhone 5 Introduction Offer: Apple was expected to introduce IPhone 5 on October 4.  For the first time, Sprint will be able to sell an IPhone.  It could be a big deal for Apple, and all of us who are betting on their stock.
On April 29, 2010, Terry’s Tips set up an actual portfolio to show how an options portfolio could outperform a stock portfolio using the same stock.  We chose Apple (AAPL) as a stock that we thought would go up.  On the day we set up the portfolio, AAPL was trading at $277.

In the next nine months, AAPL rose 25% and our $5000 starting portfolio value had soared to $10,087 (after all commissions, of course), a gain of over 100%.  

Our options portfolio had outperformed the purchase of stock by a huge margin – gaining 4 times as much as the stock gained.  Of course, the stock has now gone even higher, and our $5000 portfolio recently surpassed the $12,000 level.
We have written up a special report which shows exactly how we gained over 100% with an options portfolio while the stock rose only 25%.  You could easily use this same strategy on any stock of your own choosing, and presumably do as well (assuming that you picked a stock that went higher).
This report is worth many times the price of the entire subscription by itself. Together with my White Paper, this report is a short and complete explanation of how you can use an options strategy to double your money if the stock goes up only 25%

If you sign up by October 11, one week after the iPhone 5 was supposed to hit the shelves, we will discount our introductory package all the way down to $59.95, a full $20 lower than thousands of subscribers have paid. 

This is what you get:
1)   My 70+ page White Paper which explains my favorite option strategies in detail, including my 10 Trading Rules, and 20 companies to use with the ‘Lazy Way” Strategy, (which guarantees a 100% gain in 2 years if the  stock stays flat or goes up).
2)   2 FREE months of the Options Tutorial Program (a $49.90 value), which includes:
 – A 14-lesson tutorial on trading stock options which will give you a thorough understanding of trading stock options.
 – A weekly update of 8 actual portfolios so that you can follow their progress over time.
 – Specific trades for each portfolio emailed to you so you may mirror them in your own account.
 – Access to historical analytic reports and portfolio updates posted in the Insiders section of Terry’s Tips.
  – If you choose to continue after the 2 free months, do nothing, and you’ll be billed at a discounted rate of $19.95 per month.  
3)    A FREE special report – “How We Made 100% with Apple in 2010-11 While the Stock Rose only 25%.”

With this one-time offer, you will receive everything for only $59.95, less than the value of the White Paper alone. But you must order by October 11, 2011.   Click here – and enter Special Code iPhone5.  
Why wait?  Do it today!  You will learn a strategy that could pay you back many times over, and do it every year for the rest of your investing life.  


P.S. Receive the special free report entitled “How We Made 100% on Apple in 2010-11 While AAPL Rose Only 25%”  in addition to all the other benefits of a Terry’s Tips subscription for the discounted special price of only $59.95,  go to, and use Special Code iPhone5

An Options Strategy That Can Deal With High Volatility

Monday, September 19th, 2011

The New York Times published an article last week which showed how market volatility was greater than any time in history, and that there were many indications that such high volatility had now become the norm.

Some people call the current market activity a “wolf” market – neither a bear market nor a bull market, but one characterized by high short-term volatility, big swings in both directions, while the general market is not really charging higher or falling lower.

We have developed an options strategy to contend with a wolf market, and I would like to tell you a little about it today.

An Options Strategy That Can Deal With High Volatility


We call it the 10K Wolf portfolio.  It was started a little over a week ago with $10,000.  The portfolio consists of buying in-the-money SPY LEAPS that expire in June 2012.  We bought puts that had a strike price of 125 and calls that had a strike price of 115.

The advantage to buying long-term in-the-money puts and calls is that much of their value is intrinsic.  The time premium component is relatively small, and these options decay quite slowly, especially in the early months (before they have only 3 or 4 months of remaining life, when we would most likely sell them and replace them with longer-term puts and calls).

The total cost of each pair of LEAPS cost about $2800.  As long as SPY trades within the range of $115 – $125 (and we are not short any in-the-money options which we are careful to make sure of), the minimum value of the pair of LEAPS will be at least $1000. (Actually, if the stock moves outside that range, the total value of the put and call LEAPS would be greater than $1000).

That leaves $1800 of time premium that will decay over the 9 months of remaining life.  We will need to sell $200 worth of Weekly puts and calls each month to cover the decay of the LEAPS.

With today’s high option prices (they are high because volatility is high), we are able to sell out-of-the-money Weekly puts and calls that generate more than $200 in premium income each week.  If they remain out-of-the-money, they will expire worthless in a week and we can sell the next week’s out-of-the-money puts and calls, presumably collecting another $200 per pair of LEAPS that own).

You can see that we can sell enough premium each week to cover the decay that our long positions will suffer each month.  The other three weeks of option selling should be pure profit. The gains that we expect are really a little better than this example because in the early months, the pair of LEAPS will decay less than the $200 average that it will decay over the entire 9-month period.  In the later months when they will be decaying at more than $200, we would no longer own them.

Adjustments often need to be made during the week if the stock moves more than moderately in either direction.  Last week, SPY moved almost $5 higher.  We had to buy back short calls that had become in the money (the strike price was lower than the stock price) and replace them with higher-strike short calls.  Each of these trades meant that we had to shell out money, but at the same time, we bought back inexpensive well-out-of-the-money puts and replaced them with more costly higher-strike Weekly puts at a credit of approximately the same as rolling up the calls cost us.

Last week, in its first full week of operation, in spite of the volatility (the 10K Strategy does best in flat markets), the 10K Wolf gained 7.4% (after commissions, of course).  Some people would be happy with that kind of return for an entire year in today’s investment world.

Here is the risk profile graph for this portfolio for next week:

The break-even range is about $3 in either direction from the current SPY price of $121.52, assuming no adjustments are made. We would make about 7% in an absolutely flat market, or about 6% if SPY were to fluctuate less than $2 in either direction. Price changes higher than $2 would require that an adjustment be made, so it is not clear what the profit or loss might be.

Obviously, carrying out the 10K Wolf strategy takes a lot of work. Rather than doing it yourself, we think a better idea would be to become a Terry’s Tips Insider, sign up for the Auto-Trade program at thinkorswim and let them make all the trades that we make in this portfolio in your own account for you, so you will enjoy exactly the same results as our portfolio. You can read about your gains, and smile, when we send out the Saturday Report each week, or whenever you check up on your trading account.

Using Options to Hedge Market Risk

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Another crazy week in the market.  Investors vacillated from panic to manic and back to panic.  The net change for the week was not so significant, but the fluctuations were huge.  How can you cope with a market like this?

You might consider using options to hedge against market moves in both directions.  Check out how two of our portfolios are doing it.

Using Options to Hedge Market Risk   

Some Terry’s Tips subscribers choose to mirror in their own accounts one or more of our actual portfolios (or have trades executed automatically for them by their broker).  We recommend to that they select two portfolios, one of which does best in an up market and one that does best in a down market.

Almost all of our portfolios do best if not much of anything happens in the market, but that has not been the case in the last few weeks.  It is during times like this that both a bullish and bearish portfolio be carried out at the same time.

We have one bearish portfolio.  It is called the 10K Bear.  It is currently worth about $5000 (although we have withdrawn $2000 from it to keep it at the $5000 level for new subscribers – it had gone up in value by 54% over the last couple of months while the market was weak).

Here is the risk profile graph for the 10K Bear portfolio.  It shows how much the $5000 portfolio should gain or lose by the regular September options expiration this Friday at the various possible ending prices for SPY (currently trading just under $116): 

Using Options to Hedge Market Risk


Some Terry’s Tips subscribers choose to mirror in their own accounts one or more of our actual portfolios (or have trades executed automatically for them by their broker).  We recommend to that they select two portfolios, one of which does best in an up market and one that does best in a down market.

Almost all of our portfolios do best if not much of anything happens in the market, but that has not been the case in the last few weeks.  It is during times like this that both a bullish and bearish portfolio be carried out at the same time.

We have one bearish portfolio.  It is called the 10K Bear.  It is currently worth about $5000 (although we have withdrawn $2000 from it to keep it at the $5000 level for new subscribers – it had gone up in value by 54% over the last couple of months while the market was weak).

Here is the risk profile graph for the 10K Bear portfolio.  It shows how much the $5000 portfolio should gain or lose by the regular September options expiration this Friday at the various possible ending prices for SPY (currently trading just under $116):


?Remember, this is an actual brokerage account at thinkorswim which any paying Terry’s Tips subscriber can duplicate if he or she wishes.  The graph shows that if the stock stays absolutely flat next week, there could be a gain of over $1000 for the week.  If the stock should fall by $2, an even higher gain should result.  (Once the stock falls by $2, we would likely make some downside adjustments so that further drops in the stock price would generate higher gains.  After all, this is our bearish bet.)

Where else could you expect a 20% gain if the market doesn’t move one bit?  In a single week?  Or even more if the market should fall?

Admittedly, today’s option prices are extremely high (in 92% of the weeks over the last 5 years, option prices have been lower than they are right now, so we are in truly unusual times).  The risk profile graphs for our portfolios usually do not look as promising as they do right now.

One of the bullish portfolios that we recommend to be matched against the 10K Bear portfolio is called the Ultra Vixen.  This portfolio is based on the underlying “stock” (actually an ETN, an exchange traded note) called VXX.  This index is based on the short-term futures of VIX (the measure of SPY option prices, the so-called “fear index”).  When the market drops, VIX generally rises (as do the VIX futures prices), and VXX usually moves higher.  Over the last month while the market dropped over 10%, VXX has more than doubled in price.  For that reason, many people consider VXX to be an excellent hedge against market crashes.

We don’t like VXX as an investment possibility, however.  Over time, due to a mechanism called contango (futures prices become more expensive in further-out months), VXX is destined to fall over time.  It may be a good hedge as a short-term investment but is awful as a long-term holding.  It fell for 12 consecutive months last year, for example, even though VIX fluctuated in both directions.

Our Ultra Vixen portfolio is set up to benefit when VXX goes down (which it does when the market is flat or goes up).  We generally maintain a net short position on VXX with some call positions for protection in case the stock does go up.  However, our portfolio does best if the market stays flat or moves higher, so it is a good hedge against the 10K Bear portfolio.

Here is the risk profile graph for Ultra Vixen for next Friday’s expiration (September 16th).  It is a $10,000 portfolio and the underlying stock (VXX) is trading about $45.83:



?The graph shows that a 10% gain for the week is possible if the stock falls as much as $3 or goes up by as much as $2.  (Historically, in about half the weeks, VXX fluctuates by less than a dollar in either direction.)  Where else besides options do you find opportunities like this?  In a single week?

Both the 10K Bear and Ultra Vixen portfolios should make excellent gains every week when the market is flat, and one or the other should make gains when the market moves more than moderately in either direction.  Theoretically, if the two portfolios together break even in the high-fluctuation weeks and they both make gains when the market doesn’t do much of anything, the long-run combined results should be extraordinary.

Buying Calendar Spreads with Weekly Options

Monday, July 18th, 2011

We have a portfolio called the Last Minute portfolio. It remains in cash all week until Thursday near the close when we have to make a decision. Do we expect that SPY will fluctuate by more than a dollar, or less that a dollar on the next day.

If we think it will fluctuate less than a dollar, the best move is to buy calendar spreads, buying options with 8 days of remaining life and selling options that will expire the very next day. These spreads are designed to make money if the stock (SPY) changes by less than a dollar on Friday.

On Thursdays which precede the government monthly job reports, or when the stock option for that week has been unusually volatile, a different strategy is employed. Rather than betting that SPY will fluctuate by less than a dollar, we buy either a straddle or strangle that will most likely make money if SPY moves by more than a dollar on Friday.

Last week, there was no economic news coming out on Friday that might spook the market, but SPY had fluctuated by more than a dollar in three of the first four days that week. This would suggest that the best bet would to buy a strangle or straddle, but we did not feel too confident that the high volatility would continue, and since there is a higher risk involved in the straddle-strangle alternative, we decided to stick with calendar spreads.

With about 15 minutes of trading left on Thursday, SPY was trading at $131.10 and we bought 40 Jul4-11 – Jul-11 131 put calendar spreads, paying $.87 per spread. The stock immediately fell $.30 and we bought an additional 20 identical spreads at the 130 strike, paying $,85 for these as well. In a back test study we had learned that if a big move took place on Friday, three out of four times it was on the downside, so our initial positions should usually be set up to be bearish.

Our starting positions were heavily skewed to the downside. We could handle a $1.25 move in that direction but only a $.75 move to the upside. The actual upward move of $.76 for the day should have resulted in a break-even at best.

When the market opened up about $.40, our short position became quite uncomfortable. Shortly after the open, we were lucky enough to close out the 130 calendar spread for $.05 more than we paid for it, exactly enough to cover commissions and break even. Later in the day when SPY had fallen to near $131, we sold half our 131 spreads for $1.12, a nice premium on the $.87 cost (we gained $20 per spread after commissions, or $400 on a $1740 investment).

We were hoping that the stock would close out the day very near the current price and we would make a huge gain. We weren’t so lucky as the stock shot suddenly higher in the last half hour of trading, and we closed out the remaining spreads for $1.05 for a $14.75 gain per spread after commissions (we bought back the expiring 131 calls for $.02, avoiding the commission).

Bottom line, we were quite pleased with a 13.3% gain after commissions for the day on our capital at risk when the stock did not move in the direction we were hoping. Over the last two weeks, the Last Minute portfolio has gained $2059 on an average investment of $3630 (56%) . How many stock investments do you suppose did this well?

Making 36%

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.

Order Now

Success Stories

I have been trading the equity markets with many different strategies for over 40 years. Terry Allen's strategies have been the most consistent money makers for me. I used them during the 2008 melt-down, to earn over 50% annualized return, while all my neighbors were crying about their losses.

~ John Collins