Closing Out the eBay Spreads
All of the shot options could be purchased for $.01 (with no commissions due at thinkorswim) so I bought them all back.
The earlier net cost I reported was inaccurate (in my note to subscribers, I recommended buying 10 of the 50 put spreads but I used 20 in the calculations). The net investment after commissions was actually $3417.50 rather than the $3942.50 reported.
This is what I sold the remaining Feb-13 options for (after subtracting the $.01 repurchase of the short options):
10 Feb-13 50 puts for $.26 = $260
20 Feb-13 52.5 puts for $.80 = $1600
20 Feb-13 55 calls for $.90 = $1800
10 Feb-13 57.5 calls for $.23 = $230
Commissions on sales – 60 x $1.25 = $75
Net received = $3815
Cost = $3417.50
Gain = $397.50, or 11.6%
While an 11.6% gain after commissions isn’t bad for a couple of days, it was far less than we expected going in. The big disappointment came from how much implied volatility (IV) of the February options fell after earnings were announced. I had estimated that it would fall from 35 to 33 (its number when there was a full month remaining in the January options). Instead, IV tumbled all the way to 25 so that the February options were trading at prices much lower than we expected.
Several subscribers have written in saying they took off the spreads on Thursday before IV had tumbled so much, and they made an average of about 24% after commissions.
Knowing that IV will fall so much can be helpful in the future. There are at least two things we might do differently. First, we could buy longer-term options for the long side. IV for the April options only fell 3 points after expiration. While this would require a much larger investment, the net gain should be much higher.
The other possibility would be to sell next-month iron condors just before the earnings announcement. After the announcement, when IV for those options crashes it should be possible to close out the spread at a nice gain (not waiting until expiration). The risk should be quite low here.
Next week, in our Terry’s Trades portfolio, we will be placing calendar spreads in advance of the Starbucks earnings announcement on Thursday. IV for the Weeklys we will be selling is 45 while the Feb-13 options carry an IV of 28 but the April options are only at 24 so they are likely to fall not nearly so far.
In addition to placing the calendar spreads with April as the long side, I will personally sell an iron condor in the Feb-13 series to see how that compares to the calendar spreads.
Of course, I will report back to let you know how each of these strategies perform.