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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.

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.

The biggest differences between the Shoot Strategy and the 10K Strategy is the calls are used exclusively in the Shoot Strategy and all of the short calls are at the money or out of the money (i.e., at strikes which are at or above the current price of the stock. These positions will cause the portfolio to have a strongly positive net delta at all times.

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

June 6, 2024

June 5, 2024 Terry’s Tips Trade Alert – Wiley Wolf Portfolio


We are closing put spreads to increase delta:  

BTC 1 MSFT 21Jun24 402.5 put (MSFT240621P402.5)
STC 1 MSFT 19Jul24 435 put (MSFT240719P435) for a credit of $15.35 (selling a diagonal) (100%) 

BTC 1 MSFT 21Jun24 405 put (MSFT240621P405)
STC 1 MSFT 19Jul24 430 put (MSFT240719P430) for a credit of $11.90 (selling a diagonal) (100%) 

Be prepared to change this (these) price limit(s) by $.05 or more in order to get an execution.

Happy trading.

Jon

June 1, 2024

May 31, 2024 Terry’s Tips Trade Alert #3 – Rising Tide Portfolio


This completes rolling out and adds two call spreads
:    

BTC 1 COST 31May24 795 put (COST 240531P795)
STO 1 COST 21Jun24 800 put (COST 240621P800) for a credit of $13.45 (selling a diagonal) (100%)

BTO 1 COST 19Jul24 830 call (COST 240719C830)
STO 1 COST 21Jun24 830 call (COST 240621C830) for a debit of $7.00 (buying a calendar)

BTO 1 COST 19Jul24 810 call (COST 240719C810)
STO 1 COST 21Jun24 810 call (COST 240621C810) for a debit of $8.70 (buying a calendar)

Be prepared to change this (these) price limit(s) by $.05 or more in order to get an execution.

Happy trading.

Jon

April 1, 2024

April 1, 2024

Fool Me Once …

There was nothing on the weekly earnings docket that I considered trade worthy. Even the few names I recognized were either too low-priced, had lousy options or bid/ask spreads, or, most importantly, not giving me a good chart read. During slow earnings periods – which include next week and most of the following week – I look back at past trades to see how they look today. One that I like just happens to be the last trade we closed for a loss. But I whiffed so badly on it – I suggested a bearish trade and the stock cruised 20% higher – that I now like it as a bullish play.

The stock is Veeva Systems (VEEV), which provides cloud-based software for the health sciences industry. VEEV reported solid earnings results in late February, beating estimates on revenue and earnings per share. Guidance for the first quarter came up short on revenue, which may be why the stock stumbled a bit after the report.

Analysts were very clear in their view toward VEEV, handing the stock a boatload of target price increases. Maybe they’re trying to play catch-up because the current average target price – after all the increases – is right around Thursday’s closing price. Given that VEEV is a tech stock (though it’s considered in the healthcare sector), that’s an underwhelming endorsement for a stock that’s rallied 40% in less than four months. It’s not hard to see how more target price increases and perhaps a ratings change or two (the current average rating is a buy) could be in the offing.

There aren’t many charts prettier than VEEV’s daily chart. The stock has climbed steadily since an early December low, riding along the solid support of its 20-day moving average. How solid? The trendline has been tested no less than a half-dozen times and has allowed just one daily close below it. This trade is based on the uptrend and support continuing for the next several weeks, perhaps aided by some analyst love.

The 20-day moving average sits just below the 230 level, while the 50-day is at 220. VEEV offers only monthly options, with strikes every 10 points within the range we want. Therefore, I am forced to go with the May series and the 220 short strike. This is producing a little less credit – and thus return – compared to our usual trades. But that means the short strike is further out of the money (less risky).

If you agree that the stock will continue to trade above its 20-day (blue line) moving average, consider the following credit spread trade that relies on VEEV staying above $220 (red line) through expiration in 7 weeks:

Buy to Open the VEEV 17 May 210 put (VEEV240517P210)
Sell to Open the VEEV 17 May 220 put (VEEV240517P220) for a credit of $1.80 (selling a vertical)

This credit is $0.05 less than the mid-point price of the spread at Friday’s $231.69 close.   Unless VEEV surges at the open on Monday, you should be able to get close to that price.

The commission on this trade should be no more than $1.30 per spread. Each spread would then yield $178.70. This trade reduces your buying power by $1,000, making your net investment $821.30 per spread ($1,000 – $178.70). If VEEV closes above $220 on May 17, the options will expire worthless and your return on the spread would be 22% ($178.70/$821.30).

** We are crushing it! Our Costco (COST) portfolio was up 30% in the first quarter. Our Microsoft (MSFT) portfolio gained 15% (last year this portfolio returned more than 70%). And our IWM portfolio added nearly 20%. All in just one quarter.

Don’t be left behind … there’s still time to save more than 50% on a monthly subscription to Terry’s Tips. Just Click Here, select Sign Up Now and use Coupon Code D21M to start a monthly subscription to Terry’s Tips for half off.**

Making 36%

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This digital 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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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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