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Protection for Stock Owners (09:13)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 9, No. 13 on July 13, 2000. 

Most option traders – even fairly novice ones – understand that options can be used to protect a stock holding against loss. However, when one delves into the specifics of establishing such protection, he usually forsakes the protection, often due to apparently high costs. In this article, we’re going to re-visit a subject that we’ve discussed before (protection), but try to bring some facts to light that might not be understood by many stock owners. The reason that we think this might be an apropos topic now is that it’s July, and July has marked a peak for the market in each of the last two years. There is some evidence (page 5) that a similar scenario might be unfolding again this year.

Just How “Neutral” Is Delta Neutral? (12:08)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 12, No. 8 on April 24, 2003. 

The concept of “delta neutral” is an intriguing one – especially to traders who have had a hard time predicting the market or to those who don’t believe the market can be predicted (random walkers). The concept is even sometimes “sold” to novice investors as a sort of “can’t-lose” trading method, even though that isn’t true at all. While the idea of having a position that can make money without predicting the direction of the underlying stock seems attractive, in practice the strategy is difficult, if not impossible, to apply – at least in terms of keeping a position delta neutral.

What’s Best: Covered Writes, Naked Puts, or Credit Spreads? (15:15)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 15, No. 15 on August 10, 2006. 

In the past couple of months, we’ve published several articles dealing with covered call writing and some of its companion strategies – naked put writing or put credit spread trading. Two issues ago, the feature article addressed some of the ways that potential bear market risk affects popular strategies, including covered writes. In addition, several of the Covered Writing articles (that usually appear on page 5) have discussed various aspects of naked put selling and credit spreading. We have also received a number of inquiries about these alternate strategies from current and potential money management clients. Therefore, we have compiled this article, which addresses all the aspects of these similar, yet distinct strategies – risk, reward, and suitability.

Position Delta (01:02)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 1, No. 2 on January 9, 1992. 

All strategy recommendations made by "The Option Strategist" have a graph accompanying them that displays the delta of the entire position. Moreover, this graph also displays how the delta of the position is expected to change as the stock moves up or down in price. This article describes the position delta and how to best use it, especially for follow-up action.

Obtaining Maximum Value At Expiration (17:4)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 17, No. 4 on February 28, 2008. 

Most option traders are acutely aware of their costs – especially commissions, but also bid-asked spreads, slippage, and so forth. But there is one area that can prove very costly to an option trader if he’s not aware of how to navigate it – and that is selling an option that should be worth parity, but is bid below that level. Most of the time – but not always – these “parity” situations arise at or near the option’s expiration date.

Which Option to Buy (08:05)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 8, No. 5 on March 11, 1999. 

From questions asked at seminars and personal appearances, it seems that most people have some difficulty in determining which option to buy once the decision to buy something has been made. This topic is perhaps more elementary than some of the rather high-powered volatility discussions of the past few issues, but it is a very important one. The option speculator must be able to make the “correct” decisions about which option to own, lest the research that was done in order to predict the forthcoming direction of the underlying instrument be wasted by the purchase of the “wrong” call (or put).

Selling Naked Options (11:16)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 11, No. 16 on August 22, 2002. 

The sale of naked options is a strategy that is probably over-used, in general. However, at the current time, with options remaining expensive, but with the skews lessening, volatility traders’ thoughts should turn more towards selling options these days. This is one of the riskiest option strategies, since losses could be large – even theoretically unlimited. However, the probabilities of such losses occurring might be lessened and the overall profitability turned in favor of the option seller. In this article, we’ll look at the specifics behind writing naked options successfully.

The Volatility of Volatility (09:18)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 9, No. 18 on September 28, 2000. 

While the title may look like a typo, it’s what we want to talk about. In order to discuss the implied volatility of a particular entity – stock, index, or futures contract – we generally refer to the implied volatility of individual options or perhaps the composite implied volatility of the entire option series.

Time Value Premium is a Misnomer (08:22)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 8, No. 22 on November 24, 1999. 

At a recent seminar or conference (don’t ask which one – there have been too many to distinguish one from another!), the subject was raised regarding the effect of time decay on an option. As the discussion progressed, it dawned on me that many (perhaps novice) option traders seem to think of time as the main antagonist to an option buyer. However, when one really thinks about it, he should realize that the portion of an option that is not intrinsic value is really much more related to stock price movement and/or volatility than anything else – at least in the short term.

The Basics: Review and Explanation of Concepts Debit Spreads (04:20)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 4, No. 20 on October 26, 1995. 

Any spread that creates a debit in one's account, when it is established, is technically a debit spread. However, when the term "debit spread" is used, it generally connotes either a bull spread with calls or a bear spread with puts. These are types of vertical spreads, since all the options have the same expiration date but have different striking prices (credit spreads are vertical spreads also).

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