This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 22, No. 17 on September 16, 2013.
In our last issue, the feature article discussed whether it might sometimes be preferable to trade the underlying stock as opposed to buying an at- or slightly in-the-money option. This week’s article is a follow-up to that discussion: we are going to look at various option strategies that are, in effect, almost like owning the underlying stock. The potential advantage of these option strategies is that they behave much like stock so time decay is not a major drag on the position. Moreover, leverage is available through these strategies (not as much leverage as one would have in an option, but decent leverage nonetheless). Leverage is neither good nor bad, but for those who want it, this is a way to achieve it without subjecting a position to onerous time decay.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 5, No. 12 on June 27, 1996.
We regularly have a column entitled "Volatility Trading". In this article, we want to look at the strategies that are applicable when one finds implied volatility is substantially out of line with where it "usually" is. As you will see, there is often more than one way to approach the situation, depending on which strategy you choose. You might choose to limit risk, but not at the expense of lowering your prospective profits unnecessarily; on the other hand, you want·to be prudent about your risk-taking.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 22, No. 16 on August 23, 2013.
The common perception among option traders is that option buying is the “best” approach to a speculative situation because of the great leverage that the calls or puts provide. But in many cases, ranging from extremely short-term holding periods to ones of more moderate length, where limited stock moves are likely, one may be better served by trading the underlying entity than by buying options. In this article, we’ll try to answer the question of which is better, an option position or a stock position. It turns out that the answer may be dependent on what one’s objectives are. Also, we’ll reconstruct some trading from past recommendations to see the option vs. stock results.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 16, No. 11 on June 15, 2007.
At the end of most of my seminars, I give a few general tips or principles that one should use. One of those is, “Only trade in accordance with your personal philosophy.” By that, I mean that you shouldn’t indulge in styles of trading that cause you to worry, gnash your teeth, or lose sleep.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist NewsletterVolume 4, No. 1 on January 12, 1995.
Buying options is often regarded as one of the most speculative activities. However, as we have shown time and time again, there are often differing ways in which one can establish a strategy. These different ways may change the speculative to the conservative, or at least moderate things somewhat. Buying options is no exception.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 2, No. 13 on July 8, 1993.
Two strategies are equivalent when they have the same profit potential. That is, their profit graphs have the same shape. More experienced option traders know that an understanding of equivalent strategies or positions is vital. It can help in many ways. For example, one may be able to more effectively use his capital by establishing the more favorable equivalent strategy. Or, when trading, he may be able to get a better execution. Finally, he may be able to make better adjustments to his positions by using equivalent strategies. The concept is not new, but even a veteran trader may have to sort through some equivalences in order to choose the best position.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 11, No. 6 on March 29, 2002.
As this stock market continues to trade in a wide range, it is becoming more and more frustrating to all manner of participants – whether they be traders, investors, or option speculators. While I don’t claim to have done a thorough survey of a broad array of traders, I can tell you that the frustration is evident among those that I have spoken with. They include day traders, short-term traders, mutual fund managers, and investment advisors (newsletter writers). About the only ones who seem to be happy (but they are nervous) are naked option writers. They have been making money – as long as the striking prices of the written options are outside of the trading range – but they recognize (at least the smart ones do) that with volatility this low, a price explosion is possible at any time (hence, their nervousness).
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 1, No. 30 on June 25, 1992.
Futures option margin requirements for customers are generally more logical than equity or index option requirements. For example, if one has a conversion or reversal arbitrage in place, his requirement would be nearly zero for futures options, while it could be quite large for equity options. Moreover, futures exchanges have recently introduced a better way of margining futures and futures option portfolios -- the SPAN system (Standard Portfolio ANalysis of Risk). SPAN is designed to determine the entire risk of a portfolio, including all futures and options. It is a unique system in that it bases the option requirements on projected movements in the futures contracts as well as potential changes in implied volatility of the options in one's portfolio. This creates a more realistic measure of the risk than the somewhat arbitrary requirements that were previously used (called the "customer margin" system) or than those used for stock and index options.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 2, No. 1 on January 7, 1993.
The real value in being able to use the options when a future is locked limit up or limit down, of course, is to be able to hedge one's position. Simplistically, if a trader came in long the August soybean futures and they were locked limit down as in the above example, he could use the puts and calls to effectively close out his position.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 4, No. 7 on April 13, 1995.
Credit spreads using options are a popular strategy. In this article, we'll define them, see how they work, and attempt to assess their true profitability. They have been growing in popularity recently, partially for the wrong reasons, as we will see later in the article.