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.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 10, No. 9 on May 10, 2001.
Most option traders understand that it is advantageous to buy “cheap” options. Unfortunately, most don’t cite any specific reasons why, other than the general “retail” concept that it’s better to buy something cheap than something expensive. Ironically, in the option markets, that’s not always true. There are times when buying expensive options is actually a “good” thing to do. But one must recognize that those occurrences are infrequent, and he must have a specific knowledge of what he can expect to happen to his position if he has stumbled into one of those more frequent times that expensive options are harmful to his profits.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 21, No. 15 on August 10, 2012.
In a continuation of the irregular series, explaining our analytical techniques, we are going to discuss how we interpret put-call ratio charts. This series began two issues ago with an article on naked put selling. Future articles in this series will encompass other aspects of position selection: calendar spreads, volatility skew-based trades, ratio spreads, and so forth.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 12, No. 10 on May 22, 2003.
Most people think of covered call writing as at least partial protection against a downside move by their stocks. Of course, buying a put as protection for a stock position affords a lot more protection – in fact, complete protection below the striking price. But call writing is generally more popular because it involves taking in option premium rather than paying it out. Still, there are times when one strategy is clearly superior to the other. This is one of those times. So, in this article, we’ll compare how stock owners should view the two in any environment and then specifically address the current environment.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 2, No. 24 on December 22, 1993.
We have often stated that one can reduce the risk of stock ownership by buying call options instead. This, of course, is contrary to what many consider to be "conventional wisdom", in which option purchases are viewed as extremely risky things. As with most investments — and a lot of other things in life — it's a matter of application; every strategy can't be painted with a broad brush. We'll go over the way to make call option buying a lower-risk alternative to buying common stock, and then we'll apply it to a currently popular strategy involving the purchase of the highest-yielding Dow-Jones stocks at year-end.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 21, No. 12 on June 29, 2012.
A"call stupid" is a rather arcane and little-known term, which is used to describe a position in which a trader is long two calls at two different strikes (probably with the same expiration date). It is often offset by a short position in the underlying security.
This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 20, No. 21 on November 17, 2011.
We have written about the subject of protecting a portfolio of stocks with derivatives several times over the years, although it’s been a while (Volume 19, Numbers 6 and 12 had articles on the subject). Recently, some subscribers have inquired about how to calculate the amount of protection they need.