Saturday, May 28, 2016


First, happy Memorial Day to all, and thank you for those that have served or are serving in the armed forces. Overall, a profitable week. I almost always want bigger profits when the market goes up so much. I took a loss as AAPL rallied. I sold new strangles on CMG and VRX. Sold puts on COST, CRM.
Here are the trades (c = calls, p = puts, all are third week expiration unless noted, sell means sell-to-open, cover means buy-to-close, number is price per contract):

Mon Buy shares MON 107.775 Bayer makes a $62 billion cash bid for Monsanto. MON gaps higher. I am again short three layers of calls, own one layer of stock, now two after this move.

Sell AAPL Jun 89.5 p 34 rebalance Apple moving higher on news.

Sell SCTY Jun 16 p 25 hedge. SolarCity has drifted steadily higher since I sold the Jun 25 calls. I am hedging turning it into a sold strangle.

Sell TSLA JunW1 195 p 65 rebalance
Sell TLSA JunW1 202.5 p 125
Sell TSLA MayW4 202.5 p 41

Sell CMG strangle @460: 192 gross
Sell CMG Jun 395 p 116
Sell CMG Jun 525 c 77

Sell COST MayW4 132 p 28
Sell TSLA MayW4 235 c 33
Sell CRM Jun 75 p 38 new long

Tue Sell MON Jun 92.5 p 25
Sell MON Jun 100 p 100 Monsanto says $122 per share offer from Bayer is insufficient

Wed Sell MON Jun 105 p 130
Sell AAPL Jun 92 p 23

Thu Sell COST Jun 140 p 31 earnings
Sell TLSA JunW2 200 p 83
Sell AAPL Jun 94 p 40
Cover AAPL Jun 100 c 225 for a 600% loss

Fri Sell TSLA JunW1 245 c 31

Sell VRX strangle: 60 gross
Sell VRX Jun 20 p 32
Sell VRX Jun 40 c 29

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Monthly 85-12 Treading water, grade C

I count 85 winners, 12 losers for the May option cycle. Sounds good at first, but some of the those losers were over 1000% (basis premium collected). Self-grade is C. So far in 2016, that's four not so good months, and only one good month. Overall, I am up a bit for the year, and the slimmest of gains for the month.

Monsanto was this May's main culprit. MON gapped higher on takeover news and I was short three legs of calls. I also had losers in ATVI JNJ MCD.

Tracking a few etfs from best to worst:
SLV +19.0% silver
GLD +18.0% gold
TLT +7.9% 20-year US treasuries
SPY +0.8% S&P 500 U.S. large cap
EEM +0.1% Emerging market equity
IWM -1.6% Russell 2000 U.S. small cap

My trading account is +1.4% for 2016, which isn't half bad, but not exactly good either. It is beating the U.S. stock indexes, which is mostly what I have been trading. Treading water is a good description. A lot of effort, a lot of activity, not much progress. The biggest losers for 2016 by ticker:

The biggest winners for 2016 by ticker: CMG TSLA SPY MCD. Sometimes a stock gets on the avoid list, if I continue to struggle with it. Sometimes I might take more chances if it is on the winner list.

The last few weeks have felt stressful, so it may be good for me, to take it easy for a little bit. With Memorial Day marking the beginning of vacation season for many of the big market fish, we will see if we settle into quiet summer trading, or not.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Weekly: TGIF

Another stressful week with little to show for it. I am glad it is expiration Friday. I was about break even for the week. I took two losses in MCD, and continued to tap dance with my MON, TSLA positions. I was near the red line on buying power.
Here are the trades (c = calls, p = puts, all are third week expiration unless noted, sell means sell-to-open, cover means buy-to-close, number is price per contract):

Mon Sell ATVI Jun 35 p 27 rebalance
Sell TSLA MayW5 190 p 110 rebalance

Sell AAPL Jun 85 p 40 rebalance, news is that Warren Buffet bought $1 billion worth of Apple.

Cover ATVI May 39 c 75 530% loss
Cover XLE May 60 p 01 93% gain buying power

Tue Roll MON calls 90 cent credit
Cover MON May 97.5 c 360 -950% loss ouch
Sell MON Jun 100 c 450

Liquidity is not good on Monsanto options. I roll one short leg of calls to June. It is still FUBAR overall. I rue the day I ever got into Monsanto.

Wed Roll TSLA 25 cent credit
Cover TSLA May 182.5 p 04
Sell TSLA May 197.5 p 29

Thu Cover MCD May 125 p 72 about a 350% loss
McDonalds moves through the strike price, and I take the loss.

More damage control on Monsanto
Sell MON Jun 92.5 p 85
Roll MON calls 68 debit:
Cover MON May 96 c 630 about a 3300% loss!
Sell MON Jun 100 c 562

Sell MON Jun 115 c 89

Fri Roll TSLA 49 credit
Cover TSLA May 197.5 p 04 85% profit
Sell TSLA MayW5 197.5 p 53

Sell MCD Jun 130 c 31 rebalance
Cover MCD May 124 p 84 for a 200% loss
Sell MON Jun 87.5 p 41 rebalance

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Weekly: MON Nightmare scenario

SPY was down about 1% for the week, I was down about the same. Thursday was a nightmare morning. . I came into the day short three tranches of calls on Monsanto. MON gapped higher on take over rumors. I did trading triage, closing one leg for a huge loss, and bought some stock to cover one of the other legs. It may have been my worst day of 2016. 

The rest of the week had some of the normal ebb and flow. I sold strangles before Disney earnings and those are in the green so far. I closed out some SPY puts at what turns out to be a poor time.

Here are the trades (c = calls, p = puts, all are third week expiration unless noted, sell means sell-to-open, cover means buy-to-close, number is price per contract)

Mon Sell GDX May 26.5 c 19
Sell GLD May 126 c 20

Cover CMG May 335 p 05 90% profit
Sell CMG May 407.5 p 70 roll

Sell MCD Jun 120 p 40 rebalance
Sell MCD May 125 p 18

Cover IWM May 90 p 01 97% profit

Cover JNJ May 115 c 81 450% loss
Cover MON May 89 p 151 300% loss

Sell SCTY Jun 25 c 21 earnings

Sell strangle: DIS May 97.5 p 15
Sell DIS May 114 c 13, ahead of earnings
Sell-to-close SPY Jul 200 p 285 1% profit :)

Cover May SPY 190 p 04 95% profit
Cover FB May 90 p 01 95% profit

Sell FB May 113 p 20
Sell TLT Jun 140 c 18

Wed Sell TSLA May 190 p 78 rebalance 
As Tesla catches a bid

Thu Cover SPY May 199 p 15 66% gain
Cover SPY May 185 p 02 96% gain

Buy shares MON market 100.4
It is a nightmare scenario, Monsanto gaps higher on takeover rumors and I am short three tranches of calls. I do triage. I free up some buying power first, then place a market order to buy some MON shares. The May options are $3 wide this morning, so there is no exit by covering those right now, not without taking another huge hit. Ouch.

Cover MON Jun 100 c 450 about a 1200% loss
After the first half hour of trading, the options markets become more normal and I exit one leg. I am close to a manageable position now on MON, but have paid a heavy price to get there.

Sell AAPL Jun 100 c 34 rebalance Apple at a 52-week low

Fri Cover CMG May 407.5 p 23 for 70% profit, need buying power

Sell NVDA Jun 35 p 22 earnings

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Weekly: Tesla mess-la

Another Fine Mess is a Laurel and Hardy movie from 1930. That's kind of the way the week felt, even though I end the week with a modest gain. A lot of my attention was on Telsa's earnings report. I was speculatively long, then reversed to short, then hedged the shorts. Tesla became a mess-la. I was down a bit on TSLA for the week. I also took a loss on Under Armor UA as it moved lower.

Also this week, sold puts in BDX, sold strangles on ATVI, sold more puts on GDX. Here are the trades (c = calls, p = puts, all are third week expiration unless noted, sell means sell-to-open, cover means buy-to-close, number is price per contract)

Mon Sell TSLA MayW1 195 p 46
Sell TSLA MayW1 290 c 20 earnings Wed after close

Tue Sell SPY 218 c 18 rebalance

Wed Sell UA May 45 c 15 rebalance as Under Armor moves lower on news
Sell SPY May 212 c 24 rebalance

Sell MCD May 124 p 30 rebalance
Cover UA May 40 p 125 for a 900% loss

Thu Sell TSLA May 255 c 91 Telsa fizzles after earnings, up a bit after hours, now drifting lower. My speculative call ratio is a loser.
Cover TSLA MayW1 195 p 20 about a 50% profit. I don't like the tape action.

As the day goes on I reverse to speculative short, a rare case of me buying premium: Buy TSLA June put spread 537 gross debit:
Buy TSLA Jun 200 p 803
Sell TSLA Jun 175 p 266

Sell BDX Jun 150 p 55 Becton Dickenson higher on earnings
Sell MON May 96 c 20 rebalance
Sell MON Jun 100 c 38 rebalance

Fri Sell TSLA MayW2 185 p 46 rebalance

Sell ATVI May 34.5 p 15 earnings
Sell ATVI May 39 c 14 Activision flopping so I hedge

Tesla finding support, so I hedge my short position by selling more puts
Sell TSLA May 182.5 p 79

Sell GDX May 22 p 15 add to longs

Friday, April 29, 2016

Weekly: Bonds, gold, pizza, and Mercury

Mercury went retrograde on Thursday, and the stock market turns. Gold and bonds have been the big winning asset classes during calendar 2016. I initiate some small long positions in gold, gold miners and bonds (selling puts GLD, GDX, TLT). Pizza was the big sour note of the week. Dominos Pizza DPZ earnings disappointed and I took a big loss.

Chipotle CMG continued to be a lucky stock for me, as do Tesla TSLA and Valeant VRX. Here are the trades (c = calls, p = puts, all are third week expiration unless noted, sell means sell-to-open, cover means buy-to-close)

Mon Sell CMG AprW5 380 p 195 Chipotle has drifted lower into earnings. Sentiment on the Yahoo boards is also mostly negative. Even with a negative report, I am at the 8% probability line.

Sell VRX strangles: AprW5 for 44 gross Valeant slightly higher with news of a new CEO
Sell VRX AprW5 24.5 p 28
Sell VRX AprW5 50 c 16

Sell MCD May 120 p 29 rebalance

Tue Sell CMG May 335 p 50 Add to longs ahead of earnings news.

Wed Sell CMG Apr 475 c 60
Cover CMG AprW5 380 p 11 90% profit, taking my money and running
Cover ISRG May 550 p 55 35% profit, don't like tape action

Sell PNRA May 200 p 65 earnings

TSLA ratio spread 203 gross / bullish earnings play
Buy TSLA May 275 c 522
Sell 2x TSLA May 300 c 160x2

Sell TLT Jun 120 p 29

Sell GLD Jun 109 p 23

Sell TSLA AprW5 262.5 c 28

Buy SPY put vertical 140 gross
Buy SPY Jul 200 p 281
Sell SPY Jul 190 p 141

Sell PNRA May 230 c 25 rebalance

Thu Sell FB May 107 p 26 rebalance
Sell DPZ May 130 c 65 rebalance, earnings poor

Sell CMG May 370 p 94 rebalance
Sell GDX Jun 19 p 20

Sell MON May 89 p 44 rebalance
Sell JNJ May 116 c 16

Sell XLE Jun 76 c 16
Cover DPZ May 120 p 295 about a 550% loss

Fri Market sell off continues as Mercury has gone retrograde. I sell some more calls to rebalance my positions.

Sell YUM May 86 c 28 rebalance
Sell JNJ May 115 c 20

Sell SPY May 213 c 25
Sell XOP Jun 43 c 20

Sell UA May 48 c 15
Sell UNH May 138 c 24

Sell SPY June put backratio 18 gross:
Buy SPY Jun 190 p 130
Sell 2x SPY Jun 183 p 74 per

Sell CTXS May 87.5 c 20 rebalance
Sell UNP May 94 c 21

Cover TSLA AprW5 237.5 p 05 85% profit
This last one was a nail-biter as the low for the day was 238 or so. I closed it for a nickel rather than risk a last minute move.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Weekly: small fish and oil

The news from last weekend was that oil producing countries could not agree on any production cuts. On Monday, the initial reaction was a sharp down gap in oil and oil stocks. Then buyers came in large. To me, the up day on bad news may mean the bottom is in for oil and oil stocks. I took some small long positions in XLE and XOP and then added to them. 
It was a busy week for earnings news. I mostly went after a lot of small fish. I sold many low premium out of the money puts on stocks with positive earnings news. Elsewhere, TSLA continued to make me money as it continued in its tight range and six layers of sold options came in safe. Mostly small fish, but enough sardines can make a nice mea1.

Here are the trades (c = calls, p = puts, weeklies denoted by W suffix, W1 is week1, sell means sell-to-open, cover means buy-to-close, number is price per contract).

Mon Sell BRKB Jun 130 p 55
Sell XLE Jun 55 p 33 news
Sell HAS May 77.5 p 15 earnings

Sell TSLA strangle 108 gross:
Sell TSLA AprW5 222.5 p 59
Sell TSLA AprW5 285 c 49

Tue Sell UNH May 120 p 42 earnings
Sell MON May 82.5 p 45 rebalance
Sell XOP Jun 27 p 22

Sell TSLA AprW5 272.5 c 60 rebalance
Sell TSLA AprW4 260 c 38

Wed Sell UNH May 125 p 51 add
Sell ISRG May 550 p 90 earnings

Sell SPY May 199 p 49 rebalance
Sell TSLA AprW4 240 p 46 rebalance

Sell JNJ May 108 p 23 add
Sell XLE May 60 p 18 add
Sell XOP May 30 p 18 add

Thu Sell YUM May 75 p 20 earnings
Sell UA May 40 p 15 earnings
Sell CTXS May 77.5 p 25 earnings

Fri Sell SKX May 27.5 p 15 earnings
Sell MCD May 132 c 29 earnings