Friday, August 26, 2016

Weekly: Four election trades

I'm looking for volatility to pick up so plan to trade cautiously, with big reserve. This week I initiated, four election ratio spread trades. These back ratios target a 5% up move in IWM, or 10% down move in SPY, and a 10% up move in GLD, 7% up in TLT. These are pilot positions, so I am add, subtract, perhaps even reverse as time goes on. For easy tracking: IWM ~ 123, SPY ~ 217, GLD ~126, TLT ~138.
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):

Wed Sell VRX Sep 26 p 18 rebalance as Valeant rallies
Sell WYNN Sep 75 p 21

Election trades. I am targeting a 5% up move in IWM, or 10% downside in SPY. Also a 10% up move in GLD. Initial outlay is small for IWM, GLD. I get a small credit for SPY.

IWM ratio: Buy IWM Nov 125 c 289
Sell 2x IWM Nov 130 c 98 each

SPY ratio: Buy SPY Nov 205 p 249
Sell 2x SPY Nov 195 p 135.5 each

GLD ratio: Buy GLD Dec 135 c 209
Sell 2x GLD Dec 145 c 82 each

Sell BRKB Sep 152.5 c 36
Sell GDX Oct 22 p 24

Thu TLT ratio: Buy TLT Nov 145 c 122
Sell 2x TLT Nov 150 c 50 each

Fri Roll BRKB: Cover BRKB AugW4 147 c 43 (40% profit)
Sell BRKB Sep 148 c 143
Sell ADSK Oct 57.5 p 29

Saturday, August 20, 2016

August: Pretty Good B+ 67-7

A pretty good, though I feel like I left some money on the table. I count 67 winners, 7 losers for the August option cycle, grade is B+. I didn't have any major blow ups, though I did take a few large percentage losses. 

Going forward I am looking for volatility to pick up. An acceleration to the upside might be the scenario that frustrates the most market participants.

Long time readers know I sometimes mention Mercury retrograde. This is coming August 30 and lasts about three weeks. Often times, markets go turbulent during that time. Combine that with September often being a month with wide swings, a lot of uncertainty over the U.S. presidential election, and a September or October surprise is something to look for.

Results from best to worst:
SLV 39.1% silver
GLD 26.1% gold
EEM 16.8% emerging markets equity
TLT 15.0% U.S. 20 year treasuries
IWM 9.2% U.S. small cap
SPY 7.2% U.S. large cap

My trading account still lags at +6.2 for the year. Real world results are a bit worse, because the table above doesn't include the dividends, while my account total does. Add another 1% or so to SPY and TLT for dividends. There is good news and bad news. Good news is that I am up. Bad news, is that I could have done a lot better. My retirement accounts are more conservatively invested and up less than the 6%. I tend to be a market chicken, though I take an occasion big swing for small amounts.

Friday, August 19, 2016


I am up just a tiny bit for the week. I take a flyer on new positions, selling strangles on two hot stocks: ACIA and TWLO. I took losses on some sold calls on AAPL and BRKB. As almost always, I could have done better, could have done worse. I am looking to reduce risk going into September, because it can be a volatile month. The monthly wrap up will be up before Sunday.

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 Cover FDX Aug 140 p 01 for 98% profit
Cover AAPL Aug 97 p 01
Cover BRKB Aug 125 p 01

Cover PEP Aug 100 p 01
Cover WYNN Aug 108 c 42 for a 45% gain
Cover AAPL Aug 109 c 96 about a 600% loss on the rally

Wed Sell VRX Sep 22.5 32 rebalance
Sell BRKB AugW4 47

Sell TWLO Sep 44/90 strangles: 
Sell TWLO Sep 44 p 114
Sell TWLO Sep 90 c 43

Cover BRKB Aug 150 c 24
Cover BRKB Aug 148 c 134

Thu Sell to close WYNN Sep 110 c 95 for about a 70% loss

Fri Sell MON Sep 90 p 40

Sell TWLO strangles (2nd layer): 
Sell TWLO Sep 40 p 106
Sell TWLO Sep 90 c 35

Sell ACIA strange: 
Sell ACIA Sep 75 p 75
Sell ACIA Sep 170 c 40

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Weekly: whiff on DIS NVDA also BABA VRX

I took a couple of swings on Disney and Nvidia before their earnings reports. I whiffed on both. DIS was most frustrating, because 15 minutes after I bailed out, an analyst upgrade and rally would have gotten me to a big winner. As is, I lost on both. NVDA was bad enough that there was nothing to salvage (bear bet). Overall, I was up for the week. I also sold strangles on BABA and more strangles on 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, number is price per contract):

Mon Sell BRKB AugW4 147 c 72 rebalance
Sell AAPL AugW4 102 p 22 rebalance

Tue Sell BRKB AugW4 142 p 38 rebalance
Sell BRKB Aug 143 p 22 rebalance
Cover BRKB Aug 148c 66 about a 45% loss

Sell SPY SepW1 209 p 37

Sell VRX strangle: 
Sell VRX Sep 20 p 29
Sell VRX Sep 35 c 17

Cover AAPL Aug 88 p 01 for a 97% profit
Cover TLT Aug 130 p 01 95% profit

Buy DIS ratio: 
Buy DIS Aug 97 c 134
Sell 2x DIS Aug 101 c 27 each

Cover BRKB Aug 135 p 05 for a 90% profit
Sell BRKB AugW4 143 p 31

Wed Cover IWM Aug 107 p 02 97% profit
Sell-to-close DIS Aug 97 c 57 took a shot at earnings, wiffed for a 60% loss
still short some Aug 101 calls, overall position is a loser. Unbelievable, minutes after I bail out DIS rips to the upside. Cheese.

Cover DIS Aug 101 calls x2 18 each for a 10% profit
I bail out on the other legs, stunned at the turn of events. A decent winner was minutes away and I walked away, ending up with a loss. If I knew better, I'd do better. These things happen.

Sell TSLA AugW4 200 p 56

Bearish bet on Nvidia earnings:
NVDA ratio: 
Buy NVDA Aug 55 p 134
Sell 2x NVDA Aug 50 p 34 each

Thu Cover ULTA Aug 230 p 04 for 95% profit
Sell AAPL SepW1 102 p 21

Fri Sell BABA strangle: 
AliBaba gapping higher on earnings
Sell BABA Sep 87.5 p 34
Sell BABA Sep 115 c 12

Sell BRKB SepW1 142 p 28

Cover to free up some buying power:
Cover CAT Aug 77 p 04 for a 90% gain
Cover AAPL Aug 102 p 04 for a 70% gain

Saturday, August 06, 2016


I start the week out quietly then do more trades as the week goes on. I take a speculative shot on TSLA earnings, which doesn't work out. However, I do damage control and come out okay. On PCLN I got in after the gap up, and in the red for now. On some of the others I took a small position, selling way out of the money puts. I am up for the week, but as almost always, more would be better.

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):

Wed Sell SPY Aug 208 p 39
Sell WHR Aug 175 p 48 new long

Buy TSLA call ratio spread: 
Buy TSLA Aug 240 c 319
Sell 2x Aug 250 c 143 each

Thu Telsa earnings fizzle, I close the bot call for a loss
Sell-to-close TSLA Aug 240 c 128 for a 60% loss
I am still short the 250 calls
Sell TSLA Aug 195 p 59

Sell PH Sep 105 p 40 earnings
Sell JACK Sep 85 p 65 earnings

Fri Sell TSLA Aug 207.5 p 99 rebalance

Sell PCLN put vertical 300 credit per unit
Sell PCLN Sep 1300 p 783
Buy PCLN Sep 1250 p 453

Sell MRK Sep 57.5 p 33
Sell AAPL Aug 102 p 15

Sell SPY AugW4 209 p 31

Cover IWM Aug 97 p 01 roll up after a 95% gain
Sell IWM Aug 117 p 18