SteadyOptions is an options trading forum where you can find solutions from top options traders. TRY IT FREE!

We’ve all been there… researching options strategies and unable to find the answers we’re looking for. SteadyOptions has your solution.

Backtesting Pre Earnings Straddles Using CML TradeMachine

Our members know that buying pre earnings straddles is one of our most consistent and profitable strategies. Yet some options "gurus" continue conducting studies, trying to prove that the strategy doesn't work. Today we will show how to do the backtesting properly, using the CML TradeMachine, the best backtester in the industry.

We already debunked some of those "studies" here and here. Today we will debunk another study, and will show how to do it properly.

On July 7, 2015, tastytrade conducted a study using AAPL, GMCR, AMZN and TSLA. An ATM straddle was purchased 21 days prior to earnings and closed the day before earnings. A table showed the results. The win rate, total P/L, average P/L per day, biggest win and biggest loss were shown:


Their conclusion:


Wait... They concluded that buying volatility prior to earnings doesn't work based on 4 stocks? Why those 4 specific stocks? Why 21 days prior to earnings?

Our members know that those 4 stocks are among the worst to use for this strategy. They also know that entering 21 days prior to earnings is usually way too early (there are some exceptions).

Also, what is a significance of dollar P/L when comparing stocks like AMZN and AAPL? At current prices, AMZN straddle would cost around $8,500 while AAPL straddle around $1,200. Theoretically, if we had a 10% loss on AMZN (-$850) and 50% gain on AAPL ($600), the total P/L would be -$250. But the correct calculation would be total P/L of +40% because we need to give equal dollar weight to all trades.

But lets see how changing just one parameter can change the results dramatically. We will be using AAPL as an example. 

First lets use the study parameter of 21 days.

Tap Here to See the back-test

Entering 21 days prior to earnings is indeed a losing proposition. But lets change it to 10 days and see what happens:

Tap Here to See the back-test


Can you see how changing one single parameter changes the results dramatically? I have a feeling that tastytrade knew that 21 days would be not the best time to enter - but using different parameters wouldn't fit their thesis.

Now lets test the strategy on some of our favorite stocks.

NKE, 14 days and 15% profit target:

Tap Here to See the back-test


MSFT, 7 days and 15% profit target:

Tap Here to See the back-test

CSCO, 21 days and 10% profit target:

Tap Here to See the back-test


IBM, 7 days and 15% profit target:

Tap Here to See the back-test


ORCL, 14 days and 20% profit target:

Tap Here to See the back-test


WMT, 7 days and 10% profit target:


Tap Here to See the back-test


As you can see, different stocks require different timing and different profit targets. Some work better entering 7 days prior to earnings, some might improve performance with an entry as early as 21 days prior to earnings.

The bottom line is: you cannot just select random stocks, combine it with random timing and no trade management, and declare that the strategy doesn't work. But if you select the stocks carefully, combine it with the right timing and trade management, it works very well. Here are our results, based on live trades, not skewed "studies":


Related Articles:

Edited by Kim

What Is SteadyOptions?

Full Trading Plan

Complete Portfolio Approach

Diversified Options Strategies

Exclusive Community Forum

Steady And Consistent Gains

High Quality Education

Risk Management, Portfolio Size

Performance based on real fills

Try It Free

Non-directional Options Strategies

10-15 trade Ideas Per Month

Targets 5-7% Monthly Net Return

Visit our Education Center

Recent Articles


  • Bullish Short Strangles

    A bullish short strangle sounds like a complicated strategy, but it’s really quite simple for those familiar with option terminology. A short put is combined with a short call to where the position starts with some amount of positive delta overall. This distinguishes itself from a delta neutral strangle, where both the short put and short call are sold at the same delta.

    By Jesse,

  • Eight Mistakes Every Forex Trader Should Avoid

    The forex market is currently the largest financial market in the world and, due to its highly liquid nature and low barriers to entry, is only expected to grow. Becoming a forex trader requires minimal effort and with a decent internet connection, a laptop or computer, and some spare money to invest, you can start in no time.

    By Kim,

  • Put/Call Parity - Two Definitions

    Put/call parity is a term options traders use to mean one of two things. The simplest definition and the one most applicable to most options traders compares the similarity in the bid/ask spread and the net debit or credit resulting from this.

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

  • Put Selling: Strike Selection Considerations

    When selling puts, such as we do in our Steady Momentum PutWrite strategy, there are many questions a trader must answer: What expiration should I use? What strike should I sell? Should I choose that strike based on delta or percentage out of the money?

    By Jesse,

  • What Can We Learn From UBS YES Lawsuit?

    News followers may have seen the recent stories on UBS being sued by its clients and investors who participated in UBS’s “Yield Enhancement Strategy (YES).”  Evidently, numerous UBS clients signed up to participate in an iron condor strategy that lost a lot of money.They’re angry, and they’re filing a lawsuit.

    By cwelsh,

  • Pinning Down the ‘Option Pinning’

    What many people on SO have in common is that they have read the books of Jeff Augen on options trading. Although written a decade ago they continue to be an interesting source of strategies for the retail investor. Retail investors have particular constraints that make most of the broad theoretical musings on options rather moot.

    By TrustyJules,

  • Holding Positions into Expiration

    "Every once in a while you must go to cash, take a break, take a vacation. Don't try to play the market all the time. It can't be done, too tough on the emotions." - Jesse Livermore

    By Mark Wolfinger,

  • Tales Of How Big Trades Went Wrong

    One way to learn from your past mistakes is having to go through the painful and challenging experience of explaining them. Another way is to listen to others who might have lived through some disgruntling trades. Joseph Trevisani goes deep into the rationale he followed during the volatile EUR/JPY days of 2007 in this article.

    By Kim,

  • Covered Straddle Explained

    The covered straddle is a perfect strategy for those all too common sideways-moving trends. When a company’s stock is in consolidation, how can you make trades? No directional trend exists, so most traders simply wait out this period.

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

  • Why Doesn't Anchor Roll The Long Calls?

    Recently, an Anchor subscriber asked, “Why don’t we roll the long calls in the Leveraged Anchor portfolio after a large gain and take cash off the table?”  This question has a multi-part answer, from taxation to how the delta on a position works.

    By cwelsh,


  Report Article

We want to hear from you!

There are no comments to display.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account. It's easy and free!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Options Trading Blogs