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.

# Calculating ROI on Credit Spreads

The trigger to this article was a discussion I had with someone on Reddit. There is a common misconception about calculating gains on trades that require margin, like credit spreads and short options (naked puts/calls, strangles or straddles). I believe it is important to explain how to do it properly.

Here is a snapshot of the discussion:

Lets examine two cases, using the same underlying (BABA).

Lets say you decided to sell 130/135 credit spread for \$1.00 credit. The P/L chart look like this:

As we can see, the margin requirement is \$400 (the difference between the spread width and the credit), the maximum gain is 25% and the maximum loss 100%. Maximum gain is realized if the stocks stays below \$130 by expiration and both options expire worthless. maximum loss is realized if the stock is above \$135 by expiration and both options are ITM. In this case your loss is the \$5 less the \$1 credit.

Short Strangle

Now lets see what happens if we try to sell a naked (short) strangle, using 110 puts and 140 calls, for the same credit of \$1.00. Here is the P/L chart:

As we can see, the margin jumps to almost \$1,250. Maximum dollar gains remains the same (\$100), but return on margin is reduced to only 8%. If you sold the strangle for \$1.00 and bought it back for \$0.75, you made \$25, which is around 2% return on margin.

Here is a general guideline how to calculate ROI on credit spreads.

Let say we open a 10 point wide credit spread (i.e. there are 10 points between the sell leg and the buy leg for the credit spread)  The broker requires \$1000 of maintenance margin to open this credit spread. When we open this credit spread for \$2.00 credit, or \$200. Our risk capital is then \$1000 – \$200 = \$800. The potential ROI is then \$200/\$800 = 25%.  If you close the trade for \$1.00 debit (50% of the maximum gain), your gain is 12.5%, not 50%.

Why it is important you might ask?

Well, lets say you have a \$100k account and decide to allocate 10k (or 10%) per trade. If you allocate 10k per trade and make 25%, you would expect to make \$2,500, so your account grows by 2.5%, right? Well, in case you sold the naked strangle, you can sell only 8 contracts based on the margin and your allocation. When you buy the 8 contracts back for \$0.75, you make \$200, which is 2% gain on \$10k trade.

If you are still not convinced, here is another way to look at it:

• When you sell a \$5 wide credit spread and get \$1 credit, you risk \$4 to make \$1. Your risk/reward is 1:4 - you can lose 100% and make 25%.
• When you sell a \$10 wide credit spread and get \$1 credit, you risk \$9 to make \$1. Your risk/reward is 1:9 - you can lose 100% and make 11.1%.

I hope you can see how margin impacts the returns when you are selling options.

Related articles:

Complete Portfolio Approach

Diversified Options Strategies

Exclusive Community Forum

High Quality Education

Risk Management, Portfolio Size

Performance based on real fills

Try It Free

Non-directional Options Strategies

Targets 5-7% Monthly Net Return

### Articles

• #### Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Value

A lot is written about intrinsic value, but how does it work and what does it mean? The fact is, intrinsic value is an estimate of how future premium levels will change. It is base don current volatility and a set of assumptions. In dividing premium into its component parts, most descriptions deal with intrinsic and time value.

By Michael C. Thomsett,

• 139 views
• #### McDonald's, Not A Shelter in the Coming Storm

The amount of time and effort that investors spend assessing the risks versus the potential returns of their portfolio should shift as the economy and markets cycle over time. For example, when an economic recovery finally breaks the grip of a recession, and asset prices and valuations have fallen to average or below-average levels, price and economic risks are greatly diminished.

By Michael Lebowitz,

• 139 views
• #### Risk Depends On Your Time Horizon

Those who are nearing retirement and those who have recently retired represent the majority of my financial planning and investment advisory client base. One of the most common mistakes I hear from these types of individuals is something similar to “I no longer have enough time for the market to come back.”

By Jesse,

• 119 views
• #### Estimating Gamma for Calls or Puts

In a recent article, the details for estimate Delta were explained. This article deals with estimates of Gamma, which is denoted with the Greek symbol Γ. This calculation measures the rate of change in Delta and is summarized in percentage form. It is alternatively called the option’s curvature.

By Michael C. Thomsett,

• 390 views
• #### Why Options Traders Fail?

In the last 8 years, I trained thousands of options traders. I have seen many success stories, but also a lot of failures. There are a lot of reasons why many options traders fail. Here are the most common reasons, courtesy of our good friend and veteran options trader Gavin McMaster

By Kim,

• 831 views
• #### Using ORATS Wheel To Test Entries and Exits

My favorite option strategy backtester is ORATS Wheel, which includes a free trial for those interested. In the Steady Momentum PutWrite Strategy (SMPW), we sell out of the money puts on global equity indexes and ETF’s while holding our collateral in short and intermediate term fixed income ETF’s.

By Jesse,

• 552 views
• #### Estimating Delta for Calls or Puts

Options trading relies on many estimates of value and volatility. Among these, the most useful estimate is Delta. Even knowledgeable options traders might not fully understand the “Greeks” and how they operate, especially with one another. They are directly related and are useful in making comparisons of market risk and volatility.

By Michael C. Thomsett,

• 536 views
• #### Are Covered Calls a ‘Sure Thing?’

Most covered call writers enjoy the regularity and reliability of the position. In the majority of cases, the covered call will be profitable, even when underlying shares are called away. This assumes that the strike is higher than the basis in the underlying, and that the call writer understands the real limitations to the strategy.

By Michael C. Thomsett,

• 891 views
• #### Lessons from Bill Ackman's comeback

Bill Ackman is an American investor, hedge fund manager and philanthropist. He is the founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, a hedge fund management company. Ackman is considered by some to be a contrarian investor but considers himself an activist investor.

By Kim,

• 1 comment
• 2,072 views
• #### Steady Futures 2019 Performance Analysis

Steady Futures began trading the 50K portfolio in July 2019. It produced a 8.5% return during its 6 months of performance (18.0% annualized). We had three goals when we developed this system. First, we wanted a robust system that benefits from turmoil in the markets.

By RapperT,

• 562 views

Report Article

## We want to hear from you!

There are no comments to display.

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator