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.

Island Clusters as Strong Reversals


Options traders constantly seek the elusive reliable reversal signal. A few unusual but strong reversals are worth looking for, and their patterns reveal likely exceptional timing for opening or closing option trades. One example of this exceptionally strong signal is the island cluster (or, island reversal).

The attributes are easily spotted on a chart, but it does not appear often. It consists of three specific parts. First, price gaps away from the current trading range, either above or below. The gap itself is significant, but it can mean may things: reversal, continuation, or just momentary volatility.

The second attribute is trading in the new range, but only for a limited number of sessions. The “typical” island cluster consists of three to six sessions. Every trader knows that several things can happen next: Continued trading in the new range, movement in the same direction, or movement reversing and going back to the previous range. In other words, at the point of the second phase, you cannot know what will happen next.

The third attribute is where a call to action occurs. It consists of a gap in the opposite direction, setting up the cluster. Now there is a limited trading activity set off by gaps on both sides, concluding with price moving back to the previous level. This forecasts a strong trend in the direction of the second gap.

An example of this was seen on the chart of Cummins (CMI). In August and September price was stuck in consolidation between $135 and $145 per share. A breakout in late September took price above the consolidation range and led to a strong downtrend in October. Price moved from a high of $152 down to $139 in less than two weeks. Then a gap appeared, moving price further, down to $134.

 

 image.png

 

The new low was significant, as it remained below the previous support level during consolidation, of $135 per share. Trading remained in this range, from $135 down to $125 for six sessions.

Next, price gapped higher, from a close of about $133 up above $135. In this pattern, creating an island cluster, the signal was clear. Because the price after the gap closed at the previous support price during consolidation, the signal clearly predicted a new bullish move.

This is typical after the island cluster. Price tends to move away from the cluster, often strongly, and to either set up a new range, or to remain volatile in the short term. Either event is appealing to options traders.

In the example, CMI price did as predicted, moving higher. This is shown in the second chart.

 

image.png

  

This chart extends beyond the timing of the island cluster. The six-day island cluster was visible after the pattern was concluded. As predicted, it took price higher over the following month, moving from $135 to as high as $155. It later plunged back to $125 over the first three weeks of December, then turning bullish once again.

The volatility after the conclusion of the island cluster could be disturbing to many equity traders. But to options traders, this situation sets up attractive swing trading possibilities, especially given the overall range between $125 on the low side and $155 on the high side.

Trading options at the conclusion of the island cluster is indicated in one of the following ways:

Open short calls and open long puts should be closed based on this pattern. As the island cluster ended, the forecast was for a strong move to higher prices.

Open short puts and open long calls should be left open due to the pattern. The conclusion of the island cluster predicts price move higher, meaning the open short put will lose value in coming days or weeks and can be bought to close at a profit or allowed to expire worthless.

For traders with no open positions, the conclusion of an island cluster indicates new trades that should be opened, and timing is excellent for a bullish move. However, before embarking on any new positions, seek confirmation from a secondary signal. The long white session before the concluding gap, followed by another long white session on the second day after the gap, may be view as bullish confirmation.

A bullish trade is indicated when the island cluster occurs to the downside, as in this example. This may consist of selling to open a short put or buying to open a long call. The opposite trades would be indicated when an island cluster occurs above the current range and pointing to the likelihood of a bearish reversal.

Timing of trades depends on a trader’s strategic viewpoint. For long options, a one-month time to expiration is likely to work best. Price will not include excessive time value and time decay will not accelerate until the final two weeks of the option’s life. For short options, the idea timing is one week to 10 days. This will include a weekend with following Friday expiration and time decay will be rapid. This means the chances for being able to buy to close at a profit will be at maximum.

The weekend is essential in the timing of a short trade. On average, options lose one-third of their remaining time value between he Friday before expiration and the Monday of expiration week. This timing, combined with the exceptional reversal signal provided by the island cluster, is the key element to timing of options trades in this situation.

The same overall timing strategy can be applied to any strong signal with confirmation, and timing is as important as proximity in every instance. The idea option trade will be at the money or slightly out of the money (for long) or in the money (for short). These proximity guidelines minimize cost for long positions while keeping the trade close to the strike; and maximize premium income for short positions while setting up the opportunity for profits from rapid time decay – all if price behaves as expected. And this is the element of uncertainty that makes options trading interesting. Manageable risk levels produce profits when reversal and confirmation are recognized … most of the time. However, traders – especially swing traders – also need to be realistic about the possibility that even the strongest signals are misleading at times.  

Michael C. Thomsett is a widely published author with over 80 business and investing books, including the best-selling Getting Started in Options, coming out in its 10th edition later this year. He also wrote the recently released The Mathematics of Options. Thomsett is a frequent speaker at trade shows and blogs on his website at Thomsett Guide as well as on Seeking Alpha, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. 

 

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

Articles

  • Probability vs. Certainty Trap

    We all would like all our trades to be winners, but we know this is not possible. We know some of the trades will be losers. Many traders think that if a trade has lost money, it was a bad trade. They try to identify what errors they made that lead to losses. Why? "Because I lost money! So surely I have made a mistake somewhere?”

    By Kim,

    • 2 comments
    • 6,236 views
  • How To Choose The Right Platform For Your Stock Trading

    The interest in stock trading has increased due to its higher returns and profit potentials. Like the many traders available, there are numerous approaches and platforms to set your trading environment. Online trading platforms provide adequate resources and tools for their clients' trading success.

    By Kim,

    • 0 comments
    • 1,303 views
  • How To Approach Passive Investing

    Passive investing refers to an investment technique that seeks to increase returns by limiting purchasing and selling. One of the most popular passive investment strategies is index investing, this means that a group of investors buy a representative benchmark, and keep hold of this over a long period.

    By Kim,

    • 0 comments
    • 1,284 views
  • How Anchor Survived the 2020 Crash

    We are often asked how the Anchor strategy performed during the market crash of 2020. The monthly performance can be seen on the performance page, but it shows the End of Month values and doesn't tell the whole picture. This article will shows a detailed analysis of the Anchor portfolio during the crash.

    By Kim,

    • 2 comments
    • 2,902 views
  • Lumpy Dividends and Options

    Dividend payments, like oatmeal, may be smooth or lumpy. Smooth dividends are predictable, usually once per quarter. It is easy for options traders to believe these dividends are guaranteed, because they usually continue uninterrupted quarter after quarter. This also makes it easy to predict total return over a longer time span.

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 3,152 views
  • Got Crypto? Here's How to Use It

    Cryptocurrencies are fast becoming an accepted personal and corporate finance method - much to the chagrin of centralized banks and established financial institutions. The reasons are numerous, but in a nutshell, the decentralization of massive amounts of currency poses a threat to their systems.

    By Kim,

    • 0 comments
    • 1,902 views
  • Option Payoff Probability

    Many options analyses focus on profit, loss and breakeven. These show what occurs on expiration day, assuming the option remains open to that point. But this is not realistic. Most options are closed or exercised before expiration, is calculation of how probable a payoff is going to be, how likely the loss, or the exact neutral outcome (breakeven), are all unrealistic.

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 1,746 views
  • How to Open Your Own Trading Office

    Are you ready to break out on your own? Have you been trading for a company for years making tons of money for yourself and others? Are you ready to take home a bigger piece of the pie? If you answered “yes” to these questions then you have the skills necessary to take your passion for trading to the next level.

    By Kim,

    • 0 comments
    • 2,031 views
  • How To Create Your Own Indexed Annuity

    Indexed annuities are a life insurance company product sold by insurance brokers for a commission that is based on the amount deposited into the contract. Contract performance is linked to popular indexes like S&P 500, and early withdrawal penalties typically apply for the first 7-10 years if withdrawals greater than 10% of the contract value are taken each year.

    By Jesse,

    • 0 comments
    • 2,705 views
  • Q&A with Mental Game Coach Jared Tendler

    QUESTION: Thank you for taking the time to participate in a Q & A session with Steady Option. Let’s start with an introduction and a little bit of background on who you are and how you got here.

    By Jared Tendler,

    • 0 comments
    • 2,593 views

  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 Expertido