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.

Long straddle: a guaranteed win?


I came across the following question on Quora: "If an event happened that would sizably move a stock price (ex. poor earnings) from its original point, wouldn’t buying both a put/call option on that price be a guaranteed win? No matter which way the stock price moves, I would make a large return (even if I lost money on the other option)."

First of all, as a general comment, there is no such thing as guaranteed returns in the stock market. If there was, everyone who is trading the stock market would be a millionaire.

 

The proposed trade is called a straddle option

 

A straddle option strategy is vega positive, gamma positive and theta negative trade. That means that all other factors equal, the option straddle will lose money every day due to the time decay, and the loss will accelerate as we get closer to expiration. For the straddle to make money, one of the two things (or both) has to happen: 


1. The stock has to move (no matter which direction).
2. The IV (Implied Volatility) has to increase.  

 

In simple terms, Implied Volatility is the amount of stock price fluctuations. Being on the right side of implied volatility changes can enhance the chances of success. 

 

The problem with the proposed setup is that you are not the only one who knows about the event - it’s a public knowledge, so market participants bid the options prices in anticipation of the event, driving IV to higher than usual levels. After the event the IV usually collapses. If the stock moves more than “implied” by the straddle price, then the straddle will be a winner. BUT more often than not, the options prices overprice the potential move, and when the stock moves less than expected, collapsed IV will make the straddle a loser.

 

Example:

 

NFLX was scheduled to report earnings on October 15, 2015. The stock was trading around $110, and 110 straddle around 15.50. This price "implied" $15.50 move. The following image presents the P/L chart of the trade:

 

nflx before.PNG

As we can see, the IV is around 240% for those options, reflecting the upcoming event.

 

Fast forward 24 hours: the stock moved $9 which is a substantial move, but less than "implied" by the options prices. This is the P/L chart:

 

nflx after.PNG

 

As we can see, IV collapsed to ~85%, and the trade has lost 42%.

 

At SteadyOptions, we trade straddles in a different way. We usually buy a straddle around 7-10 days before the event and sell it 1-2 days before the event when IV peaks. This setup can benefit from the stock moving and/or IV increase.

 

Related articles:

How We Trade Straddle Option Strategy
Buying Premium Prior to Earnings
Can We Profit From Volatility Expansion into Earnings
Understanding Implied Volatility
How We Made 23% On $QIHU Straddle In 4 Hours

 

Want to learn more?

 

Start Your Free Trial

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

  • Is This Rally for Real?

    After being down over 35% from the all time high, S&P 500 has rallied over 20% from the recent lows in just two weeks. Is this rally for real? Or is it just a bear market rally, a "dead cat bounce"? What the "experts" are saying? Has the market bottomed? Will the selling resume?

    By Kim,

    • 0 comments
    • 119 views
  • Financial Planning Lessons From the Pandemic

    The first quarter of this year will end up being one of the most volatile quarters of our investing lives. Many lessons can be learned. Perhaps none are more important than the basic principle of maintaining sufficient cash liquidity in the form of an “emergency fund” during both our working and retirement years.

    By Jesse,

    • 0 comments
    • 84 views
  • Human Nature and Option Risk

    Traders may tend to think of risk in purely mathematical terms. It can be quantified by analysis and by a deep understanding of probability. But there is more to this than just the math, and for options traders, some of the intangible considerations might have more impact on trading decisions than the formulas.

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 162 views
  • Anchor Analysis and Options

    Anyone who has been trading the Anchor Strategy over the past few months should be extremely happy with its performance.  Now that many have realized how well it performs in down markets, one of the most common questions is “what should I do now?”

    By cwelsh,

    • 0 comments
    • 80 views
  • Discount Stock Shopping In High Volatility Markets

    The COVID-19 pandemic has rocked markets over the past month. The fear of the virus, the fear of the impact on global economics from the mitigation taken on by governments, and, finally, the fear of "what’s next" has propelled the VIX.

    By Drew Hilleshiem,

    • 0 comments
    • 385 views
  • The Fallacy of Market Timing

    The headlines say it all. "The worst day since the financial crisis". "Markets in turmoil". And today was "Stock markets post best day in years as governments fight coronavirus with cash". Could anyone predict the crash? And can anyone tell us where we are headed next week/month/year? Is it possible to call the tops and the bottoms?

    By Kim,

    • 0 comments
    • 318 views
  • Long Option Risks

    Among all options, the most easily calculated payoffs are those for long options. But there remains a great misunderstanding, even among experienced option traders. This must be clarified before moving forward. The misunderstanding is often seen expressed online and in the literature: “75% of long options expire worthless.”

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 362 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
    • 464 views
  • Value of Trend Following During Periods of Market Volatility

    Our trend following system looks at two things when planning a position. The first piece is obviously the direction of the trend.  Does the system signal up or down?  The second piece of a position plan is how much risk we are going to take. 

    By RapperT,

    • 1 comment
    • 1,033 views
  • 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,

    • 0 comments
    • 518 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

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

Options Trading Blogs Expertido