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.

Selling Strangles Prior to Earnings


Question from a reader: What is your opinion on a short strangle vs a short straddle? I understand the same unlimited risk will be there because you are trading naked options. I found that one strategy I have had some success with in paper trading is using short strangles around earnings to take advantage of large drops in volatility.

I was taught that one of the assumptions used in this strategy is that for the most part, the market has all ready priced the option correctly for the upcoming news so by allowing for some price movement within your strangle, this is more of a volatility play than a price play.

 

Mark's response:

 

1) To me they are the same, with the straddle being a subset of the strangle  In other words, a straddle is merely a strangle when the strikes and expiration dates are the same.

 

I prefer the strangle because it allows the trader to choose call and put strike prices independently, rather than being 'forced' to choose the same strike.  I prefer to sell OTM calls and puts – and that's not possible with a straddle.

 

As far as unlimited risk is concerned, that's a decision for each trader.  I prefer the smaller reward and increased safety of selling credit spreads (an iron condor position), but that is not relevant to today's post.

 

2) A clarification.  In is not 'volatility' that incurs a large decrease after the news is released.  Instead it is the implied volatility of the options.  I'm fairly certain that is what you meant to say.

 

3) Your earnings plays are far riskier than you currently believe them to be. These are not horrible trades, but neither are they as simple as you make them out to be.

 

4) I must disagree with whomever it was who told you that "the market has priced the option correctly for the upcoming news."  The market has made an estimate of how much the stock price is likely to move.  Note that this move may be either higher or lower ad that this difference is ignored when the size of the move is estimated.

 

There is no formal prediction of move size.  There is nothing that says the stock will move 6.35 points.  What happens is the implied volatility rises as longs as more and more buyers send orders to purchase options.  And it makes no difference if they are calls or puts.  At some point option prices stabilize (or the market closes for the day) and a 'final' implied volatility can be measured. 

 

From the IV, the 'anticipated move' for the underlying is determined.  AsI said, it's not as is everyone agreed on how much the stock will move.

 

I hope you understand that when the news is released, there is very little chance that the predicted move is the correct move.  Many times the move is far less than expected.  That's the reason why selling options prior to earnings can be very profitable.  The IV collapses because another substantial price change is NOT expected and there is no reason to pay a high IV to buy either calls or puts.

 

However, if you chose to sell an option that was not very far out of the money (OTM), and if the stock moves far enough, then the IV decrease doesn't do a whole lot of good.  Sure you gain as IV plunges, but you can easily incur a substantial loss when the short option has moved significantly into the money.

 

Also remember that part of the time thet stock price gaps by far more than expected.  In that scenario, a higher quantity of formerly OTM options are now ITM.  Thus, large losses are not only possible, but they are more frequent that you realize.  Apparently your trades have worked out well (so far).

 

Think about this:  If those option buyers did not profit often enough to encourage them to pay 'high' prices for the options they buy, they would have stopped buying them long ago.  The truth is that these option buyers collect often enough to keep them coming back for more. 

 

5) That means you must be selective in which options you sell into earnings news.  This is especially true when you elect to sell naked options.  You cannot options on every stock, hoping that any random play will work.  This is a high risk/high reward game.  It's okay to participate, but please be aware of what you are doing and the risk involved.

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

  • Great reversal signal – 50 MA with 8 EMA

    Options traders continually seek the elusive “sure thing” reversal signal. Of course, there is no such thing. But there are ways to use combined signals to identify likely reversal points. Add in strong confirming signals, and you have a reliable system for entering and exiting options trades.

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 172 views
  • Why Bother with Annualized Return?

    Most options traders realize that annualizing returns does not reflect what you can expect to earn consistently. It is, however, a way to make relevant comparisons between outcomes of different holding periods.The first big question is, What is the basis for calculating a net return?

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 1,323 views
  • Is 5% a Good Return For Options Trades?

    I'm often asked if 5% is a good return for an options trade. The answer is: it depends. One of the myths of options trading is that you should aim for at least 100% gain in each option trade, otherwise it is not worth the risk. Is it really the case?

    By Kim,

    • 0 comments
    • 399 views
  • How to Trade Volatility

    When trading options, one of the hardest concepts for beginner traders to learn is volatility, and specifically HOW TO TRADE VOLATILITY. After receiving numerous emails from people regarding this topic, I wanted to take an in depth look at option volatility.

    By GavinMcMaster,

    • 0 comments
    • 1,511 views
  • The Real Meaning of the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH)

    Most traders have heard of the efficient market hypothesis (EMH) and most believe they know what it means. In a nutshell, it is a belief that the market is “efficient” and that the current price of shares is a reflection of efficiency. Right? Wrong.

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 995 views
  • Put Permanent Portfolio

    Harry Browne popularized the concept of the "Permanent Portfolio" decades ago by recommending an asset allocation of 25% stocks, 25% bonds, 25% gold, and 25% cash. In the 90's, the concept of "risk parity" also became popular with writings by Cliff Asness of AQR Capital.

    By Jesse,

    • 0 comments
    • 1,511 views
  • Does HFT Harm Individual Investors?

    What is the overall impact of High Frequency Trading (HFT)? Some traders believe that the use of algorithms in super-fast and powerful computers allows large hedge funds and other institutions to beat the market, implying that because these big traders can out-perform individuals, profits are unfairly gained. But is it true?

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 1,393 views
  • Defining the Anchor Strategy

    Lorintine Capital and Steady Options have been trading the Anchor strategy for a number of years. During this time Anchor has evolved as we have learned more, in no short part due to the Steady Option’s members continuing questioning of the strategy, insights they provide, and a large group of individuals seeking to improve the strategy’s efficiency. 

    By cwelsh,

    • 0 comments
    • 784 views
  • The Life Of An Options Contract

    You may be asking yourself why am I reading this basic article about options trading? Well, if you’re anything like me, I didn’t learn options trading via the fundamentals.  Rather, I found a few strategies that made sense to me and started trading, without much regard to the underlying workings and details.

    By Drew Hilleshiem,

    • 1 comment
    • 2,902 views
  • Volatility Trends in the DJIA

    Options traders focus, often too much, on implied volatility to estimate the next change in option valuation. Is this always a wise policy? Options are derived from volatility in the underlying security (thus the term derivatives), a good question is: Why not focus on volatility trends in the underlying (historical volatility) to judge likely future valuation trends in options?

    By Michael C. Thomsett,

    • 0 comments
    • 1,672 views

  Report Article

We want to hear from you!


 

Mark, You are back! Just today I picked up your Rookies books and re-read the chapters on diagonals (for about the 20th time). When you wrote the second edition you added a chapter for calendars and also some additional material on diagonals. With regard to volatility (IV) and also VIX would you say that a trade consideration should be low put volatility for entry and bank on the high theta for the short side?

 

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites


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 emoticons maximum 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