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.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

The Use And The Abuse Of The Weekly Options


Options trading is becoming more and more popular every year. The options become more liquid and more traders use them for hedging, speculation, income etc. Weekly options, first introduced by CBOE in October 2005, are one-week options as opposed to traditional options that have a life of months or years before expiration.

What are Weekly Options? 

For those less familiar with options, they expire on the third Friday of every month. Weekly options, first introduced by CBOE in October 2005, are one-week options as opposed to traditional options that have a life of months or years before expiration. New series for Weekly options are listed each Thursday and expire the following Friday. 

Not every stock or index has weekly options. For those that do, it basically means that every Friday is an expiration Friday. That opens tremendous new opportunities but also introduces new risks which can be much higher than "traditional" monthly options. 

Let's see for example how you could trade Apple (AAPL) using weekly or monthly options. 

 

Are they cheap? Lets buy them. 
 

Apple took a hit after their recent rare earnings miss. Many people think that the selloff is overdone. They want to use the recent pullback as a buying opportunity. The stock closed at $585.16 on Friday, July 27, 2012. Looking at ATM (At The Money) options, we can see that August 18 (monthly) calls can be purchased at $10.10. That would require the stock to close above $595 by August 18 just to break even. However, the weekly options (expiring on August 3, 2012) can be purchased at $6.15. This is 40% cheaper and requires much smaller move. 
 

However, there is a catch. First, you give yourself much less time for your thesis to work out. Second and more importantly, the weekly options are much more exposed to the time decay (the negative theta). 
The theta is a measurement of the option's time decay. The theta measures the rate at which options lose their value, specifically the time value, as the expiration draws nearer. Generally expressed as a negative number, the theta of an option reflects the amount by which the option's value will decrease every day. When you buy options, the theta is your enemy. When you sell them, the theta is your friend. 
 

For the monthly 585 calls, the negative theta is -$0.22. That means that the calls will lose ~2.2% of their value every day all other factors equal. For the weekly calls, the negative theta is a whopping -$0.43 or 7% per day. And that number will accelerate as we get closer to the expiration day. You better be right, and you better be right quickly. 

 

Buying is too risky? Maybe selling is better? 

If this is the case you might say - why not to take the other side of the trade? Why not to use the accelerating theta and sell those options? Or maybe be less risky and sell a credit spread? A credit spread is when you sell an option and buy another option which is further from the underlying price to hedge the risk. 

Many options "gurus" ride the wave of the weekly options and describe selling of weekly options as a cash machine. They say that "It brings money into my clients account weekly. Every Sunday my clients access their accounts and see + + +.” They advise selling weekly credit spreads and present it as a "a safe option strategy because we’re combining an option purchase with an option sale resulting with a credit into your account". 

This strategy can work very well.. until it doesn't. 

Imagine for example someone selling a 133/134 SPY credit spread on Thursday with SPY below $132. That seems like a pretty safe trade, isn't it? After all, we have just one day, what could possibly go wrong? The options will probably expire worthless and the clients will see more cash in their account by Sunday. Well, after the market close, good news from the EU summit took traders by surprise. The next day SPY opened above $135 and the credit spread has lost 100%. So much for the "safe strategy". 

By the way, this was a real trade recommendation from one of the options "gurus". He is charging $2,500 for his advice. 

So what is the biggest problem with selling the weekly options? The answer is the negative gamma. 

The gamma is a measure of the rate of change of its delta. The gamma of an option is expressed as a percentage and reflects the change in the delta in response to a one point movement of the underlying stock price. When you buy options, the gamma is your friend. When you sell them, the gamma is your enemy. 

When you are short weekly options (or any options which expire in a short period of time), you have a large negative gamma. Any sharp move in the underlying will cause significant losses, and there is nothing you can do about it. 

 

The Bottom Line 

So is the conclusion that you should not trade the weekly options? Not necessarily. They can be a good addition to a diversified options portfolio - as long as you are aware of the risks and allocate only small portion of the account to those trades.

 

Link to the original article

 

Related articles:

 

    Want to learn how to reduce risk and put probabilities in your favor?


    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

    • 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,

      • 0 comments
      • 41 views
    • 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,

      • 0 comments
      • 35 views
    • 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,

      • 0 comments
      • 227 views
    • 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,

      • 0 comments
      • 260 views
    • 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,

      • 2 comments
      • 863 views
    • 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,

      • 0 comments
      • 367 views
    • 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,

      • 0 comments
      • 294 views
    • 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,

      • 0 comments
      • 302 views
    • 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,

      • 0 comments
      • 454 views
    • 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,

      • 0 comments
      • 283 views

      Report Article
    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0


    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