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  1. About six months ago, I came across an excellent book by Jeff Augen, “The Volatility Edge in Options Trading”. One of the strategies described in the book is called “Exploiting Earnings - Associated Rising Volatility”. Here is how it works: Find a stock with a history of big post-earnings moves. Buy a strangle for this stock about 7-14 days before earnings. Sell just before the earnings are announced. For those not familiar with the strangle strategy, it involves buying calls and puts on the same stock with different strikes. If you want the trade to be neutral and not directional, you structure the trade in a way that calls and puts are the same distance from the underlying price. For example, with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) trading at $190, you could buy $200 calls and $180 puts. IV (Implied Volatility) usually increases sharply a few days before earnings, and the increase should compensate for the negative theta. If the stock moves before earnings, the position can be sold for a profit or rolled to new strikes. Like every strategy, the devil is in details. The following questions need to be answered: Which stocks should be used? I tend to trade stocks with post-earnings moves of at least 5-7% in the last four earnings cycles; the larger the move the better. When to buy? IV starts to rise as early as three weeks before earnings for some stocks and just a few days before earnings for others. Buy too early and negative theta will kill the trade. Buy too late and you might miss the big portion of the IV increase. I found that 5-7 days usually works the best. Which strikes to buy? If you go far OTM (Out of The Money), you get big gains if the stock moves before earnings. But if the stock doesn’t move, closer to the money strikes might be a better choice. Since I don’t know in advance if the stock will move, I found deltas in the 20-30 range to be a good compromise. The selection of the stocks is very important to the success of the strategy. The following simple steps will help with the selection: Click here. Filter stocks with movement greater than 5% in the last 3 earnings. For each stock in the list, check if the options are liquid enough. Using those simple steps, I compiled a list of almost 100 stocks which fit the criteria. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV), Priceline (PCLN), Amazon (AMZN), First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR), Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ:AKAM), Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG), Saleforce (NYSE:CRM), Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN), Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) are among the best candidates for this strategy. Those stocks usually experience the largest pre-earnings IV spikes. So I started using this strategy in July. The results so far are promising. Average gains have been around 10-12% per trade, with an average holding period of 5-7 days. That might not sound like much, but consider this: you can make about 20 such trades per month. If you allocate just 5% per trade, you earn 20*10%*0.05=10% return per month on the whole account while risking only 25-30% (5-6 trades open at any given time). Does it look better now? Under normal conditions, a strangle trade requires a big and quick move in the underlying. If the move doesn’t happen, the negative theta will kill the trade. In case of the pre-earnings strangle, the negative theta is neutralized, at least partially, by increasing IV. In some cases, the theta is larger than the IV increase and the trade is a loser. However, the losses in most cases are relatively small. Typical loss is around 10-15%, in some rare cases it might reach 25-30%. But the winners far outpace the losers and the strategy is overall profitable. Market environment also plays a role in the strategy performance. The strategy performs the best in a volatile environment when stocks move a lot. If none of the stocks move, most of the trades would be around breakeven or small losers. Fortunately, over time, stocks do move. In fact, big chunk of the gains come from stock movement and not IV increases. The IV increase just helps the trade not to lose in case the stock doesn’t move. In the next article I will explain why, in my opinion, it usually doesn’t pay to hold through earnings. The original article was published here.
  2. First, a reminder: Straddle construction: Buy 1 ATM Call Buy 1 ATM Put Strangle construction: Buy 1 OTM Call Buy 1 OTM Put Reverse Iron Condor construction: Buy 1 OTM Put Sell 1 OTM Put (Lower Strike) Buy 1 OTM Call Sell 1 OTM Call (Higher Strike) When buying a straddle, we are buying calls and puts with the same strikes and expiration. When buying a strangle, we are buying calls and puts with different strikes. The strangle will have the largest negative theta (as percentage of the trade value, not absolute dollars). Further you go OTM, the bigger the negative theta. If the stock moves, the strangle will benefit the most. If it doesn't it will lose the most. I found that if I have enough time before expiration, deltas in the 25-30 range provide a reasonable compromise. For lower priced stocks, I would prefer a ATM (At The Money) straddle (buying the same strikes). Strangle on a $20 stock might be very commissions consuming, plus the negative theta might be too big. Please note that when I'm talking about the theta being larger or smaller, I'm always referring to percentages, not dollar amounts. In absolute dollars, the theta is always be the largest for ATM options. However, since those options are also more expensive in dollar terms, percentage wise the theta will be the smallest. Generally speaking, dollar P/L is usually similar for strangles and straddles. However, since strangles are cheaper in dollar terms, percentage P/L will be higher for strangles. This applies to both winners and losers, which makes a strangle a more aggressive trade (higher percentage wins but also higher percentage losses). If the stock price moves significantly, strangles will likely produce higher returns. But if the stock doesn't move and IV increase is not enough to offset the negative theta, strangles will also lose more. For higher priced stocks (over $100) I will usually do RIC. Since you sell a further OTM strangle against the purchased strangle, this reduces the theta of the overall position. It might be the least risky position and still benefit from IV jump like AMZN trade. I prefer to have spreads of $5 for RIC. Since I don't know what will happen with the stock I play, I prefer to have a mix of all three. In case of a big move, strangles will provide the best returns. When IV is low, RIC will provide some protection against the theta while still having nice gains from time to time. Remember: those are not homerun trades. You might have a series of breakevens or small losers, but one down day can compensate for the whole month. This is why I want to be prepared when it happens. In August I had 4 doubles in two days (but I played mostly strangles). When you want to trade earnings and expect a big move, those strategies can provide excellent returns. RIC has limited profit potential, but when the stock moves less than expected, it can provide better returns than straddle or strangle with less risk. The bottom line: Strangle is the most aggressive trade, with higher risk and higher reward. It has the highest negative theta (as percentage of the trade price) so it will lose the most if the stock doesn't move and/or IV doesn't increase enough to offset the theta. RIC is the most conservative trade. Straddle falls in the middle, and many times it provides the best risk/reward. Let me know if you have any questions. Related articles How We Trade Straddle Option Strategy Reverse Iron Condor Strategy Why We Sell Our Straddles Before Earnings Want to learn more? We discuss all our trades on our forum. Start Your Free Trial
  3. Here is how their methodology works: In theory, if you knew exactly what price a stock would be immediately before earnings, you could purchase the corresponding straddle a number of days beforehand. To test this, we looked at the past 4 earnings cycles in 5 different stocks. We recorded the closing price of each stock immediately before the earnings announcement. We then went back 14 days and purchased the straddle using the strikes recorded on the close prior to earnings. We closed those positions immediately before earnings were to be reported. Study Parameters: TSLA, LNKD, NFLX, AAPL, GOOG Past 4 earnings cycles 14 days prior to earnings - purchased future ATM straddle Sold positions on the close before earnings The results: Future ATM straddle produced average ROC of -19%. As an example: In the previous cycle, TSLA was trading around $219 two weeks before earnings. The stock closed around $201 a day before earnings. According to tastytrade methodology, they would buy the 200 straddle 2 weeks before earnings. They claim that this is the best case scenario for buying pre-earnings straddles. My Rebuttal Wait a minute.. This is a straddle, not a calendar. For a calendar, the stock has to trade as close to the strike as possible to realize the maximum gain. For a straddle, it's exactly the opposite: When you buy a straddle, you want the stock to move away from your strike, not towards the strike. You LOSE the maximum amount of money if the stock moves to the strike. In case of TSLA, if you wanted to trade pre-earnings straddle 2 weeks before earnings when the stock was at $219, you would purchase the 220 straddle, not 200 straddle. If you do that, you start delta neutral and have some gamma gains when the stock moves to $200. But if you start with 200 straddle, your initial setup is delta positive, while you know that the stock will move against you. It still does not guarantee that the straddle will be profitable. You need to select the best timing (usually 5-7 days, not 14 days) and select the stocks carefully (some stocks are better candidates than others). But using tastytrade methodology would GUARANTEE that the strategy will lose money 90% of the time. It almost feels like they deliberately used those parameters to reach the conclusion they wanted. As a side note, the five stocks they selected for the study are among the worst possible candidates for this strategy. It almost feels like they selected the worst possible parameters in terms of strike, timing and stocks, in order to reach the conclusion they wanted to reach. At SteadyOptions, buying pre-earnings straddles is one of our key strategies. It works very well for us. Check out our performance page for full results. As you can see from our results, "Buying Premium Prior To Earnings" is still alive and kicking. Not exactly "Nail In The Coffin". Comment: the segment has been removed from tastytrade website, which shows that they realized how absurd it was. We linked to the YouTube video which is still there. Of course the devil is in the details. There are many moving parts to this strategy: When to enter? Which stocks to use? How to manage the position? When to take profits? And much more. But overall, this strategy has been working very well for us. If you want to learn more how to use it (and many other profitable strategies): Start Your Free Trial Related Articles: How We Trade Straddle Option Strategy Can We Profit From Volatility Expansion into Earnings Long Straddle: A Guaranteed Win? Why We Sell Our Straddles Before Earnings Long Straddle: A Guaranteed Win? How We Made 23% On QIHU Straddle In 4 Hours
  4. Michael C. Thomsett

    Long and Short Straddles: Opposite Structures

    The long and short straddle are normally understood only in terms of how money flows. In a long straddle, the trader pays, and risk is mainly one of time versus price movement. In a short straddle, the trader is paid, and risk involves time decay and time to expiration. But does this really explain how these two strategies work? In both forms of the straddle, the key to risk and profit potential is volatility. But the significance is opposite. A long trader tends to realize the greatest possibility of profits when underlying volatility is high; a short trader relies on declining time value and will reduce exercise risks when volatility is low. Long profits The formula for maximum profit in a long straddle is twofold, as maximum profit will be found at the upper price or the lower price: U – S – ( P + F ) = Pu S – U – ( P + F ) = Pl When U = underlying price S = strike P = premium paid F = trading fees Pu = upper profit Pl = lower profit Breakeven point also is found at two price points: S + P + F = Bu S – P + F = Bl When S = strike P = premium paid F = trading fees Bu = upper breakeven Bl = lower breakeven Finally, maximum loss occurs when the underlying price is at strike at expiration. Both sides expire worthless and loss is equal to premium paid: P + F = M When P = premium paid F = fees paid M = maximum loss For example, a long straddle consists of the following positions: Buy one 105 call, ask 3.40 plus trading fees = $349 Buy one 105 put, ask 3.10 plus trading fees = $319 Total debit $668 Possible outcomes, assuming a movement in the underlying of 8 points: Upper profit: 113 – 105 – 6.68 = $132 Lower profit: 105 – 90 – 6.68 = $832 Upper breakeven: 105 + 6.68 = $121.68 Lower breakeven: 105 – 6.68 = $98.32 Maximum loss: 6.50 + 0.18 = $668 These outcomes are diagrammed in the following payoff chart. Short profits The opposite occurs for a short straddle. Traders want underlying prices to remain as close as possible to the strike so profits will result from declining time value and, ultimately, worthless expiration. Although short straddle profits are limited to the net premiums received, the strategy is appealing to those willing to be exposed to the risk. Maximum profit is: P – F = M When P = premium received F = trading fees M = maximum profit Breakeven occurs at two points, upper and lower: ­S + ( P – F ) = Bu S – ( P – F ) = Bl When S = strike P = premium received Bu = upper breakeven Bl = lower breakeven Maximum loss is unlimited and depends on how far the underlying price moves. It occurs at two points: U > S – ( P – F ) U < S – ( P – F ) When U = underlying price S = strike P = premium received F = trading fees For example, a short straddle is constructed with the following positions: Sell one 105 call, bid 3.20, less trading fees = $311 Sell one 105 put, bid 2.90, less trading fees = $281 Net credit = $592 Outcomes for this trade, assuming a 215-point movement ibn the underlying, are: Maximum profit: $610 - $18 = $592 Upper breakeven: 105 + 5.92 = $110.92 Lower breakeven: 105 – 5.92 = $99.08 Upper loss: 112 – 5 – 5.92 = $108 Lower loss: 105 – 97 – 5.92 = $208 These outcomes are also summarized in the diagram. The complexity of the long and short straddle is clarified by the realization that they operate in opposite directions – limited profit versus unlimited profit, and limited risk versus unlimited risk. The nature of the short straddle must be further modified by the realization that collateral is required. For two positions, a total equal to potential exercise requires deposit of a significant sum. As a result, capital is tied up between position entry and expiration date. A completely accurate analysis should include calculation of the internal rate of return, given the requirement for depositing capital in the margin account. This is a significant variable; the longer the time to expiration, the more expensive it is to open a short straddle. 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 websiteat Thomsett Guide as well as on Seeking Alpha, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Related articles: How We Trade Straddle Option Strategy Buying Premium Prior To Earnings - Does It Work? Can We Profit From Volatility Expansion Into Earnings? Long Straddle: A Guaranteed Win? Selling Strangles Prior To Earnings Straddle Option Overview Long Straddle Through Earnings Backtest Straddles - Risks Determine When They Are Best Used
  5. jhollett

    Longer Dated Long Straddle

    Hey Everyone, I just signed up for Volatility HQ to run some data on something I've been doing on my own and the reason I came to this service. I will use the stock KR to explain what I'm saying (by the way it also seems to be the best fit for my theory based on a quick search). What I understand the theory of the hedged straddle to be is to set a long straddle on the lowest possible RV decliners to get the cheapest possible chance at gamma gains. I have been trading something similar for a while now but using longer term options that have less time decay as well as less IV % bump. Now that I've signed up for Vol HQ I can compare both options directly. Here is a chart for the straddle RV with the first expiration after earnings as well as a chart with a long straddle with the expiration 100+ days after earnings. The first chart with the short term options has the RV decline from 9.1% to 6.8%, thus needing a gamma move or a strong hedge to counter this decline if the stock stays put. But the second chart with the long term options of 100+ days starts at 17.8% RV and ends in 30 days at 18.3% RV. Is this not free exposure to gamma? (NOTE: being new to Volatility HQ I could not figure out how to turn off the short strangle hedge in the Advanced Options area so they may be skewing results, but when I adjusted the short strangle % nothing changed)
  6. I wanted to share yesterday's trade... especially for other newbies looking to try a few low value trades. I've been buying Thursday straddles for the following day expiration. I also bought an HD yesterday. I think recent options are underpricing how much this crazy market has been moving on many Fridays. If you want to try it, I suggest you buy a tight straddle. I've lost on most of my thursday directional bets. FYI. The corresponding call is about to expire worthless, a loss of about $80. It's approximately 100% return on a one day trade. I should have gone big!
  7. The straddle is a good example of how risks may be defined by the conditions of the underlying and its price movement in the all-important proximity status; and time remaining until expiration. In the case of a long straddle (one long call and one long put with the same expiration and strike), you need significant price movement in order to exceed a breakeven price. There are two breakeven prices, one above the call's strike, and one for the put below the put's strike. These points are equal to the total debit paid for the straddle, combining both call and put, after adding trading fees. So the time remaining determines the potential for the position to become profitable; and the longer the time, the higher the cost. For example, as of the close on June 28, the following positions could have been opened on Boeing (BA), which closed at $334.65: 8-day expiration, July 6: 335 call, ask 5.15, plus trading fees = $520 335 put, ask 5.35, plus trading fees = $540 Total cost $1,060 22-day expiration, July 20: 335 call, ask 9.00, plus trading fees = $905 335 put, ask 8.85, plus trading fees = $890 Total cost $1,795 The 8-day term to expiration requires movement either above or below the strike of 10.60 points. Breakeven prices are $345.60 (above) and $324.40 (below). That is a significant price range to accomplish in only 8 days. And given the fact that expiration week has only 4 trading days (due to the July 4 holiday), time decay will be exceptionally rapid that week. The odds are against this position becoming profitable in such a short term. The 22-day expirations require 17.95 points of movement to reach breakeven. That means the stock must reach a price of $352.95 (above) or $317.05 (below) to reach breakeven. This is the long straddle dilemma. Either expiration comes up too soon or price is too high, each making profits less likely. A long straddle is a risky strategy of these combined problems. With this in mind, the only time a long straddle makes sense is when the underlying is a high-volatility stock, or when you expect it to become high-volatility, even in the short term. For example, if a company has a history of earnings surprises and a relatively narrow trading range, a long straddle may be set up to take advantage of price movement in either direction if earnings are better or worse than analysts' expectations. However, this is a speculative strategy even in these circumstances. A short straddle may be considered very high-risk because one side or the other will end up in the money. This is speculative, of course. However, there is one condition in which the short straddle's risks may be mitigated. When the stock is in a period of consolidation, and attempted breakouts have failed over a period of many months, a short straddle is more likely to succeed, with the stock price remaining between resistance and support. So a straddle with strikes within those levels has a chance of ending up profitably, as long as consolidation holds. However, a trader would want to keep an eye on further attempted breakouts and be prepared to act if a breakout were to succeed. Actions may include closing the side that has moved in the money, rolling forward, or covering the exposed side (for example, if the call moves in the money, buying 100 shares or buying a later-expiring long call provides cover). The advantage in a short straddle is that in selecting short expirations, time decay will be rapid. The Friday before expiration is a perfect time for opening a short straddle. Between Friday and Monday, the average option loses one-third of its remaining time value. And with the Wednesday holiday in the week before July 6 expiration, a short straddle remains speculative, but could be profitable just based on rapid time decay. For example, Boeing reported the following ATM option values for the July 6 expiration cycle: 8-day expiration, July 6: 335 call, bid 4.85, less trading fees = $480 335 put, bid 5.00, less trading fees = $495 Total cost $975 The short straddle sets up a limited profit range equal to 9.75 points in either direction, between the underlying prices of $344.75 (above) and $325.25 (below). Again referring to exploiting time decay, the underlying can range anywhere between these breakeven prices, and both sides of the short straddle can be closed at a profit. This is due to time decay on both sides, as long as underlying movement is not too rapid. This is the wild card in the position, of course. If the underlying price moves in the money on either side beyond the extent of the price buffer (9.75 points), one side ends up in the money. It has to be closed at a small profit (due to time decay) or a small loss; or rolled forward. If the price trend continues, it spells trouble for the short position still in the money. With these risks in mind, it could make sense to close earlier rather than later to avoid the problem. With the 4-day week ahead, the timing is excellent; that does not mean the risk have disappeared. The point is, "risk" is not limited to the attributes of the position (long or short). It also includes proximity to resistance and support, time to expiration, volatility of the underlying, and the price pattern in effect (a consolidation trend, for example). 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.
  8. Well, every trade should be put in context. Before evaluating a trade (or an options strategy), the following questions should be asked and answered: What is the holding period of the strategy? What is the maximum risk? What is the profit potential? What is the average return? What is the winning ratio? Why holding period is important? Well, making 5% in one week is not the same as making 5% in six months. In the first case we are talking about 250% annualized return. In the second case, 10%. See the difference. Maximum risk is important because it doesn't make sense to aim for 5% gain if your strategy can lose 50-100%. For example, when you are trading a directional strategy, and the stock gaps against you, the losses can be catastrophic. Since the risk is high, you should aim for higher return to compensate for the risk. However, if your maximum risk is limited, you can aim for lower return and still get excellent overall performance. Lets examine our pre-earnings straddles as an example. As a reminder, a long straddle option strategy is vega positive, gamma positive and theta negative trade. It works based on the premise that both call and put options have unlimited profit potential but limited loss. Straddles are a good strategy to pursue if you believe that a stock's price will move significantly, but unsure as to which direction. Another case is if you believe that Implied Volatility of the options will increase - for example, before a significant event like earnings. I explained the latter strategy in my Seeking Alpha article Exploiting Earnings Associated Rising Volatility. IV usually increases sharply a few days before earnings, and the increase should compensate for the negative theta. If the stock moves before earnings, the position can be sold for a profit or rolled to new strikes. This is one of my favorite strategies that we use in our SteadyOptions model portfolio. This is how the P/L chart looks like: How We Trade Straddle Option Strategy provides a full explanation of the strategy. Lets take a look at 2017 statistics for this strategy: Number of trades: 77 Number of winners: 62 Number of losers: 15 Winning ratio: 80.5% Average return per trade: 5.1% Average return per winning trade: 8.7% Average return per losing trade: -10.2% Average holding period: 7.2 days Lets do a quick math. If you can do 10 trades per month, each trade producing 5% gain on average and 10% allocation per trade, your monthly return is 5% on the whole portfolio. That's 60% non compounded annual return, with minimal risk. To answer the original question: for a strategy that has 80% winning ratio and loses on average 10% on losing trades, with average holding period of one week, 5% is an EXCELLENT return. In fact, I would consider it as Close to the Holy Grail as You Can Get. Related Articles: How We Trade Straddle Option Strategy Buying Premium Prior to Earnings Can We Profit From Volatility Expansion into Earnings Long Straddle: A Guaranteed Win? Why We Sell Our Straddles Before Earnings
  9. This cycle was no exception. It is a well known fact that Implied Volatility of options increases before earnings. We usually take advantage of this phenomenon by buying a straddle option few days before the earnings date. However, Oracle case was slightly different. As I mentioned, they follow a similar pattern of earnings dates in the last few years (third week of the month), but for some reason, the options market tends to be "surprised" after the earnings date is actually confirmed. On February 27 I opened ORCL trade discussion topic and posted the following information: My initial intention was to trade the Mar.24 straddle, which would be a safer bet. However, after checking again the previous cycles and seeing the Mar.17 straddle dipping below $1.45, I decided to take the risk and execute the Mar.17 straddle. The trade has been posted on the forum on Mar.01: I posted the rationale for selecting the Mar.17 expiration, with all supporting information, including the risks: Two days later, Oracle confirmed earnings on Mar.15, as expected. IV of Mar.17 options jumped 4 points after the date has been confirmed, and we closed the trade for 20.1% gain. This is a great example how we make Implied Volatility to work for us. We implement few strategies that take advantage of Implied Volatility changes around the earnings event. Of course, this trade was not without risks. If earnings were confirmed on week of Mar.24, the Mar.17 straddle could easily lose ~40%. But options trading is a game of probabilities. Based on previous cycles, I estimated that there was ~90% chance that earnings will be on week of Mar.17. Making 20% 9 out of 10 times and losing 40% in one trade still puts you far ahead, with 140% cumulative gain. I also provided members all the necessary information so everyone could make an educated decision. At SteadyOptions, the learning never stops. If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. Related Articles: How We Trade Straddle Option Strategy Buying Premium Prior to Earnings Can We Profit From Volatility Expansion into Earnings Long Straddle: A Guaranteed Win? Why We Sell Our Straddles Before Earnings Options Trading Greeks: Vega For Volatility Want to learn more? We discuss all our trades on our forum. Start Your Free Trial
  10. The reason is simple: over time the options tend to overprice the potential move. Those options experience huge volatility drop the day after the earnings are announced. In many cases, this drop erases most of the gains, even if the stock had a substantial move. In order to profit from the trade when you hold through earnings, you need the stock not only to move, but to move more than the options "predicted". If they don't, the IV collapse will cause significant losses. Kirk Du Plessis from OptionAlpha seems to agree. He conducted a backtest proving that holding a straddle through earnings is on average a losing proposition. Here are the highlights of his research. Key Points: Often times traders go through cycles where the stock makes incredibly big moves. This encourages traders to buy long straddles heading into earnings; a long call/put at the money assuming that the stock will make a big move so that you can profit from it. However, it is not the case that the stock always consistently moves more than expected in the long term. The market is smart enough to overcorrect and implied volatility always overshoots the expected move, on average. Case Study 1: Apple Did a long straddle every time earnings were present, all the way back to 2007 through now. This is a lot of earnings cycles and a lot of different information for Apple. Since then Apple has had a considerable move, which really challenges the validity of the strategies. We entered a long straddle at the money the day before earnings and took it off the next day. The stock was trading at $90; we bought the 90 put and the 90 call and closed it right after earnings were announced the next morning. Results: A long straddle in Apple for earnings only ended up winning 41.38% of the time. The average return over 10 years was -1.31%. Over the long haul, a long option strategy results in a negative expected return, especially in a stock like Apple. On the opposite end of this trade, if you had done the short straddle instead of buying options, you would have generated at least 60% of the time and expected a positive return. The straddle price before earnings, on average, was $15. The straddle price directly after earnings went down to about $7.95; not a great choice for long-option buyers. Case Study 2: Facebook Entered the same long straddle position, entering right before earnings were announced and exiting again right after earnings were announced. This strategy only won 27% of the time, which is a huge miss for Facebook percentage-wise. These long options strategy simply do not perform as well as we think over time. Results: Had an annual return of 0.70%. Only a couple of months ended up being the determining factor to keep it above board. If you missed a couple of those really big moves or if Facebook moved much higher than expected, then it would have resulted in a much more negative return. On the counter side, if you had traded the short option strategy it would have worked out well, generating a positive expected return. On average, the market priced these straddles at about $5.62 before earnings. After they announced earnings, the straddle pricing went down to $1.78. The key was that the crash in the volatility and the straddle pricing is really why this strategy was a big loser. However, this was a really good winner for option sellers. The average expected move in Facebook was $6.45 and the actual expected move on Facebook was $7.09. Facebook out-performed on average. If you could remove the biggest outlier from 2013, then Facebook under-performs by $6.16. More recently, Facebook has begun to consistently under-perform its expected moves. Case Study 3: Chipotle With Chipotle we used the same strategy as with Apple and Facebook, entering into a long straddle right before earnings and exiting it right after earnings. Results: The overall win rate was 35.48%. The average annual return was -2.59%, losing a significant amount of money in the trade. This again consistently led option sellers to be the beneficiaries of the earnings trade in Chipotle. The average price of the straddle heading into the earnings event was 26.26%. The stock went from the low 60's, all the way up to the 600's and back down to 400 - so the straddles are naturally going to be more pricey. On average the straddle price was 26.26 and after earnings the straddle price was 11.21, collapsing by more than half. There are huge moves in Chipotle, but they do not overshadow what actually happened in the long term. Expected move in Chipotle was 7.01 and the actual move was 5.28 - the market vastly underperformed. Conclusion: After big moves, we start to see expected moves and the stock expands and then smaller moves follow. Generally speaking, when the stock outperforms the expectation the next couple of cycles end up being fairly quiet. If we do find ourselves in a quiet period where the stock has performed really well, we should be careful that it could surprise us shortly. Likewise, if the stock has been really volatile and has outperformed and moved more than expected in the last couple of cycles that means we could potentially be more aggressive as it might underperform heading forward. Generally, there is also a lag time between the market catching up - earnings trades only happen four times a year. The market participants don't get a lot of data throughout the year to make changes to expectations and trading habits. If the stock has a huge move after earnings, more than expected, it might take a cycle or two for the options pricing to catch up and realize the new normal. At the end of the day, realizing how much these numbers gravitate towards what they should be on average, long-term is really powerful. You can listen to the full podcast here. This research confirms what we already knew: It is easy to get excited after a few trades like NFLX, GMCR or AMZN that moved a lot in some cycles. However, chances are this is not going to happen every cycle. There is no reliable way to predict those events. The big question is the long term expectancy of the strategy. It is very important to understand that for the strategy to make money it is not enough for the stock to move. It has to move more than the markets expect. In some cases, even a 15-20% move might not be enough to generate a profit. Thank you Kirk! The next question is of course: if holding a long straddle through earnings is a losing proposition, why not to take the other side and short those straddles? But lets leave something for the next article.. Related articles: How We Trade Straddle Option Strategy Buying Premium Prior To Earnings - Does It Work? Can We Profit From Volatility Expansion Into Earnings? Long Straddle: A Guaranteed Win? Why We Sell Our Straddles Before Earnings Selling Strangles Prior To Earnings Straddle Option Overview
  11. Dear community! I would like to get an opinion about the following video. I posted the link below. After making some research, I made the following assumptions and conclusions. - Options are probability-based financial instruments. The premium paid for buying a straddle is supposed to include all risks related to the potential change of IV, theta, gamma. - The chances of gain are 50/50 similarly to any short time predictions of the market price. Besides, you lose the spread and pay commissions. - Options pricing already includes any potential increase in IV and time decay is more likely to kill the potential trade. - As the markets are very efficient, Options pricing already includes information about historical volatility. Even if we find stocks with high historical volatility during previous earnings, the greeks are always balanced between each other to make your chances of win to 50/50 minus spreads & commissions. So, what you think? As options are
  12. If the stock moves before earnings, the position can be sold for a profit or rolled to new strikes. You can read more about this strategy in my post How we trade straddles and strangles. Last week we entered a straddle on QIHU. Here is a screenshot from the trade alert posted in real time on the forum: This is how the Greeks looked like when we entered: 4 hours later, we closed the trade for 23% gain: This is how the Greeks looked at the time we closed the trade: Please note how IV jumped from 37% to 46%, enough for 23% gain. We also rolled the trade to lower strike as the stock started to move down. Of course such quick IV jump is not very common, and our timing was nearly perfect. But we patiently waited for a good entry point and identified when the price became cheap enough. This is where extensive backtesting comes handy. Each week we discuss the potential candidates on the forum and select the best ones, based on backtesting and our previous experience. We invite you to join us to see how we execute the straddle strategy and many other non-directional strategies. While most major indexes were down 10% or more in August, we close nine consecutive winners. Related Articles: How We Trade Straddle Option StrategyCan We Profit From Volatility Expansion into EarningsLong Straddle: A Guaranteed Win?Why We Sell Our Straddles Before Earnings Long Straddle: A Guaranteed Win? Start Your Free Trial
  13. Earnings Straddles: the Ultimate Protection Our followers already know that buying pre-earnings straddles is one of our key strategies. I described it here. The idea is to buy a straddle (or a strangle) few days before earnings and sell just before the event. IV (Implied Volatility) usually increases sharply a few days before earnings, and the increase should compensate for the negative theta. If the stock moves before earnings, the position can be sold for a profit or rolled to new strikes. While we use this strategy on a regular basis, it is not among our most profitable strategies. During periods of low volatility, it usually produces 3-5% return per trade (including the losers). To put things in perspective, even 3% return is not that bad. The average holding period of those trades is around 5 days, so 3% return translates to 219% annual return. If you traded 40 straddles per year and allocated 10% per trade, those trades alone would contribute 12% to your account. Considering the low risk (the straddles rarely lose more than 7-10%), this is a pretty good return. But this is where it really gets interesting: I consider those trades a cheap black swan protection. If IV goes up sharply followed by the stock movement, this is where the strategy really shines. It can provide a really good protection to your options portfolio in case of sharp moves. Examples Lets take a look on few real life examples of trades that benefited from market volatility. Entered HPQ strangle on August 3, 2011, exited on August 8, 2011 for 109.7% gain. Entered DIS strangle on August 3, 2011, exited on August 8, 2011 for 107.1% gain. Entered CRM strangle on August 3, 2011, exited on August 8, 2011 for 101.7% gain. Entered AKAM straddle on July 23, 2012, exited on July 26, 2012 for 38.9% gain. Entered FNSR straddle on March 6, 2013, exited on March 7, 2013 for 24.2% gain. Entered MSFT straddle on June 24, 2014, exited on July 17, 2012 for 35.4% gain. Entered QIHU straddle on August 19, 2015, exited on August 19, 2015 for 22.9% gain. To be clear, the returns from 2011 can probably happen once in a few years when the markets really crash. But if you happen to hold few straddles or strangles during those periods, you will be very happy you did. Summary To be successful with this strategy, you need to know what you are doing. Not every stock works equally well. There are many moving parts to this strategy: When to enter? Which stocks to use? How to manage the position? When to take profits? If used properly, the pre-earnings straddles can provide decent gains during periods of low to medium volatility. But at the same time, they can provide excellent black swan protection. Are you familiar with another way to get black swan protection that costs you nothing - in fact, it even produces some gains? I'm not. Related Articles: How We Trade Straddle Option Strategy Buying Premium Prior to EarningsCan We Profit From Volatility Expansion into Earnings Want to learn more? Start Your Free Trial
  14. Saw this on Zerohedge (leading economics blog), a nice straddle strategy similar to Steadyoptions earnings trade, buy a straddle with low IV and ride it out. There's a list of 50 stocks to choose from. Any way we could narrow this down further or use this? As a result one possible trade idea would be to put on a long-term straddle (preferably while VIX is still cheap) on some of the above names, and hope for a volatility shake out, either to the up, or downside.
  15. I was wondering if anyone looked at trading straddles around economic indicators like the employment reports, retail sales, manufacturing index, construction spending, etc. Theoretically there would be stocks that are correlated with these indicators. We have mentioned one recently, the fed meeting and GLD. I do know it would be possibly to write software to check for correlation, but that is a reasonably complex project needing multiple sources of data. Does anyone no of a site or report that lists stocks correlated with events or reports OR has anyone tried this strategy before and have an opinion on it? Thank you! Richard