Bought Strangle Psychology

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There is a time and a place for bought straddles and strangles. Ideal market conditions are when volatility is low and expected to increase. The bought strangle is a non-directional trade with the share price able to move upwards or downwards to profit in this strategy.

The idea with bought strangles is to identify a large share price move. This share price move can be either an increase or decrease in share price. To identify these moves you can look at technical analysis and fundamental analysis. Technical analysis tried to identify a break out pattern, while the fundamental analysis indentifies a particular announcement that may cause a large move in share price.


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Disadvantages of Bought Strangle

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  • It is possible to lose more money if the stays still or within the breakeven range than if you simply bought a call or put option.
  • If the share price rises above the strike price or falls below the strike price but remains below the upper break even or above the lower break even you will still incur a loss on the position.
  • If volatility falls for both or either option, the position could lose with or without a move in share price.


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Advantages of Bought Strangle

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  • It is possible to profit no matter if the share price goes up or down.
  • A strangle has a lower net debit than the bought straddle.
  • A higher profit in percentage terms than a straddle on the same move in the underlying stock, provided that breakeven point has been exceeded.
  • Since both options are out-of-the-money, time decay on the options is not as rapid as they are with the bought straddle.
  • Unlimited profit if the underlying asset continues to move in one direction.
  • Since the trade is non-directional your outlook can be wrong and still profit from this strategy.
  • The maximum loss is limited to the debit paid.
  • If volatility is low at the time of purchase and volatility rises, both options could profit even without an appreciable change in the stock price.
  • Smaller capital outlay to trade strangles than trading the underlying shares.


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What Strategy to Trade?

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Bull Call Spread
The primary reason for buying a bull call spread is an expected increase in share price. This is a directional trade and the aim should be a high percentage return. The reason for placing a bull call spread is that the calls are expensive so sell an out-of-the-money call will reduce the cost of the trade. This strategy is suited for break out trades and trading trends.

Bear Put Spread
The main reason for buying a bear put spread is an expected decrease in share price. The aim of the directional is to have a high risk vs. reward ratio. The bear put spread can be traded when buying puts is too expensive due to high volatility and selling an options against the bought puts reduces cost, breakeven, volatility effect and time decay effect. The trade is suited to a share price in a downtrend. This strategy is suited for break out trades and trading trends.

Bear Call Spread
A bear call is traded when you are expecting a sideways share price movement to a slight decrease in share price. The bear call spread is a credit spread and can be traded as a type for income. The risk vs. reward can be set up depending on the aim of the trader whether to have high probability small profits or low probability high returns. This trade is suitable when volatility is high and expected to decrease. The bear call spread is traded to take advantage of time decay.

Bull Put Spread
A bull put spread is best suited for a sideways to upward trending share price. The bull put spread is a credit spread and can be used as an income generating strategy. The bull put spread is best implemented when there is high volatility in the puts your outlook is volatility to decrease. This may be because the share price is just above a major level of support or at the bottom end of a trading range. The bull put strategy is traded to take advantage of time decay.


To receive ASX Option Recommendations or to learn more about Bull Call Spread, Bull Put Spread, Bear Call Spread, Bear Put Spread Strategies please request the Option Spreads eBook by contacting us on 1300 368 316 or info@totaloptions.com.au

Bull Put Spread: Strategy Risks

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It is important to always be aware of the strategy risks. The primary risk when placing a bull put spread is when the share price decreases past the sold put and an ever greater concern is if the share price decreases below the bought put (protection). Since you receive a premium to enter this trade there is a required margin. This margin can increase to as much as 1.2 times your maximum loss. For example if you were risk $2,000 the cash margin required in the account can increase to $2,400 (2000 *1.2) which includes the premium received. So it is important to know your maximum risk and make sure there are enough funds to cover the worst case scenario.

Another risk inherent with selling options is volatility. When you open the bull put spread you want the volatility to be high so you can sell the put options for as much value as possible. Once the trade is placed you want the volatility to drop off and time decay to kick in. So even if the share price stays still but volatility increases the position may not profit in the short-term. Increased levels in volatility mean to close out it will cost more to buy back the sold put. If the share price decreases below the sold put prior to expiry there is potentially a risk of exercise.

Exercise

The main risk of credit spreads is the risk of being exercised. If the sold put is exercised it means that you are obligated to buy shares at the exercise price of the sold put. This can have a negative impact in terms of you have bought shares you do not own which means you need to sell them back at the lower level and therefore locking in a loss on the share position. If the share price is below the bought put (protection) when exercised then you can sell the put option which will reduce the loss from being exercised. It is still not possible to lose more than the maximum risk before entering the trade. Another disadvantage of being exercised is the brokerage on the share purchase and sale so it is a good idea to try an avoid exercise. To avoid being exercised you need to monitor your position and more importantly the delta on the sold put. If the share price is below the sold put an indication of the likelihood of being exercised can be identified by the delta. If the delta on the sold call is below -0.95 there is a chance being exercised. If the delta is below -0.98 then it is necessary to implement one of your exit strategies.

To avoid exercise there are two options. If you think the share price will keep decreasing you can close the trade for a loss. If you think you view is correct and the share price will rise from this level and want to keep the position you can roll out to the next month. What this means is you can close the positions you have an open the same position for the next month and do this for no cost or a small credit. Therefore if the share price then increases above the sold put by the next month you can still make maximum profit.

To receive ASX Option Recommendations or to learn more about Bull Call Spread, Bull Put Spread, Bear Call Spread, Bear Put Spread Strategies please request the Option Spreads eBook by contacting us on 1300 368 316 or info@totaloptions.com.au

Bull Put Spread: Identifying Trades – The Greeks

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Delta

When identifying trades it is essential to look at the delta of the option legs. In particular it is important to calculate the net delta of the bull put spread. The net delta is calculated by the delta of the sold put option minus the delta of the bought put option. The net delta will always be negative. The net delta indicates if the share price increases quickly what the value of the bull put spread will be worth. For example, if a bull call spread had a net delta of -0.20, and the share price decreased by $1.00, the bull put spread would have decreased by 20 cents. Therefore to close out the position you buy back the position for less than the premium received to enter the trade.

 

Vega

The volatility affect on a bull put spread is positive. When looking to enter a bull put spread you look to sell an out-of-the-money put option. The idea is to sell a put option which has a relatively high volatility and therefore trading above its theoretical value. The bought put even further out-of-the-money and you want to buy this option with low volatility. When entering the trade you want to volatility to be high and decrease throughout the trade.

 

Theta

Credit spreads are set up to take advantage of time decay. The effect of time decay on this strategy varied with the underlying share price level in relation to the strike prices of the long and short options. If the stock price is midway between the strike prices, the effect can be minimal. If the stock price is closer to the higher strike price of the sold put, profits generally increase at a faster rate as time passes. Alternatively, if the underlying stock price is closer to the lower strike price of the bought put, losses generally increase at a faster rate as time passes.


To receive ASX Option Recommendations or to learn more about Bull Call Spread, Bull Put Spread, Bear Call Spread, Bear Put Spread Strategies please request the Option Spreads eBook by contacting us on 1300 368 316 or info@totaloptions.com.au

Bear Call Spread: Strategy Risks

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It is important to always be aware of the strategy risks. The primary risk when placing a bear call spread is when the share price increases past the sold call option and an ever greater concern is if the share price increases above the bought call option (protection). Since you receive a premium to enter this trade there is a required margin. This margin can increase to as much as 1.2 times your maximum loss. For example if you were risk $5,000 the cash margin required in the account can increase to $6,000 (5000 *1.2) which includes the premium received. So it is important to know your maximum risk and make sure there are enough funds to cover the worst case scenario.

Another risk inherent with selling options is volatility. When you open the bear call spread you want the volatility to be high so you can sell the call options for as much value as possible. Once the trade is placed you want the volatility to drop off and time decay to kick in. So even if the share price stays still but volatility increases the position may not profit in the short-term. Increased levels in volatility mean to close out it will cost more to buy back the sold call option. If the share price increase above the sold put option prior to expiry there is potentially a risk of exercise.

Exercise

The main risk of credit spreads is the risk of being exercised. If the sold call option is exercised it means that you are obligated to sell shares at the exercise price of the sold call option. This can have a negative impact in terms of you have sold shares you do not own which means you need to buy them back at the higher level and therefore locking in a loss on that position. If the share price is above the bought call option (protection) when exercised then you can sell the call option which will reduce the loss from being exercised. It is still not possible to lose more than the maximum risk before entering the trade. Another disadvantage of being exercised is the brokerage on the share sale and purchase so it is a good idea to try an avoid exercise. To avoid being exercised you need to monitor your position and more importantly the delta of the sold call option. If the share price is above the sold call option an indication of the likelihood of being exercised can be identified by the delta. If the delta on the sold call option is above 0.95 there is a chance being exercised. If the delta is above 0.98 then it is necessary to implement one of your exit strategies.

To avoid exercise there are two options. If you think the share price will keep increasing you can close the trade for a loss. If you think you view is correct and the share price will fall from this level and want to keep the position you can roll out to the next month. What this means is you can close the positions you have an open the same position for the next month and do this for no cost or a small credit. Therefore if the share price then decreases below the sold call by the next month you can still make maximum profit. This options is normally recommended unless your analysis, technical or fundamentals, indicate a change is trend or market conditions.


To receive ASX Option Recommendations or to learn more about Bull Call Spread, Bull Put Spread, Bear Call Spread, Bear Put Spread Strategies please request the Option Spreads eBook by contacting us on 1300 368 316 or info@totaloptions.com.au

Bear Call Spread: Identifying Trades – The Greeks

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Delta

When identifying trades it is essential to look at the delta of the option legs. In particular it is important to calculate the net delta of the bear call spread. The net delta is calculated by the delta of the bought call option minus the delta of the sold call option. The net delta will always be positive. The net delta indicates if the share price decreases quickly what the value of the bear call spread will be worth. For example, if a bear call spread had a net delta of 0.20, and the share price decreased by $1.00, the bear call spread would have decreased by 20 cents.

Vega

The volatility affect on a bear call spread is varied. When looking to enter a bear call spread you look to sell an out-of-the-money call option. The idea is to sell a call which has a relatively high volatility and therefore trading above its theoretical value. The bear call spread can be traded when volatility is high on the call option which allows the spread to be higher above the current share price so the stock would have to increase further before affecting the trade.

Theta

Credit spreads are trades that take advantage of the time decay nature of options. The effect or time decay is a positive for this trade. When the share price is below the sold call if the share price and volatility remain constant this value of the position will reduce and therefore increase your profit. If the stock price is closer to the lower strike price of the sold call, profits generally increase at a faster rate as time passes. Alternatively, if the underlying stock price is closer to the higher strike price of the bought call, profits generally decrease at a faster rate as time passes.


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Bear Put Spread: Woolworths Limited (WOW) Past Recommendation

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This is a past recommendation that demonstrates how a bear put spread is implemented in real life.

Trade:

Bear Put Spread

Sell 2 WOWB7 Sep 08 2200 Puts @ 55

Buy 2 WOWW3 Sep 08 2550 Puts @ 175

Net Cost = 120 cents

This trade requires no margin requirements.

Maximum Profit

The ideal result is for the share price to fall below the lower strike price of $22.00.

= Difference between strike prices less net premium received

= 3.50 – 1.20

= 2.30 x 2 contracts

= $4,600

Maximum Loss

This will occur if the share price is above the bought at expiry

= Net Premium Paid

= 1.20 * 2 contracts

= $2,400

Breakeven

Higher strike minus net premium received

= 25.50 – 1.20

= $24.30

Main Benefits of Strategy

1. Provides leveraged exposure to a decrease in the share price

2. The ideal result is for the share price to fall below the lower strike price of $22.00.

Risk:

The main risk is for the share price to increase above profitable range ($25.50) and stay there until expiry. If the position expires above the high strike, the position will expire worthless and there will be no exit cost to the trade. If it is below, we will have to exit the trade to avoid being exercised. A change in volatility levels can also have an effect on the profitability before expiry, however the max loss and profit is known at expiry. Contact your adviser for more information.

Technical Analysis

WOW has a large bearish head and shoulders pattern which has taken about a year and a half to develop. These patterns are usually very reliable and the stock has broken below the neck line this morning. The head and shoulders give a price target of $17.00. We are trading a bear put spread out to September which will return around 200% if the stock falls to $22.00 which is realistic considering the price target for this pattern is $17.00. The September position gives just over 3 months for the stock to fall. Due to the break today, the volatility on the out of the money puts options are very high, so this trade is actually been filled for below fair value which of course is in our favour.


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Bear Put Spread: Bear Put Spread vs. Bought Put Option

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There are a number of advantaged of implementing the bear put spread instead of buying a put option. A bear put spread has lower risk than strictly buying put options, but limited profit potential. The bear put spread also has a higher breakeven so the share price does not have to fall as far as a bought put option. The advantages of a bear put spread over a bought put is that the strategy reduces time decay and volatility influence on the strategy pricing. This is because we are selling the out-of-the-money options therefore that option benefits from time decay and volatility reducing the opposite characteristic to a bought call option. Bear put spread can be used when volatility is high and buying a put is too expensive as it eliminates the risk of volatility decreasing. Another reason to trade bear puts is that you might have identified a support level; you can sell the out-of-the-money options at that level to reduce the cost and that will be the maximum profit level at expiry. The main benefit to just buying options is large potential profits and a better delta meaning easier to exit the trade earlier. Also if you are expecting volatility to increase significantly a bought positions will improve as a bear put spread would not.


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