Post COVID-19 -100% Options Win Rate

A total of 76 options trades were placed in May, June, and July as the market rebounded after the COVID-19 market lows. During this timeframe, all 76 trades were winning trades to lock-in a 100% option win rate with an average income per trade of $190 and an average return on investment (ROI) per trade of 7.6%. After the tumultuous market lows of March and into early April, leveraging a minimal amount of capital, mitigating risk and maximizing returns was paramount. The objective of an options-based portfolio can offer the optimal balance between risk and reward while providing a margin of downside protection with high probability win rates.

As the market continues to rebound, optimal risk management is essential when engaging in options trading as a means to drive portfolio performance. When engaging in options trading, risk mitigation needs to be built into each trade via risk-defining trades, staggering options expiration dates, trading across a wide array of uncorrelated tickers, maximizing the number of trades, appropriate position allocation and selling options to collect the premium income.

Getting creative and customizing your option trade structure is another element that can be layered into the overall strategy for long-term success in options trading. Maintaining disciple via continuing to risk-define trades, leveraging small amounts of capital while maximizing return on investment, is essential despite the impressive streak of 76 consecutive winning trades.

3 Months Post COVID-19 Results

After placing 76 trades throughout May, June, and July, a 100% win rate, 99% premium capture, and 7.6% ROI per trade was achieved. This was accomplished via leveraging a minimal amount of capital and maximizing return on investment with risk-defined trades. Deploying a combination of put spreads and custom put spreads was used to optimize the risk-reward profile for these 76 trades. Whether you have a small account or a large account, a defined risk (i.e., custom put spreads) strategy enables you to leverage a minimal amount of capital, which opens the door to trading virtually any stock on the market regardless of the share price. Risk-defined options can easily yield double-digit realized gains over the course of a typical one month contract (Figures 1, 2, and 3).

Options
Figure 1 – Average income per trade of $190, the average return per trade of 7.6% and 99% premium capture over 76 trades in May and June
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Options Trading - Custom Put Spreads

Leveraging a minimal amount of capital, mitigating risk, and maximizing returns is the objective of an options-based portfolio. Options trading can offer the optimal balance between risk and reward while providing a margin of downside protection with a high probability of success. Proper portfolio construction and optimal risk management are essential when engaging in options trading as a means to drive portfolio performance. Key pillars of risk mitigation are rooted in maintaining liquidity, risk-defining trades, staggering options expiration dates, trading across a wide array of uncorrelated tickers, maximizing the number of trades, appropriate position allocation, and selling options to collect premium income. Customizing your option trade structure is another element that can be layered into the overall strategy for long-term success in options trading. A risk-defined custom put spread offers layers of protection, thus optimizing the risk management aspect of an options trade while maximizing return on investment.

Custom Put Spreads: Results

Leveraging a minimal amount of capital and maximizing returns with risk-defined trades optimizes the risk-reward profile. Whether you have a small account or a large account, a defined risk (i.e., custom put spreads) strategy enables you to leverage a minimal amount of capital which opens the door to trading virtually any stock on the market regardless of share price such as Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Chipotle (CMG), Facebook (FB), etc. Risk-defined options can easily yield double-digit realized gains over the course of a typical one month contract (Figures 1, 2, and 3).

Options Trading
Figure 1 – Average income per trade of $201, the average return per trade of 7.6% and 98% premium capture over 63 trades in May and June
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The Financial Cohort and COVID-19 Dynamics

COVID-19 ushered in the real possibility of widespread loan defaults, liquidity issues, ballooning credit card debt (as banks hold the liability), and stressed mortgages. To exacerbate these COVID-19 impacts, a delicate balance between interest rates, Federal Reserve actions, potential yield curve inversion, and liquidity must be reached. The customer side of the business continues to be worrisome as the duration of this crisis continues to drag on with no signs of slowing. A segment of the consumer base is faced with lost wages and the real possibility of not being able to meet their financial obligations (i.e., car payments, mortgage payments, etc.), which will unquestionably have a negative impact on revenue and earnings for banks. The financial cohort is in a difficult space as the broader economic backdrop continues to dictate whether these stocks can appreciate higher. The initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the market capitalizations of many large banks to be cut by ~50%. Some of the largest banking institutions such as Citi (C), Goldman Sachs (GS), JPMorgan (JPM), and Bank of America (BAC) were sold off in the most aggressive manner since the Financial Crisis a decade earlier. As COVID-19 continues to drag in both spread and duration, share buybacks have now been halted, and dividend payouts arrested. The stability of dividend payouts is now in question as uncertainty continues to cloud this sector. Moving forward, how durable are the major financial names at these depressed levels, are the banks investable in light of the COVID-19 backdrop?

Recent Federal Reserve Stress Tests

The Federal Reserve put new restrictions on the banking sector after the results from the annual stress test found that several banks could get too close to minimum capital levels in potential scenarios tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. The largest banking institutions will be required to suspend share buybacks and arrest dividend payments at their current level for Q3 of 2020. For the first time in the 10 year history of these stress tests, banks are now required to resubmit their payout plans again later this year. This move is indicative of the unique and unprecedented landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading "The Financial Cohort and COVID-19 Dynamics"

Facebook Boycott: Here We Go Again

If the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, one mishandled public relations incident after another and numerous earnings calls that went down as some of the biggest blunders in history wasn’t enough, now enter an international advertising boycott. Here we go again, Facebook (FB) investors have been through a lot over the past two years. Now another challenge is confronting the company via an advertising boycott that’s growing into the hundreds of multinational companies. This challenge may weigh heavier on the company since this boycott will directly impact revenue as expenses swell. The magnitude of this boycott will inevitably influence the stock price as this movement grows in numbers and duration. If Facebook can appease advertisers in a timely fashion, then this may be a temporary challenge. However, as advertising spending is abandoned indefinitely due to this boycott and overall spend slows due to COVID-19, this culmination could cast uncertainty around its stock valuation. Thus far, over 400-plus brands have fled Facebook.

Boycott Growing In Numbers and Duration

International household names such as Adidas, Best Buy (BBY), Clorox (CLX), Ford (F), HP (HPQ), Starbucks (SBUX), Coca-Cola (KO), and Verizon (VZ) have joined the advertising boycott across Facebook and its platforms. Companies are jumping on the bandwagon daily, including a significant recent addition of Microsoft (MSFT). Total advertisers that have abandoned Facebook and its Instagram properties have now ballooned to over 400 organizations. With an undefined timeframe of how long these advertisers will stay away from Facebook may dampen revenue expectations. Another complexity that may arise is the ability to appease the collective group of advertisers in order to bring all of these companies back to the platform. Continue reading "Facebook Boycott: Here We Go Again"

10 Options Trading Rules That Must Be Followed

Despite the COVID-19 backdrop, some individual stocks and broader indices have exploded to new all-time highs and retraced previous all-time highs, respectively. Since the depths of the COVID-19 induced sell-off in late March, the markets have experienced an uninterrupted resurgence. It’s easy to become complacent when markets are roaring higher. However, one must remain disciplined when managing risk, especially as it relates to options trading. Mitigating risk and maximizing returns is paramount as the markets rotate out of the depths COVID-19 sell-off. Options trading offers the optimal balance between risk and reward while providing a margin of downside protection and a statistical edge. Proper portfolio construction and optimal risk management is essential when engaging in options trading as a means to drive portfolio performance. The Q4 2018 and the COVID-19 pandemic are prime examples of why maintaining liquidity, risk-defining trades, staggering options expiration dates, trading across a wide array of uncorrelated tickers, maximizing the number of trades, appropriate position allocation and selling options to collect premium income are keys to an effective long-term options strategy.

An Effective Long-Term Options Strategy

A slew of protective measures should be deployed if options are used as a means to drive portfolio results. One of the main pillars when building an options-based portfolio is maintaining a significant portion of cash-on-hand. This cash position provides the ability to rapidly adapt when faced with extreme market conditions such as COVID-19 and Q4 2018 sell-offs. When selling options and running an options-based portfolio, the following guidelines are essential (Figures 1 and 2):

      1. Trade across a wide array of uncorrelated tickers
      2. Maximize sector diversity
      3. Spread option contracts over various expiration dates
      4. Sell options in high implied volatility environment
      5. Manage winning trades
      6. Use defined-risk trades
      7. Maintains a ~50% cash level
      8. Maximize the number of trades, so the probabilities play out to the expected outcomes
      9. Continue to trade through all market environments
      10. Appropriate position sizing/trade allocation

10 Options Rules
Figure 1 – Defining the 10 rules that one must follow to appropriately manage risk and maximize returns when deploying options as a means to drive portfolio results
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