Options Trading Strategy

Stocks Are Plunging – Is Gold The Right Hedge?

Stocks Are Plunging – Is Gold The Right Hedge?

When the stock market does its best impression of a swan dive, it tends to come from an unexpected catalyst. It’s generally not something about interest rates or corporate earnings or jobless numbers. Those factors matter over time, but they don’t usually cause sudden, severe moves in the market. No, very large selloffs often come […]

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Will Stocks Continue To Rally Despite The Coronavirus Scare?

Will Stocks Continue To Rally Despite The Coronavirus Scare?

The stock market can be a crazy place. The unpredictability of the financial markets is what makes them so exciting and challenging for traders (and investors). While the long-term direction of stocks has always been up, there are definitely significant periods of volatility over shorter time frames. For instance, this year we’ve already had a […]

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What’s In Store For Chipmakers In 2020?

What’s In Store For Chipmakers In 2020?

2019 is at an end, and it was undoubtedly a great year for stocks. The S&P 500 was up over 28% for the year. However, semiconductor companies had an even better year. VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) was up nearly 62% over the same period. Granted, SMH did plunge sharply at the end of 2018, so it had […]

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The Winning Way To Play Options During The Holidays

The Winning Way To Play Options During The Holidays

Back in 1992 when I was a market maker on the floor of the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE) and Board of Trade, a crazy event occurred; Lake Michigan started pouring into underground tunnels and flooding the city in what became known as the Great Chicago Flood. Most of downtown, including the exchanges, were closed for three […]

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Where Are Interest Rates Headed In 2020?

Where Are Interest Rates Headed In 2020?

One of the big questions for the financial markets as we head into the next decade is where are interest rates going as we kick off a new year. On one hand, the labor market is strong and stock prices are at all-time highs. On the other hand, many other economic indicators are showing a […]

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Covered Call Writing

Which Is Better: Covered Calls Or Cash-Secured Puts?

Which Is Better: Covered Calls Or Cash-Secured Puts?

Covered Calls and Cash-Secured puts seem to be the most popular choices among traders in finance and stocks. And for a good reason. The two trades in the same market, just on different terms. That’s right. And it all started with the same idea… Both kinds of trading are pretty much the same, except for […]

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Why Smart Investors Use Covered Calls To Profit

Why Smart Investors Use Covered Calls To Profit

Recent market volatility has both put traders on edge and pumped up the volatility in options. Those two usually go hand in hand and they create a great opportunity for longer term investors with a cooler demeanor to capitalize on the current dislocation. One of the best, and most popular approaches, especially among investors that […]

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Here’s What A One-Year Covered Call In Microsoft Looks Like

Here’s What A One-Year Covered Call In Microsoft Looks Like

In the era of ultra-low interest rates, yield enhancement strategies have become prolific. Actually, let’s take a step back. It used to be that you could generate a reasonable yield from fixed interest investments, like government or corporate bonds. However, with interest rates approaching zero, those types of investments just don’t provide robust yields. So […]

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Understanding A Covered Call Strategy

Understanding A Covered Call Strategy

The other day, I wrote about how people are piling into funds, then employ option premium-selling strategies, particularly covered calls or buy-writes. I figure it’s a good time to drill down into exactly what these strategies entail and highlight both the pros and cons. The covered call strategy is one of the most popular options strategies especially among investors that […]

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How To Get Paid An Income By Avid Coffee Drinkers

How To Get Paid An Income By Avid Coffee Drinkers

Coffee is one of those consumable goods that you simply don’t want to mess with. The country may fall into a deep recession. The ocean may rise to levels that engulf the coastlines. A meteor at this moment may be hurtling towards Earth. And yet, it won’t stop coffee drinkers from going to buy their […]

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Options Trading Strategies

3 Trades To Profit On The Global PC Shortage

3 Trades To Profit On The Global PC Shortage

Semiconductors… A piece of tech people hardly knew or cared about before there suddenly weren’t enough to go around. The consequences of this shortage have rippled through the tech industry, from smart phones to LEDs lightbulbs, but none were hit harder than computer manufacturers. The persistence of the work from home movement has increased demand […]

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4 Top Stock Trades For Wednesday: F, COIN, CRWD, MU

4 Top Stock Trades For Wednesday: F, COIN, CRWD, MU

Here are the top stock trades we’re watching for Wednesday morning It was a quiet session in the stock market on Tuesday, likely as investors tried to position for what’s a busy week. We have an FOMC announcement on Wednesday, along with the start of earnings season. Plus it’s options expiration week. So, with all […]

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3 Beaten-Down Staple Stocks To Buy

3 Beaten-Down Staple Stocks To Buy

Investors should shop the discounts in these low-beta staple stocks In times of turmoil, stable companies boasting low beta shares shine. So the reduced volatility of staple stocks helps shareholders stay the course while the tech sector gets tarnished and growth stocks groan. Today we’re looking at three of these stocks to buy that recently […]

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3 Stalling Tech Stocks To Sell

3 Stalling Tech Stocks To Sell

Rising bond yields are taking tech stocks out at the knees Tech stocks are stumbling this morning amid fears over the rapid rise in bond yields. This is a movie we’ve seen before. In February, a similar surge in interest rates led to a sharp correction in the Nasdaq. That episode delivered a 12% haircut before […]

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3 Stocks To Buy Following Great Earnings

3 Stocks To Buy Following Great Earnings

These stocks should keep winning after their impressive reports For many companies, nothing is more important than the quarterly earnings report. Disappoint the masses, and you suffer. Impress them, and you score instant gains. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) was the ultimate example of the latter this season. Months of profits were jammed into a single overnight session. So today, […]

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Options Volatility Watch

Market Volatility: Trade Cautiously But Without Fear

Market Volatility: Trade Cautiously But Without Fear

Being a market prognosticator often means spewing thoughts and opinions to create content well beyond the reality of underlying activity.  I should know, after working with Jim Cramer — the sound bite-creating master — making table-pounding proclamations and outrageous predictions, all the while, under the surface, acting as a rational, risk-averse portfolio manager. I give […]

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Is The Low Volatility Market At An End?

Is The Low Volatility Market At An End?

2019 can be roughly divided into two market regimes. There were periods of high volatility and market choppiness, notably in June, August, and early October. Then, there were the stretches of low and falling volatility – January through May and mid-October through the end of the year. It certainly seemed like January of 2020 was […]

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Protection Against A December Volatility Spike

Protection Against A December Volatility Spike

Stock market activity has essentially slowed to a crawl, and many traders are wondering if that’s it for volatility in 2019. Some traders are jokingly wondering if they should take the rest of the year off. It certainly seems like the market isn’t interested in action these days. There are certainly mechanical reasons for the […]

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Are We Headed Back To A Low Volatility Market?

Are We Headed Back To A Low Volatility Market?

Both 2018 and 2019 have been characterized by periods of choppy markets and higher volatility. It’s been quite the change of pace from 2017, where it seemed like we would never experience market volatility ever again. Of course, nearly everything in the financial markets moves in cycles. Low periods of volatility will inevitably be followed […]

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Is Volatility Going To Continue To Plummet This Summer?

Is Volatility Going To Continue To Plummet This Summer?

July is traditionally a very slow month for the financial markets. Not only is it the prime vacation month for families (most kids go back to school in August), but there’s also the July 4th holiday week. Generally speaking, investors and traders are often far away from the markets at this time of year. Even in […]

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Options Trading

Using Options To Help Predict Big Market Moves

Using Options To Help Predict Big Market Moves

Options order flow, particular large or unusual block trades, can potentially help traders predict where a big market move may occur.  Large traders will often use options on ETFs in order to take a directional position on a major asset class or industry.  For example, using the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF […]

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How To Profit During October’s Earnings Season

How To Profit During October’s Earnings Season

It’s been a tumultuous 18 months since Covid first descended, roiling personal lives, businesses, and the markets.  While things keep continually flowing, we humans (prisoners to time), like to mark the days segmenting periods in order to assess past actions and set future goals. Today marks the end of Q3, as September proved to be […]

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Using Options To Protect Gains While Maintaining Upside Potential

Using Options To Protect Gains While Maintaining Upside Potential

The stock market is hitting all-time highs and investors are torn between the possibility of an economic downturn, or entering a new leg of the bull market. Last week’s article noted that money managers were increasingly using call options to gain additional exposure to the stock market.  Some of this behavior might be deemed as a reckless […]

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2 Distinct Concepts That Options Traders Need To Know

2 Distinct Concepts That Options Traders Need To Know

Market volatility is starting to tick back up as macro headlines from Iran/Iraq come in. And now we are about to enter earnings season, which not only will cause big moves in the individual names, but over the past few years, has proved to be a volatile first quarter. More specifically, on individual names that are […]

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How To Read Options Activity For Clues To A Move

How To Read Options Activity For Clues To A Move

Using option activity as an indicator of impending price moves is difficult, subjective, and unreliable. That being said, it can help confirm other indicators and increase the probability of a profitable trade. Indeed, there have been many situations in which activity in the options pits accurately predicts or presages an impending price move. There are […]

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Options Trading Basics

The Relationship Between Volatility & Vega

The Relationship Between Volatility & Vega

Market volatility is starting to tick back up as macro headlines ranging from inverted yield curve to drones striking Saudi oil complexes to impeachment to failed IPOs have ratcheted up uncertainty and nervousness. And now we are about to enter earnings season which not only will cause big moves in the individual names but could […]

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2 Essential Options Trading Concepts That You Need To Know

2 Essential Options Trading Concepts That You Need To Know

Market volatility has contracted back down to historically low levels with the VIX, which acts as the benchmark measure, sitting just above 52-week low at the pre-teen level of 12. But, with earnings season upon us, tons of IPOs such as Uber hitting market, and pickup in mergers and acquisition activity such as Chevron’s (CVX) $33 billion […]

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The Inner Workings Of Time Decay In Options Trading

The Inner Workings Of Time Decay In Options Trading

After a steep decline and rapid rebound, the stock market seems to be settling in.  Following such a period of big moves and high volatility, I wouldn’t be surprised if it went nowhere for the next couple weeks, or until the next earnings period. But, as an options trader, one thing’s for certain: Time never stands […]

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The Options Strategy That You Need To Know

The Options Strategy That You Need To Know

One of the most popular options strategies is the covered call, or buy-write, in which one owns underlying stock and sells a call.  It’s a bullish position which generates income through a premium collection. Many investors and money managers consider it a very conservative approach and employ it in their retirement accounts. But suggest selling a put, and […]

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Using Cash-Secured Puts: The AT&T Example

Using Cash-Secured Puts: The AT&T Example

Investors that have the goal of generating income from their portfolio generally have two methods at their disposal to do so. They can simply increase the size of their portfolio and thereby boost the number of dollars that are produced by the portfolio’s average yield.  But “have more money” is rarely an option. Alternatively, investors […]

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