When it comes to trading the way I do direction hardly matters. Down is OK, up is always better, sideways is the best revenge.
When you trade options there are lots of ways to win: You can profit whether shares fall a little, when they climb higher or if they don’t do much at all. Contrast that with the standard method of investing which is to just out right buy a stock. You can only profit if it goes up.
Even when you first purchase a stock, you are already in the red. The purchase price (ask) is always higher than the sell price (bid). Plus there are commissions. Unless you are a floor trader who doesn’t pay commissions and can take advantage of arbitrage, there is no such thing as a sure winner.
That said there are ways to put the odds in your favor. Selling puts, when used in the proper manner, is one of the most misunderstood yet valuable transactions in the Market. For one thing, you immediately start in the black, by getting a cash credit to put a position on. You don’t even have to own the stock, you merely take on the possibility of owning it at a discount price. Think of it as shopping for a car. Do you ever pay sticker price?
The strategy I use involves either one of two types of trades- either sell a put with the possibility of owning the stock OR sell a call option against a stock I already own.
The key to all trading is to limit your risk, either by using technical analysis or stick to the highest quality “boring” household name companies that have been around for decades. In my case, using a combination of both these strategies increases the odds of success greatly.
That said you never want to overpay for a stock, even if it is a great company. But with simple charting observations, you can identify price points where the big money starts to come in to support.
Let’s take an example from one of my 25 list favorites, retail giant Walmart. Walmart is a holding in super investor Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway and has increased its dividend payout for many years. All the makings of a great company.
In the chart shown here we can see just how to analyze this security and when the best time to enter a trade.
Notice what happens in this 1 year price chart when the stock falls to around 72.5. Whenever the price hits that value, the big money comes in to “support” Walmart at that price and the stock recovers. It already happened twice in the past year and recently did it again in the periodic market correction that started in July 2014. So my favorite strategy to implement here would be to sell the September 72.5 put, upon which I would immediately get a cash credit to my account. Since that cash is in my account it could be used as credit toward the purchase of the stock should it fall below 72.5 at expiration day.
This would obligate me to buy the shares at 72.5 should it fall below that level at expiration. But in each case that never happened, so the contracts expire worthless and I just pocket the cash I received for taking on that risk and walk away.
Now I would not do this trade when it hit around the 80 level because I would not get enough credit at the 72.5 strike price but I might do the 80 option, but there a good chance I will get assigned the stock. But again what is the risk? I still would own a great stock at a discount price, and I could write call options against the assigned shares (which usually pays more than the quarterly dividend). So I get paid while waiting to sell my shares at the price I bought.
I only “lose” if the stock falls off a cliff. But wait, isn’t that exactly the same risk as out right buying the stock? You bet your bile duct it is. However I still have the advantage in that I’m owning the stock at a lower cost basis than the investor who out right buys the stock. The cash I receive lowers my cost basis and therefore my risk vs. just buying it outright.
Even if you are a buy and hold person you can still profit by selling call options against your stock. Using simple charting techniques there are favorable times to do this which increases the chances you will not have to sell your shares. You just keep the immediate credit you get for selling the option.
No complicated mathematics, just clear simple observation of market psychology. If I could convinced you that selling puts is a safe and profitable strategy would you be willing to make it a part of your permanent investing future? Maybe you’ve thought of having a home business that generates cash with no product or selling involved.