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RTH Vertical Spread Alternative

I mentioned earlier today a bearish spread on RTH that you could implement, but there were some near-term risks. Since you were selling puts there would be some directional risk until the theta (time-decay) caught up with you. So instead, I picked out an ATM call vertical that I sold:

Buy RTH Feb 80 Call 3.55

Sell RTH Feb 75 Call 6.30

Here's the risk profile for a single vertical:

This put me at a $275 credit per vertical opened, and my total risk is 225. You'll notice when you do a lot of vertical spreads is the relationship between risk/reward and the statistical percentage of success. Since my risk/reward is near parity, that means I have about a 50% statistical chance of success with this trade. Since I believe that the etf is headed down in the next month or so, I felt there was an edge there to take and my odds were much better.

Risk management is pretty straightforward: your risk is capped, but I'll exit the position if a short squeeze commences. It will be a discretionary exit based on momentum and the volume behind the move. It's also a good portfolio hedge if you've got a consumer-heavy portfolio.

by Steven Place

Steven Place is the founder and head trader at