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If you're looking for full time profits as a part time trader, you must adjust how you approach the market and how you execute on your trades.

I'm going to show you a simple way to get better entries and exits on your option trades so you can earn better profits even when you aren't in front of a screen.

Avoid This If You Want To Stop Losing Money In The Market

If you are a reactive trader, then you'll spend all day chasing hot stock tips and getting bad fills. You'll feel like you're doing something in the markets, but when you look at your results it's disappointing.

Your success as an options trader revolves around how you plan your trade executions before they happen.

Step 1: Pick Your Prices

This may seem obvious.

Yet it's a mistake that many new traders make.

What I've found with new stock and option traders is that they rarely get the best price on a trade.

By forcing yourself to pick the best price, it keeps you out of bad trades and allows you to tune out the noise.

Will you miss out on a few winning trades?

Sure it's possible. But you'll also be avoiding those costly reactive trades that deplete both your financial and psychological capital.

The other benefit of picking your price is that it allows you to take a step back and be a much better observer of the market.

Your opinions and biases are completely different when you're involved in a position compared to when you are "stalking" for the best price.

If you get good enough, you can develop a feel for a stock on where the pain points are and where the stop runs will be. Those are usually the best entry points for a stock.

Here's an example:

cvx

Chevron (CVX) just had a failed breakout. It cleared key resistance at 104 for a week or so, but the continued weakness in the oil space helped to bring the stock back into the range.

When we have a failed breakout, the stock tends to trade to the other side of the range, which is at 97.50. That's a price I'd be willing to get long.

Step 2: Pick Your Option Prices

This step works best when you are looking at reverting kinds of setups where you let the price come to you.

If you are trading breakouts or trend continuation plays then you'll need to be more active, setting alerts and being ready to enter on your breakout signals.

Yet if you're looking for a way to automate your options trading, this is as close as you can get.

Simply put, you need to pick your option strategy and then figure out what price that strategy will hit if the stock price comes into what you want.

Remember, options are derivatives. The pricing is derived from movement in the underlying and the implied volatility.

Let's head back to our example in CVX.

Say I wanted to use bull put spreads as a position. So I'd go out and look at the September 90/85 bull put spread.

Here's what it looks like right now:

cvx-bull-put-spread

So the current price is 0.33. That's not the kind of risk/reward I am looking for.

However, if CVX trades into my target price of 97.50, then the spread will be worth between 0.65 and 0.70. That's a better entry point.

Here's the cool thing... you can set GTC (Good till cancel) orders on this spread. That way you don't have to worry about being at your trading screen at the right time.

You've already planned your price, and planned your option strategy. What else can you do?

Step 3: Develop a Scaling Strategy

I'll be straight up with you, even if you have your perfect prices, the natural volatility of the market will try to shake you out of your position.

Why not use that in your favor?

When I work with newer traders, they view each trade as an "all or nothing" kind of strategy.

Get into the trade all at once, and if it doesn't work then you stop out.

Doing that leaves you with tighter stops on a trade, giving you higher odds you'll get shaken out of a trade.

If you can learn to use the natural volatility of the market, you can get better fills and more profits with the same amount of risk.

Let's go back to our example in CVX. My initial price would be 0.65, but I would start with smaller size and then add to the trade at 0.95 and then at 1.50.

That way if CVX really stretches to the downside I'll be prepared to take the heat and increase my odds in the trade.

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Welcome to Summer Trading

spy

This chart shows the S&P 500 etf (SPY), and the lower indicator is the 10 day historical volatility.

It currently sits around 5%.

That means if we were to continue to see this kind of price action, we should expect the S&P 500 to be about 5% higher or lower from these prices in about a year.

Of course, that doesn't happen, as volatility cycles from low to high... but it has been a grind.

So we've got the actual vol at 5%, and the VIX under 12% for some time.

The "traditional" response here is that it means we are due for a selloff.... that when the VIX is low and the market hasn't moved in a while it clearly means it's time to be bearish.

I'd like to point out that from what I can tell this is the consensus. And that the true contrarian bet is actually looking for more upside.

And you know what?

It would be nice to see a pullback. I would prefer it.

But the other scenario here is that vol comes off the floor but it's not the end of the world. And instead of seeing vol head back to 20%, it just normalizes to 12%.

More summer trading.

Here's the beauty of this kind of market.

When vol is low, it also means correlations are low. It's a stock picker's market.

The indexes can rotate and go sideways and pullback... and in the meantime you can have setups underneath the surface trigger.

Both to the long side and short side.

What this means is-- don't get lost in the noise.

Way to many people are getting sucked in looking for a market top and the next big macro move, when the better edge is to look for stocks moving after earnings and placing your bets there.

Looking for the Pre Earnings Run in CRM

crm

As we head into earnings season, one of my favorite trades is to look for stocks that will move in anticipation of their earnings event.

What happens here is that investors, exepcting good news from the company, will start to buy the stock before they release earnings. This casuses a "pre-earnings" run in the stock.

Salesforce.com (CRM) has a lot of potential for this kind of setup. It doesn't report earnings until the middle of August.

And if we start to see good earnings across the board in the tech space (like MSFT, QCOM, and FFIV already have) then we should see the stock start being bid up in anticipation of its event.

On top of all this, it doesn't hurt that the stock is trading just a few points short of all time highs, and has seen volatility compression the entire time since its previous earnings event.

Look for the stock to run another 5 points before its earnings event. I like using bull call spreads, and if you want to be aggressive you can just buy calls straight up as earnings will help to keep the option premiums elevated.

Want more trade ideas like this? Join my service here.

You Have No Choice But To Be Bullish on US Stocks

Just two weeks ago the S&P 500 was down at 2000, and we currently are around 120 points higher.

This "call" may seem a little late, but in the context of the range we've been in, this current move could just simply be a blip.

spx-month

Given the current situation, we have been in a cyclical bear market in the context of a secular bull market.

You  may ask yourself...

"Self, how can we be in a bear market when we haven't seen a 20% drop?"

Remember:

Markets can correct through three ways: price, time, and momentum.

For two years, US stocks have been in a sideways corrective pattern with plenty of shakeouts.

Now let's put in the past two years in the context of a few global macro events:

The Crude Oil Market Collapsed

crude-oil

Too much leverage and too much supply led to a structural collapse in oil. Over the course of two years, oil ran from 110 to 30... basically a 70% drop in prices.

It wasn't just crude oil... the entire energy and materials complex was hit aggressively:

xlb

Over the course of a year, XLB (S&P 500 Materials ETF) dropped over 30%.

And XLE (S&P 500 Energy ETF) was cut in half.

What happens if we look across the pond?

Overseas Markets Finished Their Bear Markets

A look at EEM (Emerging Markets ETF) shows how much damage was done over the past few years:

eem-weekly

A 40% drop.

Similar instances can be found across the globe.

If you've been waiting for a bear market... you missed out. There were and have been plenty of established and mature bear markets and it's possible that those cycles are over.

3 Volatility Events

spy-standard deviation

This is a weekly chart of the S&P 500. The lower study is a standard deviation plot, which shows us how big the week's move was in relation to the past half year's volatility.

We have seen 3 major volatility events over the past two years: the ebola crisis, the China currency crash, and the risk rotation at the beginning of the year.

Three major shakeouts. If investors were scared for any reason whatsoever, they've had plenty of opportunities to sell their stocks.

In fact, that's what we've seen. Equity fund outflows have been negative for basically the entire year.

US Treasuries Have Gone Parabolic

tlt

This is a weekly chart of TLT, an etf that tracks long duration US Treasuries.

The lower study shows us how many weeks in a row that we have seen the etf overbought.

As it stands right now we have had 5 consecutive weeks above the weekly upper bollinger band.

That has happened only 2 other times since 2008.

In fact, for the first tie since the market crash in 2008, the S&P 500 dividend yield is now higher than the 30 year treasury yield.

The reason for this move is pretty simple.

30% of all sovereign debt now have negative yields. That means you have to pay their governments to own their debt. This doesn't make sense to me, but it is what it is.

So we've seen capital flight back into US Treasuries as it is the best yielding instrument right now.

The Total Setup

Let's put this all together.

Over the past two years, we've seen a Brexit, a Chinese currency crisis, an oil shock, and a biological outbreak scare.

During this time, oil stocks got cut in half, emerging markets were down over 30%, the BRIC countries are getting slammed, and European stocks also got nailed.

There was also a crash in the British Pound to levels not seen since 1985, and the Swiss Franc had something like a 20 standard deviation move.

We're also sitting with US Treasury 10 year yield at 1.3%.

Oh and one more thing: the Fed stops their Quantitative Easing at the end of 2014.

Now think about this...

If I came to you back at the end of 2013 and told you all of this would happen in the next two years, where would you put the price of the S&P 500, the Nasdaq, and the Dow Jones Industrial average?

Unchanged? Heck no.

You'd say we'd already be off 20% along with the rest of the global macro landscape.

What we are seeing here is an "in spite of" trade setup.

The S&P 500 is about to hit all time highs in spite of all that has gone on.

The US Markets have "zagged" while everthing else "zigged."

Absence of a trading signal is just as important as the obvious one.

Think very carefully about how you want to position yourself headed into the Fall of this year.

How to Get the 10,000 Foot View

I'm a believer that knowing the big picture will help you better frame your trading decisions in the short term.

Yet there is a problem...

You can end up getting lost in the wash.

Too many headlines, too many talking heads, too much noise.

That's why it's absolutely critical that you follow price action instead of the headlines.

Because if you'd listened to everyone else over the past two years, then you're probably one of those people that contributed to net outflows in stocks.

Yet if you follow price and keep a level head about you, it's much simpler and much more profitable as an investor.