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Adding a Put to a Covered Call

When you buy a put for a covered call trade, you then have both a sold call and bought put on the stock you own.  This is called a “collar” as you have a  protective put on a covered call.  The classic collar has an at-the-money (ATM) call and put at the same strike price.  In the case of the covered call trader, the  bought put serves as additional downsize protection against a stock price decline.

When you add a put to a covered call trade, you are adding additional cost to the trade.  This will increase your cost basis for the trade. However, you can create a totally riskless covered call trade.  Let’s look at an example using XYZ.

XYZ is trading at $74.77 in the market.  You can sell the 75 Call for $4.20 and buy the 75 Put for $4.00.  If the stock is above 75 at closing, if will be called away and you gain $0.43 in profits (75-74.77+.20).  Additionally, we could sell the put if there is any value left before expiration.  In this scenario, you make money from the covered call side.

If XYZ is trading below 75 at expiration, the call will expire worthless but the put will have value.  You would exercise the 75 put which will give you $75.00 for the stock shares trading below the 75 strike price.  You would then make a profit of $0.43 on the protective put side of the trade.

XYZ
Stock Price         74.77
Sell 75 Call           4.20
Buy 75 Put           4.00
Net Premium           0.20
Net Cost         74.57
Downside Risk                –
Max Profit           0.43

 

This trade is a risk-free trade because the total cost basis ($74.57) is below both strike prices of 75.  Regardless of what happens to the stock price, you will receive $75.00 for your stock. You can say that this collar trade is an arbitrage trade because there was a positive difference between the call and put prices at the 75 strike price.  The return of $0.43 is only a 0.58% return.  When you add trading commissions to the cost basis, this can’t be arbitraged by a retail investor.  For more active traders, you can vary your timing of closing the call and put sides to increase your profit.  For example, when the sold call loses the majority of value, you can close this side by buying to close the call.  Then, you will own the stock with the put guarentee at the strike price.  There are numerous possibilities when you actively managed the collar trade if you make adjustments before expiration.

You can construct a similar trade with different strike prices for the call and put.  When you vary the strike prices this, you are changing the cost basis and risk exposure.  For example with the 75 covered call on XYZ, we might buy the 72.5 put for $3.15 (see table below).  This will give us a max profit of $1.05 and downsize risk of $1.22.

XYZ Stock
Stock Price         74.77
Sell 75 Call           4.20
Buy 72.5 Put           3.15
Net Premium           1.05
Net Cost         73.72
Downside Risk           1.22
Max Profit           1.05

 

The great part about this type of trade is that you are limiting the amount of downsize by using the blanket put.  If the stock market bottom falls out with a 10% correction, you will only lose $1.22 per covered call or 1.65%.

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How the Wealthy Keep Getting Richer

In a world of average people — and average salaries — many of us aspire to join the 7-figure club. Who doesn’t dream of becoming wealthy, so they can stop working, go on guilt-free shopping sprees and take endless vacations?

Here is a great answer from Entrepreneur Magazine – pay close attention to the multiple income habits.

However, most rich people don’t do those things, and that’s part of how they build and maintain their wealth. There’s a difference between living a life of careless spending (which will quickly drain even a wealthy person’s bank account) and living for long-term financial independence and wealth.

The self-made rich aren’t necessarily smarter than anyone else, but they have mastered some important principles that help them get ahead and stay ahead. Most important, they treat building wealth as a learnable skill — and it’s one that you can learn, too.

So, if you’d like to join the ranks of the super wealthy, try honing these 10 habits and lifestyle changes and see what financial freedom truly feels like.

1. Have a financial growth mindset.

Wealthy people are incredibly creative when it comes to thinking about business and finding different ways of making money. Mega-successful people set themselves apart because they nurture a financial growth mindset, which changes how you view money and helps you focus on seeing profitable opportunities.

This mindset helps successful and wealthy people believe that there are always bigger and better projects to work on and there’s always more money to be made. They’re open to exploring new ideas. They believe they’re always capable of making changes and creating a positive outcome.

2. Network with other successful people.

Wealthy people understand the importance of surrounding themselves with other successful people. Wealthy people spend time networking with others who are wealthy but also have drive, talent and, most important, the potential to become wildly successful. The rich spend time every month getting to know other like-minded people at conferences, events and gatherings, or just grabbing coffee or a drink with someone interesting.

This is time wisely invested, as it keeps their minds focused on success and helps them meet new people who have fresh and thought-provoking ideas. Doing this also helps wealthy people fill their contact lists with relevant and influential people who can potentially help them (and vice versa).

3. Get outside your comfort zone.

Wealthy people are successful because they have learned that success comes to those who embrace a little discomfort. They understand that the only way to really improve is to push yourself beyond your limits. If you want to become wealthy, you’re going to need to fuel your creative spark, come up with unique business ideas and then take the plunge.

Wealth and success don’t emerge from the safety of a 9-to-5 job. They come from drawing on your inner strength and going for your big dream. All successful business leaders, visionaries and game-changers have gone beyond their comfort zones in order to achieve the ultimate success. The people who will go down in history had the courage to face their fears and take that first step into the unknown.

4. Create multiple income flows.

The more money you have, the easier it is to make more money. And the easiest and fastest way to make more money is to have multiple income streams. That way you always have money coming in and can use the excess income to invest in new income flows. This, in a nutshell, is the primary way the wealthy stay wealthy.

There are two basic forms of income: active income, in which you work for the money you make, and passive income, in which payment isn’t directly tied to the number of hours you work. Passive income includes rental property, dividend stocks, index funds, writing a book or creating an app, all of which will bring in a steady flow of income from sales or royalties.

5. Invest.

Rich people make their money work for them. They know that investing is the key to growing their finances. While saving money for a rainy day is important, your investments are going to do the heavy lifting to help you become wealthy.

Saving means putting money into a safe place until you want to retrieve it, but most savings accounts don’t yield high interest, so this pile of money basically stays static — it’s not going to grow much beyond what you add. But smart investments will give you healthy returns, which you can then reinvest. When you invest in something, you also accept some amount of risk, so you never want to invest more than you can afford to lose.

6. Take calculated risks.

The rich don’t gamble on big financial decisions; they do what they can to mitigate risk. They do their research and analysis, and determine which options best suit their financial needs and business desires. They weigh the pros and cons, and then take calculated risks.

They make financial decisions by asking themselves, “Will this bring me closer to my goal?” They avoid frivolous risks that aren’t really going to benefit them, and never take a cavalier attitude when it comes to money.

7. Focus on self-improvement.

Wealthy people are usually avid readers, but you won’t find many mindless beach novels in their bookcases. The wealthy understand the importance of self-education and pushing themselves to become better in all ways. In fact, if you look at the books piled by their beds, you’ll mostly find titles on self-improvement.

While 85 percent of rich people read two or more self-improvement books per month, only 11 percent read for entertainment, compared to 79 percent of the poor. And a whopping 94 percent of wealthy people read news publications, compared to 11 percent of non-wealthy people.

8. Never completely retire.

The ultra-rich certainly have enough money to never work another day in their life, but the majority of them keep working, at least to some degree, often well past 70. That doesn’t mean they’re clocking long days at the office; indeed, they’re probably taking their fair share of vacations and enjoying flexible schedules. But many rich people never completely retire. This is not because they can’t afford to, but because they enjoy what they do.

Many are entrepreneurs at heart, and the desire to run and grow a business never leaves them. The stability of working and the sense of purpose and fulfillment it gives them is an important part of their overall happiness. Working gives them an ongoing feeling of success and an objective to keep them focused. Not to mention that it keeps the money rolling in!

9. Avoid overspending.

While non-wealthy people daydream about spending money without worry, buying fancy cars, big houses and expensive clothes, the rich understand that the more money you spend, the less you have. The wealthy wouldn’t stay wealthy long if they spent excessively. No matter how much money you earn, you’ll always be poor if you spend more than you make.

The rich recognize that the less you spend, the more money you have to grow your wealth. Keep in mind that frugality is relative to your income — a wealthy person may spend much more than someone who is considered middle class. But in relative terms, the rich tend to be thrifty, and they make sure they don’t overspend.

10. Take time to reflect.

Many of the self-made wealthy spend time in focused thinking every day. Spending 30 minutes (or more) in a quiet space gives them time to reflect on their life and goals, to think about their health and relationships, consider their career and financial goals, and analyze where they’re currently at and where they want to be. Critical thinking time is essential to staying ahead of the market and considering what changes may be coming your way.

This is also time to focus on self-improvement and working through ideas. Some may opt for journaling or writing to help them come up with creative solutions and ideas. Just make sure you’re spending your time on productive thinking. Don’t waste your mental energy on ruminations or negative thought loops that will make you second guess yourself. The wealthy don’t.

 

Option Basics – What is an Option?

An “option” is a standardized contract originated by the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) that is exchange-listed.  A stock option is a legal right, but not obligation, to buy or sell shares of a specific stock for a fixed time and a fixed price.  The fixed price gives the option holder the right to buy or sell at a fixed price known as a strike price or exercise price.  The fixed time indicates that a option has a limited life for only a specific period of time then expires.
 
There are two types of options:
 

  • Calls – the right, but not the obligation to buy the underlying stock
  • Puts – the right but not the obligation to sell the underlying stock

How to buy & sell Options

Click to enlarge.

The underlying stock are the shares of stock that are subject to a stock option.  The underlying stock can also be an exchange-traded fund, stock index and other tradeable securities that have options.

Each listed call or put option covers 100 shares of the underlying stock.  Stock options expire on the Saturday following the 3rd Friday of each month.  This 3rd Friday is the last day the options can be traded as the market is closed on Saturday.  If the 3rd Friday is a holiday, then the last trading day will be the Thursday before.  Recently, weekly options have been open on a limited number of stocks and ETFs.  These weekly options are opened on each Thursday and expire on Friday of the following week.  This gives the weekly option a time period of 8 days from opening to close.

There are many different calls and puts trading on each security that is optionable.  Each call and put strike price of each expiration month is a separate option series.  To be part of the same series, the options must be of the same type and have the same expiration, strike price and underlying security.  

For investors, option equal income.  I have always like to identify multiple streams of income from my portfolio. For many, they like to diversify using different stocks in different industries. Others like to add additional investments such as bonds and real estate to create diversification. There is nothing wrong with investors looking to create different types of income. In fact, I believe it may be as close to the holy grail as any concept in investing. I use multiple products and strategies to create multiple streams of income. 

I am focused on generating consistent monthly income by selling options for premium using low risk strategies. You can see more investments at my website: getrichinvestments.com

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How to Get a 20% Dividend Yield with Monthly Payments

If you are an income investor seeking high yield with monthly income, then MORL may be a nice addition to your portfolio. I have invested in mortgage REITs like Annaly Capital, AGNC and others in the past to boost my income stock portion of my portfolio. With MORL, you get a basket of mortgage REITs with a 20% dividend yield with monthly income!

The UBS ETRACS Monthly Pay 2x Leveraged Mortgage REIT ETN (MORL) has a trailing 12-month dividend yield of 20.6% as of this week’s close. Since dividend yields are crucial to some market participants, investors may be highly attracted to the exchange-traded note (ETN). Although MORL consistently offers high dividend yields in double digits and sometimes above 20%, there is one primary reason that it is able to offer captivating dividend payouts (currently, $2.99).

Nomura has started coverage of 10 US Mortgage REITs, with seven stocks assigned an initial investment rating of buy. “The environment for levered mortgage-based operating models is the best it’s been since the Taper Tantrum,” Nomura said in a note to clients, with the industry attracting “yield-starved investors amid a low, range-bound interest rate environment and expected yield curve steepening.” Nomura expects companies in the space to record better net interest spreads and “incrementally higher leverage.” It gave Annaly Capital Management Inc.(largest MORL holding

) a 2019 earnings-per-share estimate of $1.30 and a price target of $11. Annaly recently closed at $9.99.

MORL was issued on Oct. 16, 2012, and is legally structured as an uncollateralized debt instrument. Therefore, the ETN carries credit risk, which relies on the credit worthiness of UBS, and any of the payments made on MORL depend on the ability of UBS to satisfy its debt obligations. The ETN has an annual net expense ratio of 0.40%, which is over 50% below the average of its category of trading leveraged equity.

MORL seeks to provide investment results corresponding to two times the monthly performance of the MVIS Global Mortgage REITs Index, its underlying index. It was the first product of its kind to offer two times leverage in the mortgage REIT industry. Since the ETN is a monthly leveraged product, MORL aims to provide twice the monthly price and yield performance of its underlying index.

The mortgage REIT industry is known for its high dividend payout ratio and deriving its earnings by purchasing mortgage-backed securities (MBS) or lending money to individuals purchasing real estate. Mortgage REIT companies are able to borrow at a lower rate, close to the target federal funds rate, and they should invest the money in MBS or lend it to consumers. Consequently, the increased borrowing allows mortgage REIT companies to generate higher earnings and pay out attractive dividends.

The ETN pays out dividends to its holders on a monthly basis, which also attributes to its high dividend yields. However, the dividend is bigger in the final month of each quarter, which ends in January, April, July and October; during the two months in between the large quarterly dividend payments, it pays a smaller dividend.

The ETRACS Monthly Pay 2xLeveraged Mortgage REIT ETN due October 16, 2042 (the “Securities”) is a series of Monthly Pay 2xLeveraged ETRACS linked to the MVIS US Mortgage REITs Index (the “Index”). The Index tracks the overall performance of publicly-traded mortgage REITs that are listed and incorporated in the United States and derive at least 50% of their revenues from mortgage-related activities. The Securities are senior unsecured debt securities issued by UBS AG (UBS). The Securities provide a monthly compounded two times leveraged long exposure to the performance of the Index, reduced by the Accrued Fees. Because the Securities are two times leveraged with respect to the Index, the Securities may benefit from two times any positive, but will be exposed to two times any negative, monthly compounded performance of the Index. The Securities may pay a monthly coupon during their term linked to two times the cash distributions, if any, on the Index Constituent Securities. You will receive a cash payment at maturity, upon acceleration or upon exercise by UBS of its Call Right based on the monthly compounded leveraged performance of the Index less the Accrued Fees, calculated as described in the accompanying product supplement. You will receive a cash payment upon early redemption based on the monthly compounded leveraged performance of the Index less the Accrued Fees and the Redemption Fee, calculated as described in the accompanying product supplement. In addition, for any Securities it sells, UBS Securities LLC may charge purchasers a creation fee, which may vary over time at UBS’s discretion. If the creation fee is applicable, the return on your investment in the Securities will be reduced by the creation fee. Payment at maturity or call, upon acceleration or upon early redemption will be subject to the creditworthiness of UBS. In addition, the actual and perceived creditworthiness of UBS will affect the market value, if any, of the Securities prior to maturity, call, acceleration or early redemption.

The MVIS US Mortgage REITs Index is a modified capitalization-weighted, float-adjusted index designed to give investors a means of tracking the overall performance of publicly-traded mortgage REITs that are listed and incorporated in the United States and derive at least 50% of their revenues from mortgage-related activity. This includes companies or trusts that are primarily engaged in the purchase or service of commercial or residential mortgage loans or mortgage-related securities, which may include mortgage-backed securities issued by private issuers and those issued or guaranteed by U.S. Government agencies, instrumentalities or sponsored entities.

The Index is a price return index (i.e., the reinvestment of dividends is not reflected in the value of the Index). As of September 13, 2017, the Index was comprised of 25 Index Constituent Securities, with the largest Index Constituent Security weighted at 14.22% and the smallest Index Constituent Security weighted at 1.22%. The top ten constituent stocks of the Index as of September 13, 2017, by weighting, are listed in the table below:

 

Company Ticker Listing Country Index Weighting
Annaly Capital Management Inc. NLY US 14.22%
AGNC Investment Corp. AGNC US 8.58%
Starwood Property Trust Inc. STWD US 6.58%
New Residential Investment Corp. NRZ US 5.97%
Chimera Investment Corp. CIM US 5.06%
Blackstone Mortgage Trust Inc. BXMT US 4.95%
Two Harbors Investment Corp. TWO US 4.91%
MFA Financial Inc. MFA US 4.68%
Invesco Mortgage Capital Inc. IVR US 4.60%
Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Inc. ARI US 4.34%
TOTAL 63.89%

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Investing Wisdom from Warren Buffett

In his essay for “Getting There,” Buffett elaborates on a message that he thinks “is very important to get across to younger people”: Take care of your mind and body.

Sounds simple, right?

But Buffett takes it a step further by offering an analogy: “Let’s say that I offer to buy you the car of your dreams. You can pick out any car that you want, and then when you get out of class this afternoon, that car will be waiting for you at home.”

As with most things in life, Buffett says there’s just one catch: It’s the only car you’re ever going to get…in your entire life.

“Now, knowing that, how are you going to treat that car?” he asks.

“You’re probably going to read the owner’s manual four times before you drive it; you’re going to keep it in the garage, protect it at all times, change the oil twice as often as necessary,” says Buffett. “If there’s the least little bit of rust, you’re going to get that fixed immediately so it doesn’t spread — because you know it has to last you as long as you live.”

And then, like a bag of bricks, Buffett hits us with a brilliant realization: The position you’re in with your car is exactly the position you’re in concerning your mind and body.

In other words, the way you treat your car should be no different than the way you treat your body.

“You have only one mind and one body for the rest of your life,” Buffett says. “If you aren’t taking care of them when you’re young, it’s like leaving that car out in hailstorms and letting rust eat away at it. If you don’t take care of your mind and body now, by the time you’re 40 or 50, you’ll be like a car that can’t go anywhere.”

Now, you might be wondering whether Buffett practices what he preaches — considering how vocal the billionaire has been about his love for Coca-Cola, hamburgers, steaks and hash browns.

For the most part, the answer is yes.

When a New Jersey nutritional dentist wrote Buffett a letter encouraging him to eat more healthy foods, he responded by saying his diet isn’t as bad as most might think.

“I have a wonderful doctor who nudges me in your direction every time I see him. All in all, I’ve enjoyed remarkably good health — largely because of genes, of course — but also, I think, because I enjoy life so much every day,” he said in his response.

And back in 2007, when he was in his late 70s, he told CNBC that his doctor told him two years before: “Either you eat better or you exercise.”

Buffett chose the latter, which he called “the lesser of two evils.”

How to Retire Rich – Master the Money Game

Retiring rich may be more possible than you think.

Especially if you’re young, you don’t even need to make a lot of money to end up wealthy, says Tony Robbins, a self-made millionaire and the best-selling author of “Money: Master the Game.” If you consistently set aside a portion of your earnings, whether you make $40,000 or $100,000, and let it grow over time, you could end up with a seven-figure portfolio.

If you’re just starting out in the workforce, “you have the greatest gift on earth: time and compounding,” he says. All millennials need to do is to use those advantages, he says, adding: “When they asked Warren Buffett, ‘What made you a wealthy man? He said, ‘Good genetics, time and compounding.'”

How exactly can these ingredients — time and compounding — help you build your net worth? For starters, it’s important to understand how compounding works.

What is compound interest?

Compound interest makes a sum of money grow at a faster rate than simple interest, because in addition to earning returns on the money you invest, you also earn returns on those returns at the end of every compounding period, which could be daily, monthly, quarterly or annually.

That’s why compound interest causes your wealth grow faster. It’s also why you don’t have to put away as much money to reach your goals.e dialog

Compound interest can also work against you when it comes to loans: It means that every year or month, whatever the frequency specific to your loan, the amount you have to repay gets bigger. So the longer it takes to pay off your loan, the more you’ll owe in interest.

Why does time matter?

The sooner you start to invest your money, the more you’ll benefit from compound interest. Starting to save early means you don’t have to put away as much over time — and even a few years can make a big difference.

To show just how advantageous it is to start saving and investing early on, personal finance site NerdWallet created a chart showing the percentage of each twice-a-month paycheck you’d need to set aside to have $2 million saved by the time you’re 67.

It assumes two different starting points, age 22 and age 30, and that you’re start with zero dollars invested. It also assumes a 6% average annual investment return and various annual salaries.

The 22-year-old has just an eight-year head start on the 30-year-old, but that makes a significant difference in how much is needed to save per paycheck. Scroll over the bars to see the exact numbers.

How to use compound interest to your advantage

Almost anyone save and invest of portion of their paycheck, says Robbins, no matter the size of their salary: “Oftentimes people tell me, ‘I don’t have any money. … I don’t know where to start. I’ve got to wait until I have money before I begin [investing].’ That is the biggest mistake you can make.”

Even if you can only save 1% to 5% of your income in a retirement account, start there. “What you want is consistency,” Robbins says. Then, work towards setting aside 10% to 20%. That may sound daunting, but it’ll be easier to do if you make it automatic, meaning that you have your contributions automatically taken out of your paycheck and sent straight to your retirement account.

As for where you should invest, the simplest starting point is to contribute to your employer’s 401(k) plan, a tax-advantaged retirement savings account that many companies offer, or other retirement savings accounts, such as a Roth IRA or traditional IRA.

“What you want is consistency.” -Tony Robbins, best-selling author of ‘Money: Master the Game’

Many experts, including Warren Buffett, recommend investing in low-cost index funds, like ones that track the S&P 500, which holds stocks for 500 of the largest companies in the U.S., including Apple, Exxon and Johnson & Johnson.

You can also look into robo-advisors, such as Betterment, Wealthsimple and Wealthfront. These are automated investing services that use an algorithm to determine the kind of portfolio that’s right for your age, risk tolerance and time horizon.

No matter how you choose to invest, the most important step is to open at least one account and start contributing to it consistently to take full advantage of compound interest. The earlier you start, the better off you’ll be.

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How To Determine If Your Stock Is Safe?

“That was amazing. How did you do that?”

I have to pat myself on the back. While most investors have had a stressful week, the readers of the newsletter I publish – The Palm Beach Letter – were able to relax.

The S&P 500 fell 11% from August 3 to August 8. Overall, our portfolio dropped only half as much. And the five recommendations we’ve made in our monthly newsletter lost only 1.8% on average. (Three of them actually gained in value.)

We received many grateful letters from our readers. Some wanted to know how we did it.

In today’s essay, I’m going to show you my technique for picking safe stocks. Don’t be surprised. This technique is incredibly simple. My two tests will take
about 10 seconds each to perform.

If your stock passes these two tests, it’s safer than 99% of all stocks in the world.

The first test I do is open up a chart of the stock and see how it performed in 2008.  The 2008 financial crisis was the worst market crash since the Great
Depression. The S&P 500 declined more than 50% in less than a year. Many riskier stocks fell 90% or more. It was a true massacre.  So if your stock held its value during this crisis – or better yet if it was one of the rare stocks that actually rose – it’s worth evaluating further. It might be a safe haven.

But if the stock tanked in 2008, I won’t touch it. It goes in the trash. A great analogy for this is the car market. A car manufacturer might tell you
its car has airbags, side impact protection, an onboard computer, and anti-lock brakes. But until you’ve driven that car into a wall at 110 miles per hour, you
won’t know it’s safe.

It’s the same with stocks. You might find a great business with an honest CEO and a prudent management team. But until you’ve seen how that business performs in a crisis, you can’t know it’s safe.

A bank in Connecticut called People’s United Financial passed this test. Fast food giant McDonald’s and the mining royalty firm Royal Gold held up as well. There’s also an insurance company from Canada called Fairfax Financial. It rose 36% in 2008.

The second test I do is my debt test. The fact is, if a company doesn’t have debt, there’s no way it can go bankrupt. Any company can go out of business if it
can’t make a profit. But if it doesn’t have debt, it can’t collapse – like Lehman Brothers did.

So the first thing I do is look at a company’s long-term debt. Ideally, I like to see a big fat zero there. Often though, companies have debt, but they have
more cash…

Take a company like Johnson & Johnson, for example. Johnson & Johnson has over $17 billion in debt. But it has over $26 billion in cash. In accounting terminology, Johnson & Johnson has zero “net” debt. I consider these companies safe, too.

The easiest way to run the debt test on a company is to compare its “enterprise value” with its market cap. You’ll find both these statistics on Yahoo Finance’s Key Statistics page.  Enterprise value is market cap plus net debt. So if a company’s enterprise value is less than its market cap, then the company has more cash than debt.  It’s safe. But if its enterprise value is greater than its market cap, then it has debt. It fails the test.

What you’ll find is that a lot of companies have tiny market caps in relation to their enterprise values. If you’d run my test before Lehman Brothers went
bankrupt, you would have seen its enterprise value was 30 times greater than its market cap.

These companies are among the riskiest in the world. They go bankrupt the day Wall Street stops lending them money. (And I’m constantly amazed how many
American companies operate their businesses like this.)

In sum, to figure out if your stock is safe or not, perform my two 10-second tests. First, look at its chart. Did it maintain its value in 2008? Second, look at its enterprise value. Is it less than its market cap?

If you can answer “yes” to these two questions, you have a safe stock in your possession.

 

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How to take Advantage of High Implied Volatility

Implied Volatility (IV) gets high when a company has some impending event that can move the stock price.  The impending event sometimes refers to the stock as being a special situation stock.  The impending event causes the option IV to change based on the likely stock price move.  Here are some causes that increase IV:
 

  • There is a pending event such as an earnings report, FDA ruling, etc.
  • A significant news event is pending on another company in the same industry
  • The company’s industry is more volatile due to expected changes
  • The stock has a higher level of volatility so its options are more expensive
  • An aberration occurs as there is no apparent reason for more expensive options.

When a stock is already moving its price, option premium will be high.  IV will simply reflect that volatility and potentially more volatility. Options are also more expensive when a stock is in a confirmed trend.  
 
Time value that is inflated due to spiking IV will collapse when the event causing the spike arrives.  You do not want to be long an option when IV collapse as you can lose money even if the stock price doesn’t fall.  In general, you want to buy low volatility and sell high volatility.

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To use high volatility to your advantage when you are Bullish:

  1. Buy stock as options are expensive;
  2. Write covered calls to collect higher premium;
  3. Sell naked or cash-covered puts for higher premiums;
  4. Write bull put spreads for higher credits.

If you are bearish with high volatility:

  1. Short the stock since puts are expensive;
  2. Sell naked calls;
  3. Write bear call spreads for credit.

How to Use LEAPS as Stock Replacement

Some investors are getting started with a small account.  However, these investors want to make some extra cash to pay some bills or to build up their capital.  They can sell calls on lower priced stocks as it takes less capital to purchase 100 shares of stock.  This is not the only way to achieve income on a smaller portfolio.  They can use LEAPS (long-term equity anticipation securities) as a stock replacement in covered call trades.

Just like a covered call trade, LEAPS (yes it always has an “S” which stands for security) can be purchased instead of the underlying stock which a call can be sold against to provide income.  LEAPS are similar to options except they have a longer time to expiration.  LEAPS usually expire from 1 to 3 years from the time of purchase.  The tradeoff is that you can purchase a LEAPS with 1-3 years of time at a lower cost than purchasing the stock.

The risk profile is very similar between a stock purchase or a LEAPS.  If you buy a stock for $50 then your risk is $50.  The same is true for a LEAPS.  If you buy a LEAPS contract for $20 then your risk is $20.  In both cases, your total investment amount is at risk.  The big difference is that LEAPS have an expiration date while stocks do not.  Since LEAPS have an expiration date, they can be purchased at a lower price than the underlying stock.

When you purchase a LEAPS contract, you control 100 shares of the underlying stock.  Just like a option call, LEAPS give you the right, but not an obligation, to purchase the stock at any time before expiration at the strike price you purchased.

For example, Pepsi (PEP) is trading at around $69.00 at this time.  Your cost to purchase 100 shares of UA will be $6,900.  You can purchase a Jan 2013 call at the $70 strike price for $4.35 per contract. This LEAPS will cost a total of $435.00.  This is a significant difference in the initial investment that is at risk.  The January 2013 call has 556 days until expiration.  You now have the right to purchase 100 shares of Pepsi stock at $70.00 anytime over the next 556 days.

To complete a covered call on PEP, you can sell one August 2011, 38 days til expiration, call at $0.84 per contract.  This is $84.00 in income for a total investment of $435.00.  This is a static return of 19.31% over 38 days.  This is extreme leverage that LEAPS offer to the investor.  If you purchased the stock instead of a LEAPS, your return would be 1.22% because your investment would be $6,900.  Also, your risk would be $6,900 for the stock versus just $435.00 for the LEAPS.

The bottom line: LEAPS lower your total investment compared to the underlying stock and leverage your total return potential.  This is great for those wanting income when investing with a small portfolio or those wanting to leverage their return.

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How to Manage Risk with a Covered Call & Leap Strategy

When entering a covered write with a LEAP, the investor hopes that the short-term call written against the LEAPS will expire worthless.  The investor can then “roll” the short-term call to further-out months with the goal of collecting additional premium month after month.

There are three risks with covered call – LEAP strategy:

  • Stock price decline
  • Assignment (creates a short stock position)
  • Stock price rise can reduce profit

Managing actions should be planned in advance.

If the price falls too fast you have these options:

  1. Close position and realize the loss.
  2. Roll Down and Out by covering (buying back) short call and then selling lower strike call with later expiration date.
  3. Maintain position – hope for price rise.  Let short Call expire and keep LEAPS Call.

 

What if the short call is assigned when stock price rises above call strike price?  Here are some options:

  1. Close the whole position
  2. Buy stock (to cover): stay long LEAPS Call
  3. Buy stock (to cover) & sell another Short-term Call (now have a new LEAPS covered call).

If the stock price rises too much, your profits will be reduced.  Why are profits reduced if the stock price rises too much?

It’s called the “effective price” concept.  If a call is exercised, then stock is purchased.  The effective purchase price of the stock is the strike price plus the call premium.  For example:

Buy a 50 Call @ $3.00

If the call is exercised:

The total cost of the stock is $50 + $3 = $53

$53 is the effective price.

The following example shows how to calculate effective price:

Stock XYZ @ $53.80

Long 1 XYZ 18-month 45 Call @ $10.60

Short 1 XYZ 60-day 55 Call @ $1.25

Strike  +   Call Px  =   Eff Px

55 Call           55      +     1.25     =  56.25 Sell

LEAPS Call   45      +     10.60 = 55.60 Buy

Maximum Profit = +0.65

 Profit at expiration of short call can be higher if there is time premium in the LEAPS call.

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