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Covered Call Strategies – Expiration Writing

There are many variations of the covered call trade.  The classic covered call is to select the trade, buy the stock and sell the ATM call.  In addition, there are a number of strategies that are variations of the classic call based on different trading ideas.  One covered call variation is expiration writing.

The investor will scan for short-term writes in the last two weeks of the current option cycle.  The trader is looking for stocks with high premium and high return on funds invested.  To get high returns over such a short time period usually indicates a high implied volatility and increased risk.  When IV is higher than actual volatility, then there is usually a pending event so you must research these trades very thoroughly.

One safer way to do this is to find a stock with higher volatility due to an event planned in advance.  Examine the stock to see when the event date is scheduled.  If the event will occur after the current expiration date, then you can trade in the current month calls.  The reason for this is that event volatility may increase premiums across both the current month and the next month option cycles.  This is a cool trick that most covered call writers had not heard of before.

This is not a risk free trade but it works if you are right about the timing of the event expiration being after the current month.  The key is to actually confirm the event date and not speculating about when it will occur.  Do not just go by the high volatility in two month alone as this does not indicate the event date.  If the IV is in line with the historical volatility, it may be a great covered call write anyway.

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