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Option Basics – Option Strike Prices

Income investors need to know about option strike prices to optimize their trades. Here are some basics…

Stock option strike prices are the price stated on each call or put option.  The strike prices can be classified according to their relationship with the current stock price.  There are three categories:

  • In the money (ITM) defined as calls with strike prices below stock prices and puts with strike prices above stock prices;
  • At the money (ATM) defined as the call and put strike price at or near the stock price;
  • Out of the money (OTM) defined as calls with strike prices above the stock price and puts with strike prices below the stock price.

As you know, an option will move from category to category based on its relationship with the actual stock price movement.  For example, when a stock is trading at $50 the the $50 strike prices will be at the money.  When the stock price moves above $50, calls will be ITM while puts will be OTM.  Likewise, when the stock price falls below $50, then calls will be OTM and puts will be ITM.  Therefore, the category is totally dependent on the current stock price.

OTM options expired worthless while ITM will always be exercised by the holder because they still have a value at or near the expiration date.  When a stock option is exercised, the call holder buys the stock and the put holder sells the stock.  When options are exercised, the OCC decides to which brokerage firm the option will be assigned and the brokerage decides which customer will get the assignment. When you are assigned an exercise, those shares are said to have been called away or called out.

When stock options are American style, you can be assigned an exercise anytime the option is ITM.  Of course, early exercise is affected by the time value remaining on the option.  As time value begins to decline more rapidly as expiration nears, the holder is more likely to assign an ITM option.  In general, 10% of options are exercised, 60% are traded out and 30% expire worthless.  

 

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Option Income Trade for 43.6%

As income investors, we seek to create consistent monthly income by selling options to collect monthly premiums. This has been successful for our investors for years. Option selling offers another method to diversify investing strategies beyond traditional dividend investing. We have combined technical stock events with our strategy to identify high returns option selling opportunities. This income trade will generate a return of 43% annualized. We are coming off a great trade in STM for a 40% gain.

Stock: RPC, Inc. (RES) provides a range of oilfield services and equipment for oil and gas companies involved in the exploration, production, and development of oil and gas properties in the United States, Africa, Canada, Argentina, China, Mexico, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. The company operates in two segments, Technical Services and Support Services.

Trend: We have identified a bullish “Upside Breakout” chart pattern. This bullish signal indicates that the stock price may rise from the close to the range of $25. The faster moving average recently crossed above the slower moving average, signaling a new uptrend has been established. The PMO supports the uptrend price movement.

The MACD is above its signal line and positive. The configuration is positive. Moreover, the stock is trading above both its 20 and 50 day MA (respectively at 19.54 and 20.12). RPC Inc is currently trading near its 52 week high reached at 23.36 on 25/01/17.

Strategy: We have an opportunity to sell options for income with RES as the stock should trade higher in the coming weeks. I recommend to place your trade and exit when you have locked in profits due to the stock price moving higher. Our goal here is to make income short term so we can exit and compound capital into another trade.

For medium risk option trade, look to sell an October 2017 22 PUT for about $0.90. This creates a return of 4.3% with 36 days to expiration. This is an annualized 43.6% return.

For a conservative trade, you can setup a covered call trade. You can purchase 100 shares of RES and sell an October 22 CALL option for about $1.10.

We continue to identify winning option trades to generate income and to exit early as the stock bullish patterns moves prices higher.

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Selling Puts for Monthly Income

When you buy an option, you are hoping for a move in the stock based on a chart or event or your brother-in-law’s advice (bad move there).  Hopefully, you watch the option move up and then — when greed, fear or satisfaction set in — you sell and make a profit.  Or you watch it go down and either have an automatic stop loss in to sell it when it hits a certain level or, like most traders, you keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best … until the pain of losing on paper is greater than the fear of losing real money and you sell at a loss.

In a recent survey, results showed three out of four options traders still trade this way.  Accordingly, the same survey showed that three out of four options expired without being exercised or with any value.   And yet, the traders who took the “sell” side of the trade put money in their pocket on Day One of their trades, every single time.

Selling is a low-risk option strategy and a low-risk way to generate high monthly income and a great entry point to purchase stock at a lower price.

Here are several things to consider:

When you sell an option, you are collecting the cash up-front.  You are already ahead.

When you sell an option, you are transferring risk to the buyer.  Yes, when you sell options, you assume some risk but not to your capital.

This cash you collect upfront gives you the ability to manage the position – you have cash in hand to “close” or buy back the put or call, at a profit or loss, without using any or a good deal more capital.  This enables you to conserve capital, the basis for regular monthly income.

And accepting cash enables you to create targets for your positions.   The sum of these targets, when set properly, gives you a target income for the month … and that is what this is all about.

And selling puts let’s you decide the entry price when buying stock.  For example, you can sell a put to purchase a stock that you will sell covered calls against when it is put to you.  Then, you sell monthly calls until the stock is called away.  Then, back to selling monthly puts to re-enter the stock.  Rinse and repeat!  Over and over in the stocks that you want to generate monthly income.

Selling puts is actually a bullish tool.  The advantage to selling puts over buying calls is evident in the math:  The odds of winning are significantly increased.  Many professional traders use the short put strategy to buy stocks at prices they want.  Nobody wants to pay the highest prices to own shares, but when the stocks pull back – and stocks always pull back – the market helps you to get in at a better price.

But what if you don’t want to buy the stock?  Don’t sell puts on stocks you wouldn’t want in your portfolio.  You will get taken out of the trade if the buyer wants to exercise their rights (to “put” stock to you at the option’s strike price), and those are the kind of stocks you probably want to own!

This is always the risk with short puts, but it’s hard to call it a “downside” when you end up owning a good stock at a great price.  Besides, even if you are assigned to take possession of the shares, you can always sell them on the open market.  In fact, you can often get out for a better price and, thus, a profit … and repeat the strategy, if you choose.   Better yet, if the stock goes up and your put gets assigned, just sell a covered call against the shares and you’ve just established a new position in your portfolio — and another way to profit!

We are focused on generating consistent monthly income by selling options for premium using low risk strategies. You can get FREE trades at getrichinvestments.com

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Income Opportunity for 40% Option Trade

As income investors, we seek to create consistent monthly income by selling options to collect monthly premiums. This has been successful for our investors for years. Option selling offers another method to diversify investing strategies beyond traditional dividend investing. We have combined technical stock events with our strategy to identify high returns option selling opportunities. This income trade will generate a return of 40% annualized.

Stock: STMicroelectronics N.V., (STM) together with its subsidiaries, designs, develops, manufactures, and markets semiconductor products, and subsystems and modules worldwide. STM has strengthened its ecosystem through a Partner Program that connects customers with qualified technical specialists capable of strategically supporting their projects.

We have identified a bullish “Continuation Diamond” chart pattern. This bullish signal indicates that the stock price may rise from the close of $17.44 to the range of $20. The pattern formed over 114 days which is roughly the period of time in which the target price range may be achieved, according to standard principles of technical analysis.

STMicroelectronics has a current support price of 17.04 and a resistance level of 17.46 that has been broken this week.

A Continuation Diamond (Bullish) is considered a bullish signal, indicating that the current uptrend may continue. Prices create higher highs and lower lows in a broadening pattern, then the trading range gradually narrows after the highs peak and the lows start trending upward. The technical event occurs when prices break upward out of the diamond formation to continue the prior uptrend, which confirms the pattern.

Monthly Income Option Trade

Strategy: We have an opportunity to sell options for income with STM as the stock should trade higher in the coming weeks. I recommend to place your trade and exit when you have locked in profits due to the stock price moving higher. Our goal here is to make income short term so we can exit and compound capital into another trade.

For medium risk option trade, look to sell an October 2017 17.5 PUT for about $0.80. This creates a return of 4.8% with 6 weeks to expiration.

For a conservative trade, you can setup a covered call trade. You can purchase 100 shares of STM and sell an October 17.5 CALL option for about $0.80.

We continue to identify winning option trades to generate income and to exit early as the stock bullish patterns moves prices higher.

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Monthly Income from Option Trade

Income Trade Opportunity in JP Morgan (JPM)

For subscribers, we have been selling puts on JP Morgan (JPM) for several months. We consider this a perpetual income play by selling options for monthly premiums. In fact, we have collected over $1500 in monthly cash during the past 6 months! This is a great way to create investing income that exceed the typical dividend strategy.

As income investors, we seek to create consistent monthly income by selling options to collect monthly premiums. This has been successful for our investors for years. Option selling offers another method to diversify investing strategies beyond traditional dividend investing. We have combined technical stock events with our strategy to identify high returns option selling opportunities. This income trade will generate a return of 13% annual return.

Stock: JPMorgan Chase & Co. operates as a financial services company worldwide. It operates through Consumer & Community Banking, Corporate & Investment Bank, Commercial Banking, and Asset & Wealth Management segments.

We have identified a “Continuation Diamond (Bullish)” chart pattern formed on JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM on NYSE). This bullish signal indicates that the price may rise from the close of 93.11 to the range of 105.00 – 107.00. The pattern formed over 143 days which is roughly the period of time in which the target price range may be achieved.

JPMorgan Chase & Co has a current support price of 91.28 and a resistance level of 93.19.

The RSI is above its neutrality area at 50. The MACD is positive and below its signal line. The stock could retrace in the short term. Moreover, the stock is trading above both its 20 and 50 day MA (respectively at 92.13 and 89.17). JPMorgan Chase is currently trading near its 52 week high reached at 94.51 on 06/07/17.

Strategy: We want to sell a cash secured put on JPM using the September 2017 92.5 PUT. For each 100 shares of JPM stock you buy, sell one Sept 92.5 PUT for a $1.35 credit or better. That’s potentially a 1.5% return in 41 days or 13.3% annualized return compared to a 2.1% annual dividend yield.

For investors wanting to take a long position in JPM, this lowers the stock price for entry as each premium received lowers your initial cost basis. You can continue to sell monthly put options until the stock is put to you. Then, you can sell covered calls each month for additional monthly income. And, you collect the stock dividend.

This is a great example of how investors can create monthly cash from these income producing strategies. This is an excellent way to create a side hustle income without consuming too much of your time each day. For others, they have built an income large enough to live on without being employed by the man. When your monthly income exceeds your living expenses, you have achieved financial independence.

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Income Option Trade for a 12% Return

In our Monthly Income Report, we look for opportunities to utilize option selling to generate consistent income. While we focus on selling cash-secured puts and covered calls on high quality stocks, we sometimes identify high return trades for increased income. These are stocks with positive confirmation and continuing chart trend based on technical analysis. This month we have identified a stock with a bullish technical indicator that has potential to generate a 12% return in only 40 days.

The option trade for monthly income:

Stock: CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (CF) manufactures and distributes nitrogen fertilizer, and other nitrogen products. The Company’s nitrogen fertilizer products are ammonia, granular urea, urea ammonium nitrate solution (UAN) and ammonium nitrate (AN). Its other nitrogen products include diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), urea liquor, nitric acid and aqua ammonia, which are sold primarily to the Company’s industrial customers, and compound fertilizer products (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium or NPKs). The Company’s segments include ammonia, granular urea, UAN, AN and other.

The stock has pulled back from its February levels due to industry pricing pressures. Revenues are likely to rise 13% in 2017 and 6.9% in 2018, after falling 15% in 2016. We see steady North American fertilizer demand growth in 2017, but some pressure on prices. However, new production is likely to lead to increased volumes for CF in 2017. We think market conditions will start to improve with this earnings release as capacity additions slow and Chinese capacity reductions continue.

This stock has formed a diamond bottom pattern (Bullish), providing a target stock price for the short-term above $30 per share. We think the stock can hit the target price within 6 weeks or less. The price recently displayed stronger RSI and positive PMO movements signaling a new uptrend has been established. The Short-Term KST indicator has triggered a bullish signal by rising above its moving average.

Recent bullish option flow has been detected in CF Industries with 5,006 calls trading, 3x expected, and implied volatility increasing almost 4 points to 41.09%. Aug-17 32.5 calls and Aug-17 30 calls are the most active options, with total volume in those strikes near 2,500 contracts. The Put/Call Ratio is 0.22. Earnings are expected on August 2nd.

Sell PUT Option for Monthly Income

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strategy: CF is currently trading at $27.89 per share. We want to sell a cash-secured put option on CF using the August 2017 30 Call. For each 100 shares of CF you want to control, sell one August 30 PUT option for a $3.00 credit or better. That’s potentially a 12.0% assigned return in 40 days.

Exit Trade: Be prepared to exit the PUT (buy to close) when the stock price moves above $30 to lock in profits. If not, there is a chance the stock may be put to investors. If this happens, then investors can sell covered calls for monthly income until the stock is called away.

This is a higher risk trade than we normally place in the Monthly Income Report. However, this is a nice setup with a high volatility play, positive chart technical confirmation and increased premium from selling options for monthly income.

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What Option Open Interest Means to the Trader

Option open interest is the number of options contracts open in a specific option series.  Open interest serves as a measure of option liquidity in the underlying option series.  The higher the open interest, the tighter the bid/ask spreads will be so slippage in trades will be lower.  When looking at option series, you want to be sure open interest is at least 5,000 and that the bid/ask spreads are no larger than 20 point apart.

When net buying or selling occurs in the underlying security, the open interest will show this change in the same direction of trader moves.  Increases in call open interest indicate the underlying is advancing up while increases in put open interest indicate more selling pressure.

Here are some rules on how to interpret open interest levels for OTM calls and puts in relation to the stock’s price movement:

  • Growing OI in Calls – confirms strength of stock’s advance
  • Declining OI in Calls – bearish divergence of stock’s advance
  • Flat OI in Calls – slightly bearish as no additional support for stock advance
  • Growing OI in Puts – confirmation of stock’s decline
  • Declining OI in Puts – slightly bullish as no additional support for stock decline
  • Flat OI in Puts – slightly bullish as it is not confirming decline

The growing interest in OTM and ATM options will confirm the stocks continued movement in the same direction.  Basically, this means the traders who have
been right are still buying more options for continuing the same direction.  In comparison, when open interest falls it indicates that traders are leaving the trade so it will likely end the current movement.  Traders are taking their money off the table.

The chart below displays a put/call open interest chart for Salesforce.com (CRM).  Notice how the blue line has been declining from 1.25 down to 0.95.  This indicates the number of puts are declining while the calls are increasing.  The traders are starting to turn more bullish on CRM as its stock price (red line) has increased to $125.

Put/Call open interest chart for CRM - getrichinvestments.com

Click to enlarge

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