The Money Tree

Safely Generating Income in Retirement

Archive for January, 2014

January 2014 Results

Posted by mounddweller on January 31, 2014

Fellow Traders,

Whew!  January is finally behind us.  If it is true that January generally dictates what’s going to happen in the remainder of the year, we’re going to have a wild ride in 2014.  For January, the Dow tumbled 5.3 percent and the S&P 500 slid 3.6 percent – their worst monthly percentage declines since May 2012.  It was the worst January in 4 years.  But for traders that also means there will be ample opportunities to generate substantial income through higher call and put premiums and short-term capital gains.  The key will be to remain nimble and not hang out in any one trade for too long.

I only closed two trades this month.  This is primarily due to having closed several trades at year end rather than letting them run to expiration.  My two closed positions this month were:

1) 2 CSCO JAN $20 puts which expired OTM, and

2) 2 TEVA JAN $37.50 puts which also expired OTM.

The CSCO puts returned 1.55% over a 60 day holding period while the TEVA puts returned 1.44% in 40 days.

Now let’s take a look at the trades I opened during the month.  The first one you already know a little about.  You’ll recall my last post was about my initial trade in Clorox (CLX).  As you might expect though given the recent volatility I’ve had to adjust the trade a bit as CLX like most everything else has begun to sell off.  Below is the transaction history for this trade thus far.

Trade Date Ticker Type Transaction Principal Commission Total Amount
1/2/2014 CLX SP Sold 1 FEB $87.50 Put   at $1.50  $           150.00  $             (7.45)  $             142.55
1/29/2014 CLX SP Sold 2 MAR $85 puts   at $1.60  $           320.00  $             (7.95)  $             454.60
1/30/2013 CLX BP Bought 1 FEB $87.50   Put at $1.45  $         (145.00)  $             (7.45)  $             302.15

Next up is Target (TGT).  I initiated this trade back on January 7th.  My thinking at the time was that the bad news had already been priced into TGT and given it had strong support at $62 that it would be a relatively safe trade to sell the FEB $60 puts.  Silly me!  TGT has done nothing but fall throughout the month.

Trade Date Ticker Type Transaction Principal Commission Total Amount
1/7/2014 TGT SP Sold 2 FEB $60 Puts   at $0.68  $           136.00  $             (7.95)  $             128.05
1/21/2014 TGT SP Sold 3 APR $57.50   Puts at $1.55  $           465.00  $             (8.45)  $             584.60
1/21/2014 TGT SP Bought 2 FEB $60 Puts   at $1.86  $         (372.00)  $             (7.95)  $             204.65

To rescue the trade I have rolled down to the $57.50 strike and out to the APR expiration while adding an additional contract.  I have not decided what to do from here as my APR $57.50 puts are now ITM as well.  The good news is that TGT appears to be trying to find a bottom at this point.  Today, with the DOW down over 150, TGT managed to close at $56.64, down only 3 cents on the day.

The same day I opened the trade in TGT I also opened a trade in AT&T (T).  The objective of this trade was to capture the $0.46 dividend, which I did successfully.  However, the rest of the trade hasn’t worked out quite so well.

Trade Date Ticker Type Transaction Principal Commission Total Amount
1/7/2014 T BS Bought 500 Shares T   at $34.97  $ (17,485.00)  $             (8.95)  $     (17,493.95)
1/7/2014 T SC Sold 5 JAN $35 Calls   at $0.13  $              65.00  $             (2.50)  $     (17,431.45)
1/14/2014 T SP Sold 2 FEB $33 Puts   at $0.56  $           112.00  $             (7.95)  $     (17,327.40)
1/14/2014 T SC Bought 5 JAN $35   Calls at $0.02  $           (10.00)  $             (9.45)  $     (17,346.85)
1/14/2014 T SC Sold 5 MAR $35 Calls   at $0.32  $           160.00  $             (2.50)  $     (17,189.35)

As you can see, in addition to doing the buy/write on 500 shares I also sold 2 FEB $33 puts.  T has strong support at $33 but with the recent volatility it has gotten as low as $32.01.  Next week I’ll receive $230 in dividends which will bring my net cash flow on the trade up to $534.60.

On January 16th I initiated my first trade ever in Proctor & Gamble (PG).  It too, has had its moments.  However, my trade is currently making money and the puts are OTM so I guess I can’t complain too much.

Trade Date Ticker Type Transaction Principal Commission Total Amount
1/16/2014 PG SP Sold 2 FEB $77.50   Puts at $0.78  $           156.00  $             (7.95)  $             148.05
1/30/2014 PG SP Sold 3 MAR $75 Puts   at $1.06  $           318.00  $             (8.45)  $             457.60
1/30/2014 PG BP Bought 2 FEB $77.50   Puts at $1.39  $         (278.00)  $             (7.95)  $             171.65

Next up on January 18th I entered into a trade in Cisco (CSCO).  My objective with CSCO is a bit different than the other trades I made this month.  All of the other trades were simply to generate cash flow via option premiums and dividends.  With CSCO, I want to accumulate and create a long-term holding of around 1,000 shares.  I would like to do this with a net cost per share of $19 or less.  Thus, I sold 5 FEB $21 puts at $0.37.

Trade Date Ticker Type Transaction Principal Commission Total Amount
1/27/2014 CSCO SP Sold 5 FEB $21 Puts   at $0.37  $           185.00  $             (9.45)  $             175.55

My plan is to continue to sell puts on CSCO each month until I have accumulated enough option premium such that my net cost will be less than $19/share.

My next trade was in Archer, Daniels, & Midland (ADM).  The objective of this trade was to simply generate premium income.

Trade Date Ticker Type Transaction Principal Commission Total Amount
1/23/2014 ADM SP Sold 2 FEB $40 Puts   at $1.01  $           202.00  $             (7.95)  $             194.05
1/24/2014 ADM BP Buy 2 FEB $40 Puts at   $1.72  $         (344.00)  $             (7.95)  $           (157.90)
1/24/2014 ADM SP Sold 3 FEB $39 Puts   at $1.23  $           369.00  $             (7.95)  $             203.15

Despite having to roll down and increase the number of open contracts, this trade is working out reasonably well.  It took a big tumble just one day after I sold the $40 puts so I had to roll down but was able to stay within the month of FEB.  ADM has fallen below $39 in the past week but has recovered enough to keep my puts OTM.

Last up is a failed trade in Wal-Mart (WMT).  Like CSCO, my objective is to begin collecting premium income until my net cost per share meets my targeted buy price.  Unfortunately, I am not off to good start in that regard with WMT.  Poor timing on my part had me buying to close the FEB $75 put before opening selling a new round of MAR $72.50 puts.  The stock ran away from me and I was unable to sell the MAR $72.50 for enough premium to give me a net credit from my roll-down on the FEB $75 put.

Trade Date Ticker Type Transaction Principal Commission Total Amount
1/23/2014 WMT SP Sold 1 FEB $75 Put at   $1.28  $           128.00  $             (7.45)  $             120.55
1/27/2014 WMT BP Bought 1 FEB $75 at   $1.62  $         (162.00)  $             (7.45)  $             (48.90)

The net result, as you can see, was taking a small, temporary loss.  I intend to recoup the loss and build a net credit by trying to better time my entry into the MAR $72.50 puts.

Well, there you have it.  I have had a relatively busy month.  In January I generated $1,312.85 in premiums (net of commissions).  Capital requirements totaled $126,035.

Best of luck to all of my readers as we head into February.




Posted in Portfolio Updates | 2 Comments »

2014 – First Trade

Posted by mounddweller on January 2, 2014

Fellow Traders,

I executed my first trade of the year on the first trading day of the year.  I think that is a first for me.  Yet another first is that the trade was in Clorox (CLX), a stock I had not previously traded.  OK, that’s enough ‘firsts’ for one post.

Here’s the trade I executed: STO 1 FEB CLX $87.50 put at $1.50.

This trade idea came courtesy of my investing friend and mentor Teddi at

This trade has the potential to generate a return of 1.63% with a holding period of 51 days.  That equates to an annualized return of 11.66%.  That is just under my target return of 12%.  However, CLX is a lower risk trade so I feel comfortable accepting the slightly lower return.

Here is my trade plan:

BLOG - CLX Trade Plan

If the market sell-off continues for the next couple of days I’m sure more trades will begin to pop up on my radar screen.



Posted in Troy's New Picks! | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

2013 Results

Posted by mounddweller on January 1, 2014

Fellow Traders,

2013 was a relatively good year for trading in The Money Tree portfolio.  Did I beat the market?  No, not by a long shot.  However, I was able to consistently generate small profits by selling naked puts and covered calls.  My overall ‘win’ percentage was the highest its ever been in seven years of trading  I closed 56 of 59 (94.92%) trades at a profit.  However, I wouldn’t be totally honest with my readers if I didn’t talk about what is not found in those results.  Regular readers know I struggled in 2013 with losing positions in EXC and GDX.  Since those trades remain open they are not included in my overall results.  On more than one occasion in 2013 I came very close to throwing in the towel on these trades.  However, after getting my emotions in check I decided to continue to work them back to a hopefully profitable close.

Notable trades in 2013 included CAT, CSCO, LNCO, and TEVA.  I successfully traded CAT 4 times in 2013 generating a net profit of $549.10.  CSCO was even more successful.  I had 5 trades in it for $651.40.  LNCO had 4 trades totaling $665.80.  Last, but certainly not least, was TEVA.  It was my most consistent and most profitable trading vehicle in 2013.  I closed 6 trades in TEVA with profits totaling $806.95.

Below is a listing of all 59 of my trades that I closed in 2013.

BLOG - 2013 Closed Trades p1

BLOG - 2013 Closed Trades p2

BLOG - 2013 Closed Trades p3




Posted in Portfolio Updates | Leave a Comment »

December 2013 – Results

Posted by mounddweller on January 1, 2014

Fellow Traders,

Happy New Year!  While sitting in my easy chair and watching bowl games I’m going to take a moment to document the trades I closed in December.  In December I closed 7 trades in 6 stocks, $VIX, ABT, ADM, CSCO, OKE, and RYN.

(1) $VIX – This is one of the 3 trades that I closed for a loss in 2013.  The problem with this trade is that I waited too long to roll out my long calls.  Back on October 18 I BTO the JAN $13 calls.  According to the rules of the trade strategy I should have rolled them out to FEB/MAR when the premium had decreased by 20%.  Forgetting to do this, I let too much premium erode and when volatility did increase the increase in the premium was too little too late.  My inattentiveness cost me $255.90.

(2) ABT – On 12/31 I BTC 3 JAN $36 puts at $0.10.  I STO the trade back on 12/9, selling the puts for $0.46.  My ROIC for the 22 day holding period was 0.84%.

(3) ADM – On 12/23 I BTC 3 JAN $39 puts at $0.24.  I also STO this trade on 12/9, selling the puts for $0.63.  My ROIC for the 14 day holding period was 0.86%.

(4) CSCO – You’ll recall last month I told you about my setting up a put ladder in CSCO.  I sold puts with JAN, APR, and JUL expirations at the $20, 19, and 18 strikes respectively.  The objective of the trade was to eventually own CSCO at a net cost per share of < $20.  Since executing that trade CSCO has ran up substantially greatly reducing the premiums in my puts.  Consequently I decided to take some profit by buying back the APR and JUL puts.  My ROIC for the 47 day holding period was about 1.64%.

(5) OKE – This is the last of the 3 trades that I closed for a loss in 2013.  It was a very small loss of only $12.85, but a loss nonetheless.  This is a trade that I initiated back in May.  My original intent was to sell puts and accept assignment to establish a long-term position at a price at which I was comfortable owning the stock.  Events at the company caused the stock price to gyrate wildly.  I mistimed my recovery trade and then was left watching the stock run away from me.  I don’t have an interest in owning it at the current price so I chose to BTC my open puts for the small loss.  If OKE returns to my buy range I may consider selling puts again.

(6) RYN – Last up is Rayonier.  This is a long-term holding of mine.  Earlier this year they announced disappointing forward guidance and the stock sold off sharply.  Rather than just buying more stock outright I chose to sell an ITM put.  Doing so netted me $167.55.  My ROIC was 3.72% with a 35 day holding period.

Later today I’ll be updating the “Historical Results” tab to include the results of all of my trading in 2013.



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