The Money Tree

Safely Generating Income in Retirement

Posts Tagged ‘VIX’

July 2014 Results

Posted by mounddweller on August 9, 2014

Fellow Traders,

I’m slow to post my monthly results again.  I think it is partly the result of my apathy towards this market.  As I mentioned last month I’m finding it harder and harder to identify trades which meet my level of comfort with regard to risk vs. reward.

However, that being said I did do a few trades during the month of July.  Let’s see what my closed trades looked like.

I closed 5 trades in July, netting $1,357.84.  The bulk of my profits came from a long-held position in INTC.  You may recall back in April I sold JUL and AUG calls on INTC at strike prices of $27 and $26 respectively.  At expiration in JUL my shares were called away at $27.  This resulted in a gain of $851, over $4 per share.   I chose not to roll my options out and up simply because it has been my experience that chasing a stock up doesn’t work.  I’d rather allow the position to be called away and then start again fresh when the stock inevitably takes another dip.

My other closed trades in July were in LOW, GIS, NUE, and XLNX.  With LOW and XLNX I bought back my puts early, locking in a profit before expiration.  GIS and NUE were held to expiration and expired OTM.  My average holding period for the four trades was 16 days.  GIS was the longest held at 25 days and XLNX the shortest at 6 days.

In July I also initiated 3 new trades and rolled out one existing trade.  My new trades were in MAT, TROW, and QCOM.  The existing trade I extended by rolling out was in the $VIX.  More about that in a few weeks when I report my AUG results.  So here’s what my 3 new trades look like:

(1) On 7/17 – STO 4 MAT AUG $35 puts at $0.35.  I got in a little early but I liked this trade because MAT is oversold, beaten down, and has been left for dead.  Had I waited a few more days I could have gotten $0.50 for my puts.  MAT has strong support at $35 and pays a quarterly dividend of $0.38/share.  If MAT slips below $35 at expiration my plan is to take assignment and sell the SEP calls while capturing the next dividend on 8/25.  While MAT is not on my long-term hold wish list, should I be assigned I wouldn’t mind owning it at the current price and holding it until it recovered.

(2) On 7/24 – STO 1 TROW AUG $80 put at $1.35.  Clearly I was early on this one as well.  The stock has continued to move south since I sold my put.  On Friday it closed at $78.11.  Unlike MAT, TROW is on my long-term hold list.  I want to build a ‘hold forever’ position in TROW, reinvesting the dividends until I’m ready to retire and then living on them in retirement.  For this reason, should TROW close ITM I will accept assignment and begin collecting the modest, but rapidly growing quarterly dividend of $0.44.  It has increased its dividend every year for the past 27.  In the past 5 years the dividend has grown 76%, from $0.25 to $0.44/qtr.

(3) On 7/24 – STO 2 QCOM AUG $74.50 puts at $0.60.  This trade has taken me on a wild ride.  The first week I felt like a genius.  However, on 7/31 my puts went ITM so I immediately rolled down and out two weeks to the AUG29 $74 puts for a net credit.  However, you’ll have to wait until SEP to hear how the wild ride ends because on 8/1 QCOM took another dip and I had to roll further out and down to the SEP $72.50 puts.  I’m no longer feeling like a genius and hope that I’m able to extract myself from the trade with all of my money if not my pride intact.

Well that’s it for another month.  If I get so motivated and find some time I may post again this month telling you a bit more about the stocks in my dividend superstar list and which ones I’m looking to accumulate long-term for my retirement.

Best of luck to my fellow traders.  Be safe out there!

Regards,

Troy

 

 

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May 2014 – Results

Posted by mounddweller on June 1, 2014

Fellow Traders,

My results in May were kind of a mixed bag.  I had some trades that worked well and others that didn’t.  The frequency of my trading was impacted by several factors:

(1) responsibilities at my day job increased and so I have less time to follow my trades during the day,

(2) my personal life has also become more hectic, and

(3) the seemingly irrational movement down in volatility means premiums are very low and thus the risk/reward ratio does not seem favorable to me.

With that as a back-drop let’s look at the results of the trades I did make this month.  First, let’s look at the closed trades.

(1) Coca Cola (KO) – I am building a long-term position in KO.  While accumulating shares using dividend reinvestment I also want to be opportunistic in selling CCs against my existing shares and selling NPs until assigned to acquire additional shares.  On 4/16 I sold MAY $40 calls at $0.82 believing that KO had peaked and was destined to head back down for a short period of time.  Unfortunately, this was not the case and so on 5/14 I had to buy back my MAY $40 calls at $1.14 to avoid having them called away.  This resulted in a loss on the trade.  I am planning on re-entering the trade again when it appears KO has peaked and is ripe for a short-term fall.

(2) Kinder Morgan (KMI) – Like KO, I want to build a long-term position in KMI.  I feel KMI is a bargain at current price levels.  Consequently, for the past several months each time KMI approaches $32.50 I sell puts at this strike price.  On  4/25 I sold MAY $32.50 puts at $0.50.  These puts expired OTM on 5/14.  Thus, net of commissions my ROIC was 1.45% with a holding period of 22 days.

(3) Family Dollar (FDO) – I have made a couple of trades in FDO in the past 3 months.  Both were profitable.  My latest trade was initiated on 3/21 when I sold the APR $57.50 puts for $0.96.  As many of you are aware FDO has been volatile these past several months due to lackluster performance and rumors of them being bought.  Consequently, I had to roll my position down and out to the MAY $55 puts.  These MAY $55 puts expired OTM on 5/17.  My ROIC on this trade in FDO, net of commissions, was 1.38% with a holding period of 57 days.

(4) Franklin-Templeton (BEN) – Like FDO, I have made a couple of trades in BEN these past few months.  Both were profitable.  My latest trade was initiated on 4/7 when I sold the MAY $50 puts at $0.70.  These puts were never in danger of becoming ITM and expired OTM on 5/17.  Net of commissions, my ROIC was 1.32% over a holding period of 40 days.

(5) Lowe’s (LOW) – I initiated my trade in LOW back on 4/7, selling the MAY $46 puts at $0.75.  On 5/6 I had to buy back the MAY $46 puts and ended up selling a higher quantity of JUN $44 for a net credit.  On 5/23 I was able to buy back the JUN $44 puts for $0.19, thus closing out the trade early.  My ROIC, net of commissions, was 1.99% with a holding period of 46 days.

(6) Procter & Gamble (PG) – This was my very first Bollinger Band (BB) strategy trade.  The basic premise of the strategy is to buy stock and/or sell NPs as a stock is bouncing off it’s lower BB.  PG seemed like the perfect set-up and a low risk trade for my first attempt at mastering this strategy.  PG hit and bounced off it’s lower BB on 5/21.  On 5/22 I bought shares of PG at $80.20.  Looking at the chart I believed PG would be able to make it back up to the middle of the BBs (essentially the 20-day MA).  Alas, this was not the case.  The stock’s rise stalled out before even hitting $81.  Not wanting to risk large losses I sold my shares as soon as it became apparent to me that the trade wasn’t going to work out.  On 5/27 I sold my shares in PG at $80.27.  Net of commissions I lost about $10 on the trade.

(7) Exelon (EXC) – Yes, believe it or not I am out of EXC with a profit!  Long time readers of my blog will know that I’ve been working my way out of this position for a very long time.  This trade actually started in APR 2010 by selling puts at the $42.50 strike.  A lot has happened since then.  I’ve collected four years of dividends, sold CCs and NPs numerous time and have had stock put to me and called away at least once each.  Through all of this I was able to reduce my net cost.  Finally last month, prior to EXC going ex-dividend, I sold CCs at the $35 and $36 strikes.  A portion of my shares were called away from me at $35 by someone wanting to capture the dividend.  The $36 CCs expired OTM.  I will be receiving the dividend on these shares.  It should hit my account later this month.  Then, this past week, I sold all of my remaining shares at $36.10.  The final result will be a ROIC of around 12% but the holding period is just over 4 years so the annualized return while beating US Treasuries is nothing to brag about.  What I will brag about though is that I refused to give in and exit the position at a loss.  By selling NPs and CCs when the opportunity presented itself and collecting the dividends over time I was able to successfully exit the trade.

(8) Microsoft (MSFT) – On 5/6 with MSFT at $39.06, I sold the 30MAY $38 puts at $40.  This past Friday those puts expired OTM.  My ROIC was 0.98% with a 24-day holding period.

Now let’s look at the new trades I opened this month.

(1) Back on 5/12 I expanded my long position in $VIX JUL $14 calls.  I bought 2 more calls at $1.95.  Thus far this trade isn’t looking very good.  The market continues to defy gravity by going higher while driving the VIX lower and lower.  The long expected summer slump has yet to occur.

(2) Lastly, I sold more puts on EXC.  I know, I’m stupid.  I can just hear you saying, didn’t you just get yourself out of a long-term losing trade in EXC.  Yes, I did.  However, in this case the market is moving in my direction.  When I originally opened my trade in EXC back in 2010, I thought the stock was bottoming out.  Alas, it continued to fall much further than I thought possible.  This time, I waited until I was sure the market was moving in my favor.  Back on 5/20 I sold the JUN $33 puts at $0.35.  EXC was trading at $34.04.  Friday, it closed at $36.83.  Thus, I should be able to buy to close my puts for pennies on the dollar in the coming week.

Well, that’s it for this month.  As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have slowed the pace of my trading substantially.  Put premiums are extremely low right now.  I’m keeping my ‘powder dry’ until things pick back up again.

Best of luck to all my trading friends in the coming month!

Regards,

Troy

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April 2014 Results

Posted by mounddweller on May 4, 2014

Fellow Traders,

My reportable results for April are kind of sparse.  I only closed 3 positions, netting a whopping $337.95.  The total capital employed in these trades was $35,750 with an average holding period of 62 days.  Needless to say the ROIC was anemic and well below my desired annualized return of 15%.  I closed trades in KMI, NKE, and TGT.

During the month of April I opened several new trades, all but one of which were on stocks that I’ve traded before.  I sold naked puts on four stocks BEN, FDO, KMI, and LOW.  Details are provided below:

(1)  BEN – STO 2 MAY $50 Puts at $0.70

(2) FDO – STO 3 MAY $55 Puts at $0.80 (after BTC 2 APR $57.50 puts at a small profit)

(3) KMI – STO 3 MAY $32.50 Puts at $0.50 (after my APR $32.50 puts expired OTM)

(4) LOW – STO 2 MAY $46 Puts at $0.75 (new trade, have never traded LOW before, hence modest amount of capital placed at risk)

I also opened covered call trades on EXC, INTC, and KO.  Long time readers will recall my long-held position and saga in EXC.  Barring a collapse in the market it appears I may finally be able to exit my position in EXC not only with all my capital in hand but with a small profit as well.  I also sold covered calls against my long-term holdings in INTC and KO.  This was done with the expectation that the market is entering a period of near-term weakness and that INTC and KO will drift lower with the market.  To date that has not been the case, however, with INTC I have until August to be proven correct and in the case of KO I am prepared to roll out my MAY calls as needed to prevent the shares from being called away from me.  Here are the specifics of the covered call trades I placed in April:

(1) EXC – STO 3 MAY $36 Calls at $0.50

(2) EXC – STO 2 MAY $35 Calls at $1.00

(3) INTC – STO 1 AUG $26 Call at $1.45

(4) INTC – STO 2 JUL $27 Call at $0.80

(5) KO – STO 2 MAY $40 Calls at $0.82

With both INTC and KO I purposely did not sell calls against all of my shares.  Doing so allows me room to generate additional income and exit the trade profitably without risking the loss of my shares due to assignment.

Last, but not least, I executed a trade on the $VIX calls.  I am following a strategy I learned from my good friend and fellow online trader, Teddi Knight at http://www.fullyinformed.com/.

(1) $VIX – BTO 3 JUL $14 Calls at $2.70

I may expand the size of this position if the VIX continues to drift lower and gets to the lower Bollinger Band.  However, depending on the timing I may make future trades against the AUG calls.  The plan is to sell these calls when the $VIX jumps and then begins to fall back.

Well, that’s it for this month.  I have been very selective in my trading of late because I am finding it harder and harder to find trades with a good risk/reward profile.  I think we may have a bumpy summer period and that may open up a lot of trading opportunities.

Regards,

Troy

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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.

Regards,

Troy

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Portfolio Update – September 2013 Results

Posted by mounddweller on September 30, 2013

Fellow Traders,

The 3rd quarter is officially history.  Given the impact of a so-so economy and the political antics in Washington it should be interesting to see how we finish out the year.  Most of what I’m currently reading says to look for a big run-up to the end of the year after Congress gets done trying to get our attention on the budget debate and the debt ceiling.  Stay tuned it should be interesting!

Enough of that, let’s take a look at how The Money Tree made out this month.

Number of Closed Positions: 9

Profit on Closed Trades: $1,418.22

Total Capital Used on Closed Trades: $91,073.63

Average Number of Days Trades Were Open: 124.7*

Return on Invested Capital: 1.56%

You’ll note the average number of days trades were open is much higher than usual.  That’s because I finally closed out my position in SUNE (formerly WFR).  I had that position for well over 2 years.  We’ll talk more about SUNE later in this article.  Excluding SUNE, the remaining 8 closed trades had an average holding period of 33 days.

Let’s dig a little deeper into these 9 closed trades.  Seven of the nine closed trades involved naked puts.  The remaining two were covered calls.  All nine closed positions were the result of the options expiring OTM.  I had puts expire in ABT, CAT, CCJ, EXC, LNCO, MSFT, and TEVA.

I sold the ABT SEP $34 puts when the underlying was trading at $35.29.  ABT continued to fall and was ITM for some time before recovering and finishing OTM.

I sold the CAT $80 puts for $0.72 when the underlying was at $82.38.  At expiration CAT was at $84.75.

While CCJ was at $19.54 I sold the SEP $19 puts for $0.50.  At expiration CCJ was at $19.38.

I sold the EXC SEP $30 puts at $0.60 when Exelon was at $30.20.  The puts expired OTM with EXC closing at $30.13.

LNCO was at $25.55 when I sold the SEP $24 puts for $1.30.  At expiration LNCO closed at $29.04.

My trade in MSFT also turned out well, I sold the SEP $30 puts at $0.25 when MSFT was at $31.42.  They expired OTM with Microsoft trading at $32.79.

My final NP trade involved TEVA.  As regular readers know, I’ve been trading this one for several months now.  Once again I sold the SEP $37.50 puts; this time for $0.50.  At the time TEVA was trading at $38.81.  At expiration it closed at $37.72.  If you haven’t taken an opportunity to look at TEVA before, I highly encourage you to do so.  I’ve been trading it since late April and it has treated me very well.

Now let’s look at my two covered call trades.  First up is my trade in KO.  Back on August 23rd I bought KO for $38.42 and concurrently sold the SEP $39 calls for $0.34.  On September 12th KO went ex-dividend making me eligible to receive the $0.28 dividend.  With KO trading at $38.94 on expiration day I decided to roll my calls out into OCT.  Doing so gave me an additional net credit of $0.62.

Last, but certainly not least is my covered call trade in SUNE (previously WFR).  Long time readers know I’ve been in this position for quite some time.  NO MORE!  I closed out my SUNE trade on 9/25.  Over the course of 2+ years I had managed to work my net cost basis in SUNE down from $10 (the strike price of my original puts) to $7.74.  After my SEP $9 calls expired OTM I decided to keep a close eye on SUNE and sell my shares at $8 or better.  Last Wednesday, I got my chance and sold SUNE for $8.10.  My annualized ROIC was a laughable 1.91%.   However, I’m still proud of this trade because I stuck with it, didn’t give up, and worked on it until I was able to exit with a profit.  With more experience under my belt and better stock selection I hope to avoid a repeat performance.

 

Now let’s look at my open trades.

Number of Open Positions: 7; 4 naked puts, 2 covered calls, and 1 call purchase

Net Cash Flow in September from 4 new naked put Open Positions: $591.70

Cash Flow from 2 covered calls: $288.50

Capital Used on Open Cash Secured Naked Put Trades: $36,350.00

Capital Used on Open Covered Call Trades: $24,313.90

Capital Used on $VIX call option purchase: $760.00

Net Cash Flow on Invested Capital: 1.43%

I have previously opened positions in GDX, and KO.  My new open positions are in ABT (OCT $33 puts), CCJ (OCT $19 Puts), EXC (OCT $30 puts), TEVA (OCT $37.50 puts), SYY (CC OCT $32), and $VIX (DEC $13 calls).

Going into October I am considering an additional trade in CCJ (OCT $18 puts), and new trades in CAT (OCT $80 puts), CLX (OCT $80 puts), GIS (OCT CC trade, stock goes ex-dividend on 10/8), T  (OCT CC trade, stock also goes ex-dividend on 10/8), DE (OCT $80 puts), and PG (OCT $75 puts).

Regards,

Troy

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Update – VXX

Posted by mounddweller on March 18, 2012

Fellow Traders,

I want to update you on my VXX trade.  As you’ll recall I entered this position back on February 29th, selling 5 VXX MAR naked puts at a strike price of $22.  The premium I received was $0.50/share.

At the time I placed the trade VXX was trading around $24.52.  The recent low had been $23.72.  My strike price at $22 seemed reasonably safe.  Alas, the best laid plans often don’t work out.   While I thought the market was ripe for a correction which would cause VXX to rise just the opposite happened.  The market has continued to move higher sending the VIX and VXX lower.  Friday, VXX closed at $21.56.

Rather than have VXX put to me I elected to roll out my position.  However, instead of rolling my puts out to the normal monthly APR expiration I chose to roll them to the next available weekly expiration on Friday, March 23rd.    With just 8 days to expiration I was able to roll out with a net credit of $0.62.

Net of commissions my total credit thus far in this trade is $535.02.   If VXX closes above $22 on Friday I will have earned a 4.86% ROIC with a holding period of only 24 days.  If VXX remains below $22 next week I will roll out another week.  Sooner or later the  market will have a down day or two and that will be my opportunity to close the trade at a profit.

Regards,

Troy

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