Traditional covered call writing consists of buying a stock or exchange-traded fund (ETF) and selling a call option to generate cash flow. Frequently BCI members will think outside the box and add additional strategies and products to create a covered call writing-like strategy. The goal in these cases is not to complicate a realtively straightforward strategy but rather to generate even higher returns. Here is a strategy recently proposed to me that I thought you would find interesting:
Leveraged ETFs: Exchange-traded funds that use financial derivatives (like options) and debt to magnify the returns of an underlying index.
Protective puts: A put option purchased for a stock already owned by the put buyer. It protects against a decrease in share price and ensures a minimum sale price of the stock.
Weekly options: Options which exist for eight days. They are introduced each Thursday and expire eight days later on Friday
TNA: This leveraged ETF seeks a return that is 300% the return of its benchmark index (small cap bull fund) for a single day. The fund should not be expected to provide three times the return of the benchmark’s cumulative return for periods greater than a day. By nature, these securities are highly volatile and generate higher option premiums.
The prosed trade
Buy 300 x TNA @ $52.70
Buy the 6-month $77.50 put option for $27.51 ( 3 contracts)
Total position cost = $80.21 x 300 = $24,063.00
Guaranteed sales price because of put option is $77.50/share, leaving a debit before cc writing of $2.71/share
Theory behind the trade
Sell weekly, slightly out-of-the-money call options on TNA making sure to generate at least $1 per share premium
Continue selling these options weekly for 26 weeks generating $7800 ($300 x 26)
By put expiration the shares are sold for $77.50 or $23,250.00
Total returns = $7800 + $23,250.00 = $31,050.00
Less cost basis of $24,063.00 = $6987 which represents a 29%, 6-month return
- Let’s look at a recent options chain for TNA to see the strike we would have to sell to generate a weekly return of $1:
To avoid assignment the stock cannot go higher than $56.50 to meet our weekly $1 (close to $1 in this case) requirement. Next let’s view a recent 1-month chart of this security to see how realistic avoiding assignment for 26 consecutive weeks is:
TNA has traded in a $9 price range ($52 to $61) in the past month and so the expectation of assignment during that 26-week time frame is highly probable. To avoid assignment we can buy back the option but that is a debit not accounted for in the original trade proposal. If we allow assignment we would have to repurchase the security at a higher price also incurring an additional, unaccounted for debit.
Assumptions made and related concerns
For 26 consecutive weeks you will never be assigned on the short call. Herein lies the weakness of the strategy. We are dealing with a highly volatile, leveraged security which will generate high option returns but also put us at assignment risk. We are protected to the downside because of the put purchase but vulnerable to the upside.
Traditional covered call writing can be altered through the use of additional strategies like put buying and other option products like weekly options and leveraged ETFs. These strategies will have their advantages and disadvantages which must be fully understood before implementing them into your portfolios and risking your hard-earned money. Once all aspects of the multi-level strategy is understood, only you can determine if it’s right for you. The one rule of thumb you can always take to the bank is that there is no free lunch.
Next live seminar:
October 19th, Los Angeles, California:
The self-imposed government crisis has kept the market nervous but holding up better than many experts expected. This week’s reports:
- Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said that October 17th was the last day that the US government could pay its bills without the debt ceiling being raised. Failure to do so could have a devastating impact on our economy and the world economy as well
- The monthly employment report was not released in full due to the partial government shutdown but did state that jobless claims were up by 1000
- The ISM Manufacturing Index rose to 56.2 beating estimates of 55
- The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (service sector) disappointed at 54.4 below the level of 57.5 anticipated and the lowest level since November, 2008. This figure, however, still represents growth
- The ISM Employment Index rose to 55.4 from the August level of 53.3, the best level in 2013
For the week, the S&P 500 declined by 0.1%, for a year-to-date return of 21%, including dividends.
IBD: Uptrend under pressure
BCI: This site remains moderately bullish on our economy but concerned about the ineptitude of our Congress. Therefore, we are taking a defensive posture and selling an equal number of in-the-money and out-of-the-money strikes.
Wishing you the best in investing from Paris, France,
Alan (alan[email protected])