Never sell a covered call or cash-secured put option if there is an upcoming earnings report prior to contract expiration. I have been emphasizing this rule for over a decade in my books, DVDs, seminars and videos. There are times, however, when we have confidence in positive earnings reports based on historical data. In these rare cases, when we decide to hold the security through the report, we then write the call post-report. In this article, we will follow Broadcom, Ltd (AVGO) starting a few weeks prior to the report and then the day after the report is published (6/1/2017, after market close).
AVGO price chart on 5/26/2017
In the weeks leading up to the earnings release, the stock was in a trading range between $230.00 and $241.00. We are going to assume a purchase price at the mid-point ($235.50). Had we sold an out-of-the-money strike, a typical 1-month return would be between 2% – 3% with upside between 1-2%. We’ll again take the middle ground and assume a maximum 1-month return of 4%.
AVGO price chart on 6/2/2017, a day after the earnings release
A positive earnings surprise saw share price rise to $252.31 with 3 hours remaining until market close. Had we not sold the covered call, this would represent a share increase of 7.1% from purchase price ($16.81/$235.50). With 3 weeks remaining until expiration of the June contracts, we then check the option chain to see if we can generate a second income stream with an out-of-the-money call option.
AVGO options chain on 6/2/2017
The out-of-the-money $255.00 strike generates a premium of $2.65. Let’s feed this information into the multiple tab of the Ellman Calculator.
AVGO 3-week calculations post earnings report
The calculator displays an initial 3-week time value return of 1.1% with an additional possible 1.1% if share value moves up to the $255.00 strike by expiration. This now represents a potential maximum return of 9.3% (7.1% + 2.2%).
Comparison chart of AVGO and the S&P 500 leading up to the earnings release
Stocks that we might consider for this strategy approach are those that are out-performing the market significantly and have a history of positive earnings surprises. If we are willing to take the risk of a disappointing report, there must be a rationale for doing so.
We never sell a call or put option when there is an upcoming earnings release. We may decide to hold a stock through a report and then write the call if the underlying is out-performing the overall market and has a history of positive surprises. There is risk in a disappointing report even if past reports have been positive ones.
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Premium members: The October 2017 edition of this report has been uploaded to your member site. Scroll down on the right side of the premium site.
Those of you on our mailing list received notification of a free E-Book on top trading tips. I am one of a few authors asked to write a chapter in this free E-Book. My chapter is worth reading for option-selling but I cannot attest to the content of the others. Education is power.
Global stocks were flat on the week amid somewhat firmer interest rates and oil prices. West Texas Intermediate crude oil added $1 a barrel, trading at $51.50. Volatility, as measured by the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), slipped to 9.51 from 10 a week ago. This week’s economic and international news of importance:
- President Trump unveiled a reform plan designed to simplify the US tax code. Seven tax brackets would shrink to three (with the potential for an additional bracket for high-earners) and the corporate tax rate would be cut from 35% to 20%. The plan would nearly double the standard deduction for most households and retain mortgage interest and charitable deductions while eliminating deductions for state and local taxes. The plan would end the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax
- German chancellor Angela Merkel will be forced to craft a three-party coalition after her Christian Democratic Union fared worse than expected in Sunday’s election
- Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe dissolved parliament this week and called an election for October 22nd. Abe asked for a new mandate to deal with the growing threat from North Korea and said it is urgent that Japan’s social security system be rebalanced to cope with the growing number of retirees
- US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen this week said it would be imprudent to keep monetary policy on hold until inflation reaches the Fed’s 2% core personal consumption expenditures target, making a December rate hike more likely
- The US economy grew at an annual rate of 3.1%, a slight upward revision from last month’s 3% reading
- Corporate profits advanced at an annual rate of just 0.1% in Q2, a sign that the broad economy is performing worse than large multinational firms, which have recorded two straight quarters of double-digit profit growth
THE WEEK AHEAD
Mon, Oct 2nd
- Japan: Tankan survey
- Global manufacturing purchasing managers’ indicies
Tue, Oct 3rd
- US: motor vehicle sales
Wed, Oct 4th
- Global services PMI
- Eurozone: Retail sales
Thu, Oct 5th
- Eurozone” September European central Bank minutes
- US: Trade balance
Fri, Oct 6th
- Canada: Employment report September
- US: Employment report September
For the week, the S&P 500 rose by 0.68% for a year-to-date return of 12.53%
IBD: Market in confirmed uptrend
GMI: 6/6- Buy signal since market close of August 31, 2017
BCI: I am currently using an equal number of in-the-money and out-of-the-money strikes, taking a neutral overall portfolio position
WHAT THE BROAD MARKET INDICATORS (S&P 500 AND VIX) ARE TELLING US
The 6-month charts point to a neutral to slightly bullish outlook. In the past six months, the S&P 500 was up 7% while the VIX (9.51) moved down by 17%.
Wishing you the best in investing,
Alan and the BCI team
Well, those who know me here know I am not exactly Karnac, the guy who sees the future :). I read today when September closed yesterday it was the first time the month has been positive on the S&P since 2013.
I knew that history. I took a bunch of profits in anticipation of another weak September. I was wrong as usual :). Just holding what I had and flexing strikes would have been better in hindsight. So how does this Karnac impersonator see October?
This earnings season might be a good one to hold some winners uncovered and come back later using the weeklies.The market looks pretty solid.
A great October and 4th quarter to all. – Jay
The future is impossible to foresee, and the past is history, which repeats itself many times, so better be careful when you see a trend.
Our main objective is avoiding losses.
My view of the big picture is still bullish, because there are no major events around.
Except if the US starts aniquilating all the North Corean missile launch bases, which I believe is not such a difficult task when the skyes are blue.
The Islamic State is being wiped out.
The US economy is recovering fast, th EU is recovering slowly, Great Britain is working on the brexit. Russia is in slow motion, Asia has now a considerable middle class (consumers).
So, the Stock Market should stay healthy, as people are searching for yield.
Famous last words – Roni
I agree with your perspective regarding the market which can only mean trouble for you since I have not been the most accurate forecaster of late :)!
But I do get the sense this will be a good earnings season kicking off tomorrow. And, although I am just in ETF’s right now, holding this year’s better individual stocks through their earnings reports does not seem a leap of faith to me.
What I meant to say more clearly in my opening to tis conversation is use the weeklies to write covered calls up until the ER week, skip that week and go back to the calls the following week. If they don’t have weeklies skip the full expiry for the ER.
Clearly the market is the only game in town in this interest rate environment. If you ever want to draw a circle of people around you like moths to a flame at a cocktail party mention casually you use a method which adds 2% yield to your portfolio each month and offsets some downside risk :).
We live in a yield starved world. We can tell the moths about the upside problems later :). But few are worried about missing upside these days. More fear a crash then missing a moon shot.
That, to me, is why longs have small worry in days ahead. -Jay
Stop trying to forecast the market Jay, there are PROFESSIONALS out there to do that for you. Here’s one I consulted recently:
Your market and computer knowledge is surpassed by your sense of humor! The ironic part of your funny picture is I live in New Orleans where there is a Voodoo culture. It’s yet to do me any good but I will keep trying….
Wishing you a successful week even if you have to get up at 4 in the morning to trade :)! – Jay
Ah yes, what I know of New Orleans I know from Anne Rice novels – I recall she had an unhealthy fascination with one street in particular. Good luck to you too – I just ran a scan on all coy’s worth 1 Billion to 20 Billion, see anything you like?
Wow, Justin, great spreadsheet work as always.
I have been trying to simplify a bit. I still have a pile of positions but many are on investing themes I don’t over write or trade. Things like ARKK, FDN, XBI, SOCL, SKYY, ITA, ROBO, HACK, EWZ, XLF and INDA.
I do over write my index shares all the time and use CSP’s to acquire more or just keep the extra premium depending on the month: SPY, QQQ, IWM
I like individual stocks for debit spreads that I buy ITM these days with about 6 weeks time to work. I like buying spreads instead of selling them at the moment since VIX and IV are so low that options speculation is cheap in my opinion. I am open on V, AET, FB, HD, and RTN at present.
In IRA accounts in the US it does not matter how you make “income”. It is all taxed the same when you take it out. – Jay
I have 9 positions for this cycle, but none of them are on your list.
Probably because of the high ROO they offer. My risk level…….
Jay – thanks, just copying and pasting into my watch list from the scan – it’s basically Alan’s calculator with some added columns.
I’ve looked at ETF’s before but been turned off by the premium, usually not more than about 1% a month, or have I been looking at the wrong ones? I’d looked at spreads before but the cc’s have been going so well I’ve decided to concentrate entirely on those for the time being – just running scans, studying charts and comparing premiums takes up plenty of time.
Roni – what sort of ROO are you looking for, I seem to recall you mentioned 2% some time ago?
Here’s my current holdings for this month btw, hoping to close the YY position soon and put the money into something else:
Thanks for sharing your holdings, there are some good ones there!
I applaud your sticking with covered calls and not dabbling in other options applications. We have all heard the old saying about “Jack of all trades master of none”. That may work in some pursuits but I doubt investing is one of them.
Because I am retired and the market is my main hobby I do a variety of things but I keep the idea of a pyramid in mind. At its broadest base is index funds and portfolio overwriting. Above that is niche ETF investing themes and above that is spreads and straight call/put buys and sells with decreasing % of allocation as I move up.
I think for a pure covered call writer stocks will always be best with an expectation of frequent portfolio turnover.
It is also reasonable to build a portfolio of high quality stocks and over write them every month going OTM and “accepting” a 1% yield to avoid assignment using weeklies when needed to dodge earnings and ex-div dates. When you think about owning Apple or Home Depot or Boeing, you name it, and having it yield 12% a year that idea becomes compelling! – Jay
You’re welcome Jay – some of those are still offering good premium btw. Overwriting some of those stocks you mentioned would have worked well the last few years – this bull has just kept roaring on and on.
Any idea also as to why AIMT in my watch list above is offering such great looking premium? I can’t find anything such as an upcoming FDA report, and the ER is in November.
I do have LITE and NVDA this month too.
And yes, 2% ROO ATM or near is my target.
Some times, at the end, I get more by the bid/ask negotiation, and eventually it turns out better by hitting a double or by BCI exit strategies and roll outs.
Yeh, I prefer the higher ROO’s myself as it not only gives you more profit potential but also better DP. Just added OMER 22’s btw, 3.6% ROO with 4% DP – good looking chart too, not a bad looking offer with less than twelve trading days left.
OMER sounds good. In fact too good for my SWAN, as Spin calls it (Sleep Well At Night).
But I wish it goes well for you.
Roni – Yes I usually SWAN (apart from the getting up at 4 am bit) since most of my cc’s have lots of DP. Sadly OMER looks like a bit of a false breakout after some good news about winning a patent case. It looks like some sellers might have taken advantage of the euphoria to unload some stock. Still it’s come back to an area where it should get support, selling volume was nothing special, and thanks to the DP I mentioned I’d still be 1.3% in front if it finishes at the current price in two weeks.
This week’s Weekly Stock Screen And Watch List has been uploaded to The Blue Collar Investor premium member site and is available for download in the “Reports” section. Look for the report dated 09/29/17.
Also, be sure to check out the latest BCI Training Videos and “Ask Alan” segments. You can view them at The Blue Collar YouTube Channel. For your convenience, the link to the BCI YouTube Channel is:
Barry and The Blue Collar Investor Team
The Weekly Report for 09/29/17 has been revised and uploaded to the Premium Member site. Look for the report dated 09/29/17-RevA. The “NTM” (Near The Money) column was revised.
Barry and The Blue Collar Investor Team
Update – Trading Experiences through 9/29/17:
A. 4 Account Portfolio:
* From Expiration Friday 8/18 to Expiration Friday 9/15: Gain 5.5%
* Through Expiration Friday 9/15 YTD Gain 20.1%, 26.9% Annualized (Last year my performance was 17% annualized)
B. Joint Trust (ETF Only) Portfolio;
* Though 9/15/17 Expiration Friday, performance is 4.0% or 9.9% annualized. Started in May. Market has not treated me favorably so far, but 9% is better than the 1.2% annualized from a Bank
CD that matured and we thought we could safely trade with Covered calls of CSPuts.
Trading since Exp. Friday 9/15 –
* Found 2 good web sites to get news updates A. TheFly.com B. StreetInsider.com Why searching for some hot news, I noticed they had news I could not find anyplace else. Any comments? What is everyone’s hot news site?
* I continue to use FinViz.com portfolio to enter BCI Run list. There is a limit of 50 positions per portfolio, so I set up 2 when necessary. I can then quickly analyze stock changes and potential good picks since the run list was released. If you enter the list before Monday market open, the last price in the Run lists is entered automatically by FinViz.com.
* 9/25/17 Week 2/5 I closed option leg for ATHM Autohome using 20% rule. After a good positve run, 2 Top Management announced resignations. Hope it recovers.
* 9/28 Week 2/5 MCU – Mid Contract Unwind 4 contract on LOPE Strike 80. Tough one to unwind. Market makers wanted near ASK price for it, even though near parity. Unloaded position for a cost of 0.53% loss in gain. I can not use the money for a new trade.
* 9/29/17 Added SPLK Covered Call at a 2.62% after commission Gain
* 9/29/17 MCU unwind of AMAT after gap up. Will reinvest on 10/2/17. Possible candidates PYPL and ALRM with ROO of 2.6% and 2.7% respectively.
You are doing fantastic. It looks like you found the fast the fast lane.
But prices seem to move unpredictably at times. Yesterday Monday 10/2/17 all my ETF’s in my joint trust account (EWZ, QQQ, KWEB, LIT were declining.despite a big big up day. Today. the same ETF’s are up and the market in only up moderately.
It’s all in the averages, and waiting for the Time Value to decay to show the positive movement in your Account Value. It’s important to remember as I trade to keep the diversification goals so you maximize your chance at being ahead at the end.
I agree totally.
That is the essence of the BCI methodology : Diversify, wait for the decay, and get rewarded by the avarages.
To echo Roni’s comment congrats on your results! It proves the value of the method when applied with discipline.
To me the S&P (SPY) is always the benchmark. You are beating it soundly which is the hallmark of a great investor! – Jay
I purchased UCTT @ $27.90 and wrote an OCT20, $30C. I rec’d $0.77 in premium. The stock is trading at $31.62 and the ask for the call is $2.50. When I plug the numbers into the Ellman calculator, it gives me the following:
Time value of option remaining ( $ ) $ (88.00)
Percentage lost to time value -2.93%
Should I undwind, or is it too costly?
You are doing great with this trade…congrats!
If the stock price closes above $30 by expiration, your 1-month return would be 10.3%.
Let’s now look at the cost-to-close:
The shares are now worth $30 because of the option obligation. The $2.50 premium (“ask”) represents a 2.93% time value cost-to-close as shown by the Ellman Calculator (the intrinsic value component of the premium is a “wash” with share value appreciation above the strike). Now, we also have a 5.4% downside protection of this maximum return of 10.3% meaning share value can decline to $30 and we still will have realized that return.
The thought process I favor is this: Can closing the current position generate more than 2.93% (I like to see at least an additional 1%, so we would need a return of 3.93% from a new position) by contract expiration? Unless we are using a highly volatile underlying security, this is unlikely.
Many times, the best action is no action at all with the understanding that we have our exit strategy arsenal in place and ready to go should the trade turn against us. If share price continues to accelerate, making the time value cost-to-close approach zero, we may re-think and consider unwinding.
Keep up the good work.
I guess I wrote that question a bit early – UCTT is having a really bad day today. Which brings me to my other question, are there times when it’s advisable to leave some profits on the table and undwind, take your gains (albeit not max gains) and remain in cash until the next contract cycle?
Here’s my short answer. Selling ATM and OTM covered calls is a neutral to bullish position. Since you sold an OTM covered call, you’re bullish and the potential profit (or loss) is more of a reflection of stock price movement rather than option premium. So your focus should be primarily on your outlook for the stock going forward. It would be a Pyrrhic Victory to ride the stock down several points in order to avoid a loss on the short call or make a small profit on it.
A more technical explanation is that at current price, the delta of your short call is about -55 (minus because you are short the call). Long stock has a delta of +1 or +100 for 100 shares.
Delta is non linear so it will decrease incrementally slower the more share price declines. If all other pricing variables were to remain the same, a loss of $1 in share price might recover about 50 cts of call premium (roughly the average delta of the current price and a $1 lower price). IOW, you’d lose a $1 in equity value to gain back 55 cts of call premium. If it were to drop another $1, the call would decrease maybe 38 cts. So now, you’ve given up another $1 per 100 shares to make 38 cts. It’s a losing proposition.
I’m not suggesting that you close the position, only that share price drop is not your friend. At all times, you have to evaluate whether a bird in hand less than maximum profit is worth closing early versus the amount of potent profit you give by holding the position. No one knows the answer to that today – it’s the proverbial risk versus reward choice we face in the market.
UCTT complicates this decision because the implied volatility is higher and the B/A spreads are wide.
I want to extend Alan’s remarks on your trade regarding a
Mid Contract Unwind on your trade at this point in time.
An alternate solution for you to wait further till the
time value of UCTT decreases further. If before the end
week 4 of 5, the time value has decreased to 0.1% to 0.5%
loss on your trade including commission, if you can find a
position that will give an Roo% of 1.5% – 2%, you can make
at least an addition 1% on your new position.
I am successful many times in Unwinding with loss 0.1% or
0.2% of your investment in the middle of a contract.
Sometimes you find a stubborn spread which forces you to
go to go higher, which means your commission costs should
also be considered in the calculatioins.
I find successfully many times positions that have a good
chart, a good break even point and an ROO 1.5% or larger
I monitor all the time for my contracts the Time Value for
all positions that are currently ITM. In the Option Chain
screen I add a column for the Time Value (Extrinsic value
for OptionsHouse/Etrade) I my Fidelity Positions or Watch
lists, I add a Time Value column.
For your position OTM with UCTT, as long as your stock
price is above 30 and you keep it to Expiration, your
current ROO% is 10.3% with a cost basis of 27.90 ( 0.77/
27.90 Plus Upside 30/27.90 or 2.76% + 7.53% = 10.29%).
Your current profit or gain $287.37 (0.103 * 27.90 *100).
Your investment and cost basis is 2790 (27.90 * 100) per
contract or 27.90 per share. (For an ITM Covered call you
would be using the Strike of 30 instead of $27.90)
Assume you would be willing to unwind with a loss of 0.1%
That is $2.79 per contract or $0.0279 per share (27.90
Basis / 1000).
For your loss to unwind be $0.0279 per share your time
value at unwinding must be $0.0279 or less.
How can you achieve this loss when you place a Credit
LImit order to unwind your a Covered call? Use the
equation: Strike – Time Value. In your case, 30 – .0279 =
29.9721 == 29.97. No matter at what price the stock is,
if your use a Credit Limit of 29.97, your loss in the
trade is 0.03 per share or $3.00 per contract. I have
proven this equation to be true (Important – ITM Covered
call unwinds only) elsewhere in prior blogs. The proof is repeated below.
Proof – Credit Limit: Assume filled Credit limit order is
(Stock Price – Premium) = 29.97. Stock price $35.00.
Strike $30, Premium is then $5.03 Intrinsic Value is
$5.00, Time Value = $0.03. This proves Credit Limit =
Strike – TV = Stock Price – Premium for ITM contract only.
Proof of Loss of $0.03/share or $3 per contract:
* Gain if hold till Expiration, from above: $287.37
* Gain if Unwind with Time Value of $0.03, Stock Price $35.00 Premium $5.03
* Stock Gain: $35 – 27.90 = 7.10 /share
* Option Gain: $0.77 – 5.03 = -4.26 /share
* Total: 7.10 – 4.26 = 2.84 / share
* Difference in Gain: $287.37 – 2.84 = 3.37 Loss from Unwind
If you have to consider commission, assuming it costs you
to $7 to unwind, For 1 contract cost per share is $0.07,
for 4 contracts, $0.02 per share. So the number of contracts you purchase lowers the effects of the loss.
Using the case with 4 contracts, loss to close is $.03 plus $0.02 = $0.05. Your loss is now about 0.2%. (2 x 0.0279= $.054).
Hope this helps you and others.
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Alan and the BCI team
In selecting a strike price for the sale of an In-the-Money covered call, Is there a rule of thumb that suggests/requires that the Premium amount ( Bid Price) be in excess of the difference between the Market Price of the stock and the Strike Price?
Thanks in advance for your reply.
When will your new book be available?
Allstars of Options event this morning:
Large room but that’s me on the podium.
Great seeing so many BCI members.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE & USE THE BACK ARROW TO RETURN TO BLOG
I just found the next bull market…it’s right here in Dallas.
Sightseeing is one of the many perks in my BCI world…thanks to one and all for putting me in this position.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE & USE THE BACK ARROW TO RETURN TO BLOG.
Ha,ha,ha, that’s really funny.
I suggest you stay away from tne north. Too many bears out there.
10/4/17: Wenesday Week 3/5 Expiration 10/20:
Nice day today.
Filled 2 covered calls:
FOE (OTM) U=22.3 Strike 22.5 Roo 1.9%
PYPL (OTM) Stiike 64.5 Roo 2.5%
Reinvested MCU cash from last Friday’s Unwind of AMAT. Break Even points were at a comfortable level.
Just noticed ATHM Autohome is coming back! Losing tits President and CFO resignations last week was a shock. Looks like there a conference call this morning 10/4/17 to discuss the changes and “soothe” investors.
Here is from StreetInsider.com:
Oct 3, 2017 09:34 AMAutohome Inc. Announces Conference
Call to Discuss Management Changes Oct 3, 2017 06:48 AMCredit Suisse Starts Autohome Inc. (ATHM) at Outperform
BEIJING, Oct. 03, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Autohome Inc. (“Autohome” or the “Company”) (ATHM), a leading online destination for automobile consumers in China, today announced that its management will host a conference call at 8:30 AM Eastern Time on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 (8:30 PM Beijing Time on the same day). Autohome’s Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Office, Mr. Min Lu, and the newly appointed Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Jun Zou, will discuss recent management changes.
Do you know if it’s possible to download a list anywhere of Earnings Report dates for all US stocks?
– http://www.earningswhispers.com (primary source)
– http://www.cboe.com/news/earnings-calendar (backup source)
If I can’t find accurate dates, then I go to:
Finally, I’ll try the company website under “News” or “PR Releases”.
Thanks Barry – can you actually download a list though for all stocks (something you can use in a spreadsheet) from either of
those sites? (rather than searching for one at a time.)
I don’t know…I never looked for an API…not needed for compiling the Weekly Premium Report.
No probs Barry, I found barchart.com where you can d/l one day at a time (not optimal but does the job!) 🙂
Thanks for a great thread everyone and i wish you all a great weekend!
It’s been an active hurricane season. Many of you know I live in New Orleans. Nate is bearing down on us. I don’t know what my power and market access situation will be next week but that is nothing new to friends in Texas, West Louisiana and Florida this year!
We can debate Global Warming all we want but something has changed :)! – Jay
Another one? Sounds like it’s time to join the wagon train for California 🙂
Good luck with Nate. Hope it just passes over with minimal or no damage. From my “Max Tracker” app I see it is traveling at 22 Mph.
No one is in a panic here and I hope this one keeps moving at it’s current rate. When they go stationary with a little wind circulation they make a bigger mess. – Jay
Oh, great idea Justin :)! They have earthquakes out there 🙂 It has been a tough season for us up here along the southern US.