beginners corner


I hate roller coasters….always have. When my boys were young, I was forced to go on them. Now that I am making money selling stock options, I realize that some things just never change.

As Blue Collar Investors we are always looking for ways of putting the odds in our favor. So what can we do to enhance our returns when market conditions change so dramatically day-to-day?

The Big Picture:

Many of you have written to me asking if you stay on the sidelines until the market quiets down. My answer to that is to refer back to the 3 Golden Rules I gave you at my seminars. Rule #1: You must be able to tolerate risk. Let’s turn that risk into more profit by being even more diligent in our stock selection and allowing the increased volatility to enhance option premiums (more on that below). Year to date the market is up about 8%, a little below the 11% average…but its up!

I spoke to you about using ETFs for diversification purposes and told you about the Qs (QQQQ) which I use in my mother’s account. This ETF has appreciated 20% year-to-date. Any of you selling options on the Qs this year should have a big smile on your face!

I also want to remind you that even in the crash(was there really a crash?) of 1987, there were industries and equities that made money. It is our job as Blue Collar Investors to find them and profit from them. We are not ordinary investors. We are Blue Collar Investors and proud of it!

Ideas for today:

When the market is extremely volatile I tighten my criteria slightly. I select the greatest performing stocks from the greatest performing industries. In our system criteria, Group Technical rating must be a “C” or better. Lately, I have been selecting stocks with a “B” or better in this category. Now there is a downside to doing this. Because we are resricting the number of equities available to us, our overall profit % will decline slightly. But this is a small price to pay while we are riding out this market insanity. We’ll sleep better while the gamblers are telling everyone and their uncles that you can’t make money in the market.

Here are a few stocks on my watchlist that meet this criteria ( and their associated industries):

CHL: Telecom/Wireless

VIP: Telecom/Wireless

POT: Chemical/Fertilizer

SID: Steel Producer

PCU: Metal Ores

ESRX: Medical/Dental Services

Another trick I use is to follow the news and look for companies that are unaffected by the current market concerns (sub-prime catastrophe and all its ramifications). Conventional market wisdom says that safe stocks are those that involve food, beverage, and cigarettes. I like to look further. What companies are flourishing and expect to continue to do so?

Yesterday United Technogy (UTX) came out with a favorable Earnings Report and the company CEO, George David has been all over the news. Here are some of the positives he has talked about:

1- He anticipates revenues beating what the market is anticipating (that’s a real good one!).

2- Based on the multi-national nature of his business, he sees very little chance of a recession (even better!).

3- As the parent company of Otis Elevator, he reports a 45% increase in elevator sales compared to 25% and 35% the previous 2 years. This is a great sign for companies with construction interests.

4- Aerospace and Commercial Construction Markets have more than offset the weakness in US residential heating and Air Conditionaing Markets.

5- The company has set aside 2 billion dollars for mergers and acquisitions(the market loves that one as well).

6- Companies like UTX which have a  huge multi-national presence benefits from the weak dollar and the undervalued currencies of countries like Japan and China.

All in all, companies like UTX offer us a safer haven for investing during these volatile times. Of course it also meets all our system criteria. You will notice that the option return is on the low side ( about 2.5%/month; 30% annualized when near a strike price). Try to remember though, that this is about 5 times more than your local bank will give you for a CD.

Be selective with your stock selections, stay focused and on top of exit strategies, and reel in some serious Blue Collar Profits.

Wishing you all the best,



About Alan Ellman

Alan Ellman loves options trading so much he has written four top selling books on the topic of selling covered calls, one about put-selling and a sixth book about long-term investing. Alan is a national speaker for The Money Show, The Stock Traders Expo and the American Association of Individual Investors. He also writes financial columns for both US and International publications along with his own award-winning blog.. He is a retired dentist, a personal fitness trainer, successful real estate investor, but he is known mostly for his practical and successful stock option strategies.


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