Live Double Calendar in SPX

Double Calendar  B 1  Jun 8  2750 C,  B 1  Jun 8  2690 P, S 1  May 25  2750 C, S 1  May 25  2690 P  16.30 Debit

Profit target: Sell Spread at 17.45 credit for about 7% profit. Max Loss when Spread decreases under 14.80, loss of around 10%

Dan, covered the trade in more detail in the video below.

Iron Condor or Iron Butterfly, Which is better?

I am often asked as an option trading mentor, which is better, the iron condor or the iron butterfly. Both are short Vega trades meaning that they benefit from volatility lowering. However the structure is different and the pros and cons of each are different.

The iron condor, is perhaps the most popular option spread trade. The structure is selling a call vertical and a put vertical, out of the money, usually by several strikes. The benefit to the strategy is that it is short one volatility and also it has a wider range for the price to move around,  up or down, before you get into any trouble with the trade. It is a good trade in higher volatility markets because you paid more premium for what you are selling. However, there is no “free lunch” ,and the increased premium comes with the increased risk of large price movements in a volatile market. Think of it as selling car insurance to a 16 year old.The downside of using an iron condor is that when it goes  against you, it is more difficult to repair, and you can lose more money because you took in less premium by selling options that were further from the money.

The iron butterfly is also a trade that benefits from lowering volatility. It is structured by selling an at the money call vertical and an at the money put vertical with varying long wing widths. The iron butterfly has more narrow structures than the iron condor however it has a better risk to reward because your return can be so much higher on the money at risk than with the iron condor. This is because you received more premium selling the at the money options. Because it has this greater risk/reward the iron butterfly can be put on in a wider range of markets both lower volatility and higher volatility. Even though it is short volatility it still performs well even in lower volatility markets because of the risk reward. Both of these trades require that the price stay inside of a range for the trade to be profitable.The iron condor gives you more room, and the iron butterfly gives you less room for the price to move.  Overall in most markets I preferred the iron butterfly because of the increase risk reward.

Mark Fenton

How to Cheaply Trade Cash Secured Puts in a Retirement Account?

Trading Cash Secured Puts or Covered Writes, basically the same trade, is outrageously expensive in a retirement account. With FB at 165 today, Buying 100 shares at 165 and selling one 170 call at $4.50, expiring in 32 days, cost’s about $16,000 to trade!!! If doing an almost identical strategy called a cash secured Put, selling one 160 P at $4.50, the capital requirement is still going to be near $16,000. How do I do this type of a strategy in a very cost efficient way? Sell a wide put Credit Spread. Using FB as an example today. With FB at $165, I can sell the 160 Put at $4.50. Because the capital requirement is very high to sell the put naked, even if I have the capital too do it, I will look to buy a put against it at 15% the cost of my short put. My short put is going for 4.50, 15% of 4.50 is about $65, so look to hedge the short 160 put with the 140 Put . The May 18 expiration 140 Put is currently trading for .65. Now I have a 20 wide put credit spread, short the 160 Put and long the 140 put for roughly a $3.80 credit. My risk or margin is now $1620 for every 1 contract versus $14,000-$16,000 for every 1 contract doing a Covered write or cash secured put!! My profit target might be to make 8% for the month on my capital for 1 contract of $1620. That would be $130 for a profit target on every 1 contract. If I sold the credit spread for $3.80 Credit, I would look to buy it back for $2.50 debit. As far as a Maximum Loss, if I lost 10% would get out. Using this trade as an illustration, if the credit spread exceeded $5.40, would get out for a loss.

Dan Sheridan