Trading the Monthly Jobs Report

One monthly report that generally moves the stock market is the NFP or nonfarm payroll report that is issued the first Friday of every month. The report is issued at 8:30 am Eastern time 7:30 am central time before the market opens.

When the market opens, often the market will make a hard move one way and then come back the other way over the first hour or so. This can make for an interesting speculative play using options.

This is not normal non-directional income style options trading.

Wait for the Initial Move

The way to play these moves with options is to wait for the initial move to move hard in one direction and then sell option verticals above or below that. Then whenever the market moves back the other direction you can close those option verticals that you sold profitably or continue with them if the market stabilizes.

Often the market will move one way and then the other and continue that  way the rest of the day.

For instance, if the market opens up you could sell call verticals in a broad-based index like SPX once it is moved up about 10 to 15 minutes, then watch for a market reversal to buy those back or you may be able to continue with a market reversal the rest of the day.

Sell Put Verticals

Conversely if the market opens down you could sell put verticals on SPX or a broad-based index and then when the market stabilizes or goes the other direction cover those verticals or maybe continue with them the rest of the day.

This is often easier to do than buying a straddle, where you buy an at the money call and put the day before, because often times the volatility will come out of that straddle which will crush the profitability of the play.

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Income Style Trade

There is also an income style trade that could possibly be set up using these moves. You would simply sell the vertical in the SPX calls or puts depending on which way the market opened and then when it went back the other way sell the other vertical and you should have a fairly broad structured iron condor.

Of course, this is not without risk and this kind of move needs to be done small and practiced a lot on paper before doing it live.

Whether you sold just the verticals or are creating an iron condor I would sell my shorts at a delta between 14 and 18 so that you are far enough away from the market and not too close.

Both of these can be done on  paper tomorrow when the jobs report  comes out.

Mark Fenton

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