Update on SPY Iron Condor Strategy – Losing $175 despite a lot of effort and trading……Schwab might be winning on commission……

Difficult week for the IC strategy. The continued rise of the SPY over the past 12 days has created challenges. We have had to roll up Puts and use some of the incremental premium to roll up the Calls (only investing incremental premium received or the maximum risk associated with the strategy will be increased).

We also rolled a couple of IC’s ‘up and out’ as the ‘days to expiration’ were approaching 21 days (Tastytrade.com mechanics on when to roll/close options). The IC’s we closed have generated a profit of $2,289. Unfortunately the open IC’s are generating a loss of $2,464. Overall the strategy is losing $175. For $175 it has been good entertainment…..except the purpose is to make money not just keep me busy.

We need a pullback in the SPY ….or at least for it to stop rising for the strategy to return to profitability.

Update on SPY “Ladder”…..Four IC’s Closed, Five Open….Profit of $2,255 after 47 Days

Our SPY experiment is hitting full stride. Our first four SPY’s are Closed and we have five open positions (green background in the table). The rise in the SPY last week created pressure on our positions. With SPY closing above $400 we have short calls at $400 and $403. We rolled up our Put spreads to increase our premiums and reduce maximum potential loss. All five of the open positions are currently losing money. We will look to close the positions as they hit 21 days before expiration (or hit 50% of maximum profit). If SPY continues to rise we will roll our Put spreads up until the short Put strike reaches the short Call strike. (Iron Condor becomes an Iron Fly at that point).

Assigned on NUE Covered Call, Profit of $240 in 6 Days, 1% Return on Capital or 44% Annualized

On March 24 we established a Covered Call on NUE. The objective of the trade was to capture a dividend of $.405 (ex-div on March 30). We purchased 500 shares of the stock @$69.17 and wrote 5 “in the money” Apr 1 $67 Call options for a premium. of $2.64 per share . The call option premium provided 3.8% protection against a potential decline in stock value before we could collect the dividend.

The graph shows what happened after the CC was established. NUE stock had a run up in price (blue line) and closed yesterday at $78.75. At the close we were generating profits of $4,790 on the stock and a loss of $3,331 (red line) on the options.

The owner of the calls elected to call the shares away last night so they could collect the $.405 dividend. We sold the shares at $67 resulting in a loss of $1,,085 on the stock. Our short options became $0 and generated a profit of $1,394 resulting in net position profit of $240. Graphs shows the impact of the assignment with stock losing, option gaining and a small net profit.

$240 is not a lot of money in an account of any size…..but with market dynamics and volatility so hard to predict it was a reasonably “safe” trade that generated an annal return of 44%. They key is stringing a series of these “dividend capture” trades together on a weekly basis. In this situation the return on our investment was higher with the shares getting called away but the after tax gain would likely be higher collecting the dividend (taxed at a lower % than the gain on stock/option). We have five similar trades in play this week. My concern with the strategy is having one of the stocks experience a big decline that would offset the benefit of many smaller gains. If the strategy works over time we can easily scale the size of the trades to generate higher $ returns. If the stock falls below the short strike price we have an option of continuing to sell calls against the stock or selling the stock.

Earnings Trade on RH – Profit of $1,429…..should have been more

On 3/19 we set up an earnings trade on RH. We established a Covered Call (Bought 100 shares at $515.77 and sold a deep in the money $470 Call option. Volatility was extremely high so we received excellent premiums of $58.10 per share. With the shares trading at $515 and expected earnings move of +/- 14% we thought we were being conservative with a $470 strike price. In addition to the CC we set up a deep out of the money Bull Put Spread to capture more premium. We sold the $470 Put and bought $450 Put…..with the expectation we had minimal risk of getting Put the shares (they were $50 out of the money and we didn’t want to have to buy 300 shares @$470). Much to our surprise in the two days before earnings RH stock fell from $515 to $480…..and we were now well within the expected earnings move range. We bought back the Bull Put Spread at a loss of $655. We sold a new Bull Put Spread at lower strikes ($440/$420).

Turned out RH earnings were good and after a quick dip the stock rose back up over $500….so we left money on the table. On the Covered Call we lost $4,577 on the stock, made a profit of $5,809 on the short call option for an overall profit of $1,232. The 2 Bull Put Spreads made a combined profit of $197 (would have been $1,400 if we had just sat on the initial spread).

I don’t usually do “earning trades” due to the volatility and uncertainty….so we made a bit of money and got a little stressed!

Assigned on SDC in 401K , Profit $660 in 14 Days, 2.1% Return or 55.8% Annualized

On the weekend we were assigned on our 3,000 shares of SDC. We were short 30 Mar 26 $10.50 Call options.

On Friday as the market was closing SDC was hovering right around $10.50. The market maker wanted us to pay up to $.05 to buy back the short calls. We did not think this was a “fair” price so we let the position play out. Ideally the stock would have closed at $10.49 and allowed us to keep the shares…..but it closed at $10.56 resulting in the shares getting called away.

The graph on the bottom right shows what happened over the course of holding the position. Immediately after opening the position the stock jumped up (blue line). Stock price deteriorated after that resulting in a loss of $1,680. We rolled the options each week. The premiums collected allowed us to make a profit on the options of $2,340. Net profit was $660. 56% annualized return on the capital required….so we are happy with the trade. We will open a new SDC position of similar size on Monday morning.

Price decline in SDC (Smile Direct Club) not helping….

SDC was a great performer for us over the past year. Recent price declines are taking a toll on the overall value of my account. In January the stock had generated over $200,000 in unrealized profits. Over the past three months that deteriorated to just $70,000.

Why we do covered calls…..as the stock dropped we rolled the short option strike prices down. The incremental premium collected while rolling down helped offset the stock losses. Profits on the options increased from a loss of $10,000 in January to a gain of $60,000. Overall the net profit for the position has dropped from $190,000 to $140,000 but without the options it would have fallen an additional $70,000.

Hopefully we see some strengthening of SDC stock price in the near future.

Chart data does not have all the position history. Tracking system was updated in January and history was lost….in case you are wondering how the numbers jump so dramatically at the start of the chart.

Closed MOS Covered Call/Iron Condor Position – Loss of $80, would have been much larger loss without IC

Yesterday we closed the position on MOS for a small loss. We opened the position as a covered call on 2/18/21 when we purchased 2,000 shares of MOS @$28.88 and sold 20 Mar 5 $29 Call options @$1.73. Shares jumped in price (blue line) but quickly fell back. We sold the shares on 2/26 for a small gain. When the stock was appreciating we rolled the short options up (to $30, $31, $33) as the losses on the short options were offsetting the stock gain. When the stock quickly pulled back the option premiums on the higher strike price were not enough to offset the losses on the stock. When we shut down the covered call the position we had lost over $3,500 on the options. We established the Iron Condor on 2/24/21. 30 Contracts April 16 +27P/-$29P and -$37C/+$39C. The IC performed well getting the overall position back to a loss of $80 (yellow and red lines).

Closed MU Covered Call/Iron Condor for profit of $4,346 in 52 Days

Yesterday (3/24) we closed our position in MU. We opened it on 2/1/21 as a covered call (Bought 200 shares @$79.71 and sold 2 Feb 12 $80 calls @$2.53. On February 23 we closed the covered call (Blue line goes flat) and opened an Iron Condor (Sold 20 Contracts April 16 +$65P/-$75P and -$105C/+$115C. Our goal was for the stock to remain between $75 and $105 so we could keep the premium collected. We closed the position yesterday as we were exceeding 50% of the max profit potential. The combination of CC and IC generated profits of $4,346 ($1,754 with the stock and $2,592 with the options).

Update on Iron Condor Learning/Strategy, Shutdown IC on MU today

One bright spot on a tough market day was closing the Iron Condor on MU. Details on the transaction are below. Profit of $3,360, a Return on Capital of 22% in 27 days, 83% Annualized. This is a much better return than I have been achieving trying to capture dividends over the past couple of weeks!

We followed the Tastytrade.com recommendations when we set up (51 Days to Expiration) and closed the trade (21 Days to Expiration or 50% of max profit….we closed it based on exceeding profit goal). We have a series of IC’s coming due over the next week…..but this will likely be the most successful. This is one of the few IC’s where we were able to get a credit equal to 1/3 of the width between the strikes ($10 width, $3.36 credit). The volume on MU options is high which helped with both the entry and exit. Other IC’s I have are more challenging to exit due to the wide spread between the bid and ask prices. The IC’s are above the 50% profit target but I can’t get filled and remain above the target. I may have to hold them through expiration.

ABT (Abbott Laboratories) as a Covered Call Candidate

ABT had a very bullish article come out on Seeking Alpha (much better than I could write about the stock – look it up if you are interested). I have held shares in the company for over 30 years. The information below depicts my current position. Shares were purchased May 26, 2020. The tracking tool was updated in January and the history was lost so the data starts Jan 24. I have been writing weekly calls against the stock. Combination of stock, options and dividend are generating a profit of $28,686 for an annualized return of 23%. Not a “high flyer” but a solid medical device company with a long history of success.

The red line in the graph shows the profit/loss from the options. In the last month I started writing bullish put spreads along with the covered call. The goal is to generate more option premium. If the stock drops below the short put price I am okay with getting assigned more shares as I am bullish on the stock long term. Since adding short puts to the strategy I have reduced the losses on the options. Usually when the blue line (stock profit) goes up the red line goes in the opposite direction and offset some of the gain. The blue line has increased in the past couple of weeks but the red line held ….resulting in more profit. I sold another put spread this morning that isn’t reflected in the data yet.