Covered Call versus Covered Call + Bull Put Spread

The charts below show two investment strategies around Covered Calls. We had a similar outlook on both stocks when the positions were originally set up (bullish long term). Both stocks pay a good dividend.

The top example is Abbott (ABT) and the bottom one is Lincoln Financial (LNC). With ABT we established a covered call and added bull put spreads (BuPS) over time. With LNC we only used covered calls. In both scenarios we rolled the options. ABT allowing weekly rolls and LNC monthly. Key to understanding the impact of adding the BUPS is tracking the return on the options (red line).

By adding BuPS to the Abbott strategy the loss on the short call options as the stock increased in price was offset by the gains on BuPS. With LNC the loss on the short call options offset much of the gain on the stock. The gap between the blue line (stock profit) and yellow line (net profit) is key. With LNC the gap continued to widen as the stock increased in price. We realized very little from the recent stock appreciation. In hindsight we could have written more aggressive strike prices on LNC (usually write ATM so we have a reasonable level of downside protection).

Take away for me…..after opening or when opening a covered call if you continue to feel bullish on the stock adding BuPS can offset losses on the short calls as the stock appreciates. Return in both examples is acceptable….but we left money on the table with LNC. CC versus just BuPS allowed us to capture the dividends. In these examples the dividend isn’t playing a significant role due to stock appreciation…..but this is the exception. Collecting the dividend can represent a key contribution in some situations.

Charts are showing impact from Jan 24, 21. Positions have been open for 332 and 302 days. We are getting close to the stock gains becoming long term capital gains.

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.