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.

Update on ABT Covered Call….Earnings Announcement Today….Could be opportunity to add to position

Abbott is a good covered call candidate. In our IB account we purchased 100 shares on 4/1/21 and sold the May $120 Call option. We rolled the option to May $125 (if the stock drops today we might regret the roll up!).

Our unrealized return on capital for the position is 2.4% in 18 days or 49% annualized. We picked up the $.45 dividend on April 15.

Abbott missed revenue forecast for the quarter but exceeded EPS by $.05. If the stock experiences a dip we will likely add to our position as we like the long term prospects. We also own ABT in our Schwab accounts. It is a dividend aristocrat which is hard to find “on sale”.

Iron Condor (IC) on ABT, DXCM

Our IC on ABT lost money this week as ABT stock increased in value. The table below shows the current status (ignore the -15 ABT 02/19/2021 $127 Calls as they are part of a covered call).

The “wings” of our IC include a call spread of $125/$135 (10 point spread) on the upper side and put spread $110/$120 (10 point spread) on the lower side. When we established the IC we received $13,255 in premium for selling the two spreads.

Max Profit = Premium Received.

Max Loss = Spread between the wings (10) * #contracts (30) * 100 shares per contract – Premium Received = $16,745.

Current stock price of $128.23 is above the lower strike on our call spread.

To realize max profit we need ABT to be between $120 and $125. When we set up the IC it seemed like a reasonable assumption. In hindsight I should have used a wider range. A wider range would have reduced the premium received (Max Profit) but increased the probability of the stock remaining inside the range. Position is currently losing $1,225.

The position has a lot of time left (expires March 19) and ABT may drop back. If the price goes above $135 we will incur the maximum loss. We do have an option of rolling up the Put from $120 to $125 which would generate additional premium and reduce the maximum loss.

Yesterday I established a new IC on DXCM following the earnings announcement. Took the lesson learned about wider range. The options in the table below with the quantity 20 and -20 make up the IC. The spread between the put spread ($360) and call spread ($460) is much wider than what we did on ABT IC. The stock has a $100 range to move and allow us to make maximum profit. Our Max profit is the sum of the premiums received ($15,680). Max Loss is the spread of the wings (20) x number of contracts (20) x 100 shares per contract – Premium Received = $24,320. Current profit is $1,340…….

Update on ABT CC, Profit $8,497 in 87 Days, 31.1% Return or 130% Annualized

Our Covered Call strategy on ABT was established on May 26. Since that time we have added to the position with 300 shares on 6/25 and 400 on 8/21. Covered Calls on Abbott have performed well aided by a strong upward move in the stock. We have rolled the options 13 times and had two expirations. Abbott is attractive for CC Writing as it trades weekly options, potential for growth on the stock price and pays a dividend.