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 LNC Covered Call Strategy after 267 Days

Overall we are happy with the return being generated but we have left a lot of money on the table in the last six weeks by being conservative with the strike prices we are writing. The market has us nervous……and leaning to downside protection….but it is costing us money.

LNC Covered Call Strategy after 267 Days, performing well but leaving money on the table….

Information below summarizes how our CC Strategy on LNC is performing after 267 days. We are generating profit of $23,009 (including $2,040 in dividends). The graph tracks the daily profit/loss for the stock and options over time. We started using a new tracking system in January so it does not have all for the history. From the graph it is clear we have left money on the table by writing call options that were too conservative (either “at the money” or slightly “in the money”). The stock profit (blue line) and option loss (red line) are basically offsetting leaving us with a net profit that has been flat since Feb 7. If we believe LNC will continue to perform well we should be more aggressive and sell out of the money options (which reduce our downside protection) or add out of the money bull put spreads.

The position has returned 32% or 43% annualized……but it could be doing much better if we had adjusted our approach.

From a taxable viewpoint the options have generated short term losses of $33,911 some of which we used in 2020 taxes. Holding the stock until 6/25/2021 will allow us to pay long term capital gains on the $54,880 gain.