What If We Expect a Robust Rally or Deep Sell-Off?
At the start of the summer in Issue 1, Make or Break Summer for Stocks (July 20), we presented a “bifurcated outlook” strategy, which is based on investors’ expectations of either a strong rebound, (swim), or further sell-off, (sink), following a dreadful first half of 2022
Initially, stocks attempted to swim but the rally faltered, and stocks sunk. Between July 20 and September 30, the SP500 fell 9.5%. As a result, the strategy worked well as the underlying index fell more than the 5% threshold required to accrue a profit.
To investors who remain in a “bifurcated outlook” mindset (i.e., expecting a big move but in an uncertain direction), this strategy remains a viable way to position their investments.
Reloading Sink or Swim
The strategy (i.e., technically, a “short condor”) can be deployed with any underlying security with an active options market, such as the index-tracking ETFs SPY (S&P500), QQQ (Nasdaq), and IWM (Russell 2000).
This position is relatively aggressive. It provides a profit if the underlying security gains or loses 5%+ but could lead to a 100% loss if the market trades sideways.
Depending on the equity market performance, as reflected in the indexes tracked by each ETF, each position would have a maximum value of $2,000 at expiration if the move is above approximately 10%, $0 if the move is between +5% and -5%, and at pro-rata for intermediate performances.
What could go wrong with this type of strategy?
This strategy is aggressive. It requires a significant move in the equity market to produce a profit and could lead to a 100% loss if the security (in the example, the index-tracking ETF’s SPY, QQQ, or IWM) fails to move more than 5% between now and year-end.
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Please read the Options Disclosure Document titled “Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options” before trading options.
Options trading entails significant risk and is not appropriate for all investors. Certain options strategies carry additional risk and investors may lose 100% of funds invested in a short period of time. Investors should consult with a tax advisor as to how taxes may affect the outcome of any options strategy. Options trading privileges are subject to Lime Trading Corp. review and approval. Transaction costs may be significant in multi-leg option strategies, including spreads and straddles, as they involve multiple commission charges.
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