HOT TRADING STRATEGIES FOR A COLD MARKET
Daily Stock Market Equity and Options Trading Commentary

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hectic Week... Will Return Soon

I have a very hectic week ahead with school (tri-mesters are a killer). I should be posting on a regular schedule after Monday or Tuesday of next week. Sphere: Related Content

Monday, May 18, 2009

10 Bullish Option Spread Strategies

Have an idea of where a stock may be in a month, but don't dare buy it due to fears of the market sinking? Want to short a stock but fear the market may rally? Using option spreads will allow you to take advantage of the upside or downside with minimal risk.

This strategy is what I call the 10%-15% strategy. In terms of the bull call spread, this will hit the lower strike if the stock trades up by 10% within the given time frame, and will expire at maximum profitability if the stock trades up by 15% given the same time frame. Not quite that bullish? No problem, adjust the % range to your desired level, and choose the closest strike prices.

Below are some examples. Depending on where you think the Stock/ETF will be (in terms of dollars) and time frame, you may need to adjust expiration and strike prices accordingly. (All prices based on close price Friday May 15, 2009, and strike prices are the closest prices to the calculated values.) To learn more about trading options, check out my e-book.

Some Ideas for the Bulls:

Spread Strategy # 1: Buy the Google (GOOG) June $430 Call and sell the June $450 Call. This strategy would cost $170 per contract to open, and if Google can close above $450 at June expiration the profit from this strategy would be $1830 or 1076%. Break even point is Google at $431.70 come June options expiration. Similar strategies can be used for Microsoft (MSFT) and Yahoo (YHOO).

Spread Strategy #2: Buy the Apple (AAPL) June $135 Call and sell the June $140 Call. This strategy could be opened for $75 and will return 567% if AAPL closes at or above $140 a share on June expiration. Break even is $135.75 per share at expiration.

Spread Strategy #3: Buy the Financial SPDR (XLF) June $12 Call and sell the June $13 Call. This could be opened for roughly $30 per contract and has a potential of netting $70 if XLF closes above $13 come June expiration. The return in this case would be over 200%. Break even is XLF at $12.30 per share. Also use similar strategies with other volatile individual financials such as: American Express (AXP), Bank of America (BAC), Bank of NY Mellon (BK), Citigroup (C), Goldman Sachs (GS), JP Morgan (JPM), Morgan Stanley (MS), Wells Fargo (WFC), and the really volatile leveraged financial ETFs such as Proshares Ultra Financials (UYG) and Direxion 3X Financials (FAS).

Spread Strategy #4: Buy the Palm (PALM) June $12 Call and sell the June $13 Call. This strategy can be opened for roughly $25 per contract and if PALM closes at or above $13 at June expiration it will yield $75 profit or 300%. Break even is PALM at $12.25. A similar strategy can be used for Research in Motion (RIMM).

Spread Strategy #5: Buy the United States Oil Fund (USO) June $34 Call and sell the June $36 Call. This strategy can be opened for roughly $35 per contract and if the USO closes at or above $36 at June expiration it will yield $165 profit or 471%. Break even is USO at $34.35. Similar strategy can be used for the double leveraged crude oil ETF (UCO). Other ideas would be looking at oil services such as Exxon Mobil (XOM), and ConocoPhillips (COP). Historically as oil heats up so do the solar stocks, therefore you may want to check out the options on names like: First Solar (FSLR), Evergreen Solar (ESLR), SunPower (SPWRA), and A-Power Energy (APWR).

Spread Strategy #6: Buy the Caterpillar (CAT) June $39 Call and sell the June $41 Call. This strategy can be opened for roughly $45 per contract and if CAT closes at or above $41 come June expiration it will return 344%. Break even point would be Caterpillar at $39.45 per share.

Spread Strategy #7: Buy the Ford (F) June $6 Call and sell the June $7 Call (higher strike actually higher by 27%). This strategy can be opened for roughly $20 per contract and if Ford closes at or above $7 at June expiration it will return 400%. Break even is Ford at $6.20. The lower the price of the stock the more complicated options become. General Motors (GM) is not a good example of a similar strategy, this is because the strikes are in $1 increments and GM stock is at roughly $1.

Spread Strategy #8: Buy the Potash (POT) June $120 Call and sell the June $125 Call. This strategy can be opened for roughly $100 per contract and if POT closes at or above $125 (factoring in a 20.9% chance) at June expiration it will return 400%. Break even is POT at $121 a share. For similar strategies check out the options on Sociedad Quimica (SQM), Terra Nitrogen (TNH), and CF Industries (CF).

Spread Strategy #9: Buy the Diamonds Trust ETF (DIA) June $90 Call and sell the June $94 Call. This strategy can be opened for roughly $31 per contract and if the DIA closes at or above $94 (factoring in a 3.9% chance) at June expiration it will return 1100%+. Break even is DIA at $90.31.

Spread Strategy #10: Buy the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) June $97 Call and sell the June $102 Call. This strategy can be opened for roughly $40 per contract and if the SPY closes at or above $102 (factoring in a slim chance of 3.7%) at June expiration it will return 1150%. Break even is SPY at $97.40

Above are all examples of Bull Call spreads.

Some Ideas for the Bears:

Similar spreads can be used if you are bearish. To do so you would want to buy the put 10% lower and sell the put 15% lower than the current stock price. This will allow you to capture the downside with minimal risk if the individual security takes off to the upside.

Depending on how long you wait to implement these strategies will make a big difference, and each strategy should be fully analyzed before opening any of these spreads.


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