OPTIONS

If you want to learn to trade, here’s a really useful option strategy that all traders should know, says option trader Dan Passarelli of MarketTaker.com.

The Strategy
Let’s take a look at an option strategy that involves the selling of a put, often referred to as an uncovered put write or a naked put write. A naked put write is when a trader sells a put that is not part of a spread. This strategy is generally considered to be a bullish-to-neutral strategy.

The maximum profit is the premium received for the put. The maximum profit is achieved when the underlying stock is greater than or equal to the strike price of the sold put. Though this allows for a lot of room for error (The stock can be anywhere above the strike at expiration), note that the maximum loss is unlimited and occurs when the price of the underlying stock is less than the strike price of the sold put less the premium received. So, executing this trade in the right situation is essential. To calculate breakeven, subtract the premium received from the sold put’s strike price.

The Example
For our example we will use Apple, Inc. (AAPL). Apple just recently announced earnings and the stock dropped over $50. For this example we will assume the stock is trading around $460 a share. A trader sells the March 435 put, which carries a bid price of $10.00 (rounded to make the math a bit easier). Should AAPL stock be trading above $435 a share at expiration, the March 435 contract will expire worthless and the trader will keep the premium collected. (Do not forget to take any commissions the trader may pay from the equation.) All is good, right? Well, what if the stock falls even more after earnings?

If AAPL falls another $50 to $410 at expiration, the put would expire in-the-money and would have to be purchased back to avoid assignment. This could cost the trader a rather hefty sum. Assigning values, our investor collected $10 in premium. The 420 put expired with $25 in intrinsic value. The trader loses the $25, less the $10 premium collected results in a loss of $15, or $1,500 of actual cash.

Why Sell Naked Puts?
We have already discussed the profit potential of selling naked puts, but there is another reason to do so—owning the stock. Selling naked puts is a good way to purchase at a specific price by choosing a strike near said target price. Should the stock price drop below the put strike and the puts are assigned, the trader buys the stock at the strike price minus the option premium received. Again, should the put not reach the strike price, the premium is pocketed at expiration.

By Dan Passarelli, Founder, MarketTaker.com

Tickers Mentioned: Tickers: AAPL

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