Friday, July 11, 2008

learning to make money with spreads


Recently I started to look into investing in spreads to minimize the risk, yet still make a decent profit. My first trade was with PBW. The stock had gotten taken down in January and formed a buy doji the length of a runway. For protection, I went out six months to buy the June 22/24 call spread. The stock had gotten as low as 18 but because I had time on my side, I still held. Well, in May the stock moved up to my sell point and I was out of the position with a 47% gain.

Wow! 47% on the first trade. This looks like something I can do with my extreme discretionary funds.

The next trade I made was with GE. I bought the 32/34 Dec call spread thinking that the formula worked once, why not again. But right now the stock is around 27 with new earnings out that met expectations. I still feel pretty safe with this trade because I believe the downturn was the fault of the earnings miss the previous quarter. They also are looking to sell some divisions that should boost the earnings and the stock price.

I have also recently purchased the Dec GLD 92/94 call spread. I purchased this two weeks ago when the ETF was at 91 and today it is at 95. With both calls in the money, I figured that I would carry the two dollars and sell. Wrong.

It seems time has a strange formula that I had not picked up on with PBW. With PBW, there was barely any time value left on the trade. So the spreads were basic. But this is not the case with GLD as there is still five months to go before expiration. The time value for the 94's is currently more than the time value for the 92's. So much so that I am going to have to wait for my profit and now have the risk of the ETF going down during that time. This is an eye opener and I will have to add that to my list of issues with trading spreads.

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