This Is How I Trade Stock Options (7 Months of Trading Action)

Updated on December 6, 2018
Daniel Mollat profile image

Daniel is a retired business executive who now devotes most of his free time to trading stocks and stock options in the stock market.

A Site to Practice What You've Learned

For those of you who have now acquired sufficient knowledge and understanding about stock options, it is a ripe time to start practicing what you have learned. I’m sure many of you have desired to find a website that offered a service where you could watch how options trades are done on an ongoing basis. Where you could watch how an options trade is initiated, monitored, adjusted (if/when needed) and finally closed.

Well, you’ve found just the place for this!

Here I have posted my actual options trades for a period of seven months. But since there are dozens of options trading systems I confined myself to trading those strategies that are the most common for beginners and those who have escalated their knowledge to slightly higher levels. The options trades shown here are those involving the buying and selling of calls and puts, covered call selling, covered put selling, spread trading (mostly credit spreads) and the all-important process of rolling out options if and when these became necessary.

Option Trading Strategies I Used

Like I said, the option trading systems used in the actual trades are the following:

  • Buying calls and puts (mostly calls) as a speculative investment strategy in the stock market. This is a directional strategy for those who bet on a stock going in one direction, either up or down. See my article Simple Options Strategies For Beginners.
  • Covered call trading for those who already own stocks and wish to enhance returns on their stocks and increase cash dividend flow.
  • Covered call trading is also widely used by those who buy stocks for the sole purpose of selling calls against their stocks to generate regular income.

  • Covered puts or what is also called cash secured puts for those who have cash and are looking for better returns than what CDs can offer. It is also a great system to use as a home business to generate steady cash income.
  • Option spread trading of mostly credit spreads. This is similar to covered put selling and while it requires less capital it may be a little bit more complex but renders greater profitability.

  • Finally, I included trades showing the all-important feature of using the roll-out process when an option position was threatened with exercise or assignment.

Need Help in Selecting Options to Trade?

Many of you will most likely ask ‘how do I know which strategy to use?’ Or even ‘how do I select the stock options to trade based on the strategy selected?’

There are many stock option advisory services on the internet that offer assistance in this area. They are also called stock picking services because they offer to do the selecting of options for you to trade. You may want to read my article What is the Best Options Trading Advisory Service?

Seven Months of Options Trades

Listed below are my options trades for a seven month period and the dates they were made with notes as to what and why the trade was made. Scroll down to view the most current date and trade transaction.

Farther down is a summary table of the trades showing gains and losses.

May 4, 2018 – This was the first trade I initiated.

Sold to open (sto) IP June 50 put option @ $0.84

May 4, 2018 – This trade was made immediately after the IP trade.

Sold to open (sto) WBA June 60 put option @ 0.79

I made two trades on this day; International Paper (IP) and Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA). Both were covered puts or what is also called cash-secured puts. These two trades resulted in cash intakes into my broker account.

May 7, 2018 – Bought to open (bto) FB June 180 call at 4.13. I placed a stop loss on this trade at 2.05.

I bought the Facebook (FB) June call as a speculative play. I was betting this stock was ready to rise in a short time and if it did before the June expiration I could stand to make a bit of profit. Of course, it goes without saying, I lose my bet if I’m stopped out at 2.05.

May 10, 2018 - Sold to close (sbc) FB June 180 call at 8.35 for a profit of 102%! Not a bad return for an investment of only three days.

May 10, 2018 - Bought to open (bto) Alibaba (BABA) June 200 call at $5.25. At the same time, I placed a stop loss order (stc) at 2.70. This again was a speculative trade just like Facebook in the hope that it would tick up in the next few days. Hopefully well before the expiration date on June 15.

May 14/2018 – Today I did a debit spread trade. A covered call transaction on International Paper (IP) where I bought the stock and simultaneously sold a call option against the stock. But Instead of putting in two orders, buying the stock and selling the option, I placed a covered call order as one transaction for a net debit of $53.32. Below is a snapshot of the trade ticket placed with my broker:

Sample of an All-in-One Trade Ticket

When I placed the order IP was trading at around $54.09 and the June 55 call option (expiring Jun 15) was trading at $0.75-0.80.

The order was filled at the net debit price I specified of $53.32. This translated to my having bought the IP stock at 54.10 and sold the June 55 call at 0.78.

Although the order was place as one transaction for a net debit, the broker’s online statement shows the order being filled as two transactions; the stock bought at $54.10 and the June 55 call option as sold at $0.78.

May 15/2018 - Placed another covered put trade today. Sold to open the Walmart (WMT) June 82.5 put at 1.83 (expiring on June 15)

May 21 – Bought to open Home Depot (HD) July 195 call at $2.615

May 23 – Did two closing trades today when my stop losses were triggered. Sold to close the BABA June 200 call at $2.41, and sold to close the HD July 195 call at $1.50. Please see summary table below.

NOTE: My website was down for a few days while undergoing a fix to a problem. I apologize that I was not able to report the HD trade on the same day but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for you because I had to close it today at a loss.

May 23, 2018 - Made a new opening trade today. Bought to open Nvidia Corporation (NVDA) June 250 call at $5.25

May 24, 2018 - Sold to open Bank of America June 30 put @ $0.51. This is a covered put expiring in June. If you have a margin account with your broker, which more often than not is the case, the cash you need to cover this transaction is about $550-600 per contract depending on your broker's internal margin policies. Some brokers are more liberal than others. My broker's requirement for this trade is $578 which gives me a return on investment of 8.4% in one month (.49 x 100 ÷ 578). The same manner of calculating returns applies to the sold puts of May 4th.

May 29, 2018 - Today, with the market taking a big drop, my BAC June 30 puts have gone ITM placing the position in danger of being assigned. If I allowed assignment I would have to buy the stock at $30 and my net cost after deducting the puts I sold would be $29.49. BACs current price now is $29.06 which is lower than my net cost. I decided to do a roll-out by buying to close the June 30 puts at $1.28 and selling to open new puts three months away in September. Here is the trade I did today:

Buy-to-close (BTC) June 30 put @ 1.28; sell-to-open (STO) Sept 29 put @ 1.48 for a net credit of $0.20

The two trades were placed as one transaction for a net credit of $0.20 or $200 for the 10 contracts in this position. Take note I've also reduced the strike price from $30 to $29. See trade summary below.

June 1, 2018

Today I sold to close (STC) the NVDA June 250 calls at $9.19 for a profit of 75%. See details in Trade Summary.

June 5, 2018

New opening trade today. Buy to open Facebook (FB) Jul 200 call (expiry 7/20/18) at any price below $3.50. I was filled at $3.05. See details in Summary Table.

June 6, 2018

My covered calls options on IP were exercised. I had to give up (sold) my IP shares at the strike price of $55 thus yielding a profit of $$0.90 per share or a total of $450 for the 500 shares I held. Adding the proceeds from the sale of the calls makes a total of $840. Additionally, a cash dividend of $0.475 per share was paid in May totaling $237.50. All told, this investment in IP stock and options has returned a total of $1,077.50. The return on investment is a nice 4% for a position that was held less than one month. If margin was used in the purchase of the shares (50%), as is usually the case, the ROI is 8%. See Trades Summary below.

June 7, 2018

New trade today. Sold to open ATT (T) Jul 32 put @ $0.49. This is a covered put position (cash secured put), one of my favorite options strategies. See Trades Summary.

June 11, 2018

My June 60 puts on Walgreens-Boots (WBA) are expiring this coming Friday. I am opening a new covered put position (cash secured puts) by selling 4 contracts of the July 62.5 puts at $1.25 and was filled at this price when the underlying WBA stock was at $64.06. See Trades Summary below.

June 14-16, 2018

June 14/18 - Three of my put options are expiring tomorrow for total gains of $1,527. I opened a new position today as follows:

Sold 4 contracts Schlumberger Ltd (SLB) July 67.5 put at $1.55. See transaction in Trades Summary below.

June 16, 2018 – Yesterday was expiration day for regular June stock options. I had three remaining options that all expired without value thus adding gains to my running total to-date.

Since starting this site on May 4, 2018, I’ve achieved total gains of $2,143.50. See Trades Summary for results.

June 20, 2018

Today I sold to close the Facebook (FB) July 200 calls at $6.05 for a nice profit of 100%. See Trades Summary.

Opened a new trade using covered put option strategy. STO 4 contracts of Consolidated Edison (ED) July 75 put @ 1.30.

June 25, 2018

Opened a new trade today on Verizon Communications. Sold to open 8 contracts of VZ Jul 48.5 put at $0.70. This is again a covered put strategy. VZ stock was at $49.59 when my order was filled.

June 28, 2018

My put options on WBA went into the red today and may run the risk of being assigned. The news that Amazon agreed to acquire PillPack, an online pharmacy, caused all pharmaceutical stocks to take a dive with CVS and Rite Aid following the trend. I feel this downtrend in the industry is a knee-jerk reaction to the Amazon-PillPack news and should bounce back in due time.

If assigned I would have to buy WBA at the strike price of $62.50. I don’t feel comfortable buying the stock at this price at the present time. I would like to wait and see what happens in the industry within the next few weeks. Instead of keeping my WBA options and risk assignment I am therefore closing it and opening a new position on CVS. I could have rolled out WBA to a farther expiration but it would mean going as far as October while CVS offers a shorter expiration of August. Here is my trade today:

BTC WBA Jul 62.50 put, 4 contracts @ 3.25

STO CVS Aug 67.50 put 4 contracts @ 4.25

July 3, 2018

Twitter took a dive today but over-all it shows good potential for a rebound. I opened a long position today as follows:

bto two contracts of TWTR Aug 45 call at $3.20

See trades summary below.

July 6, 2018

My July 75 puts on ED have now decreased to a low price of only $.05 affording me a profit of $500 for this position. With only $.05 value left on this option, there is no point in keeping it to expiration. I have therefore rolled it to another position in August.

btc 4 contracts ED July 75 puts at $.05

sto 5 contracts of ED Aug 77.50 put at $1.20

This order was placed as one roll-out transaction for a net credit of $1.15. See tades summry below.

July 13, 2018

I am closing AT&T as it is now in-the-money (ITM) and getting close to expiration. I could roll it out but there is too much uncertainty in this stock due to its merger problems with another company. I am therefore replacing it with Comcast Corp (CMCSA). This is the order I placed today and was filled at these prices:

BTC 10 contracts of T July 32 put at $0.55

STO 6 contracts of CMCSA Aug 35 put at $1.40

This trade yielded a net credit of $0.85 and buy selling fewer contracts it also reduced the margin requirement on the trade thus increasing my account’s options buying power. You may also do a spread trade similar to the one above even if not exactly at the same prices but be sure you get a net credit of around 75-85 cents on the transaction. See trades summary below.

July 17, 2018

Opened a new trade on JP Morgan Chase. Sold to open 4 contacts of the Aug 110 put at $1.80 giving me a cash intake of $720. This is another covered put where I used cash to secure the put position. Using margin, my cash investment on this 4 contracts is $8,587 which gives me a return of just over 8% when the options expire on August 17th. Here’s the trade as shown in the trades summary below:

STO 4 contracts JPM Aug 110 put @ $1.80

July 19, 2018

I opened a new long call position today buying the Facebook Aug 215 calls.

BTO 1 contract FB Aug 215 call at $4.65 with a stop loss of $2.70

Facebook is slightly down today in tandem with the general market but it has the potential to make a rapid rise within the next few weeks.

July 20, 2018

Today is expiration day for July monthly options. The SLB puts are ITM so it will surely be assigned at the end of the day while the VZ which also expires today is OTM and will not have value at the end of the trading today.

I don't want to be assigned and own the SLB stock so I'm therefore getting out of this danger by closing the put options for a nice profit of $320.

The VZ options will expire worthless for a profit of $560. My year-to-date profit, in two and a half months of trading, is now up to $3,263.50. See trades summary below.

July 22, 2018

I placed a forward covered put order on the SPX index. This order was placed today to be filled tomorrow, Monday, July 23rd. I will leave the order open the entire day and hopefully get a fill at the credit I specified. If not, I may do some adjustment on the order or maybe just let it expire at the end of the day and try again with something else next day.

STO 9 contracts SPX Aug 2675 puts

BTO 9 contracts SPX Aug 2665 puts

This is a credit spread order for a net credit of $0.60

On this order my broker requires a margin deposit of $940 per contract. Depending on your broker you may be required the same, more, or less margin amount.

July 23, 2018

My credit spread order on SPX (placed yesterday, July 22) was filled at the credit price of $0.60 as I specified. See trades Summary.

July 24, 22018

I closed my position on Facebook (FB) Aug 215 call for a profit of 72%. See trades summary below.

I closed my position on Twitter (TWTR) Aug 45 call a $1.69. The price is slightly below my stop loss. Took a loss on this one. See trades.

July 27, 2018

Opened a new trade today on Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA). This is a covered put position which required a margin of $1,340 per contract with my broker. Your broker may require more or less than this amount.

STO 6 contracts WBA Aug 67 put @ 1.06

August 1, 2018

Opened a new trade today. BTO 2 contracts FB Sept 175 call at $5.75. At the same time, I placed a stop loss order at $3.40 Good Till Cancelled.

August 6, 2018

Closed my position in FB for a 115% profit. My earlier email mentioned a gain of 133% but that was in error. The correct number is 115% gain. This was the Sept 175 call options that I bought at $5.75 on August 1st which I now sold for $12.40. On this FB call position, I made good use of the technique of using trailing stop loses as the stock went on a continuing rise.

When I placed this trade on August 1st, I simultaneously placed a GTC stop loss order to sell at $3.40. FB opened today on a very strong note and immediately went on a rapid rise. When my FB Sept 175 calls got up to $10 I raised my stop loss to $9.50. Had I been stopped out at this price I would have gained a 65% profit. The stock continued to rise much higher than I expected so I again raised my stop loss to $10.90 when the option was trading at $11.20-11.30. As the stock continued to rise some more I again raised my stop loss to $12.55 when the Sept calls were at around $12.65. At this point, I brought my stop loss close to the current market price since I now am looking at a gain of over 100% if stopped out at this price. Indeed, I was finally stopped out at $12.40 for a 115% profit.

My total profit to-date since the inception of this series of trades now stands at a nice $4,626.50 or some 9.3% of my initial capital of $50,000.

August 8, 2018

I placed a new trade today and was filled at the price specified. This is a covered put option on Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB).

STO 4 contracts SLB Sep 65 put at $1.23 for a total cash intake of $492.

My broker required a maintenance margin of $4,725 to cover this trade which means this position will yield a return of 10.4% when/if it expires OTM on September 21.

August 9, 2018

I placed an order for a credit spread on SPX for September expiration as follows:

STO 8 contracts SPX Sep 2780 puts

BTO 8 contracts SPX Sep 2775 puts

for a net credit of $0.60 or 0.55 if I can't get .60. I was filled at $0.60 when the underlying was at $2,858.74. The ROI on this trade is a potential 12%-14% depending on the number of contracts traded.

August 13, 2018

My six contracts of WBA Aug 67 puts were assigned last Friday at the close of trading at the strike price of $67. I was forced to buy 600 shares of WBA stock at $67. Today I got a margin call to cover the purchase as my cash position went into a negative balance. I, therefore, turned around and sold the 600 shares today at the early morning price of $66.49 for a net loss of $306. The original sale of the Aug 67 put options at $1.06 was more than enough to cover the loss and still generated a net profit of $330.

August 15, 2018

My SLB Sep 65 put options have gone ITM. I rolled these out to Oct 65 put for a net credit of $0.50.

BTC 4 contracts SLB Sep 65 put @ $3.30

STO 4 contracts SLB Oct 65 put @ $3.80

August 16, 2018

Today I closed my Bank of America (BAC) September 29 puts as they are now worth only $0.20. I replaced this with Pacific Gas & Electric (PCG) Sep 42.5 put for a net credit of $1.60.

BTC 10 contracts BAC Sep 29 put @ $0.20

STO 5 contracts PCG Sep 42.5 put @ $1.80

At only $0.20 there is no point in keeping the BAC position open all the way to expiration which is still five weeks away. I can use the margin funds holding this position (about $4,000) to cover another more profitable put option expiring in September, which is the PCG. The maintenance margin on the PCG trade is about $3,500 for a potential return of over 20% while keeping the BAC to expiration will return only about 5%.

August 17, 2018

Today is expiration day for my August put options. I have five puts that are expiring worthless at the end of the trading day totaling some $4,400 in profits. This boosts my gains to date to a total of $9,800. This is a 19.6% return on my original capital in a period of 4 months for an average return of about 4.9% per month. The closing of these puts releases margin funds that I can now use to cover new positions that I will be opening shortly. Watch for my next signals of new openings.

The numbers are not yet shown in the Trades Summary until tomorrow.

August 17, 2018

Opened a new trade today, increasing my position on Pacific Gas & Electric (PCG) but with a different strike price, expiring in September also.

STO 6 contracts PCG Sep 40 put @ $0.95

August 20, 2018

New trade today on International Paper (IP). This is a covered call trade similar to the one I made on May 14th also on IP.

I placed this order with my broker as a covered call all-in-one trade where both the call and the sell are together in one trade ticket. See my trade of May 14 for more details on how this is done. If your broker does not have this feature of allowing you to do all-in-one-trade, then just do two trades, one to buy the stock and the other to sell the option.

BTO 100 shares IP stock at $52

STO 1 contract IP Sep 53 call option at $0.73

The all-in-one trade was for a net debit of $51.27 for a potential return of 3.3% if the option is exercised at $53. Or I could roll it out to a higher strike and farther expiration if I don’t wish to have 53 option exercised.

I’m not a fan of covered calls as an investment strategy when I don’t own the stock because it does not offer a good enough short-term return compared to my favorite strategy of selling covered puts. I’ve done this trade only to show my readers how to trade covered calls.

This strategy is excellent for an investor who already owns stock previously bought at a much lower price and is using the covered call as a hedging strategy to protect his winnings.

August 21, 2018

New trade today on General Electric (GE). This is a covered put secured with cash via maintenance margin in my account.

STO 20 contracts GE Sep 12.5 put at $0.33

The maintenance margin on these 20 contracts amounts to $4.900 (per my broker). Total cash intake is $660 which will give a potential return of 13.4% at expiration on September 21.

I still have enough margin balance with my broker to still open another three or four covered put trades or use these to finance other option strategies like spreads or long positions.

August 22, 2018 Trade #1

New trade today on EBAY.

BTO 4 contracts EBAY Oct 35 call @ $1.23

Although I got filled at $1.23 this trade is good even if I had to pay a little over $1.23. For those following my trades, you may want to place your trade at anywhere between $1.20-$1.27. I placed a stop loss at $0.61.

This is a speculative play. I'm betting on the direction of EBAY going up within the next few weeks.

August 22, 2018 Trade #2

I just made another trade today. This is my second trade today and this one is on Comcast Corporation (CMCSA). This is again using my favorite strategy of covered puts.

STO 10 contracts CMCSA Sep 35 put at $0.55

This transaction is covered by margin of approximately $6,500 thus giving me a potential yield of 8.4% if/when it expires on September 21.

August 28, 20188

New trade today on Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). This again is a covered put trade.

STO 7 contracts AMD Sep 23.5 put at $.83

Any price between $.80-$.90 is good to enter this trade. On this position of 7 contracts, I am using approximately $6,100 maintenance margin. The potential return on this trade is 9.5%.

August 29, 2018

I made a long call trade on Facebook as follows:

BTO 2 contracts FB Sep 180 call at $2.39

Immediately after being filled I placed a stop loss order at $1.35

August 31, 2018

We are entering into a three day holiday where we can take advantage of 3 days of options decay. I made the following trade today on Weyerhaeuser Company:

STO 15 contracts WY Sep 34.5 put at $0.50

This trade of 15 contracts called for approximately $10,000 of maintenance margin which translates into a return of 6% when/if the option expires worthless on Sept 21. My remaining margin cash balance is now near the minimum which I normally like to maintain at the level of 20-25% of my total capital funds. I still have some $7,000 left that I can use for one last trade (covered put) before the September 21 expiration.

September 4, 2018

Today I closed my long position on Facebook:

STC two contracts FB Sep 180 call @ $1.04 for a net loss of $270.

The stock is up slightly from my closing price (9:30 AM) so its possible followers of this blog may get a better closing price.

September 6, 2018

My covered put position on SLB has gotten deep ITM and the trend does not look good. I am therefore getting out of this stock by rolling it out and replacing it with Bristol Myers stock.

BTC 4 contracts of SLB Oct 65 put at $4.95

STO 8 contracts of BMY Oct 62.5 put at 2.55

September 12, 2018

The condition on my Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) October 62.50 put is getting precarious. It has been moving in and out of my breakeven price of $59.95 in the last few days. Today the underlying stock closed at $60.32, close enough to my breakeven. If tomorrow this trend continues I may probably do a roll out to either a November put or perhaps move on to a totally different stock option.

For those following this article via email watch out for an early update on this condition tomorrow, September 13th.

September 14, 2018

Rollout trade today on Bristol Myers:

BTC 8 contracts BMY Oct 62.50 put @ $2.80

STO 10 contracts BMY Dec 60 put @ $2.25

With the underlying stock now at $60.46, this trade reduces my exposure to assignment by reducing the strike price from 62.50 to 60 put. It is now slightly OTM. My new breakeven price is $57.75.

The rest of my option September puts expiring next week are nicely placed and, unless there is a major drop in the stock market, I should see a good profit indeed.

The next option I’m watching is Weyerhaeuser (WY) which is getting down near my breakeven. I will not do anything here today but will keep tabs on it. Hopefully it will stay at the present level until expiration next week.

September 17, 2018

Closing trade today

My Weyerhaeuser puts have been hovering at my breakeven price for several days now and are in danger of assignment. I’m surprised it has not been assigned yet. I’m closing it and eating a net loss of $60 on the whole WY deal. The reason I’m not rolling it out is that I’m shoring up my margin balance which is down to a critical level.

BTC 12 contracts WY Sep 34.5 put at $0.55

September 18, 2018

IP September stock option exercised

Yesterday, at the close of trading I received a notice that my IP September 53 covered call option was exercised. Consequently, the 100 shares covering stock that I owned was sold at the price of $53. Since the option was exercised it then is no longer current and has a zero value. I bought the stock at the price of $52, so I made a profit of $100 on the stock sale plus another $73 on the sale of the call option.

See the transactions in the Summary table below. Entry date was August 20th with today’s exit date.

With funds released from this stock sale my margin level is back up again. I’m ready to open a new covered put trade. Watch for a trade tomorrow or in the coming days.

September 21, 2018

September options expiring today.

Of my six September options, five are expiring today OTM and therefore worthless. This five options total $3,081 in gains which get added directly to my gains-to-date amount.

My GE September 12.50 put is slightly ITM with the underlying being at the current price of $12.40. This position was opened on August 21st when I sold 20 contracts at $0.33. To get out of a possible assignment I bought them back today and closed the position at $0.12 for a clean profit of $0.21 or a total of $420 for the 20 contracts. This amount goes into my gains-to-date total.

BTC 20 contracts GE Sep 12.50 put @ $.0.12

After all is said and done, with some small losses along the way, my total gains-to-date as of the end of today should stand at a nice $12,492.50. This is a 25% return on my original capital of $50,000 in May, a little over four months of trading options.

September 22, 2018

Yesterday I mentioned that five of my September options were expiring at the end of the trading day. These five were: SPX Sep 2780/2775 credit put spread; PCG Sep 42.5 and PCG Sep 40 puts; CMCSA Sep 35 put; AMD Sep 23.5 put.

The closure of the options releases margin funds in my account. I now have some $47,000 available to cover new put positions. I shall start opening new trades in the coming days.

September 24, 2018

New trades today.

The first one is to close my EBAY Oct 35 call. This speculative play has not panned out and I’m therefore closing it and cutting my loses.

STC 4 contracts EBAY Oct 35 call at $0.61

I’m also opening two new covered put trades; PG&E Corp (PCG) and Comcast Corp (CMCSA)

STO 6 contracts Oct 46 put @ 1.30

STO 9 contracts Oct 35 put @ 0.72

I still have a high balance in my available margin funds so watch out for more covered put trades in the coming days.

September 25, 2018

Opening new trades today as follows:

STO 8 contracts Fastenal Company (FAST) Oct 55 put at $0.80

STO 24 contracts Tailored Brands Inc. (TLRD) Oct 22 put at $0.25

After these two trades, I’m still left with some $12,000 in available margin funds for more trades in the coming days.

September 27, 2018

Made another covered put trade today (opening trade) on Overstock.com Inc. (OSTK)

STO 4 contracts OSTK Oct 27 put at $1.60

This transaction used up some $5,000 of my available margin funds leaving me with just a little over my reserve balance.

October 3, 2018

New trade today on Bank of America (BAC

STO 11 contracts BAC Oct 30 put at $0.50

The Order was filled at the price specified. This order used up all my remaining available margin funds. This will be the last trade for the month (till Oct 19th) unless I close some open trades before then. Keep checking this site for any new developments.

October 4, 2018

Rollout trade of Tailored Brands (TLRD):

BTC 24 contracts Oct 22 put at 1.25

STO 18 contracts Nov 22 put at 1.75

This rollout trade used an additional $2,500 of margin funds but I’m still good with a reserve balance on the account.

October 10, 2018

BTC 8 contracts FAST Oct 55 put @ $2.65

My position on FAST Oct 55 puts have gone deep ITM and will most likely be assigned at the end of today’s trading. I have therefore closed the trade and taken a loss on this position as of today. I plan to roll this into another stock option (or the same stock but longer expiration and strike) in the coming days. Meanwhile, I will lie low and stay on the sidelines while the market continues trending down.

October 11, 2018

With the market still on a declining trend I am closing two of my covered put positions as they are now beyond my break-even points.

BTC 4 contracts OSTK Oct 27 put at $2.10

BTC 11 contracts BAC Oct 30 put at $1.35

I won't do rollouts at this stage of the game with the market the way it is. I'll stay on the sidelines until it stabilizes and then do the rollouts.

October 12, 2018

Closing trade on Bristol Myers (BMY). Rolled out to another stock issue, Fastenal Company (FAST).

BTC 10 contracts BMY Dec 60 put at $4.00

STO 10 contracts FAST Nov 52.5 put at $2.30

I’m eating some loss in this transaction but I did this to bring the expiration nearer and also stay away from BMY being near its earnings reporting date of October 25. I prefer not to hold positions in companies whose earnings report fall within the validity period of my option position. I don’t mind it so much when my position is in profit but in this case, my BMY puts are negative, thus the roll-out to another stock. Another positive of this transaction is that it requires less margin to enter the FAST trade thereby enhancing my cash position for margining new trades.

October 16, 2018

Opened a new covered put position today on Ambarella Inc (AMBA)

STO 6 contracts AMBA Nov 32.5 put at $0.85

October 17, 2018

With the market seemingly in a more stable condition, I am opening a new covered put position. I still have margin funds available so I'm using some $4,600 to margin the new trade.

STO 12 contracts AMAT Nov 32 put at $0.45

October 18, 2018

New covered put trade on Acuity Brands Inc (AYI)

STO 5 contracts AYI Nov 120 put @ 1.20

October 19, 2018

Today is expiration day for most equity options. It is also the end of my trading cycle for profit tracking purposes. My gains to date have been cut in half because of the significant market correction which hit us in the first half of the month. If you have been following my trades you will note that all my trades that closed with a loss have been rolled out to further expirations (November) or rolled out to new stock options. If no more negatives happen from here on forward, i.e., the market remains as it is today (stagnant) or starts a slow but steady recovery up to the end of my next cycle on November 16th, all my current open positions should close with profits totaling about $8,000. This would boost my gains to-date back up to the 12-14K level on November 16th.

October 24, 2018

The price on my FAST covered put has gone done below my break-even level. I should be rolling this trade out to a later date but I won't do so with the market being so volatile at the moment. I'm therefore closing the position for the time being and watch for a better opportunity to roll out when the market improves.

BTC 10 contracts FAST Nov 52.50 put at $3.55

October 26, 2018

I'm opening a new trade today on Best Buy Inc (BBY) as a rollout replacement for the FAST puts that I closed on October 24th.

STO 8 contracts of BBY (Nov 2 expiration) 72 put at $3.70

This trade used up $11,200 of my margin funds leaving me still with some $9,000 for another position. Margin reserve is at the level of $12,400.

October 30, 2018

My BBY Nov 72 put is expiring in two days, on 11/2/2018. I’m rolling it out to get out of a potential assignment of stock. I’m getting out of BBY and into XOP. Here is my trade today:

BTC 8 contracts BBY NovWk1 72 put at $2.10

STO 12 contracts XOP Nov 35 put at $1.41

Notice that the dollar values of the two trades are almost the same, about $1,650. When rolling out I always try to maintain the same dollar value if it doesn’t compromise my margin funds. In this case, I in fact gained in the process because the XOP required less margin thus increasing my available margin funds.

November 2, 2018

I opened a new trade today on VanEck Vectors Oil Servies ETF (OIH).

STO 15 contracts OIH Nov 20.5 put at $.50

After this trade, I still have some $10K available in margin funds. Watch for another opening trade later today. I may make one more trade next week which should be the last for this month. I will be closing this service later this month.

At 11.10AM (Paficif Time) I opened another new trade. This one is on Weight Watchers Int'l (WTW)

STO 8 contracts WTW Nov 45 put at $0.95


November 5, 2018

I'm opening a new trade today on Pacific Gas & Electric (PCG)

STO 7 contracts PCG Nov 47 put at $0.60

This transaction required $5,700 of maintenance margin thus using up my available margin funds. The net balance in my margin account is now $12,300 (after this trade) which I will maintain as reserved funds.

This may also be my last opening trade prior to my closing all open positions on November 16th. This is the expiration date for all my November options. After this date I shall be closing this service.

November 9, 2018

PCG stock took a dive in price today. My Nov 47 put has gotten deep ITM and I, therefore, had to do a rollout to a farther expiration. Here’s my rollout trade:

BTC 7 contracts PCG Nov 47 put at $5.48 = $3,836

STO 10 contracts PCG Jan 46 put at $4.92 = $4,920

I also increased the number of contracts but decreased the strike price in order to still come out cash positive. The transaction also increased my maintenance margin by some $1,500 which came out of my margin reserve.

November 12, 2018

PCG took another big drop in price today. I again had to do a new roll out on this position.

BTC 10 contracts Jan ’19 46 put at $12.40 = 12,400

STO 10 contracts Jan ’21 45 put at $12.55 = 12,550

I am locked into this position for as long as PCG stays within its current price range of $34. Needless to say, if it starts recovering from here on I would be able to roll in the position to nearer expiration or make an adjustment in strike price.

As this is my last trade prior to closing this trading exercise, I can only assume that followers of this article have learned enough to carry on by themselves. Thank you for following my trades up to this point.

Trades Summary

Option & Expiration
Buy Sell
Entry Date
Buy Sell
Exit Date
Gain/ Loss
IP Jun 50 put (International Paper)
sell
5/4/2018
buy
6/15/2018
504
WBA Jun 60 put
sell
5/4/2018
buy
6/15/2018
474
FB Jun 180 call (Facebook)
buy
5/7/2018
sell
5/10/2018
422
BABA Jun 200 call
buy
5/10/2018
sell
5/23/2018
-284
IP covered call
buy
5/14/2018
sell
6/5/2018
450
IP Jun 55 call (Int'l Paper)
sell
5/14/2018
buy
6/5/2018
390
IP dividend paid on 5/25/18
 
5/25/2018
 
5/25/2018
238
WMT Jun 82.5 put
sell
5/15/2018
buy
6/15/2018
549
HD Jul 195 call
buy
5/21/2018
sell
5/23/2018
-223
NVDA Jun 250 call
buy
5/23/2018
sell
6/1/2018
394
BAC Jun 30 put
sell
5/24/2018
buy
5/29/2018
-770
BAC Sept 29 put
sell
5/29/2018
buy
8/16/2018
1,280
FB Jul 200 call
buy
6/5/2018
sell
6/20/2018
600
T Jul 32 put
sell
6/7/2018
buy
7/13/2018
-60
WBA July 62.5 put (Walgrn-Boots)
sell
6/11/2018
buy
6/28/2018
-800
SLB Jul 67.50 put
sell
6/14/2018
buy
7/20/2018
320
ED Jul 75 put
sell
6/20/2018
buy
7/6/2018
500
VZ Jul 48.50 put
sell
6/25/2018
buy
7/20/2018
560
CVS Aug 67.50 put
sell
6/28/2018
 
EXPIRED 7/17/2018
1,700
TWTR Aug 45 call
buy
7/3/2018
sell
7/24/2018
-302
ED Aug 77.50 put
sell
7/6/2018
 
EXPIRED 7/17/2018
600
CMCSA Aug 35 put
sell
7/13/2018
 
EXPIRED 7/17/2018
840
JPM Aug 110 put
sell
7/17/2018
 
EXPIRED7/17/2018
720
FB Aug 215 call
buy
7/19/2018
sell
7/24/2018
335
SPX Aug 2675/2665 credit sprd
sell
7/23/2018
 
EXPIRED 7/17/2018
540
WBA Aug 67 put
sell
7/27/2018
 
EXPIRED 8/10/2018
636
FB Sep 175 call
buy
8/1/2018
sell
8/6/2018
1,330
SLB Sep 65 put
sell
8/8/2018
buy
8/15/2018
-828
SPX Sep 2780/2775 put credit sprd
sell
8/9/2018
buy
9/21/2018
480
WBA stock assigned
buy
8/13/2018
sell
8/13/2018
-306
SLB Oct 65 put
sell
8/15/2018
buy
9/6/2018
-460
PCG Sep 42.5 put
sell
8/16/2018
buy
9/21/2018
900
PCG Sep 40 put
sell
8/17/2018
buy
9/21/2018
570
IP stock covered call
buy
8/20/2018
sell
9/17/2018
100
IP Sep 53 call
sell
8/20/2018
buy
9/17/2018
73
GE Sep 12.50 put
sell
8/21/2018
buy
9/21/2018
420
EBAY Oct 35 call
buy
8/22/2018
sell
9/24/2018
-248
CMCSA Sep 35 put
sell
8/22/2018
buy
9/21/2018
550
AMD Sep 23.5 put
sell
8/28/2018
buy
9/21/2018
581
FB Sep 180 call
buy
8/29/2018
sell
9/4/2018
-270
WY Sep 34.5 put
sell
8/31/2018
buy
9/17/2018
-60
BMY Oct 62.50 put
sell
9/5/2018
buy
9/14/2018
-200
BMY Dec 60 put
sell
9/14/2018
buy
10/12/2018
-1,750
PCG Oct 46 put
sell
9/24/2018
buy
10/19/2018
780
CMCSA Oct 35 put
sell
9/24/2018
buy
10/19/2018
648
FAST Oct 55 put
sell
9/25/2018
buy
10/10/2018
-1,480
TLRD Oct 22 put
sell
9/25/2018
buy
10/4/2018
-2,400
OSTK Oct 27 put
sell
9/27/2018
buy
10/11/2018
-332
BAC Oct 30 put
sell
10/3/2018
buy
10/11/2018
-935
TLRD Nov 22 put
sell
10/4/2018
buy
11/15/2018
2,826
FAST Nov 52.5 put
sell
10/12/2018
buy
10/24/2018
-1,250
AMBA Nov 32.50 put
sell
10/16/2018
buy
11/15/2018
510
AMAT Nov 32 put
sell
10/17/2018
buy
11/16/2018
540
AYI Nov 120 put
sell
10/14/2018
buy
11/16/2018
600
BBY NovWk1 72 put
sell
10/26/2018
buy
10/30/2018
1,280
XOP Nov 35 put
sell
10/30/2018
buy
11/7/2018
1,500
OIH Nov 20.50 put
sell
11/2/2018
buy
11/15/2018
-1,500
WTW Nov 45 put
sell
11/2/2018
buy
11/15/2018
760
PCG Nov 47 put
sell
11/5/2018
buy
11/9/2018
760.00
PCG Jan 46 put
sell
11/9/2018
buy
11/12/2018
-3,416.00
PCG Jan '21 45 put
sell
11/12/2018
open
 
 

QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

QUESTION: Hi, I am fairly new to options and I've been following your trades for a while. When you sell a put, are you hoping it will expire worthless or is it a stock you wish to buy or is it a combination of both? I guess I'm trying to decide how often to sell puts in hopes of them expiring worthless. Thank you.

ANSWER: When I sell puts it is mostly for the reason that I don't intend to own the underlying stock. I only wish to make a profit from the option expiring worthless. It is for this reason that I make good use of the margin privilege offered by option stockbrokers. And it is also for this reason that I use the roll-out technique extensively, to avoid being assigned the stock.

On closing the ED puts on July 6:

Question: What is the underlying reason for closing the ED July 5 puts? Wouldn't it be better to let it expire and get a bigger profit and not pay commission as it expires, then place the STO Aug as a single entry?

Answer: As I said in my notes, there is only $0.05 value left in the option which still has two weeks to run to maturity. This means the most I can get out of this option if I keep it to maturity, where it expires to zero, is $0.05, for a total of only $20 for my 4 contracts. Why not just close it and use the margin holding the position to open another trade that can give me more money?

Remember each covered put position requires to be covered by a margin deposit so by keeping open the ED July puts to maturity it will return only $20 in the next two weeks for the margin that covers it (approx $5,900). This roll-out procedure gives the investor the most return for the margin money invested - $0.46 or a total of $276 for the next two weeks compared to only $20 if I keep open the ED puts.

Lastly, by doing the roll-out as one combined trade, the commission is less than opening a new single trade when the ED July options expire.

On SLB trade of July 20:

Question: I am following your trades, but I am still a greenhorn on selling puts. On 6/14 you STO SLB July 67.50 put. The stock price at that time was running around $68. On June 20 the stock dropped to 64.51. This is down 3 strikes from your put strike. I do not know what the option price was but your put was surely ITM. My first question is: since the stock went down to the danger zone, why did you not BTC at that time and rolled out since the stock could even go lower? The second question is: since the stock is already 2 strikes down the buyer is already a winner. Why didn't he assign it.?

Answer: To be honest with you I didn't notice the drop to 64.51 on June 20. Somehow my price alert system did not trigger and so I missed the price drop. It actually closed that day at 65.55. The following days it went up and then on July 2 dropped again to $65.21. All this time I was unaware of this dropping trend. Upon further investigation, I found that I had completely forgotten to set a price alert on the SLB stock and that's how I missed the price drop. My bad.

At any rate, even if I was assigned when the price dropped to 65.21 I would have bought the stock at a net price of $65.95 after deducting the money I got from the sale of puts. If this actually happened then I would own the stock and I can then sell covered calls against the stock I now own.

Why I was not assigned when the price dropped to 64.51 could be for many reasons. But really, if my usual price alert was triggered I would have rolled the option to a farther expiration and lower strike price, or rolled it into another stock.

On your SLB July 67.5 put when it was closed on July 20, 2018:

Question: On Jun 14 you STO SLB Jul 67.5 put @1.55 but when it was ITM on July 20 you BTC the option @.75. Isn't the premium of your BTC supposed to be higher when the trade goes in the money?

I did a STO on SLB 65 put when the stock was 66.09 for a premium of $1.04. Now the stock is down to 65.15 but the premium here is 1.49 so if I BTC it will be at a loss which contradicts you strategy mentioned above. I still don't know why was your premium on BTC lower than your STO when the option is now in-the-money?

Answer: To answer your firs question, when I opened the position on June 14th the option premium carried only extrinsic value (time value) and with no intrinsic value (also called real value, difference between stock price and strike price). The premium of $1.55 was entirely time value. As you know this value erodes every day as the option moves on to its expiration date. On July 20, a month later, which was also expiration day for the option, there was just a mere $0.03 of time value left in the option. On this date, the option being ITM carried a real value (intrinsic value) of $0.72. This is the reason why even though the put option went ITM, premium was less than the original price because it only contained intrinsic value with nearly zero time value. Time value disappears at the end of expiration day.

To answer your second question, what expiration month did you use for your SLB 65 put? I presume it was August (3rd Friday in Aug). At the time you opened the trade the option had only time value of $1.04 with zero intrinsic value. Even though time value deteriorates for each passing day, it may gain time value when the strike price nears stock price and the expiration is still far away – in this case 4 weeks away. This is what happened in your case. When the stock price went down to $65.15, not only did the time value appreciate to $1.34 but it now carried an additional $0.15 intrinsic value for a total of $1.49. Always remember that time value counts a lot when expiration is still far and intrinsic value increases dollar for dollar as the option goes deeper ITM.

For your last question, yes, if you will just close it and not roll it you will indeed take a loss of $0.45. That is why if you want to avoid taking a loss you roll it to a farther expiration date and maybe a new OTM strike for a premium of at least $1.49 to cover the BTC price that you are now facing. If you don't want to go out too far in the future, you may want to find another stock with August expiration that will give you a premium of 1.49 or better. But keep in mind margin requirements. Find a stock option that will require a margin that is near what you are putting up now for the SLB 65-put otherwise the margin may be so much as to strain your working capital.

On the SLB roll-out trade of August 15, 2018

Question: You BTC the SLB Sep 65 put and rolled-out because it went ITM when the underlying stock dropped down to the price of $62.80. You replaced it and STO the SLB October 65 put which is also ITM. Why did you roll out to another option strike that is also ITM? Why would the option holder or holders want to exercise the option when it is still far away from expiration? Please explain.

Answer: The September 65 puts now stand a good probability of being exercised because the option holder or holders who bought the puts at $1.23 would now be in profit if they exercised their options. With exercise, they would sell their stock to me at $65 less the 1.23 they paid for the puts give them a net selling price of $63.77. Since the underlying stock is now at $62.80 they can just turn around and buy the stock again at the new price of 62.80. They may be ‘buy and hold’ stock investors who are just taking advantage of lowering the cost for their stock holdings.

Plain speculators who trade options for a living who bought the September 65 puts with the intention of profiting from a pricing downtrend would not exercise the options but would instead just sell the puts outright at the current price of $3.30 and pocket a profit of $2.07 (3.30 less 1.23).

If I intended to own the stock I would not have rolled out the position at all. I would have waited to see if it would be assigned and I would then be compelled to buy the stock at $65. This effectively gives me a net cost of $63.77 after deducting the premium of $1.23 from the sale of the September 65 put. But I have no intention of owning the stock at this point.

There is no way for me to know who are speculators and who are long-term investors.

Since I’m not interested at this point in owning the stock, I have to get out of the potential assignment by doing a roll out to a farther expiration date and/or different strike price. In order not to extend the expiration date too far out, I decided to maintain the same ITM strike of 65 expiring in October (3rd Friday) yet giving me enough premium to recover the loss on the closing trade I just did. The October 65 put option carried a premium of $3.80 thereby offsetting the $3.30 price I paid to buy back the September 65 put. This effectively gave me a net credit of $0.50. The October 65 put holders would not exercise the option since their cost is $3.80. SLB stock would have to drop below $61.20 before the October puts become attractive for exercise. This would also be my new effective purchase cost if it were assigned. Depending on SLB’s future outlook I may even be tempted to take assignment and buy the stock at a net cost of $61.20 if it came to that.

NOTE:

Any and all information pertaining to trading stocks and options including examples using actual securities and price data are strictly for illustrative and educational purposes only and should not be construed as complete, precise or current. The writer is not a stockbroker or financial advisor and as such does not endorse, recommend or solicit to buy or sell securities. Consult the appropriate professional advisor for more complete and current information.



Questions & Answers

  • Your strategies are too advanced for many of us newbies. Could you limit the trades using only very simple strategies?

    Yes, some of the trades may be too complex for beginners. But please understand, the general investing public views my website, primarily I believe by options traders and stock investors who wish to learn more about options trading at different levels of learning. The options trading skill levels of viewers may vary widely from those who are very fresh out of school to those who are already in advanced stages of learning, to those who already know how to trade and just need some hands-on experience.

    That's the reason why I'm using various trading strategies, from the very simple buying of calls/puts (mostly calls) for the very basic beginners to the more advanced systems of selling covered calls and covered puts. I will also be including credit spread trades for those who want to start learning or practicing this strategy. Of course, there will also be many trades on roll-outs as they become necessary in support of current actual trades.

    I suggest that beginners confine themselves to following those trades that they understand well and slowly move on to the more complex trades as they increase their trading skill levels. Actual practice is the best teacher in the field of options trading. Unless you do real trading, it will be difficult to master the skill of options trading.

    I will always trade different strategies for the benefit of followers at different learning levels.

  • Can I close my trade stock positions before expiry if they are losing money or making money?

    You can close your options positions anytime you wish, whether you are losing or making money. If you are losing money on a covered put position it may be better to roll-out your position to a farther expiration date, or roll-out to a different stock option but gaining a credit in the process. When rolling out, always try to gain credit whether rolling to a farther date or getting into a new stock option.

  • Why are your stop loss prices not shown in the Trades Summary Table?

    Stop loss prices are my recommended prices to exit the trade when the underlying stock is going in the opposite direction desired by the investor. It is up to the trader/investor if he/she wants to follow the suggested exit prices. In many cases, a stop loss price is reached and passed only to recover a few days later and go in a positive direction all the way to a great profitable exit price. In the same manner, my recommended entry price is not cast in stone. In some cases, you may want to wait before getting into the trade in the hope that you could enter the transaction at better than my recommended price. The prices that appear in the Summary Trade Table are actual entry and exit prices (closing prices) at which my orders were filled.

  • There are various expirations dates for options on the stocks you choose. Which expirations do you normally select to trade on?

    When I don’t mention a specific expiration date for a stock or ETF option, it means it is the regular monthly option which expires on the third Friday of every month. Index options may have a different expiration date and this will be mentioned in my trade if I get into an index option.

© 2018 Daniel Mollat

New trade notice

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    • Daniel Mollat profile imageAUTHOR

      Daniel Mollat 

      5 weeks ago from Nevada

      November 5, 2018

      New trade today. See details

      https://toughnickel.com/personal-finance/-trade-st...

    • profile image

      Daniel Mollat 

      3 months ago

      That's precisely the reason for placing my short position on BMY, it's trending up. Take note I sold puts, NOT bought puts on BMY. Selling puts is a bullish view on an underlying stock. As the stock rises the sold puts lose value thereby gaining profits in the process.

    • profile image

      Rich Jenkins 

      3 months ago

      Hi Daniel,

      Could you walk me through your reasoning for placing a put on BMY? Im very inexperienced at all of this and at first glance it looks as if this is trending up.

    • Daniel Mollat profile imageAUTHOR

      Daniel Mollat 

      3 months ago from Nevada

      Hello Rich,

      Welcome to the site. I hope it serves the purpose of teaching you to be an options trader/investor. Tell your friends about the site.

    • profile image

      Rich Jenkins 

      3 months ago

      Thank You for sharing your experience! I’m new to options trading and am a little confused at the moment. Looking forward to following along and learning.

    • Daniel Mollat profile imageAUTHOR

      Daniel Mollat 

      3 months ago from Nevada

      Hello Teresa,

      Thanks very much for your remarks. I'm glad you find my article useful. Please tell your friends about this site.

    • profile image

      Teresa 

      3 months ago

      Just wanted to thank you for this blog and sharing your trades. Very useful and I have made money a few times by trading along with you. Thanks!

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