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The Bear Put Spread is set up by buying a Higher strike Put while simultaneously selling a LOWER strike Put, both with the SAME expiration date.  The Bear Put Spread is a Debit Spread, meaning you will pay a higher price for the Put that you purchase than the price of the Put that you sell.

In order to enter this position the investor will have some beliefs.

          1)  She believes that the underlying security will stay the same or go down.  Depending on the strikes chosen, the underlying security can go up a little and this position will still make money.  That is why this position has the word Bear in the name, it has a bearish bias.

          2)  The investor understands that IF the underlying stock moves counter to the postion, in this case, up, the position can lose 100% of the money invested.  The good thing about a vertical spread, however, is that the options WILL retain some value, up until, expiration.  This means that a 100% loss can be avoided. 

Lets look at an example:

Lets assume that GE (General Electric) fits the criteria.  GE is trading for $10.78 on March 27, 2009.  I would buy an April 2009 $12 Put, for $1.55, while selling an April 2009 $11 Put, for $0.90 .  Here is the Risk/Reward graph for this position.

 

Bear Put Spread - GE

The Maximum Loss is $0.65 (+ Trading Costs), and this will occur if GE is above $12 at the expiration, April 18, 2009.

The Maximum Gain is $0.35 ($1 difference in strikes -$0.65 premium paid) (- Trading Costs), and this will occur if GE is below $11 at the expiration, April 18, 2009.

If GE is between $11 and $12 at expiration, April 18, 2009, then the gain/loss will be -$0.65 (the cost of the spread) – the price of GE + $12 (the price that you can sell (put) GE).  Therefore the breakeven point for this position is $11.35 (-$0.65 – $11.35 + $12 = $0) (not including trading costs).

This trade would be entered when GE was trading for $10.78.  This means that if GE stays the same or goes down OR goes up $0.22 (2.0%) this position will still make the maximum gain.  GE has to go up to $11.35, a gain of $0.57(or 5.3%), for this position to start to lose money. 

This position cost us $0.65/share and has an upside potential profit of $0.35/share.  That would be a 54% gain in less than 1 month.  Which is an approximate 650% APR (Annual Percentage Rate).

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The Bull Put Spread is set up by buying a LOWER strike Put while simultaneously selling a HIGHER strike Put, both with the SAME expiration date.  This trade is also known as a Vertical Spread, because the expiration months are the SAME.  The Bull Put Spread is a Credit Spread, meaning you will receive a higher price for the Put that you sell than you wil pay for the Put that you purchase.

In order to enter this position the investor will have some beliefs.

          1)  She believes that the underlying security will stay the same or go up.  Depending on the strikes chosen, the underlying security can even go down a little and this position will still make money.  That is why this position has the word Bull in the name, it has a bullish bias.

          2)  The investor understands that IF the underlying stock moves counter to the postion, in this case, down, the position can lose 100% of the money at risk.  The good thing about a vertical spread, however, is that the options WILL retain some value, up until, expiration.  This means that a 100% loss can be avoided.

Lets look at an example:

In a recent Trading Idea I said to buy a July 2009 $12 Put while selling a July 2009 $13 Put on SLV  (IShares Silver ETF).  Here is the Risk/Reward graph for this position. 

Bull Put Spread - SLV (IShares Silver ETF)

The Maximum Loss is $0.60 ($1.00 difference in stikes – $.040 premium), and this will occur if SLV is trading below $12 at expiration, July 18, 2009.

The Maximum Gain is $0.40 (Premium recieved for position), and this will occur if SRS is trading above $13 at expiration, April 18, 2009.

The breakeven is if SLV is trading at $12.60 at expiration, July 18,2009.  The breakeven for this postition can be calculated by taking the strike price for the option sold (the $13 Put) – the premium received ($0.40).  If SLV is trading below $12.60, this position will have a loss.   If SLV is trading above $12.60 this position will have a gain.

Today SLV is trading for $13.68.  This means that SLV can lose 5% ($0.68)between now and July 18th and this position will still have the Maximum Gain.  SLV can lose 7.9% ($1.08) in that time frame and this position will Breakeven (not including trading costs).  SLV has to lose more than 12% in this time frame to incur the Maximum Loss.

So far we have learned about the six different basic positions of the stock market and options.  We have a basic three instruments, they are stock, calls and puts, and we can be either long or short.  So we have six basic positions, and these are the risk/reward graphs:

     1) Long stock

long-stock

     2) Short stock

short-stock

     3) Long Call

long-call

     4) Short Call (Write a Call)

short-call

     5) Long Put

long-put

     6) Short Put (Write a Put)

short-put

If you are Long or Short Stock, or Short a Call or Short a Put you have an unlimited loss potential (or down to $0 on the price of the stock).  If you are Long a Call or Long a Put you have a limited loss.  If you are Long or Short Stock or Long a Call or Long a Put you have an unlimited gain potential. 

Next we will start to combine these positions, to see the true power of options and ways to use them effectively.