October 31st Daily Market Comments

Although the indexes have been in a steady uptrend, the strength of investor sentiment is still tentative based upon the sensitivity to the latest news items or tweets. The Dow has yet been able to break out of the sideways wedge formation although the NASDAQ and the S&P 500 have just climbed up through the upper resistance level. Currently, the Dow has formed a strong bearish engulfing signal here the top of the trend channel. If it closes below the T-line, this will be a strong indication the wedge formation is still in progress. Unfortunately, this will make a lousy trading environment, a lack of continuity in either bullish or bearish trends. A close near the lower end of the trading range would warrant moving heavier into cash.

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On a Roll? Then Roll Up!

On a Roll? Then Roll Up!
By Bill Johnson

Options traders have opportunities and choices that simply are not available to stock traders, and that’s what makes them the choice among professional traders. These advantages can be categorized as hedging, morphing, and rolling, and it’s the art and science of these three that makes options trading so rewarding. One of the easiest, most powerful strategies is a type of roll called the roll-up. If you’re an options trader, this one strategy will immediately improve your profitability. If you’re a stock trader, it’ll convince you to switch to options.

The roll-up is a strategy used for call options where the underlying stock price has risen, and there’s a related strategy called the roll-down that’s used for puts when the stock price falls. Conceptually, they’re the same strategy – just used in opposite directions. When you understand one, you’ll understand the other. For now, let’s just focus on the roll-up.

The Stock Trader Dilemma

To appreciate the roll-up, let’s first see the dilemma stock traders face. Let’s say you own ABC shares at $50, and the stock has run to $56.50 after a few weeks. Should you take the profit? Or hold on for bigger gains? That’s the big decision for stock traders. They have lots of money riding on the position and get tempted to take quick profits. After all, as the saying goes, “You can’t go broke taking a profit.” The truth is you can go broke taking profits. If you take quick, small profits, it’s a matter of time before you have one big loss, and those many small profits may not cover the loss. To succeed, you must let your profits run. Anyone whose been trading for a long time knows that regretful feeling all too well. You pick up a few pennies in profits, only to find you missed the serious money. Trends – up or down – always last longer than people expect.

One of the most dramatic examples occurred in the late 90s when Qualcom (QCOM) rose from $40 to $80 within three months in anticipation of a strong earnings report. It can’t go higher from here, right?

Wrong. It did and went straight to $600. Whoops.

Any stock trader has seen countless examples like this. Amazon.com, Apple, Nvidia, and Salesforce just to name a few recent ones. The real money in the markets is usually made from a handful of positions, but the problem is that you don’t which ones – or when.

The Option Solution

Rather than buying the shares, let’s say you purchased 10 of the 90-day $50 calls for $3. The stock has moved up to $56.50 after five weeks, and the following option quotes are now available:

With the $50 call trading for $7.10, it may be tempting to sell, but remember, trends last longer than people think. Further, even if you sell for a profit, what are you going to do with the money? You’ll plow it back into the market, so you haven’t really accomplished anything other than switching the risk of the option you sold with the one you bought. Instead, the stock is performing well. Stay on it, but let’s remove some of the risk – and fear.

To execute a roll-up, you’ll sell your current strike ($50 in this example) and simultaneously buy the next higher strike with the same expiration:

1) Sell 10 $50 calls for $7.20
2) Simultaneously buy 10 of the $55 strike for $3.20
3) Net credit = $4.00

Doing so, you’ve given up a long position in the $50 calls and replaced it with a long position in the $55 calls – you have rolled up in strikes. At the current prices, this will result in a net credit of $4 to your account, or a total of $4,000 for the 10 contracts.

The roll-up always produces a net credit since higher-strike calls of the same expiration will always be less expensive. This cash is sitting safely in the money market and will not vary based on the stock’s price. Therefore, you’ve reduced future price fluctuations – and reduced the amount you have in the position. Initially, you purchased the $50 calls for $3, but after collecting the $4 credit, you have a guaranteed $1 gain, or 33% — but still control 1,000 shares. By looking at the profit and loss diagram, you rolled up from the shaded line to the blue line:

Most importantly, notice that the blue line sits above the breakeven line shown in red. Again, that’s because you initially paid $3, but collected $4 from the roll-up. You can’t lose – but you might make more.

Some stock traders try to do a similar thing by selling a portion of their shares, say half, and then hold the remaining shares. The problem is that you’ll eventually run out of shares. You can only hold on for so long, but that doesn’t happen if you’re using options.

A roll-up won’t always shift you into guaranteed territory as in this example. However, each roll reduces the potential you can lose. You can also sell a few contracts and roll the remainder to get you into a guaranteed trade quicker. For instance, if the stock was only trading at $54 rather than $56.50, you might sell three contracts and roll seven to get you into a guaranteed position. The possibilities are endless once you see the power of options.

Roll-ups and roll-downs are two of the most powerful hedges that long call and put owners can use. They allow you to collect profits while still maintaining the same-sized position. If your stock’s on a roll, roll your options, and improve your profits.

Good Investing!

Bill Johnson, Steve Bigalow
and The Candlestick Forum Team

P.S. Bill Johnson’s Alpha Trader Options Course takes you from the very beginning, step-by-step, through an exciting journey into the world of options. At the end, you’ll have the necessary knowledge and confidence to start investing and hedging with options. In addition, you’ll have a rock-solid foundation from which to continue your options education.

Click here for more information about Bill’s Alpha Trader Options course, now with mult-pay options!

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If You Want Versatility, Go Vertical!

If You Want Versatility, Go Vertical!
By Bill Johnson

Options are powerful, flexible tools for all traders and investors, as they allow risk profiles that cannot be obtained using shares of stock alone. One of the most versatile options strategies is a vertical spread. With this strategy, traders can take a bullish or bearish outlook, but with limited risk.

In the option’s world, any type of “spread” strategy means you’re simultaneously buying and selling options. You’ll be long and short options at the same time.

With a vertical spread, you’ll buy and sell different strikes but with the same expiration. For instance, you could buy a May $50 call and simultaneously sell a May $55 call, which is called the 50/55 vertical spread. It’s called a vertical spread because, if you look at an option’s quote board, the expiration dates run horizontally across the top while the strikes run vertically along the side. With this strategy, you’re “spreading” the strikes vertically.

If you buy the 50/55 vertical, you have the right to buy shares at $50 but the obligation to sell them at $55, which represents a $5 maximum gain. Because lower strike calls must be worth more money than higher strikes, this trade would result in a debit. If you paid $3 for the spread, your maximum profit is the $2 difference. The following chart shows your resulting profit and loss diagram:

Interestingly, you can create the identical profile by using puts. If, instead, you bought the May $50 put and sold the May $55 put, you’ll still have a bullish spread. An easy way to remember is “buy low, sell high” or BLSH, which resembles the word bullish. Any time you buy a low strike option and sell a higher-strike option, whether using calls or puts, you’ll have a bull vertical spread. When using puts, however, the trade results in a credit.

If the 50/55 bull spread costs $3, the 50/55 put spread is theoretically worth $2. In other words, you could sell the spread for $2, which is the maximum gain, and would have a $3 maximum loss. You’ll get exactly the same profit and loss diagram as when using calls. Professional traders will always check the pricing relationships for small discrepancies that may arise. For example, if the 50/55 call spread costs $3, the 50/55 put spread is theoretically worth a $2 credit. However, if the put spread is selling for $2.20, you’re better off selling the put spread. You’ll end up with the same profile, just with a greater maximum gain – and a smaller maximum loss. It pays to understand these differences!

Vertical Bear Spreads

You can also create bearish positions by purchasing puts. Any time you buy a high strike option and sell a lower strike option, whether using calls or puts, you’ll get a bear spread. For instance, you could buy the $55 put and sell the $50 put. Because higher-strike puts must cost more money than lower-strike puts, this trade results in a debit. If you paid $3, the maximum gain is $2, and you’ll get the resulting profit and loss diagram. Of course, you could buy the $55 call and sell the $50 call, which would also result in the same bearish profit and loss diagram:

Why Use Spreads?

While there are many reasons for using vertical spreads, probably the main use is to reduce the cost of the long option. If the $50 call costs $10, for example, perhaps you can sell the $55 call for $7, which reduces your net cost to $3. The tradeoff is that you give up the unlimited upside potential you’d have with buying the $50 call by itself. The benefit is that your maximum loss is reduced from $10 to $3.

Vertical spreads create great risk-reward profiles. In this example, you can earn 66% on your money, but greatly limit the amount you can lose. However, vertical spreads are flexible. If you have the 50/55 vertical call spread and the stock begins to break out, you can buy back the $55 call to close and keep the $50 call free and clear to capture unlimited gains.

Changing Directions

What if you’re in a bull spread, but the stock’s heading down? Verticals are versatile, and you can easily change directions. If you have the 50/55 vertical call spread, you can buy the short call’s corresponding put (the put with the same strike). The long $55 put combined with the short $55 call creates what’s called a synthetic short stock position. Those two options behave exactly like short stock. However, when it’s combined with the long $50 call, the net result is a long $50 put. This is a good example of what professional traders call a “morph,” which is a single trade that allows us the change the profit and loss profile.

Vertical spreads allow traders to buy options that otherwise may have been too expensive. As you get more experienced, you can even use vertical spreads to trade volatility or even volatility skews. Depending on how the spread is constructed, you can make the position bullish, bearish, or even neutral. You can make them premium outlay – or premium collection. The possibilities are endless with options, but the versatility of verticals is hard to match.

Good Investing!

Bill Johnson, Steve Bigalow
and The Candlestick Forum Team

P.S. Bill Johnson’s Alpha Trader Options Course takes you from the very beginning, step-by-step, through an exciting journey into the world of options. At the end, you’ll have the necessary knowledge and confidence to start investing and hedging with options. In addition, you’ll have a rock-solid foundation from which to continue your options education.

Click here for more information about Bill’s Alpha Trader Options course, now with mult-pay options!


Trading in the Stock Market, Trading Options, Trading Futures, and Options on Futures, involves substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for all investors. Past Performance is not indicative of future results. CandlestickForum.com, Candlestick-Trading-Forum.com, StephenBigalow.com, and Candlestick Forum LLC do not recommend or endorse any specific trading system or method. We recommend that you research all trading systems, methods and market strategies thoroughly. Full Disclaimer here

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Trending Stocks: FOX, FOXA, GWPH, NDSN

Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. (FOX)

Chart for FOX

Over the next 13 weeks, Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. has on average historically risen by 10.9% based on the past 23 years of stock performance.

Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. has risen higher byan average 10.9% in 16 of those 23 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 69%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc., based on historical prices, is 8 weeks. Should Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 48% could result.

Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA)

Chart for FOXA

Over the next 13 weeks, Twenty-First Century Fox has on average historically risen by 6.4% based on the past 23 years of stock performance.

Twenty-First Century Fox has risen higher byan average 6.4% in 15 of those 23 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 65%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for Twenty-First Century Fox, based on historical prices, is 5 weeks. Should Twenty-First Century Fox stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 29% could result.

GW Pharmaceuticals Plc (GWPH)

Chart for GWPH

Over the next 13 weeks, GW Pharmaceuticals Plc has on average historically risen by 21.8% based on the past 4 years of stock performance.

GW Pharmaceuticals Plc has risen higher byan average 21.8% in 3 of those 4 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 75%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for GW Pharmaceuticals Plc, based on historical prices, is 15 weeks. Should GW Pharmaceuticals Plc stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 145% could result.

Nordson Corporation (NDSN)

Chart for NDSN

Over the next 13 weeks, Nordson Corporation has on average historically risen by 5.8% based on the past 37 years of stock performance.

Nordson Corporation has risen higher byan average 5.8% in 20 of those 37 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 54%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for Nordson Corporation, based on historical prices, is 6 weeks. Should Nordson Corporation stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 31% could result.

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Trending Stocks: AMWD, DQ, IBP, NKTR

American Woodmark Corp. (AMWD)

Chart for AMWD

Over the next 13 weeks, American Woodmark Corp. has on average historically risen by 8.7% based on the past 31 years of stock performance.

American Woodmark Corp. has risen higher by an average 8.7% in 19 of those 31 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 61%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for American Woodmark Corp., based on historical prices, is 19 weeks. Should American Woodmark Corp. stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 42% could result.

Daqo New Energy Corp. (DQ)

Chart for DQ

Over the next 13 weeks, Daqo New Energy Corp. has on average historically risen by 23.2% based on the past 7 years of stock performance.

Daqo New Energy Corp. has risen higher by an average 23.2% in 3 of those 7 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 42%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for Daqo New Energy Corp., based on historical prices, is 51 weeks. Should Daqo New Energy Corp. stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 117% could result.

INSTALLED BLDNG PRODUCT (IBP)

Chart for IBP

Over the next 13 weeks, INSTALLED BLDNG PRODUCT has on average historically risen by 9.7% based on the past 3 years of stock performance.

INSTALLED BLDNG PRODUCT has risen higher by an average 9.7% in 2 of those 3 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 66%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for INSTALLED BLDNG PRODUCT, based on historical prices, is 2 weeks. Should INSTALLED BLDNG PRODUCT stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 361% could result.

Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR)

Chart for NKTR

Over the next 13 weeks, Nektar Therapeutics has on average historically risen by 14.9% based on the past 23 years of stock performance.

Nektar Therapeutics has risen higher by an average 14.9% in 16 of those 23 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 69%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for Nektar Therapeutics, based on historical prices, is 1 week. Should Nektar Therapeutics stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 121% could result.

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Trending Stocks: AAOI, DDS, YNDX

APPLIED OPTOELECTRONICS (AAOI)

Chart for AAOI

Over the next 13 weeks, APPLIED OPTOELECTRONICS has on average historically risen by 24.1% based on the past 3 years of stock performance.

APPLIED OPTOELECTRONICS has risen higher by an average 24.1% in 2 of those 3 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 66%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for APPLIED OPTOELECTRONICS, based on historical prices, is 48 weeks. Should APPLIED OPTOELECTRONICS stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 183% could result.

Dillard’s Inc. (DDS)

Chart for DDS

Over the next 13 weeks, Dillard’s Inc. has on average historically fallen by 4% based on the past 28 years of stock performance.

Dillard’s Inc. has fallen lower by an average 4% in 16 of those 28 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 57%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for Dillard’s Inc., based on historical prices, is 47 weeks. Should Dillard’s Inc. stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 24% could result.

Yandex N.V. (YNDX)

Chart for YNDX

Over the next 13 weeks, Yandex N.V. has on average historically fallen by 4.4% based on the past 6 years of stock performance.

Yandex N.V. has fallen lower by an average 4.4% in 4 of those 6 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 66%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for Yandex N.V., based on historical prices, is 3 weeks. Should Yandex N.V. stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 31% could result.

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Trending Stocks: ENTA, GWPH, RDUS

Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ENTA)

Chart for ENTA

Over the next 13 weeks, Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has on average historically risen by 7.2% based on the past 4 years of stock performance.

Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has risen higher by an average 7.2% in 2 of those 4 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 50%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based on historical prices, is 1 week. Should Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 78% could result.

GW Pharmaceuticals Plc (GWPH)

Chart for GWPH

Over the next 13 weeks, GW Pharmaceuticals Plc has on average historically risen by 44.3% based on the past 4 years of stock performance.

GW Pharmaceuticals Plc has risen higher by an average 44.3% in 2 of those 4 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 50%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for GW Pharmaceuticals Plc, based on historical prices, is 37 weeks. Should GW Pharmaceuticals Plc stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 257% could result.

Radius Health, Inc. (RDUS)

Chart for RDUS

Over the next 13 weeks, Radius Health, Inc. has on average historically risen by 27.7% based on the past 3 years of stock performance.

Radius Health, Inc. has risen higher by an average 27.7% in 3 of those 3 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 100%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for Radius Health, Inc., based on historical prices, is 12 weeks. Should Radius Health, Inc. stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 135% could result.

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Trending Stocks: HSNI

HSN, Inc. (HSNI)

Chart for HSNI

Over the next 13 weeks, HSN, Inc. has on average historically risen by 9.4% based on the past 8 years of stock performance.

HSN, Inc. has risen higher by an average 9.4% in 6 of those 8 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 75%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for HSN, Inc., based on historical prices, is 1 week. Should HSN, Inc. stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 93% could result.

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Trending Stocks: AAWW, ENTA, TCP

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. (AAWW)

Chart for AAWW

Over the next 13 weeks, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. has on average historically fallen by 5.2% based on the past 11 years of stock performance.

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. has fallen lower by an average 5.2% in 6 of those 11 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 54%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc., based on historical prices, is 46 weeks. Should Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 15% could result.

Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ENTA)

Chart for ENTA

Over the next 13 weeks, Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has on average historically risen by 4.5% based on the past 4 years of stock performance.

Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has risen higher by an average 4.5% in 2 of those 4 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 50%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based on historical prices, is 24 weeks. Should Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 66% could result.

TC Pipelines LP (TCP)

Chart for TCP

Over the next 13 weeks, TC Pipelines LP has on average historically risen by 5.5% based on the past 18 years of stock performance.

TC Pipelines LP has risen higher by an average 5.5% in 11 of those 18 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 61%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for TC Pipelines LP, based on historical prices, is 1 week. Should TC Pipelines LP stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 61% could result.

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Trending Stocks: LULU, SCSS, STZ

lululemon athletica inc. (LULU)

Chart for LULU

Over the next 13 weeks, lululemon athletica inc. has on average historically risen by 11.9% based on the past 9 years of stock performance.

lululemon athletica inc. has risen higher by an average 11.9% in 5 of those 9 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 55%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for lululemon athletica inc., based on historical prices, is 5 weeks. Should lululemon athletica inc. stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 57% could result.

Select Comfort Corporation (SCSS)

Chart for SCSS

Over the next 13 weeks, Select Comfort Corporation has on average historically risen by 28.1% based on the past 18 years of stock performance.

Select Comfort Corporation has risen higher by an average 28.1% in 10 of those 18 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 55%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for Select Comfort Corporation, based on historical prices, is 44 weeks. Should Select Comfort Corporation stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 116% could result.

Constellation Bra (STZ)

Chart for STZ

Over the next 13 weeks, Constellation Bra has on average historically risen by 8.7% based on the past 25 years of stock performance.

Constellation Bra has risen higher by an average 8.7% in 17 of those 25 years over the subsequent 13 week period,corresponding to a historical probability of 68%

The holding period that leads to the greatest annualized return for Constellation Bra, based on historical prices, is 1 week. Should Constellation Bra stock move in the future similarly to its average historical movement over this duration, an annualized return of 118% could result.

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