14 Ways I'm Using Options for Income
As part of running this blog that chronicles my journey to financial independence I like to be open and honest with all of my transactions. Typically that revolves around buying shares of high quality companies that I deem to be at fair value or less. And occasionally there's a sale of a company like when I closed one of my positions earlier this month. Being open about the moves I make allows for better discussion with all of you and helps spread ideas around. If it creates my own "investment journal" to detail why I made the move and my expectations, well that's even better.
As I mentioned in Monday's options recap post, last week was an extremely busy week with over 25 different positions being put on, taken off, expiring or being rolled. That level of activity easily makes it my busiest week yet for options trading. Part of that was due to having a new bit of capital available due to my new TastyWorks Roth IRA, but a lot of that was also just a confluence of good opportunities and having cash available to trade.
TastyWorks is really geared toward options traders with $1 per contract commissions and $0 to close; however, even for just long term dividend growth investors it's an intriguing choice. For stock purchases commissions are $5 to open and $0 to close which is still much lower than just about every brokerage out there. *Affiliate Link Incoming* If you're interested in opening an account with TastyWorks I'd appreciate it if you do so through this link.
With so many moves to cover I decided to split the post in two. Monday's post covered the new and rolled positions and today I'll cover all of the closed positions.
Toronto Dominion Bank - Put Option
I sold this put option just a couple days after news broke that Toronto Dominion had been placing their employees in a "high pressure sales environment" leading to a 5% drop in Toronto Dominion's share price in just 1 day. That was fine by me because it led to both a lower share price and higher volatility which meant better option premiums.
|Toronto Dominion Bank (TD) Apr 2017 Put Option - Closed|
I was able to capture 48% of the maximum profit in about 90% of the days until expiration. While I'd prefer that to be a higher ratio I can't complain at locking in profits, especially when Toronto Dominion's share price is currently below what my effective purchase price would have been.
Nike, Inc. (NKE) - Covered Call
Ever since purchasing shares in Nike I've been writing calls against those shares in order to collect more premium and lower my cost basis.
|Nike, Inc. (NKE) Apr 2017 Covered Call - Closed|
Lowe's Companies (LOW) - Put Credit Spread
I've started experimenting more with defined risk strategies, namely credit spreads and iron condors. Much of the reason behind that is with my new Roth IRA account at TastyWorks my capital is small so I'll need to limit myself to defined risk strategies there in order to have several positions on at one time.
|Lowe's Companies (LOW) Apr 2017 Put Credit Spread - Closed|
While I likely could have just let this one go until expiration I didn't want to risk seeing my profits get wiped out. Lowe's share price was hovering relatively close to the $81.50 short strike throughout the week and the markets had started to show a bit of volatility. So it made sense to go on and close the position instead a bit early to ensure that I had profits instead of trying to squeeze the last bit of juice from this position.
Visa, Inc. (V) - Put Credit Spread
In hindsight I shouldn't have even put this position on in the first place. I neglected to look at when Visa's earnings date was and unfortunately it coincided with the week this spread was expiring. For those unfamiliar with options trading that meant that I wasn't likely going to have a chance to close this position out early because implied volatility, and option prices, would expand until earnings were released.
|Visa (V) Apr 2017 Put Credit Spread - Closed|
One thing you'll notice is that I closed the position out in 2 steps, well one really, instead of just at once. Visa's share price saw a nice jump prior to earnings that gave me the opportunity to close out the short put portion of the spread on April 20th. With earnings being released after the market close that day I figured it was worth a shot to keep the long put portion of the credit spread on in case something crazy happened with earnings and Visa's share price sold off the following day. Unfortunately that didn't happen so I left money on the table instead of selling out the long put too, but it was a risk I was willing to take since I had already booked profits on the trade.
United Parcel Service (UPS) - Iron Condor
If United Parcel Service was trading closer to the middle of the $103-108 range of the iron condor I likely would have just let this one play out. However, the share price had been flirting with the $104 level early in the week and this was another situation where it made sense to try and close it out prior to expiration and lock in profits rather than risk seeing the paper profits turn into realized losses.
|United Parcel Service (UPS) Apr 2017 Iron Condor - Closed|
Union Pacific (UNP) - Iron Condor
I'd really like to see Union Pacific back closer to $100, but the market will do what it wants to do. I went with an iron condor which is a neutral strategy where I was essentially making a bet that Union Pacific's share price would stay between $103 and $110 while the trade was open. Lucky for me that's just what it did.
|Union Pacific (UNP) Apr 2017 Iron Condor - Closed|
Target Corporation (TGT) - Put Credit Spread
Target's slide over the last few months has been a sight to see. While I'm not enthusiastic about B&M retail I also don't think Target will be going anywhere anytime soon. Since I own shares and also have an open put option I didn't want to take the risk of potentially adding more shares which meant I needed to use a defined risk strategy as a way to essentially say the bleeding has to stop sometime. Enter the put credit spread.
|Target Corporation (TGT) May 5 2017 Put Credit Spread - Closed|
CVS Health Corporation (CVS) - Put Option
Options might seem complex, but they can be extremely useful when used right. For example I purchased shares of CVS back in mid-January at $83.20 per share. If I'd have done nothing with those shares I'd just be sitting on a paper loss right now of about $3.15 per share. However, by trading options around the position I've been able to collect $468.18 in profits that go to reduce my cost basis on the position. That swings my per share cost basis from $83.20 to $78.52 and swings the paper gain/loss from a $3.15 loss to a $1.53 gain.
This put option was originally part of a covered strangle position that I had on CVS, but decided to roll out in time earlier this month since CVS' share price was hovering around the short put strike of the strangle position. With CVS' share price moving higher since then I took the opportunity to close out the put option and lock in some profits.
|CVS Health (CVS) April 28 2017 Put Option - Closed|
Hanes Brands (HBI) - Put Option
When I sold this put option Hanes Brands' shares had just taken a beating and if I remember correctly the share price was actually slightly below my strike price. If this had been a higher priced stock I probably wouldn't have done this trade; however, with only $2,000 of capital needed to secure the contract I was just fine taking on the risk.
|Hanes Brands (HBI) April 2017 Put Option - Expired|
Colgate Palmolive (CL) - Covered Call
This call option was opened just a couple weeks back as part of a buy-write where you purchase shares and simultaneously sell a call against them. My idea was to generate some quick profits via the dividend and call premium and have the shares called away, but since Colgate ended lower than my strike I still have the shares.
|Colgate Palmolive (CL) April 2017 Call Option - Expired|
I had purchased shares of Colgate at $73.74. The call premium reduces my cost basis to $73.05. Since I'm not eager to own shares at this valuation I'll be looking to sell a more aggressive call option which should work out nicely since earnings are due out this week as well.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - Iron Condor
This one didn't go as planned, but that's what happens when you're dealing with a large set of unknowns. In retrospect the problem was that I didn't pay attention at order entry to when the earnings release was for Johnson & Johnson and it happened to be the week of the expiration that I chose. Even though implied volatility wouldn't expand to anything crazy, there was still going to be volatility expansion as earnings approached which meant there would be a smaller likelihood of closing out the position early.
|Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) April 2017 Iron Condor - Expired|
Since this was a defined risk trade I could have just let it go; however, I decided to play a little bit of defense and convert the iron condor into an iron fly, an iron condor with both short strikes being the same. I was able to pick up an extra $15 of option premium on that, but this was more just to limit losses than to turn profits unless I happened to get lucky and Johnson & Johnson's share price recovered to right around $123.
Johnson & Johnson's share price price remained below my $122 long put option which meant there wasn't really anything else to do. I contemplated rolling out the short $123 put option in time, but decided that for simplicity it was best to just let this trade go. After accounting for the defensive roll into the iron fly this trade generated a net loss of $57.40. While I don't want to see that it's still slightly better than the $70.18 maximum potential loss of the original position thanks to playing a little bit of defense.
Visa, Inc (V) - Covered Call
While I'd love to build up a large position in Visa I just can't bring myself to do so at these valuations. Despite the truly excellent growth that Visa has delivered and should continue to do for the foreseeable future, I just can't justify giving up so much of my returns to the eventual valuation compression. However, that doesn't mean I won't own shares from time to time and sell call against it which is exactly what I did with this trade.
|Visa (V) April 2017 Call Option - Executed|
I originally purchased the Visa shares on April 3 as part of a buy-write call option for $88.76 per share and collected $93.95 in option premium. As that contract approached expiration I took advantage of the higher earnings related implied volatility and rolled out the call one week and up in strike price while taking in nearly an extra $100 in option premium.
Since Visa's share price was higher than my $89 strike the call option was ITM and the shares were called away from me. My effective sale price was the $89 strike price plus the total credits received of $188.86 giving a sale price of $90.89. The net profits on this trade worked out to $212.66 or a 2.4% gain based on my cost basis. The annualized return works out to 63%.
Pfizer, Inc. (PFE) - Put Option
My preference is to just take my profits and run and if that can't happen then roll the position out in time to try and get my profits then. Sometimes though it just doesn't make sense to do. I tried rolling this contract out further out in time, but there just wasn't enough premium on the roll compared to taking the shares and then selling calls against them which is what I intend to do.
So I'm now the proud owner of 100 shares of Pfizer in my Rollover IRA.
|Pfizer (PFE) April 2017 Put Option - Exercised|
Bank of America (BAC) - Put Option
Similar to the Pfizer put, there just wasn't enough money to be made by rolling this contract out in time. That's usually the case when you're dealing with the lower priced underlyings and the best option is usually to take the shares and then sell calls.
|Bank of America (BAC) April 2017 Put Option - Exercised|
Since I already have a rather hefty position in Bank of America, I'll be looking to be rather aggressive with selling call options against these shares with either ATM or 1 strike OTM being the likely options that I sell.
Even though I receive the option premium up front when selling options, I don't count the premium as profit until I close the position or it expires.
Thus far April has been an excellent month for me and had the potential to be my largest month yet in terms of generating option profits. Through the first 3 weeks of April I've generated total profits of $1,524.99 via closed/expired options. Year to date my realized profits are $5,591.74.
I've updated my Option Summary page to reflect these changes.
Do you utilize an option strategy to generate investment income in addition to the dividends your positions provide?
Please share your thoughts below!