Thursday, August 12, 2010

Surfing for Weekly Buy-Write Trades

One half hour into today’s trading, I would expect to see some evidence that the recent spike in volatility in stocks is subsiding. That seems to be the case, as the VIX opened at 27.21 and is now just over 26.00.

Before volatility falls any farther, I will be looking at some possible or buy-write (covered call) trades with the new weekly options that are expiring tomorrow.

When I screen for buy-write candidates, I generally start with a screen for the highest implied volatility stocks, ETFs and indices, then qualify these on liquidity terms, examine the proximity of the current price relative to the various strike prices, then review the charts for some of the finalists and add some sort of secret sauce at the end to come up with trades that fit my objectives.

In the graphic below, I have included all of the weekly options in which the underlying has an implied volatility is at least 30. The list has 18 candidates and prominently atop that list is the triple ETF pair for the financial sector: FAS and FAZ. Going down the list, Ford (F) and Bank of America (BAC) show excellent liquidity, while Apple (AAPL) is hovering just under an important round number and strike.

Enterprising souls may even consider buy-writes on both FAS and FAZ.

Volatility is up and the end of the week is nearing. Anyone looking at a buy-write strategy should take a close look at earnings for today and tomorrow which may impact the market, as well as a number of economic reports due out tomorrow morning, most notably the July retail sales data.

For more on related subjects, readers are encouraged to check out:

[source: Livevol Pro]

Disclosure(s): short VIX at time of writing; Livevol is an advertiser on VIX and More

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