July 25, 2009

place only Limit price orders

Here is a good article on why even limit pricing orders does nt guarantee you to fair access to sellers's prices. But at least you will not be screwed over like in a 'market" order.
High Frequency Trading, Impact on 'slow traders'.

July 7, 2009

BMYcovered

BMY (bristol myers squibb) Covered calls strategy example.
If by some stroke of good luck you had bought BMY when it was trading at 19.21 (hypothetical example), i will explain here how you can make some money on regular basis by selling covered calls for higher strike price alongwith your usual dividend income also. (See wiki link at bottom for basic definition etc.)

All numbers hypothetical
BMY basis price: 19.20
No of shares = 800

Suppose you write covered calls for the $20 strike price (I usually recommend writing calls on a bullish day, early on in the options cycle, ie the first week after OPEX)

When you write a call at $20 you are guaranteeing delivery of the stock at a price of $20 at OPEX or anytime in between if called. In return you get the premium.

If you write 4 covered call contractss = you guarantee delivery of 400 shares (1 contract = 100 shares) at $20. The premium which you get (depending on the day etc.) would be the option price x 100 minus commissions.
The July BMY $20 call BMYGD.X has traded between 0.20 to 1.27. let us say you wrote the call on a day when the price was at 0.65. Then you get 0.65 X 100 X 4 =$260 (minus commission of 28+3) for the calls you write. YOU GET THIS MONEY into your account as cash.

Now if the stock stays at $20.01 or above on the third Friday of the month of July, your 400 BMY shares will be called out at the prevailing price, let us assume it is 20.01, and your 400 shares will be sold at 20.00 (a profit of 0.81 cents/share) minus sell commissions. If the prevailing price were 20.20 then they will still be sold at 20.00 so you "lose" as theoretical profit of 0.20 addl cents. If the stock had gone up to $25 (due to any reason), then you lose the $5.80 profit potential. So covered call is not a great strategy with super volatile stocks, imo.

But remember, you had already enjoyed a rental money of $260 on your 400 shares from the day you sell the calls. however you can still get that gain on your other 400 shares.

if the stock stays below 20, you dont do a thing you keep your stock and your 260 dollars.

RISKS: The risk is that if there is a catastrophic fall in price intra day anytime during the month, you cannot sell the shares UNTIl you close out your covered call by buying back calls (which will be at a lower price).

Anyways you can TEST strategies like these at OPTIONXPRESS using their VIRTUAL TRADING tool. You do need to create an account (no money needed, but only deal with occasional emails), and then you can practice this stuff.
UPDATE: Another free options but slightly complicated options simulator can be found here (courtesy RIGL board)

If you write calls on all 800 you make more rent plus you "lose" less on commissions. Option contract commissions vary, it is $7+ 0.75/contract with Scottrade. It is 4.50 + 0.50 /contract with ZECCO. Optionxpress has its commissions at 14.95 or 19.95. Others vary, but option commissions are kinda pricey.

Other References:
Wiki entry
Options Education
Daily Quotes of option prices (BMY)

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