Options Setup El Cheapo

What are the basic ingredients of a cheap options setup?

We’re not bothered about what the underlying is.

We’re outlining in general. 

A correction / rally needs to have taken place. 

The correction / rally level needs to be significant.

That’ll account for the cheapness of the option.

I suppose it’s obvio, but I’m still saying it nevertheless, that you’re going to be trading in the counter-correction or counter-rally direction, but in tandem with the overall long-term trend.

Then, a slight move needs to have started in your trade direction after this significant correction / rally. 

That could account for correct choice of trade direction. 

We need just one more ingredient.

Can you guess what that is?

Yeah, breathing space. 

Allow the trade time to pan out in your direction. 

Buy an option which has at least 3-4 weeks left till expiry, if not more. 

That’s it. 

It’s as simple as that. 

Lucrative ideas are simple. There is nothing complicated about them. 

Lose your sophistication and / or complicatedness. You’re not going to make it big by being sophisticated or complicated. These two characteristics will negatively affect your trading. Flush them down the drain. 

Be simple. 

Happy trading. 

🙂

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Options Strategy – Entry, Stop and Exit

What are we doing with options anyways?

We are trying to play a market without needing to be with the market the whole time. Also, we are defining our risk quite exactly. The option premium is the money that’s at risk. You don’t have to lose all of it if the trade goes against you. You can bail out anytime and save whatever option premium is left. The option premium is the total you can lose in the trade. With that, you’ve done one great thing. You’ve installed a stop which will stay with you during the entire trade. Is that possible in any other segment in India? Nope. If my info is correct, stops have to be installed everywhere on a day to day basis. Not so the case with options. You have your stop with you, always. 

That allows you to do other stuff. You can have an alternate profession, and still play options. 

You don’t need to be afraid of the time element in options. You can trade them in a manner where the time element is rendered useless. I’ll tell you how.

Though you try and go with the overall long-term trend, you try and pick up an option during a retracement. That’s when you’ll get it cheap. 

The idea is to buy cheap and sell expensive, right?

Secondly, give yourself breathing space. If the current month is well under way, pick up the corresponding option for the next series month. Give the trade 4-5 weeks to pan out in your favour.

A lot can happen over 4-5 weeks. 

Thirdly, you’re trying to pick up out-of-the-money options, which seem to have gotten out-of-the-money as an aberration. These will be even cheaper. Like what happened to Tata Motors the other day. For no apparent reason, the stock drifted towards what was formerly seeming to be an unlikely support to be hit, around the Rs. 430 level. On the previous day, it was nowhere near this level, and didn’t look like reaching it in a hurry at all. An event in the US occurred, and Asia opened down, with the scrip in question falling to the support and bouncing off. At the market price of Rs. 430 – Rs. 435, if you’d have picked up the out-of-the-money option of Tata Motors for the strike price of Rs. 450, which was going very cheap, that would have resulted in a good trade. 

Basically you are looking for such predefined setups – buying off a support / selling off a resistance, buying / selling at a defined retracement level, buying / selling upon piercing of a bar etc. etc. etc. 

Let’s say you’ve identified a setup. 

You’ve seen buying pressure, or selling pressure. Chances of repetition are high, you feel. You try and enter into the option at a time when the buying or selling pressure is off, and everyone thinks that this buying or selling pressure is not coming back. 

In this manner you’ll get some cheap entries. 

Now you have to wait, to see if your analysis is correct. If not, you’ll probably lose most or all of your option premium. Don’t be afraid of loss. It’s a chance you have to take. Without taking the risk, there is no chance of reward. You have to put yourself in line for the reward by going out there and entering into the option.

It’s possible that the scenario you imagined actually plays out. Let it play out even more.

You can exit in two ways. You could trail the market with a manual stop. This way you’ll be in the trade to perhaps see another day of even more profits. The downside is, that during lulls in the day, your stop could well be hit. The second exit possibility is to calculate an unusually high price, which is slightly unlikely to be reached. You feed in the limit order at this price. If this price is reached, you’re out after having made good money. Now, the scrip can go down for all you care. The downside is that the scrip can go deeper in your trade direction after you’ve exited, and that’s a little painful. The reason this latter scenario is often used is that the time-element keeps getting scraped off the selling price for the option as the series month approaches its end, and your exit on that very day at an unusually high price is more lucrative than you might think. You see, buying or selling pressure in your direction might or might not make itself felt again in the current month. If not, you’ve lost a prime opportunity to cash out at a high. Is it the high? You’ll never know. Therefore, you’ll need to try both exit scenarios and see which suits you more. Sooner or later, you’ll get a feel for both exit scenarios, and will be able to implement either, depending upon the situation. 

That’s it for today. 

Heavy?

It’s not. 

Options are easy. 

Playing options is like playing poker. it’s fun!

🙂

And What’s so Special about Forex?

Imagine in your mind …

… the freedom to trade exactly like you want to.

Is there any market in the world which allows you complete freedom?

Equity? Naehhh. Lots of issues. Liquidity. Closes late-afternoon, leaving you hanging till the next open, unless you’re day-trading. Who wants to watch the terminal all day? Next open is without your stop. Then there’s rigging. Syndicates. Inside info. Tips. Equity comes with lot of baggage. I still like it, and am in it. It doesn’t give me complete freedom, though. I live with what I get, because equity does give me is a kick.

Debt market? A little boring, perhaps. Lock-ins.

Commodities? You wanna take delivery? What if you forget to square-off a contract? Will you be buying the kilo of Gold? Ha, ha, ha…

Arbitrage? Glued to screen all day. No like. Same goes for any other form of day-trading.

Mutual Funds. Issues. Fees. Sometimes, lock-ins. MFs can’t hold on to investments if investors want to cash out. Similarly, MFs can’t exit properly if investors want to hang on. And, you know how the public is. It wants to enter at the peak and cash out at the bottom. 

Private Equity? Do you like black boxes? You drive your car? Do you know how it functions? You still drive it, right? So why can’t you play PE? Some can. Those who are uncomfortable with black boxes can’t. 

CDOs? @#$!*()_&&%##@.

Real Estate? Hassles. Slimy market. Sleaze. Black money. Government officials. Bribery. No like.

Venture Cap? Extreme due diligence required. Visits. Traveling. The need to dig very deep. Deep pockets. Extreme risk. No. 

Forex? 24 hr market. Order feed is good till cancelled. Stops don’t vanish over weekends. Stops can be pin-pointedly defined, and you can even get them to move up or down with the underlying, in tandem or in spurts. You can feed in profit-booking mechanisms too, and that too pin-pointedly. You watch about 10-11 currency pairs; you can watch more if you want to. 10-11 is good, though. You can watch 4, or even 2 or 1, up to you. Platforms are stupendous, versatile, malleable, and absolutely free of charge. You can trade off the chart. Liquidity? So much liquidity, that you’ll redefine the word. No rigging – market’s just too large. The large numbers make natural algorithms like Fibonacci work. Technicals? Man, paradise for technicals. Spreads? So wafer thin, that you barely lose anything on commissions. Oh, btw, spreads are treated as commissions in forex; there’s no other commission. Money management? As defined as you want it to be. Magnitude? As small or as large as you want to play? Comfort? You make your morning tea, sip it, open your platform, feed in orders with trigger-entry, stop and limit, and then forget about the forex market for the rest of the day, or till you want to see what’s happening. Yeah, comfort. Challenge? You’re playing with the biggest institutions in the world. What could be more challenging? I could go on. You’re getting the gist. 

Yeah.

Forex is a very special market. 

Also, the forex market is absolutely accessible to you, online. 

If you decide to enter it one day, play on a practice account till you feel you’re ready for a real account. 

If and when you do start with a real account, for heaven’s sake start with a micro account, where 1 pip is equal to 0.1 USD. 

🙂

 

 

 

Can We Please Get This One Basic Thing Right? (Part III)

Yeah, we’re digging deeper.

How does an investor arrive at an investment decision?

It’s pretty obvious to us by now that traders and investors have their own rationales for entry and exit, and that these rationales are pretty much diametrically opposite to each other.

So, what’s the exact story here?

The seasoned investor will look at FUNDAMENTALS, and will exhibit PATIENCE before entering into an investment.

The versatile trader will look at TECHNICALS, and will NOT BE AFRAID of entry or exit, any time, any place. He or she will be in a hurry to cut a loss, and will allow a profit to blossom with patience.

What are fundamentals?

Well, fundamentals are vital pieces of information about a company. When one checks them out, one gets a fair idea about the valuation and the functioning of the company, and whether it would be a good idea to be part of the story or not.

A good portion of a company’s fundamental information is propagated in terms of key ratios, like the Price to Earnings Ratio, or the Debt to Equity Ratio, the Price to Book Value ratio, the Enterprise Value to EBITDA Ratio, the Price to Cash-flow Ratio, the Price to Sales ratio, etc. etc. etc.

What a ratio does for you is that in one shot, it delivers vital info to you about the company’s performance over the past one year. If it’s not a trailing ratio, but a projected one, then the info being given to you is a projection into the future.

What kind of a promotership / management does a company have? Are these people share-holder friendly, or are they crooks? Do they create value for their investors? Do they give decent dividend payouts? Do they like to borrow big, and not pay back on time? Do they juggle their finances, and tweak them around, to make them look good? Do they use company funds for their personal purposes? Researching the management is a paramount fundamental exercise.

Then, the company’s product profile needs to be looked into. The multibagger-seeking investor looks to avoid a cyclical product, like steel, or automobiles. For a long-term investment to pan out into a multibagger, the product of a company needs to have non-cyclical scalability.

After that, one needs to see if one is able to pick up stock of the particular company at a decent discount to its actual value. If not, then the investor earmarks the company as a prospective investment candidate, and waits for circumstances to allow him or her to pick up the stock at a discount.

There are number-crunching investors too, who use cash-flow, cash allocation and other balance-sheet details to gauge whether a coveted company with an expensive earnings multiple can still be picked up. For example, such growth-based investors would not have problems picking up a company like Tata Global Beverages at an earnings multiple of 28, because for them, Tata Global’s balance-sheet projects future earnings that will soon lessen the current multiple to below sector average, for example.

Value-based investors like to buy really cheap. Growth-based investors don’t mind spending an extra buck where they see growth. Value-based investors buy upon the prospect of growth. Growth-based investors buy upon actual growth.

The trader doesn’t bother with fundamentals. He or she wants a management to be flashy, with lots of media hype. That’s how the trader will get volatility. The scrips that the trader tracks will rise and fall big, and that’s sugar and honey for the trader, because he or she will trade them both ways, up and down. Most of the scrips that the trader tracks have lousy fundamentals. They’ve caught the public’s attention, and the masses have sprung upon them, causing them to generate large spikes and crashes. That’s exactly what the trader needs.

So, how does a trader track these scrips? Well, he or she uses charts. Specifically, price versus time charts. The trader doesn’t need to do much here. There’s no manual plotting involved. I mean, this is 2012, almost 2013, and we stand upon the shoulders of giants, if I’m allowed to borrow that quote. Market data is downloaded from the data-provider, via the internet and onto one’s computer, and one’s charting software uses the data to spit out charts. These charts can be modified to the nth degree, and transformed into that particular form which one finds convenient for viewing. Modern charting software is very versatile. What exactly is the trader looking for in these charts?

Technicals – the nitty-gritty that emerges upon close chart scrutiny.

How does price behave with regard to time?

What is the slope of a fall, or the gradient of a rise? What’s the momentum like?

What patterns are emerging?

How many people are latching on? What’s the volume like?

There are hundreds of chart-studies that can be performed on a chart. Some are named after their creators, like Bollinger bands. Others have a mathematical name, like stochastics. Names get sophisticated too, like Williams %R, Parabolic SAR and Andrew’s Pitchfork. There’s no end to chart  studies. One can look for and at Elliott Waves. Or, one can gauge a fall, using Fibonacci Retracement. One can use momentum to set targets. One can see where the public supports a stock, or where it supplies the stock, causing resistance. One can join points on a chart to form a trendline. The chart’s bars / candle-sticks will give an idea about existing volatility. Trading strategy can be formulated after studying these and many more factors.

Where do stops need to be set? Where does one enter? Exit? All these questions and more are answered after going through the technicals that a chart is exhibiting.

One needs to adhere to a couple of logical studies, and then move on. One shouldn’t get too caught up in the world of studies, since the scrip will still manage to behave in a peculiar fashion, despite all the studies in the world. If the markets were predictable, we’d all be millionaires.

How does the trader decide upon which scrips to trade? I mean, today’s exchanges have five to ten thousand scrips that quote.

Simple. Scans.

The trader has a set of scan criteria. He or she feeds these into the charting software, and starts the scan. Within five minutes, the software spits out fifty odd tradable scrips as per the scan criteria. The trader quickly goes through all fifty charts, and selects five to six scrips that he or she finds best to trade on a particular day. Within all of fifteen minutes, the trader has singled out his or her trading scrips.

Do you now see how different both games are?

I’m glad you do!

🙂

Due Diligence Snapshot + Technical Cross-Section — Ador Fontech Limited — Nov 27 2012

Price – Rs. 81.30 per share

Earnings Per Share projected on the basis of quarter ended Sep 30 2012 – Rs. 12.62

Price to Earnings Ratio (thus, also projected) – 6.44

Price to Book Value Ratio – the stock is selling at approximately 2 x book value currently

Debt : Equity Ratio – Nil

Current Ratio – 2.73

Profit After Tax Margin – 12.51%

Return on Networth – 32.54 %

Pledged Shares %age – Nil

Face Value – Rs. 2.00

Dividend Payout – 50% -150% of face-value.

Average Daily Volumes – around 5 – 6 k / day on BSE.

Product – Reclamation of alloys, fusion surfacing (preventive welding), spraying and environmental solutions.

Promoters – JB Advani & Company Pvt Ltd (of Advani-Oerlikon fame) + a group of other Sindhi business-people.

Share-holding Pattern – Promoters (35.4%), Public (58.9%), Institutions (2.0%), NICBs (3.7%).

Technicals (see chart below) – This is a very low volume scrip, so there could be slippage. The scrip has corrected from its June 2011 peak of Rs. 150.90 to a pivot of Rs. 73.25 within about one year. This low pivot lies bang in between the 50% and the 61.8% Fibonacci levels of correction on the weekly chart. Currently, the scrip is quoting at Rs. 81.30, just below the Fib. 50% level. Volumes are average, with one high volume peak every 7 odd trading days. The scrip is trading in a broad band between Rs. 73.25 and Rs. 93.90. Perhaps it is trying to establish a base.

Comments – Fundamentals are good, and the company’s corporate governance is considered clean. Market for the company’s niche is considered small, and people view that as a long-term growth concern. Technically, correction has taken place, and thus value shines out fundamentally. Debt is nil. Dividend is excellent. Projected PE is low, though P/BV is a bit high. Cushion is there, and profitability and returns are exemplary. Future investment would be required to keep niche-segment status alive.

Buy? – I like the theme – reclamation and preventive welding. Contrary to what others say, I feel the market is going to grow phenomenally, as earth and rare-earth metals become difficult to source, and need to be reclaimed. Valuations are excellent, governance is great, payouts are great too, and a technical buying level has presented itself. Yes, it’s a long-term buy right now. Remember, this is not a trade we are speaking about, so we are not going to talk in terms of a stop-loss. This is a long-term investment, and we’ve been speaking in terms of margin of safety, which I’m sure you’ve noticed. Also, while buying, one needs to show caution regarding slippage, which is invariably going to occur owing to the low-volume nature of the scrip.

Disclaimer and Disclosure – Opinions given here are mine only. You are free to build your own view on the stock. I have bought a miniscule stake in Ador Fontech today. Data given here has been compiled from motilaloswal.com, moneycontrol.com and equitymaster.com. Technicals have been gauged and shown using Metastock Professional version 9.1 by Equis International.

Betting Your Monsters and Checking Ace-High

Blah, blah, blah, I know, poker terminology yet again…

Can’t help it, people, it’s just so valid…

When you’re holding a monster hand, you bet out on the next street to build up the pot. Similarly, when a trade starts to run, you’re looking to load up some more on the scrip at the appropriate point.

When you’re holding air, or a mere bluff-catching hand like ace-high, you check it down through the river. Likewise, if the scrip you’ve just bought into stagnates, or moves a bit down, you do not double up on your trade. Instead, you just wait for your stop to be hit, or if before that your time-stop has run out, you square-off the trade.

An aggressive-passive style?

Who cares?

Recipe for winning in the long run?

Yes.

Right, then we’re taking it.

Two out of ten trades may start to run big. It’s taken you time, money and effort to identify those two. You are in the trade. You can feel the adrenaline pumping. Now’s not the time to sit passively. Spade-work’s all done. Right, put some more money on the winning scrip. Point is, when?

Additional points of entry are tricky.

I prefer a little margin of safety here. I like to double up at a point where there’s been some correction, and possibly when a Fibonacci level has been hit. After that, I want to see the scrip going up back through the level, and I’d like to see volume go up simultaneously. That’s my point of second entry.

You can be more aggressive, no one’s stopping you.

You can even choose to enter the second time above some kind of a previous high or above the breaking of a resistance with volume.

Risky?

Yes.

You do, however, stand a good chance of catching a big move in a very short time.

You see, at this particular point, where you’re choosing to enter, the scrip is pretty hot. People are plunging in. There is no resistance from above. Upward movement is smooth.

Downside is, that those who’ve been sitting on notional profits might start to book these anytime. When that happens, the scrip might plunge well below your high entry and hit your stop. That’s a risk you have to take, since you have decided to enter above a high.

No risk, no gain.

At my more conservative second entry point, the scrip is not as hot. It is meeting with overhead resistance from recent entrants who entered high to then find the scrip correcting, and who are now happy to exit at their entry points as the scrip retraces its upward move. So, I will have to wait longer for a possible second run of the scrip to develop, and this might or might not develop. That’s a chance I have to take. That’s the price of being conservative during second entry. I’m comfortable.

Staying in your comfort-zone at all times adds a lot of value to the rest of your life, even after you shut down your computer. One does carry over one’s emotions, and it’s best if these are under control when you reach home. By trading in your comfort-zone at all times, you make sure that you come home in an emotionally balanced state.

If you can take the second entry above a high or above a resistance while still remaining in your comfort-zone, by all means, please do so. It’s an exciting play, capable of yielding large and quick rewards. I’ve tried it at times, but cannot get a grip on the excitement levels. Thus, I normally choose the more conservative play mentioned above. It’s just a personal choice.

Similarly, I’m very comfortable checking my ace-high trades down through the river. If I’m in a trade and it’s not running, I don’t jump about trying to pull stuff out of a hat in an effort to make the trade run.

If it’s not running, it’s not running. Feed in a trigger stop and shut the computer.

Once you are alerted that the stop’s been hit, look for a new trade.

Keep it simple. That’s another recipe for winning.

What U Gonna Do When They Come For U?

“Bad Boys Bad Boys, what u gonna do…

what u gonna do…

… when they come for you?”

Lots of bad boys floating around.

They make a beeline for an underlying, for example Gold. Hike up its price. Entice you to enter at a peak. They cash out. You, the slow poke, are left high and dry.

Then the bad boys gang up and short the underlying simultaneously. Price tanks. From one day to the next, you are sitting on a large loss. You get out, disgusted.

Don’t make yourself vulnerable to such bad boys. Get your strategy right.

Buy at strategic points. If you are buying at dips, do so at pinpointed levels, like Fibonacci ones. You can also buy when a resistance is broken. Or, you can buy when a high is taken out with volume. Don’t buy above that. Meaning to say, that’s the vulnerability cut off. After that, you expose yourself to the bad boys, because you don’t have any margin of safety after that point. Through your actions, you activate bad boy zone.

On the short side, go short at strategic points in a rally. That’s where margin of safety is maximum. You can also short when a support is broken. Or, you may go short when a low is taken out with volume. Below that is bad boy zone.

At times, the human being likes the thrill of being in bad boy zone. Got me there, I like it too. Only sometimes. In bad boy territory, you need to be light. Don’t carry too much cash in your pockets when they come for you. In bad boy territory, do options. Options are your best friends here.

The advantage of operating in bad boy territory is that every now and then, there’s a jackpot for the taking. There’s no telling how far bad boys take an underlying in a particular direction. Where there’s risk, there’s reward. Out of ten option trades you put on, at least two or three should hit the pot if your research is good. That’s all you need.

In bad boy territory, the only position you want to be in is about showing the jackpot in the one hand and the finger from the other. By default, your losses must be small here, and they are, because you are doing options. Period. With that, you’ve shown the necessary aggression that is required in this territory, and you’ve also shown proper backfoot (defence) strategy. That is winning behaviour in bad boy territory. That’s the language understood by bad boys, telling them to lay off. Now, even if they try to come for you, they’ll not get you. Ever.