After Hours

General discussion


This is one way to profit in the current markets. It actually works great.

By sleepin'dawg ·
Tags: Off Topic
I received this email this morning and it pretty much explains my current investing strategy. I thought it important enough to pass it along. This is almost the exact same strategy I've been following since before this market fiasco started and while my per share prices are down, I've added so many more shares of value companies to my portfolio, plus made money on the options, that I'm actually ahead. There's an old expression, Anyone can make money in a bull market but it takes real skill to make money during a bear market. To further underline that point, try to remember the end fate of bulls; they get slaughtered for bear food.

The Best Investment Strategy For A Market Like This... The Truth About Covered Call Investing

Friday, November 14, 2008
by Karim Rahemtulla
With the stock market still crazier than a drunken leprechaun and this year's economic and financial woes leaving many consumers seriously strapped for cash - just as the holiday season rolls in - I want to make sure you know one thing...

Yes, this is a tough market. No doubt about that. But far from throwing in the towel or panicking about it, in every market, there are strategies that can help you recoup losses, make money and even protect investments from future shocks.

Panic At Your Peril

Believe me, there are times I'm sure the last thing you want to hear about is the stock market. Sometimes, that's true for me, too! And I understand that with each day that your portfolio losses grow, that's when panic and/or depression sets in. When I was a rookie investor, I felt that way, because I didn't think there was anything I could do.

But take it from me: At times like this, you must avoid panicking at all costs.

The thing is, markets are not one-way streets. And although it's tough to argue that fact when we're in a midst of an extreme correction that can only be compared to a 100-year flood, events like this can happen and we simply have to deal with it.

So this is not the time for a pity party or complaining. Here's why...

Picking Through The Rubble For Strength And Extreme Value

While the stock market looks like a tornado has whipped through it over the past few months, lurking in the rubble are companies trading at valuations we haven't seen for decades.

What's more, they're good, solid companies. True survivors that will allow you to recoup your losses as the market bounces back. And while it's important to note that this may take some time, if you don't have a horse in the race, you have no chance of winning, or even placing.

So where does that leave investors like you and me? What's the best way forward?

An Investor's Best Friend

Over the past few months, one investment strategy has risen to the top of the pack.

In fact, people whom I never thought would embrace it are now raving about its benefits. But understand that this is a strategy for those who can look beyond the hype and promise of home run, triple-digit return promises and instead towards something that many investors crave right now: Steady, consistent income.

And it's a strategy that has taught me that there are ways to benefit from volatile and even falling markets - perfect for the current climate.

I'm referring to covered call investing.

In a nutshell, the strategy has two parts...

You buy shares of a company.
You sell call options against your shares.
What does this accomplish? First, it allows you to reduce your basis in the share price by collecting a special "dividend" (known as a premium) from the proceeds of the options that you sold.

In a flat or range bound market, you can do this over and over again, consistently reducing your original cost and setting yourself up for big returns in the future. Here's how it works...

The Breakdown Of A Covered Call Trade

Let's say you like General Electric (NYSE: GE).

You buy shares of GE at the current price around $17.

Against this position you sell GE $20 call options that expire in January 2009.

What this means is that you're obligated to sell your GE in January at $20 if - and only if - the share price is over $20 at the time. If not, you keep your GE shares and any proceeds you received for selling the option.

If GE closes below $20 at expiration in January, you can sell another option and collect more money and continue to lower your cost. The caveat here is that if GE closes above $20, you still only get $20. The loss of the upside is the price you pay for the safety of lowering your downside.

The money you receive for selling the option(s) is called the premium. For example, if GE January $20 options are trading for $1, you will receive $1 for each share that you own and have sold an option against it.

Remember, options trade in contracts, with each contract equal to 100 shares. So if you own 100 shares of GE, you can sell one call option contracts. At $1 per contract, you will receive $100 - 1 contract x 100 shares per contract x $1.

So let's say you sell just one call option against your 100 shares. With the $1 premium, your cost in GE is now $16 and your upside is $4 - the difference between the strike price and your cost. The extra dollar you picked up is like an extra 6% dividend ($1 divided by $16 (your cost).

But I like to put my own twist on this. It's not exactly the conventional way of covered call investing - but it's a big reason why my Strategic Income service has managed to notch up a 70% win rate over the past 11 years. Here's what I do...

An Even Better Way To Trade Covered Calls

Instead of selling a call option above the price at which you buy the underlying shares, you sell it below that price.

My rationale is this: We're essentially saying to the market that we want to own GE shares... but we want to own them at a lower price. Our price. Here's how it works.

~ We buy GE at $17

~ We then sell the January 2009 $15 calls against the position.

For doing so, we'll automatically get $2 back - known as the "intrinsic value" ($17 minus $15.) But we'll get more.

For time and risk, we'll pick up an extra $1 to make the total premium $3 ($2 intrinsic plus $1 for time and risk). That lowers our original cost in GE to $14.

So we stand to make $1 profit on the trade, as long as GE closes above $15 in January. If this happens, our return is about 7% in a couple of months - a full $2 below the current price.

You see how this works? We're not betting that the shares are going higher... we're actually saying that if they go nowhere or even lower, we still stand to make money as long as the shares are above our cost of $14 ($17 purchase price minus $3 premium received).

Three Chances To Win In A Market Like This? I'll Take It!

The bottom line here is that we have three chances to win...

If GE shares rise, we win.
If GE remains flat, we win.
If GE shares fall - but not under $14 - we win.
I don't know about you, but I like those odds - especially in a market like this.

But what happens if GE slides under $14?

Well, since our cost was lower than the $17 we paid for the shares, there is an excellent chance that we'll be able to sell more options and reduce our cost even further, while increasing our upside potential.

Do You Want To Win On 70% Of The Trades You Make?

As I said, covered call investing is an excellent strategy to use in a market like this. Even the mainstream financial media have picked up on it recently. But beware that you don't get suckered in by one of the hyped-up, but very raw "Johnny-Come-Lately" products out there, which over-promise, but under-deliver. With the twist we put on it in my Strategic Income service, we've won over 70% of the time.

And even though we take the occasional defeat, the loss is usually limited since we've already reduced our cost so much. And in some cases - like one trade we have in our portfolio right now - we're in the position of owning one company for absolutely nothing because we've sold calls against it at opportune times.

And you'd better believe that there's nothing quite like a feeling of owning something of value for nothing - especially in this market!

So that's the theory behind arguably the most powerful, income-producing investment strategy on the market. As far as I'm concerned, it works quite nicely; thank-you very much. I hope it works for you too, and lets you keep your head above water.

Dawg ]:)

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

Let's shoot this spamelope right now

by road-dog In reply to This is one way to profit ...
Collapse -


by sleepin'dawg In reply to Let's shoot this spamelop ...

I take it you're satisfied with whats currently happening with the economy and your financial situation. Anyone who completely buys into any of these so called gurus is asking for trouble but after reading his email this morning, I was struck by the similarity to my present strategy and which I've been profitting from.

Collapse -

Never completely satisfied,

by road-dog In reply to WTF??

However, I also remain suspicious of any "system" that purports to give an edge to an investor.

My inbox gets hit repeatedly with people who know how to beat the market. Further, short selling and other mechanisms that allow one to bet on the detriment to stocks is foolish and destructive. After all, it's easier to talk a company down than up. Short selling damages the integrity of the market because it leverages and exacerbates market volatility.

If you already do something similar to this system, good for you, hope it works out.

Republished spam is still spam....

Collapse -

You obviously don't understand option trading.or the markets.

by sleepin'dawg In reply to Never completely satisfie ...

However, I also remain suspicious of any "system" that purports to give an edge to an investor.
My inbox gets hit repeatedly with people who know how to beat the market. Further, short selling and other mechanisms that allow one to bet on the detriment to stocks is foolish and destructive.

Why would it be foolish or destructive unless you don't know what the **** you are doing in investments in the first place. There seem to be a lot of your type about these days and you're all whining for a bailout of some sort.

There are lots of so called "systems", as you put it, some of which actually work. Take Warren Buffet's "system"; he is a disciple of Benjamin Graham's system, and for that matter so am I. I don't try to sell anyone anything about investing but if you're too blind or ignorant to read and learn to see that, then I pity you. I have other "systems" which I am also using but I do not advise them for anyone else to try, even though they are working quite nicely, for myself, at the moment. The markets are what the markets are and fools and their money will be, and are, soon parted. Bitter about having lost some; are you???

This is pretty much similar to the system I've been playing since May and I've been making out very, very nicely. I was thinking about writing about my technique for the current situation (in fact almost any market situation). It's quite conservative and doesn't have a thing to do with short selling and why you seem to think it does, is beyond me. Short selling is another technique, altogether, which the smartest reserve for only a very small percentage of their portfolio; to do otherwise would be foolish to the point of insanity. I do short a commodity or stock occasionally, but with the full realization it's a gamble, (a very carefully calculated gamble) but as I said, I only do so after a lot of my own personal research and analysis; I do not advocate short selling for amateurs. Maybe you don't like some of my advice or posts on the current mess the economy is in but some others do. So, unless you have something intelligent and constructive to add or contribute, IMHO you should STFU. You're showing your ignorance on something you seem to know little or nothing about.

Dawg ]:)

Collapse -

I don't know road-dog from a hole in the wall.

by santeewelding In reply to You obviously don't under ...

But I'm sure learning a lot more about you, from you.

Collapse -

Scary, isn't it??? ]:) B-) :^0 <NT>

by sleepin'dawg In reply to I don't know road-dog fro ...
Collapse -

Not for me.

by santeewelding In reply to Scary, isn't it??? ]:) B- ...

Your agitations are as cracks. The concern has to be yours.

Collapse -

I've got a handle on the market

by road-dog In reply to You obviously don't under ...

So, when I disagree with you I'm not being intelligent or constructive? I should STFU? I'm one of the guys looking for a bailout? Bitter about losing money???

I'm as big a free market guy as there is. I also said, short selling "and other mechanisms". Clearly, sir, you're not paying attention.

Listen, my first response link is a story about how the writer of your posting is selling his system. It was a marketing teaser, an advertisement to sell a system.

You saw fit to cut/paste and endorse this system as it was similar to techniques you already use and indicate have been successful for you. Big sweat investment in the idea, big guy!

Funny. You seem to be more inclined to attack people who disagree with you and who don't like to see spam trotted out in this forum than you are to articulating this system you use.

You only care enough to cut and paste for your ideas, but you'll take the time to type out a nasty vitriolic (and false) response to someone else's response. Methinks you protest too much.

BTW Warren Buffet is da MAN!!!

Collapse -

I'm not paying attention? Get real! If you were paying attention...........

by sleepin'dawg In reply to I've got a handle on the ...

and had done a modicum of reading you might have realized that I had eliminated most, if not all, of the authors commercial shilling of his news letter. There are a few things I subscribe to, mostly background news on companies, the Financial Times, The Ivestors Business Daily and a few others, but, as I say, for background, not advice. In several instances my brokers have taken it upon themselves to provide me with several of these news letters gratis, but by my perverse type of investment thinking, I've always wondered why, if the advice was so good, why the writers weren't already rich and thus would have no need to to pen and flog their ideas.

Buffet is a great investor but you might find it more important and illuminating to study the strategies of the men whose stategies he chose to study and helped make him the success he is. If you think Buffet is da MAN as you so crudely express it, then you will have harnessed some of his ideas and should have at least 10 FULL shares of Berkshire Hathway in your portfolio, that you personally have earned through following his advice. If thay doesn't impress you check out the share price; they're down right now.

Collapse -

Dawg - two observations

by maxwell edison In reply to This is one way to profit ...

1. You're apparantly a doom and gloomer.

2. You always cut and paste articles, but never share your own thoughts.

Related Discussions

Related Forums