Calendar options spreads can be effective during sideways markets and during periods of low volatility. Here’s how to set up and roll a calendar—and a rundown of the risks.
Begin the new year with some reflection on investing. Think about what you learned from last year and consider setting New Year’s financial resolutions based on your values. Perhaps you want to invest based on a longer time frame, personal values, or becoming more adventurous.
The value of an option tends to decay as expiration approaches. Learn about three options trading strategies that target time decay (“theta”).
Learn how the VIX, VIX futures, and VIX options work together to help traders increase market awareness, make more informed options trading decisions, and employ trading strategies.
If an options position isn’t going the way you thought it would, you might consider rolling it using the thinkorswim Strategy Roller®. It could take out some of the guesswork for when and how to roll options positions.
Traders tend to equate high volatility with fear. But volatility can also mean possible trading opportunities. So, instead of avoiding high volatility, learn to use it in your options trading.
When you've got trades on, you typically focus on your profits or losses. But you could lose more times than you win and still come out ahead. Learn how to use probabilities to manage your options positions.
A buy and hold strategy may be good for long-term investments. Bit when circumstances change, a long-term strategy may not be flexible enough. Laddering puts across price and time could help when stock markets are volatile.
If you're trying to figure out what strike prices to use for your options strategies you might want to try using Fibonacci retracement levels.
Arbitrage helps keep financial markets efficient, often with the aid of complex algorithms, pricing models, and lots of capital. Here’s a look at three types—index arbitrage, volatility arbitrage, and bond arbitrage.
Compared to covered calls and other basic options strategies, diagonal spreads don’t get a lot of love. But not only are they relatively straightforward, they’re also flexible and versatile. Here’s the story.
Volatility is a popular topic among option traders. But it can be confusing. Looking at volatility from the perspective of trading capital, past activity, and probability may help clear things up.
How do you know when a consolidating market is about to trend? Consider using the TTM Squeeze indicator to help you decide if a market is going to switch.
Suppose you buy a call option at a given strike price. Now what? The Theo Price tool on thinkorswim can help you assess what it could mean for your trade if the underlying stock reaches your price target by a certain date, if it goes the other way, if implied volatility changes, and more.
When you make an options trade, you’re not typically locked into it until expiration. You can place an order to close it out most of the time. Here are three things to ask yourself when considering an options exit.
Traders should become very familiar with margin trading, especially since it comes in many forms. Learn about the different types of margin accounts and how you can climb up the margin ladder and make your way up to portfolio margin status.
Selling covered calls is a neutral to bullish trading strategy that can help you make money if the stock price doesn't move.
The time to learn about options exercise and assignment is before taking a position, not afterward. This guide can help you navigate the dynamics of options expiration.
The effect of interest rates on options prices—rho—is sometimes considered the forgotten greek. But interest rates matter, especially when deciding when to exercise options positions.
Even your best trading plans can change because options greeks such as delta, theta, and vega are constantly changing. if you have a portfolio with many positions, managing trades can be difficult. These guidelines can help keep you on track.
A small trading account shouldn’t stop you from trading like traders with large accounts. Here are three options trading strategies to let you trade lower-priced stocks with similar risk/return as more expensive stocks.
Vertical spreads are a common choice for options traders looking for a flexible defined-risk strategy. But how do you choose among strategies? Here's a handy checklist to follow.
Should you switch from trading long options strategies to short options strategies when volatility levels are high? Sometimes prices are high for a reason.
Delta contains information that matters most when you are looking for a profit. But there is more to delta.
There are different ways a basic options strategy can offer some protection for a limited period of time for most stock portfolios. One strategy you could apply is using index options as a hedging tool.
If you’ve got a losing trade, deal with it and move on—here's a recovery process designed to potentially get you back on track if you make any one of four big mistakes.
Pairs trading is a trading strategy that involves two stocks in the same sector. There are different ways to create a pairs trade, whether you are pairing two stocks, stocks and ETFs, stocks and options, or options and options.
Options have time decay, or theta, which is why as an option approaches expiration, it may lose extrinsic value. If you want to maintain a certain level of theta for a particular strategy, monitor your positions closely.
An index’s settlement can turn a winning position into a losing one. You may want to close your index positions before expiration.
Once you’ve learned to use the Risk Profile tool on the thinkorswim® platform for single-leg options, you may wish to use it for more complex trades.
Learn how a covered call options strategy can attempt to sell stock at a target price; collect premium and potentially dividends; and limit tax liability.
Calendars and butterfly strategies may look similar but they have their differences. Why would you choose one over the other?
Options traders with smaller accounts may be able to manage their portfolios like a portfolio manager. Long call verticals, short put verticals, and long call diagonals can help expand an option trader’s thinking beyond their trading account and look like a pro.
Traders sometimes talk glowingly about thrilling options trading strategies without considering the risks. There are some alternative strategies such as short out-of-the-money verticals that you could consider to better manage your risks.
When markets are volatile you may hear the media come up with different explanations. But how reliable is that information? There are four myths about volatility you may often hear and why they may not necessarily be true.
Learn about butterfly option spreads and how they differ from iron condors, plus an explanation of a butterfly option strategy.
Do you follow the VIX as a volatility measure? Ever heard of the rule of 16? How about volatility skew? Learn how to apply these concepts to options trading.
Long call vertical spreads, short put vertical spreads, and call ratio backspreads are defined risk bullish option strategies with relatively low capital requirements that could offer upside potential.
You may be able to trade options in an IRA. Learn more about IRA options trading in this article.
Losses can creep up on you quickly. As time passes gamma could grow more than deltas, which is why you should keep an eye on gamma and delta. Find out about gamma scalping and managing a position’s gamma.
Implied volatility usually increases ahead of earnings announcements and then drops after the news release. If you know implied volatility is going to drop after earnings reports, here are three options trading strategies you could trade.
You have a losing trade but don’t want to sell. Here are four option strategies you could use to fix your losing trades.
Options expiration day can be a time of volatility, opportunity and peril. Trading and selling options on expiration day requires an understanding of the process, here are a few things you need to know.
If options and other derivatives are a part of your portfolio, you should learn about the nuances of taxes on options trading, from the Ticker Tape by TD Ameritrade.
Learn how adjusting an options collar strategy—a covered call and a protective put—can help you manage stock risk.
Though some option strategies are quite complex, options education begins with the basics of calls and puts.
Learn how to dynamically hedge changes in an option position’s delta in a process known as “gamma scalping.”
Some option traders dynamically hedge positions, but doing so requires a basic understanding of synthetic positions and put-call parity.
Learn how to structure a trade designed for uncapped profit potential.
Know what you're getting into before putting on that option trade—avoid surprises by educating yourself about the risks and oddities of assignment.
Can't decide how long you want to commit to a position? Understanding strategy mechanics can help you align trade duration with your attraction.
Part 3 of our series on portfolio margin covers profit, loss, and what happens at expiration—eventually your position will expire, know what to expect.
Corporate actions such as stock splits, special dividends, mergers and acquisitions are quite common, but what happens with unexpired options?
If you have a futures account and understand VIX, you might be ready for a covered call in volatility—long /VX futures and short VIX calls.
You can upgrade your trader status by expanding your leverage with portfolio margin, but first you must know synthetic equivalents—here's a primer.
Investors and traders alike can benefit from options by learning how they work and how to apply this knowledge to meet their investing goals.
Arbitrary entry and exit points in futures trading can be futile—learn how to place your trades using a price range based on volatility and probability.
Laddering price, volatility, and time can take covered calls to a new level—look to collect more premium and diversify across vol and time.
Covered calls are one way to earn income from stocks you own. Learn more about how to sell covered calls and strategically select strike prices.
The put/call ratio (p/c ratio) is probably one of the most recognizable option statistics. But how well is it understood?
These strategies to help you sleep at night by reducing your losses, reducing your effective cost, and reducing the possibility of assignment.
Can you use call options as a substitute for long stock? Learn the benefits and risks of this strategy.
Adjustments can be an integral part of any option trade, but knowing when to adjust can be tricky.
Delta is much more than a one-trick pony. Understanding some other tidbits of info delta provides can help a trader select option strikes.
Potential strategies for a depressed VIX—When volatility is low, learn how to hedge a trader's version of "yield" by trading volatility as an asset class.
What’s a handy core options strategy that leverages time? The calendar spread. But there’s more to them than just buying and waiting.
Having trouble selecting a strike price for an options trade? Learn how the Risk Profile tool can help select options that align with your trading strategies.
Long call option traders avoid ex-dividend stock inequality by exercising the call and becoming a shareholder of record. Just watch timing and new stock risk.
Explore rolling options “losers” to extend duration for covered calls, naked calls or puts, one side of a short strangle, and select other trades.
Look beyond options premium collection to additional stock hedging. Consider turning the cash from a naked put sale into an out-of-the-money call purchase.
To gauge a stock trend, it's all in the charts. But what about its options? You may not be trading options, but ignore them, and you may be missing the bigger picture.
Liquidity, cost, and overall tradability turn options strategies that are similar on paper into real-life scenarios that look quite different.
Basic options strategies can help investors protect portfolios against inevitable market volatility and market crashes.
With IRAs, plenty of stop signs tell you what you can and can’t do with options. Are there workarounds?
Our chief market strategist breaks down the day's top business stories and offers insight on how they might impact your trading and investing.
Picking months and strikes are big decisions for options traders. Do probabilities matter? We think so.
Short options aren't as scary as you might think. The trick to being on the right side of a short trade starts with the right info.
I was happy when CBOE VIX futures were added to TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim® platform. So, it’s not running with the bulls in Pamplona. But I’m a trader...
Anything can happen in one trade. But over a large number of options trades, high probabilities are what matter most.
Buying calls and puts is great when the stars align. For the spread trader, anything is possible. And the vertical spread is all where it begins.
Option prices can speak louder about the state of a stock than most analysts. You just have to listen and understand what they're trying to say.
Hedging with synthetic options positions makes sense if you're a market maker. While retail traders don't have as much to gain, they can still learn a lot.
A favorite hedge among options traders, SPX options have one major blemish: they settle the day after trading. Say goodbye to the old, and say hello to SPXpm.
Whatever your time frame, if you’re hedging with options here's a few tricks about how to size things up.
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Content intended for educational/informational purposes only. Not investment advice, or a recommendation of any security, strategy, or account type.
Be sure to understand all risks involved with each strategy, including commission costs, before attempting to place any trade. Clients must consider all relevant risk factors, including their own personal financial situations, before trading.
Market volatility, volume, and system availability may delay account access and trade executions.
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