Back into SPY — Covered Call at 111

I created a covered call position with SPY for a net investment of 108.43 per share,   bought SPY at 110.298 and sold Feb 111 calls  ( SPY 02/20/2010 111.00 C in Schwab speak) at 1.87.    I sold out of the money calls because I’m pretty optimistic the market will retrace the recent drop-off. Best case profit would be 2.57 per share or 2.3%. …

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Back into oil — covered calls on USO

USO has dropped from recent highs around 41, down to the mid 36s.   I did covered calls at a net debit of 35.59.  Bought USO at 36.57 and sold to open Feb 37 calls ( or “-UBO100220C37”  in Fidelity speak) at .98.

Greed takes a holiday

I believe the best way to understand the ebb and flow of the market is to view it as the interplay of fear and greed.  Of course, economics are important, but I view human psychology as even more fundamental to the movements of the market. Tonight fear has the upper hand.   US markets have been down two days in a row, the Asian markets …

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Trading in IRA accounts, and avoiding “free riding”

As much as possible I try to trade in my IRA accounts—in order to defer taxes of course. It is a bit counter-intuitive to be doing more speculative activities in a retirement account, but this approach supports my goals:

  • Achieving good returns
  • With reasonable risks
  • While compounding growth

If your money is in Roth accounts, all the better, but most people interested in trading in their IRAs are restricted to traditional IRAs.

There are restrictions on what trades you can do in an IRA account.  For example, you can’t short a stock in an IRA account, but option restrictions have eased some over the years,  and market innovations like short ETFs (e.g., SH, SDS) have effectively bypassed some of the more onerous restrictions.   Brokers vary considerably in what they allow in IRA accounts, so pays to ask around.   Fidelity & Schwab allow many types of option spreads that some brokers might not. Covered calls and protective puts on long positions are broadly available within IRAs. Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade both waive the 2-day settlement requirement on trades in IRAs so if you plan to do frequent trades they would definitely be worth a look.

For a more general treatment on trading in IRAs see “Top 15 Questions About Trading in IRAs.”  The rest of this post will deal with free riding and how to avoid it.

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Equity Option Expiration Dates Jan, Feb, Mar 2010

The next three expiration dates for Equity options are: January 16th, 2010  (week before VIX option expiration) February 20th, 2010 March 20th, 2010 The last day of trading is the day before (Friday) the dates above. Source: 2010 OCC Calendar