The pressure is on!
Top Trades has become one of Philstockworld’s most popular Memberships and that’s a shame because I actually hate trading services that just give out trade ideas. Unfortunately, that’s what the market demands and, though Top Trade Members miss out on the trading education and deep discussions we have in our Live Member Chat Room, they usually do get a lot of great trades.
That is, until September they did! In our first year of Top Trades, beginning in August of 2015, 96 out of 119 Trade Ideas (80.6%) were immediate winners and half of the initial losers turned around over time and became winners as well. Perhaps it was shooting fish in a barrel in a bull market. Unfortunately, our second year got off to a rough start, with just 7 of our 16 ideas in September and October winning by Dec 10th (we have to give them some time before reviewing). Of those 9 losing trades:
So 4 of our 5 losers are now winners and these are long-term trades, for the most part – it’s not like we can expect every one to win immediately. The point is that these reviews are simply initial snapshots to see how we’re doing – in case our trade need adjustments in their early stages – they are far from the final word on these trades. In this month’s review, we will pick up in November and review the next two months.
The secret to our success in Top Trades is PATIENCE!!! Patience is the hardest thing we try to teach our Members at Philstockworld as it tends to take years of practice and the nice thing about the Top Trades Membership is that you don’t have a choice – we make our picks ONLY when we see a nice opportunity and if that’s once a week, twice a week or just once a month – we don’t care – we only make picks that have excellent chances of making a profit – 80% chances going by our first year’s performance…
Top Trade Alerts come from our Live Member Chat Room at Philstockworld and represent a very small portion of our trade ideas but they are a fair representation of applying our “Be the House – NOT the Gambler” strategy and you can learn a lot by reviewing the performance of these trades through up and down markets over the course of a year. All PSW Basic and Premium Members have Top Trade Access (just make sure your smart phone number is in the box here if you want text alerts in addition to our EMail alerts).
Combining a solid winning percentage with sensible portfolio management techniques (diversification, managing losses, hedging) will have you beating the S&P by a mile with no sweat. Generally, with our Top Trades, we’re simply picking stocks we feel are underpriced and we’re using our various options techniques to give ourselves even better discounts and hedged entries but these are patience plays that can take time to get going, usually our Top Trade Ideas have long-term objectives.
Friday, Nov 4th got us off to a good start with our note to buy WTW based on news that Oprah would be doing a commercial campaign with them in Q1 (Oprah is a big shareholder). Our trade idea was:
Let’s add them to the OOP as follows:
That’s a net $300 credit on the $3,000 spread that’s $1,000 in the money to start you off. Upside potential is $3,300 back at $12 in April and, if WTW stays over $10 to the end of the year, we’re talking 1,100% gains on cash. ToS says the ordinary margin requirement is just $1,800, so pretty efficient.
The April spread is already in the money and paying $1.40 ($2,100) while the puts have dropped to $2.15 ($1,075) for net $1,025 + the $300 credit is a $1,325 profit (442%) so far but that’s not even halfway to our 1,100% goal so call this one “on target.”
Our Top Trade Alerts come from our Live Member Chat Room and they are generally trades I have a lot of confidence in out of a dozen or so trade ideas we have each week. Not just confidence but also I prefer they be “set and forget” trade ideas because, unlike our Member Chat – I don’t talk to Top Trade Members so there’s no adjustments along the way – something we specialize in at PSW.
Since our Top Trade Alerts come from Chat, I sometimes leave in other things we were discussing in the post. In the above trade, I made a useful note on the Dollar Futures:
Dollar/Lunar – 97 is where we do want to take a poke long again.
As you can see, the Dollar plowed all the way up to 103.50 before turning down and, at $1,000 per point, that’s a $6,500 per contract winner but we don’t count those in Top Trades – just some bonus play if you are so inclined.
Monday, Nov 7th was the day before the World ended and we were liking FCX at the time:
I’m thinking FCX makes a good add. We do have 25 short 2018 $8 puts in the LTP and we sold them for $1.85 back in July, now $1.05 so let’s just use those and add a bull call spread. We can buy 25 2019 $7 calls at $5.30 and sell 25 2019 $12 calls at $3.20 is net $2.10 on the $5 spread so nice $2.90 upside is not a very exciting play but nothing wrong with $7,250 in pretty easy upside. Also makes a nice inflation hedge and, as a new trade, your net is a credit if you sell the 2019 $10 puts for $2.65.
Good timing there. Even selling the 25 2018 $8 puts for $1.05 ($2,625), they are down to 0.29 ($725) for a $1,900 gain (aren’t options great?) and the bull call spread is deep in the money at net $3.15 ($7,875) so net $7,150 from our net $2,625 start is a quick $4,525 profit (172%) and well on the way to realizing the full $7,250 so still $2,725 left to gain (60%) on this one.
Thursday, Nov 10th, before we got to our idea on CTT, I threw in this useful play on Lumber Futures (/LB):
/LB is Lumber and that’s the new long bet above the 300 line. The way it trades is you are buying contracts for 110,000 feet of random-length (8-20 feet), building grade 2x4s. Simple premise – Trump is a builder – at some point he’s going to talk about stimulating the construction industry. Every 0.10 is $11 per contract on /LB.
So, as noted above, the 60-point quick rise we got during the month was good for $110 x 60 = $6,600 per contract profits but, as above, we don’t count those freebies as Top Trades – just some fun stuff from our Live Chat Room. As our Chat Members know, that was the first and only trade we made on Lumber all year – it just so happened to be in a really good spot!
CTT is also a lumber play – that’s what the connection was:
CTT is a lumber REIT that pays a 5% dividends (0.54) at $11.05 and you can buy the stock and sell the May $11 calls for $1.50 or better and that drops the basis to $9.55 and you don’t even need to sell the puts – it’s a really nice covered call on a great long-term dividend payer.
This is a very dull play, meant to be a dividend-payer, not to make great profits. The stock is now $10.84 and the May $10 calls (there were no $11s, my mistake) are 0.75 so net $10.09 is up a whopping 0.54 (5.6%) but on Nov 16th they paid a 0.135 dividend and another one is coming soon so call it up 0.81 of our $9.55 entry and that’s up 8.4% in 3 months – not bad for a boring trade!
While they may not seem exciting, dividend stocks are the bread and butter of a Long-Term Portfolio. Over time, through call selling, we whittle the cost basis down to zero yet the dividends will be paid to us forever and, before you know it, we are retiring with a very safe portfolio that throws off a nice, steady, low-tax income. Don’t neglect the “boring” trades!
Wednesday, Nov 16th we were back on the coffee bandwagon.
Let’s officially add the above JO trade to the STP:
Fortunately, SBUX took off and saved us as JO is a big disappointment so far. The $45 puts have dropped to $2.70 ($2,700), so we’ve gained $1,300 there but the Jo June spread has fallen to 0.70 ($2,800), a loss of $2,700 (96%) on the spread. As a fix, we want to salvage the $1.10 from the June $22 calls and pick up the September $19 ($3)/23 ($1.35) bull call spread at $1.65 which leaves us with the short June $26 calls covered by the $4 Sept spread and the short SBUX puts at net/net $5,000 and it still pays $16,000 if it works.
You could also just pull the plug on JO and then, if the SBUX puts expire worthless (SBUX over $45 in Jan 2019), you end up net even on the trade. That’s why we love the flexibility of these kind of spreads – we can give up on the main trade and then we’re just promising to buy SBUX at $45, which is more than 20% off the current price.
Monday, Nov 21st we were still expecting inflation now that Trump was President-Elect. ABX had just had disappointing earnings and that made them a bargain to us as we were allowing for the strong Dollar – something most analysts ignore:
Gold/Selozi – I think we talked about last week how gold only looks weak because it’s priced in Dollars. If you are in any other country, gold is doing great vs. your currency. So, rather than play gold, I like ABX or other miners (but I like ABX) on any weakness because they sell gold all over the World and their earnings don’t correlate to the Dollar the way straight gold does. Overall, I think gold will be $1,500 by 2018 as inflation kicks in.
We love ABX and play them all the time but they are not in our OOP other than some short puts so let’s add the following play:
That’s net $1,500 on the $16,000 spread so we have upside potential of a $14,500 profit (966%) in two years and our worst-case scenario is having 1,000 shares of ABX assigned to us at net $16.50 and the ordinary margin requirement on the short puts is only $1,680 so very efficient way to make $14,500 – about $500 a month back on our investment if we’re on track!
Talk about easy money! The short puts are already down to $1.82 ($1,820) and the $13/20 spread is in the money at net $3.90 ($7,800) for net $5,980, which is up $4,480 (up 298%) but not even 1/3 of the way to goal so I think we’ll keep these for sure.
Tuesday, Nov 22nd, it was time to revisit an old favorite but first I reiterated our call on ABX – just to make sure no one missed it and then we got to this:
CLF/Maya – Damn, when you put it that way, it’s hard to turn down, right? Actually, in the LTP, our position is 30 long 2019 $4 calls, now $5 (up 100%) and we sold 35 2018 $4 puts for $2.80, now 0.48 and this net $2,300 credit spread is now worth about $11,500 after a wild ride so let’s not “adjust” it but take it off the table and make a new trade on CLF for the LTP, which will be:
So we’re cashing in $11,500 and keeping the original $2,300 credit for a $13,800 profit and now we’re putting $2,570 back to work with a $17,430 upside at $10 and we can sell more short calls along the way.
Jan is just a 60-day sale out of 787 days to long expiration so not even 10% and on just a 1/4 sale we’re pulling down $1,130 – easy $10,000 of spare change in our pocket every couple of months is a Do Your Own Dividend kind of stock and, with over $11,000 in profits safely in our pocket, there’s nothing scary about potentially being assigned 2,000 shares for $7 ($1,400).
This is a good nutshell example of how our tree-planting system works. This is year 3 of a trade we initiated with no money down, agreeing to buy $12,000 of CLF and now we’ve got $10,000 in our pockets, a slightly more aggressive trade (two years to get from $8 to $10) and a $500 monthly income. Now that’s INVESTING!
Yet another huge success story and all we’re doing is following the news and contemplating the repercussions of a Trump Presidency. Investing isn’t hard when you stick to the Fundamentals… The 10 short Jan $8 calls expired on Jan 20th at 0.73 ($730) so up $400 there. The short $7 puts are a mile out of the money at $1.20 ($2,400) and the $5/10 spread is miles in the money already at $3.07 ($12,280) for net $9,150, which is a gain of $6,580 (356%) but the potential on the spread is $20,000, which would be up $17,430 so this trade is just “on track“.
Thursday, Dec 1st, we had a spread using SCO and SDRL:
SCO/Yodi – Was waiting for options prices to settle down to make it official. SCO is at $69.44 and the trade for the OOP is going to be:
That’s net $780 on the $5,000 spread, which is better than the $2,000+ on the $10,000 spread I was contemplating above but with a lower target (the $75 calls are $5.60). Worst case to the downside is we’re long $3,000 worth of SDRL – worth it!
SCO didn’t fall 50%, they had a 2:1 split and we finished the Jan spread at $34.31, which was effectively $68.62 or $3.32 ($3,320) and that leaves us with the short SDRL puts, now 0.90 ($1,800) so net $1,520 is up $740 (95%) but we’ve since lost faith in SDRL, so we’re done with this trade entirely.
Friday, Dec 9th, we thought we were getting a bargain as RH tumbled down to $30:
RH/Rick – I liked them when they were $30 years ago and I guess I should like them again at $33 but they are only making $1.25 per share for a p/e of 26.4 so really only priced right for that kind of business (and that’s giving them some slack in this over-valued market). They are getting killed today after BEATING for Q3 but guided Q4 down severely and it’s being extrapolated to DOOM FOREVER.
However, it’s a good call on a stock I certainly wouldn’t mind scaling into so, in the LTP, we can put a flag down and sell 10 of the 2019 $25 puts for $6 to put $6,000 in our pockets while we wait to see where these guys settle down. If they go lower (I very much doubt below $25), then we can add a bull call spread ($25/35, currently $5) but no rush at all.
As you can see, they hit our target floor at $25 but we were in Vegas and forgot to add the bull call spread at the time – though I still like the plan. The puts, by themselves, are now $7.40 ($7,400) so down $1,400 (23%) and I still like that sale along with 10 2019 $25 calls $9.75 ($9,750), selling 10 of the $35 calls for $6.20 ($6,200) for $3,550 so we still have a net $2,450 credit (or a $3,850 credit if starting from scratch) and our worst case is owning RH at net $22.55 – 16% below the current price. That’s an official add for our LTP!
Fortunately, that Dec 9th post was a double and we again picked WTW as they had pulled back to even better prices than our November entry:
WTW/Hanj – I’d sell 10 2019 $8 puts for $2.40 ($2,400) and consider that free money and pick up 10 2019 $5 ($6)/12 ($2.50) bull call spreads for $3,500 for net $1,100 on the $7,000 spread that’s $5,000 in the money to start. In fact, that’s such a good spread we will add it to the OOP (so much for cutting positions!).
This version of the spread was even better and the $8 puts are down to $1.95 ($1,950) and the aggressive $5/12 spread is $4.40 ($4,400) for net $2,450 so up $1,350 (181%) on our 2nd attempt. Max gain on this one is $5,900 so plenty of room to run!
As a throwaway trade idea, I also mentioned NAK, one of the few penny stocks we play and it was $1.50 at the time and promptly doubled:
Friday, Dec 16th, it was time for our Trade of the Year for 2017 to be revealed and we chose SLW with a whole post explaining why. The actual trade idea was:
In our Long-Term Portfolio, we already have 40 short 2018 $15 puts that we sold for $4.80 ($19,200) in December of last year. After a wild ride, the stock is back where we started but those short puts are now $1.97 ($7,880) due to premium decay for a first year profit of $11,320 (58%), right on track. We had longs on SLW in the STP, but we cashed them on the bull run (which is why they were in the STP and not the LTP!).
For the LTP, I want to add 20 2019 $15 ($5.50)/$25 ($2.75) bull call spreads for net $2.75 ($5,500), which pay $20,000 at $25.
In the Options Opportunity Portfolio (OOP) we’ll play it like this:
That’s net $1,300 on the $20,000 spread so the potential upside is $18,700 back on cash (1,438%) and ThinkorSwim says the net margin on the short puts is just $3,226 so it’s a super-efficient trade and we’d be happy to buy more if it goes lower, which it might on a stronger Dollar. Worst-case is we get assigned 1,000 shares at $17 ($17,000) plus the $1,300 cash we spent so net $18.30 a share is our worst case and yes, it’s an aggressive ownership – that’s how we’re making 1,438% back on cash, silly!
If we end up owning 1,000 shares of SLW, I can see that, at the moment, we can sell the 2019 $17 calls for $5, which would drop our net to $13.30, which is why you have to learn to think several moves ahead when setting up options plays and you’ll find the risks are a lot more manageable when you have a good plan going in!
In the LTP trade, the 40 short Jan $15 puts are now 0.73 ($2,920) which are up $4,960 from the $7,880 credit entry at $1.97 and, of course, a much bigger winner off the original $4.80 entry for our Chat Room Members. Still, not bad for coming to the party late, right? Everyone got in the bull spread at the same time and the $15/25 spread is already at $4.55 ($9,100) so net $6,180 is up a quick $8,560 (359%) but not even halfway to our full $22,380 potential profit.
Our 2nd SLW trade (it is the Trade of the Year, after all) is also going like gangbusters as the aggressive $17 puts have already fallen to $2.25 ($2,250) while the same spread is the same $4.55 ($9,100) so net $6,850 is up $5,550 (427%) from our net $1,300 entry and also simply on track for the full $20,000 payoff.
Friday, Dec 23rd, we were not on vacation and found 3 trades we liked into the holidays. Trump’s tweets made us feel the need for defense stocks as well as a Dow hedge:
Putin responded to Trump’s nuclear tweet (yes, apparently, this is how we conduct diplomacy now) by saying: “We need to strengthen the strategic nuclear forces, for that we should develop missiles capable of penetrating any current and prospective missile defense systems.” He also called for the balanced development of all branches of the armed forces, precision weapons, modern means of communication and inspection as well as electronic warfare systems. There was, of course, much celebrating among Global defense contractors and Putin himself will make Billions through his control of Russian contractors.
Because of their work on nuclear fusion, Lockheed Martin (LMT) is our favorite US defense contractor and they’ve been down recently as Trump tweeted out his displeasure with F35 cost overruns but, overall, we think it’s a nice opportunity to go long LTM:
That puts you into the $20,000 spread that’s 80% in the money for net $4,500 so the upside potential, if LMT just manages to move up $10 in two years, then it’s a profit of $15,500 (344%) and ordinary margin on the short puts is about $10,000 but those puts are a nice 20% discount to the current price – we’re playing conservative because we do expect a market pullback.
LMT took off nicely and the $200 puts are down to $9.30 ($4,650) while the $220/260 spread is now well in the money at $26.30 ($13,150) for net $8,500 which is up a quick $4,000 (88%) and on track for the full $20,000.
We also like Raytheon (RTN), who get paid almost $2M every time the US fires a Tomahawk missile (and we do that a lot!). So, to bet on the escalating cold war (and the proxy wars we love to fight), we like:
In this case net $2,800 in cash buys us a $12,500 spread so the upside potential at $145 (where we are now) is $9,700 (346%). As with the LMT trade, we’re being conservative in our initial entry, in case the market sells off but, if it doesn’t, nothing wrong with “just” making a 346% return on cash. Margin requirement for 5 short $120 puts is just $6,000, so it’s a nice, margin-efficient trade as well.
RTN’s chart is just like LMT and, in this case, the short puts have fallen to $5.90 ($2,950) while the bullish spread is now $17.70 ($8,850) for net $5,900, up $3,100 (110%) but also just on the way to the full $12,500.
Also, a hedging play against a market crash:
On the whole, I think there’s a great opportunity for a contrarian play here, shorting the Dow (DIA) using the 2x Ultra-Short (DXD), which is currently at $13.94. A trade set-up I’d like is:
It doesn’t have to be Bed Bath and Beyond but they just missed on earnings and will have good put prices to sell and we think they are a real bargain at $35, so we’d be thrilled to be assigned at that price (now $44, so more than 20% off). We take the money we are given in exchange for promising to buy BBBY for 20% off (net $35,000 for 1,000 shares) and we use that to make a net $200 cash entry on the $12,000 spread that’s $4,000 in the money to start.
So this trade can’t lose (assuming you REALLY want to own BBBY) unless the Dow is well over 20,000, which makes it a perfect hedge and we’ll be adding it to our Short-Term Portfolio this morning. If the Dow does head lower and DXD is over $16 at April expirations, the profit potential is $11,800 for a 5,900% return on cash – that’s good insurance!
The Dow has gone completely crazy since then and that has sent DXD plunging but the April $13 calls are still 0.45 and they can be rolled to the July $12 ($1.30)/16 (0.35) bull call spread at 0.95 so net 0.50 ($2,000) to extent the insurance another quarter – which is the proper way to play it. The BBBY puts are still $3.45 ($3,450) so not much help there so far but, as long as they ultimately expire worthless, it’s essentially free insurance. Still, for scorekeeping purposes, the spread is now net -$2,050, so down $2,250 (1,125%) at the moment.
Tuesday, Dec 27th was our last Trade Idea for 2017 and, as I had just put out our Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017, I thought it would be a good idea to reiterate my love for our Trade of the Year:
So, officially, the trade change would be (and we’ll add it to the OOP as our 2017 Trade of the Year):
That’s net $350 on the potential $7,500 spread for a gain of $7,250 (2,053%) gain if SLW is at $20 in Jan 2018 and stays over $15 in Jan 2019. Worst case is owning 1,000 SLW at $15.35 and the spread, of course, is already $2.75 in the money ($4,125) – what’s not to love!
In the LTP, we’ll make a similar play but we can afford to take a different risk so it will be like this:
That’s net $5,100 on the $50,000 spread and we’re only obligated to own 2,000 shares of SLW at $17 ($34,000) plus, if we lose the $5,100, it’s $39,100 or $19.55/share so a bit riskier but two years to goal and 6x more upside is worth the risk, mostly because it’s a LONG-TERM portfolio and if SLW goes south for 2 years, we can go 2 more years no problem.
On the whole they are minor variations of the other two so I’m not going to count them as winners but I am going to say how much I love SLW as a Top Trade for 2017!
So that’s officially 11 winners out of 14 trade ideas for November and December, a much better 78.5% winning percentage and, of course, one was a hedge – it’s not supposed to win. Added to our now 11 of 16 winners for Sept/Oct, we’re 22 of 30 and 73% for year 2 so far. Since we now try to remember to give position sizes as well, we can go back and count a net gain on the 14 trades of $34,490 in just over 3 months – not a bad way to get 2017 started – no wonder this portfolio is so popular!
Remember: At PSW our PHILosophy is to Teach a Man to Fish – not just give out fish and, if you’d like to learn to identify your own Top Trades and we’ve been making you good money on these fish – why not try upgrading your Membership to our Live Member Chat Room and learn how to fish like we do – every day.
Provided courtesy of Phil’s Stock World.
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