Alexander Valtsev
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Get A 5% Return On Seagate Technology's Covered Calls Over The Next Two Weeks

Apparently, Seagate Technology's shares spiked in the after-hours trading thanks to good preliminary quarterly results. You can read more about them here. The stock is up over 13% after close:

(Source: Google Finance)

The short-term options on the stock have historically been priced at high implied volatility and are now in the top quartile, according to market data:



Obviously, when an option trades in the 93rd percentile, not selling it is a sin. On the other hand, you want to be delta-neutral - that is, stay away from the deadly upside exposure. Hence, a covered call is one of the best strategies you can execute. 

The problem is that, because the stock gapped higher in the after-hours trading, the options' prices have not yet reflected the increase. Of course, we cannot do a trade without preliminary calculations, which are cumbersome given the absence of the options data. Luckily, I have a BSM calculator, which, given the current inputs, can give me an approximate value of the options tomorrow:

(Source: Google Finance. Calculations by author)

Note that I have increased implied volatility to 70% per annum, which is 10% higher than what you see in the data above. The rationale behind it is the idea that implied volatility increases when the underlying moves violently in either direction (hence, you can expect puts to also gain in IV)

The at-the-money options with a strike of $27 is going to cost around $1.70 tomorrow, which is worth over 6% of the current market price. The time value of the option itself is worth over 5% (simply subtract the option's moneyness from the current market price of the underlying). Now, earning a 6% return over a two-week period or so is quite fantastic (it translates into a 100%+ annualized return). The risk, of course, is the downside exposure, which can be limited by purchasing out-of-money puts.

If the stock keeps rising, you will miss out on the upside. Of course, this is not nice from the trader's perspective. However, think about this: you are getting the 6% return for sure, most of which is the decaying time value of the option. We do not know where stock is going to end up in two-weeks' time. However, we do know that we are earning a 100%+ annualized return with this strategy, and the options are trading in the 93rd percentile. Selling them now is simply wise.

What do you think?