Matthew Waterman
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Matthew Waterman in Brand Power,

How To Exploit The Options Market

I have a strategy for options that's really not like most of what you see out there, and it's a little hard to describe because you *really* need to be able to grasp the long term value of a company, but it goes like this:

1. You find the stock of a company that you know is good, but experiencing what you perceive to be a short-term problem. The stock price would be presumably depressed. Let's use Mattel (MAT) last year as an example. You go long the common stock shares, but set aside 1/10th of your total investment for the purpose of making a move on earnings. You get that money deposited into your investment account and make sure it's settled and ready to go.

2. You make sure that you are wide awake and at your computer or whatever it is to trade on the morning that earnings are reported, or if it's after hours, the very next day. When earnings hits, if it's great or even just flat, you do nothing. Just let that money in the stock ride and be satisfied. BUT- let's say earnings disappoint, and the stock takes a sharp drop, in my case it was about 10% in the first quarter of 2015; you get in there and you buy LEAPS. You don't screw around with these day to day things, you are long-term in your choice to buy the stock, and also long term in your options strategy.

3. I'll illustrate what I did here in real life. These earnings in the first quarter were crap, and I wasn't expecting them to be good, nobody was. But this was Mattel we're talking about, they only make money at Christmas time anyways. But these LEAPS I bought were on options expiring in January 2017. A whole year away. I got these $28 calls, out of the money, for $1 each when the share price dropped that morning. ONE DOLLAR. The shares got just below $27 that day. Options are all about volatility, they have basically nothing in common with actual business valuation. My longer term estimate on a healthy company is around $38/share. They are touching $34 today.

What I'm saying here is that I bought $1 worth of growth for essentially exactly $1 of risk because there was so much pessimism.

Those options are bidding at $5.20 right now, and I cashed out some at $3, but that's 520% gross return if I flipped them today. They don't need to be in the money, I can flip the premium. I could never say with certainty that they'd hit that $38 target in my mind, but the halfway point I couldn't even imagine them not ever getting there. And they're more than that right now. 

So you stomach just a small amount of risk and wage a fraction of your long-term gains for the chance at getting way more. If you're going to play options, this is how to do it. You get a nearly sure thing, and a growth in the hundreds of percents. If you're incorrect about it, you aren't forced to sell your common stock, so you are free to let that ride, that's the worst case. You keep 90% of what you started with in the game.

I'm not going to disclose my exact plan for the remainder of the money at this moment, but flipping the rest into undervalued stocks, and out of the money calls for a future date is a pretty safe bet ;) 

I will probably mention what I did once I make the actual trades because I don't want to influence the prices of things until then, but at that time I'm certain that there will still be plenty of upside for us to share, so if you're not a follower yet, make sure to do that so you don's miss out.

Oh, also I am long Mattel in case that's not clear.