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The Difference Between Being Right and Being Profitable

To profit when buying a stock, you must be right on the direction as soon as you enter the trade. If the stock goes up, you’ll make money, and if the stock goes down, you’ll lose money. If you short a stock, and the stock goes down, you’ll make money and if the stock goes up, you’ll lose money. Pretty basic, right?

However, once I learned how options work and started to trade them many years ago, I realized Newton’s law of motion could allow me to profit regardless of whether a bullish trade went up, or a bearish trade went down.

To quote Isaac Newton, and I paraphrase, “A body in motion will remain in motion.” The Moses corollary to that would be: “A stock in a trend, will remain in a trend – until it isn’t.” And as long as it stays in that trend, there are numerous options strategies designed to take advantage of one of the attributes that make options unique: time decay.

This means it’s possible for a stock to go absolutely nowhere, or to even be wrong directionally on a stock/option trade, and still be able to profit. Now I don’t mean is Enron wrongÉ but it is possible to have a stock go against you directionally by 5%, sometimes even 10%, and still profit. This strategy can be accomplished by the buying and selling of out of the money options, which if they are still out of the money on their expiration date, will expire worthless (and traders would keep the premium sold).

Now while I can’t speak for everybody, the only reason I’m in the market, the only reason I’m a trader, is to… make a profit. So how liberating is it to know that you can profit, even when wrong on the direction your analysis suggested a stock would move in?

Here are 7 conservative options strategies designed to profit when stocks either go nowhere, stay above or below specified demand or supply levels, or stay within a defined range.. for approximately anywhere between three and six weeks:

1) Bull/Put Spread – You sell a put option at the strike price you expect the stock to stay above, and buy another put option at the next out of the money strike price.

2) Bear/Call Spread – You sell a call option at the strike price you expect the stock to stay under, and buy another call option at the next out of the money strike price.

3) Bull/Call Spread – You buy a call option, and sell another call option at a strike price you expect the stock to stay over.

4) Bear/Put Spread – You buy a put option, and sell another put option at a strike price you expect the stock to stay under.

5) Cash Secured Put – You sell a put option at a strike price you expect the stock to stay over.

6) Covered Call – On a stock you already own, you sell a call option at a strike price you expect the stock to stay under.

7) Iron Condor – You enter a bull/put spread and a bear/call spread at the same timeÉ looking to capture a range you expect the stock to stay in between.

Every option trade carries risk of loss, up to and including 100% of the principle invested.

This is a guest post by Steve Moses, Options Trader and Instructor at Online Trading Academy

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Date:
December 19, 2012 um 6:40 am
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