AAPL: Using Options to Protect Gains While Maintaining Upside Potential


The batch marketplace is attack all-time highs and investors are ripped between a probability of an mercantile downturn, or entering a new leg of a longhorn market. 

Last week’s article remarkable that income managers were increasingly regulating call options to advantage additional bearing to a batch market.  Some of this function competence be deemed as a forward form of leveraging in an act of FOMO, or fear of blank out as bonds shrug off each macro headwind pathogen to tariffs.  

In a essay we overwhelmed on a use of a Stock Replacement, that is radically replacing tenure of shares with a squeeze of call options.   This is a good time to examination a routine and benefits. 

Replace Rather Than Remove 

When people wish to revoke risk though say upside bearing they customarily consider in terms of shopping put word as a form of portfolio insurance.  While this can be effective in minimizing waste during a decline, it can have a poignant drag on opening in a form of a cost of reward paid for put options.  

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An choice proceed is a stock replacement strategy in that one swaps owning shares of a underlying for being prolonged call options. The dual categorical advantages of a deputy plan over a married put position are: 

  1. It severely reduces a collateral mandate and provides a coherence to redeploy money in new investments or opportunistic fashion. 
  2. It offers a advantage of leveraging options to say larger upside intensity on serve gains. 

Basic Replacement

 My simple manners of ride for implementing this are:

1. Buy call options that have during slightest 6 months remaining until expiration.  This will assistance revoke a disastrous impact of time spoil (theta) in that premiums get eroded.  I’m presumption anyone who has enjoyed a gains of a past year or dual has a long-term mentality, so regulating LEAPs, or those options that have a year or some-more also creates sense.
2. Choose a strike cost that has a delta of slightest 0.70.  This will customarily meant shopping a call that is about 10% in-the-money.  Let’s take a demeanour during Apple (AAPL) that is set to news benefit after a tighten today. 

The batch is now trade during $245 a share.   Calls with a $225 strike cost have a delta of 0.72.  This means that for each $1 move, a value of a choice will advantage or lose) approximately $0.72.  But, remember delta works on a slope, definition that as a cost rises and a call moves serve into-the-money a delta — augmenting to a indicate it approaches 1.0, definition a position gets longer or some-more bullish as cost rises.   Conversely, if share cost declines, so will a delta so a rate of waste decelerates. 

In a instance of above, one could buy a $225 call that expires Jun of 2020 for $1,700 a contract.  This is a high bonus to a $24,500 it would take to buy 100 shares. 

Now, assume shares gained usually 10% to $270 over a subsequent 3 months. The value of a call would be approximately $4,500 or a 75 % increase.  This assumes no change in pragmatic volatility, though takes into 3 months of theta into comment that would proportion to $1.05 of decay. The delta during that indicate would be 0.98 or radically one-to-one correlation. 

Obviously a precedence of options severely boosts a return, or losses, on investment on a commission basis.   

Calculating a Contracts

This brings me to an critical indicate per last a series of contracts one should buy.  There are dual simple approaches: delta-equivalent or share-count.  

In a delta equivalent, if we possess 1,000 shares and wish to say a same exposure, we would need to buy 13 contracts of a call with a stream 0.72  delta.  Be wakeful as cost rises, your net bearing will boost adult to a limit of 1,300 share equivalent.  In a Apple example, your sum cost for 13 of a Jun $225 calls is $36,000. 

If we wish to simply say a limit 1,000 share equivalent, we would buy 10 contracts.  Again, a stream net bearing would be usually 700 shares on a delta basis. In this case, your sum cost and risk is $30,000.

These review with a $245,000 it would cost to possess 1,000 shares.  Or presumption 50% domain that’s still a large $65,000. 

Of course, these are usually simple examples and one could tailor a position to align with a specific risk form and investment outlook.   This could embody some-more formidable strategies such as spreads and combinations. 

What we never wish to do is use a dollar-equivalent approach. That is if we owned 1,000 shares of Apple that now has a notional value of $150,000, we don’t wish to buy $150,000 value of calls.  In a instance above, that would be 110 contracts. Which creates we net prolonged 11,100 shares or a 9,000 on a delta basis. Even if we insincere 50% domain and cut those numbers in half, it is still an implausible boost in risk. 


Like anything in life, this comes with some contain and intensity pitfalls.  Putting aside a mismanaging of position size, one contingency always remember that if a choice falls out-of-the-money, there is a intensity for 100% detriment during expiration. In a example, that means that if shares of Apple are next $225 on expiration, or usually a 9% decline, a calls will be worthless.  

Another care is distinct shareholders, owners of options do not validate to collect dividends. Given that many of a past year’s best performers have been driven by a “bond equivalents” such as staples, utilities, REITs and MLPs, this might opposite a reason we already possess a shares.  And finally, offered a batch that has poignant gains might have neglected taxation implications.

But for those sitting on shares with healthy increase that wish to revoke risk though say upside exposure, a batch deputy plan creates sense. 

AAPL shares were trade during $324.20 per share on Wednesday afternoon, adult $5.20 (+1.63%). Year-to-date, AAPL has gained 10.67%, contra a 5.23% arise in a benchmark SP 500 index during a same period.

About a Author: Steve Smith

Steve has some-more than 30 years of investment knowledge with an imagination in options trading. He’s created for TheStreet.com, Minyanville and now for Option Sensei. Learn some-more about Steve’s background, along with links to his many new articles. More…

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