Short Straddle Option Strategies on SPX and RUT

Based on Short Straddle Option Strategies Dave published some highly interesting information about his straddle backtests.

So far, it supports my understanding, that Straddles are a great way to earn consistent income from options.

Being an Option Seller, all factors come down on managing risk and premium income well enough to earn profits on a regular basis.

Source: DTR Trading

Let me quote some results from Daves statistical research:

In general, we can see in the table that, to collect 10% of the credit received (10% profit taking level) required a trade duration of roughly 30% of the entry DTE. At the 25% profit taking level you needed to stay in the trade around 60% of the entry DTE. For the 35% profit taking level it was about 70% of the entry DTE; 45% profit taking took your trade duration to about 80% of the entry DTE. These estimates are for the non-IVR filtered strategy variations.

First of all, you can generally show that higher profit targets force you to stay longer in your position. If you think about it, that result make totally sense. Profits are usually coming from time decay and a loss of volatility. While time will pass by automatically, you have a a fifty fifty chance on rising or falling vola (unless you enter the trade at very high implied volatility levels).

So the more you want to earn -- the longer you will have to wait.

Now for the last table...total non-compounded returns by strategy variation. The non-IVR filtered variations had the highest returns, which is related to these variations having the most trades (100+, see table above). In general, the trend is for higher returns with higher DTE.

At the same time more days to expiration (DTE) increase your profit propability and your returns. Longer DTEs increase the time value of your sold options giving you more time to hold your position. At the same time, longer option plays are less volatile and reduce risk on larger stock market swings.

The third table shows the win rate for all of the strategy variations. The highest win rates occurred at the 10% profit taking level, regardless of IVR filter level. Most of these particular win rates were in the 90% + range. For the IVR > 50% filter, the high win rates spanned multiple profit taking levels. For the non-IVR filtered variations and the 25% profit taking level, we see many win rates at or above 80% across most DTE. For a monthly straddle trader, this isn't a bad win rate.

If you only go with 10% profit target, your chance of winning is almost always at least 90%. The problem of volatilty flips at the same time, if you do those trades on a regular basis with a high stop loss level. The reason is, that volatility is high and you can earn huge premiums here. But high vola also means huge swings in the underlying that will increase your risk of getting kicked out of the trade with a loss before you can earn your profit. A profit target that is too low also needs more time to earn back your losing trades.

So far from what I learned, a good profit target is around 25% to 35% of the received option premium. At the same time, I would put a stop loss target that is around double or triple of your profit target. Let's say, you take profit at 25% than my maximum loss to take would be 50% to 75% at best. For a profit of 35% you should give space for up to 100% of the premium received.


Short Butterfly Dec 2015 - Performance Report Week 43/2015

We ended last week with a strong run up on 3,450 points which is kind of over my preferred range of 3,400 points. From here I am already in the zone of losses. Having 3 short call options open means, with every point up from here I lose 30 EUR. That is kind of the situation I would like to avoid.

Because of that I have opened the next short put option at 3,550 points on Friday to give me a little room to breath. But after crunching the numbers on the weekend I figured out, that this step does not really do the trick yet. One put option still means there is 2 naked call options costing me money on the upside. In fact, my protection begins at 3,700 points where I have bought my long call options. Running up another 250 points would mean a loss of 2,500 EUR alread for those 2 options plus another 2,000 EUR for the third call starting after 3,550 points.

To understand the positioning to the fullest, you can have a look at my position table down below. So far, I am delta negative, which means, on markets moving higher I lose money. Markets going down will make me some money.

As we are already in Tuesday night as I am typing those lines, I have to admit, that the strategy was not optimal for this period once again. The market made a strong move from less than 3,000 points up to 3,450 points leaving me with a wide range and no clear restistance at the current level.

So far, I will close out the low call at 2,950 points and take profit an the lowest naked put option at 3,150 points. That means, my range moves a bit higher. At the same time, due to my payments to close the call option, I am running out of premium to get my complete position in a win.

What are my possibilies now? At first, I could sell another straddle at 3,450 points to narrow the net and earn round about 200 points here. That would offer me a nice buffer. My new range would be between 3,300 points and 3,500 points. If we moved down again, I could sell another straddle at 3,250 points. So my range would widen again a bit from 3,200 to 3,500 points.

What I do not like with that idea is the essential risk on the upside. I really have to think through if I try to work that out or if I cut losses and focus on the next month.

As I will be on holiday in the Philippines with my wife in November, I feel that closing out and having a good off time would be the better choice. I will have to decide until Friday...


Short Butterfly Dec 2015 - Performance Report Week 42/2015

Last week, EuroStoxx 50 closed above 3,260 points. Volatility keeps on going down. Currently, I am still facing some losses due to high expenses for insurance in September and October. For my next trading period, I will try to keep those expenses low. I figured out that options valuation is more stable with expireation some months out. That means it could make sense to reduce protection in the beginning and buy better insurance a month or two later.

The maximum profit is at the moment around 3,700 EUR. Focussing on my profit target of 50 % of that we still have a long way to go. The position is at risk if the EuroStoxx 50 moves above 3,400 points or below 2,800 points. To me that feels like a pretty comfortable profit zone right now.

The question is, what do I do if me move further up. Chart show bearish resistance between 3,300 and 3,400 points. If we move closer to 3,350 points I would feel extend my position at 3,250 and 3,450 points. At the same the short call option at 2,950 have to be closed if possible. Or will will buy one FESX future to cover the position.


Short Butterfly Dec 2015 - Performance Report Week 41/2015

Just in short the results from last weeks trading: The European market went sideways and tended slightly upwards. All short options are completely in the range. I closed my protective put option spread during the week, so that I am naked on the downside now. I feel fine taking that risk as I am still short 2 call options at 3,150 and 2,950 points that should provide me some buffer. But still, I am shooting for another spread until December for less than 20 points below the strike of 3,000 points. At the moment, the spread at 2,750/ 2,950 comes into my mind trading at 24 points.

The maximum profit can be reach if we close in December at 3,150 points. As I am planning to close early in November, I am still monitoring the market every day. The volatility came down a lot since the the last drop at the end of August.

Next steps need to be take at 3,450 points (selling short call) and below 2,950 points (selling short put). The October long call protection at 3,400 is going to expire worthless. I think I will add another one after I got my bottom line safe with new put option protection.

At the moment is earnings seaons and you never know what the next day will bring!


Short Butterfly Dec 2015: Position Update

This week I have closed the short put options at 2,750 points that will expire end of October. Now, there is only 2 October long put options at 2,950 that are almost worthless for my December strategy. The premium is already very low and I wanted to reduce risk on the downside a bit.

At the moment it looks like we will keep on moving higher -- but as usual -- things can change from one day to another.

That is why I will keep the ball low and make sure to reduce risks as fast as possible.

Currently my break even points are around 2,900 and 3,400 points in EuroStoxx 50. So looking at a price of 3,200 at the moment, we are pretty comfortably situated in the range!


Short Butterfly Dec 2015 - Performance Report Week 40/2015

The EuroStoxx 50 closed last week at 3,137 and the VSTOXX closed at 31 points. Compared to the week before we are up more than 100 points. Related to the range for my options we are doing great at the moment. Break even points in December are between 2,900 and 3,400 points with maximum profit at 3,150 points at the strike of the middle short option straddle.

The put spread at 2,750/ 2,950 will expire in two weeks. So does the long call option at 3,400 points. At the moment, volatility is high and a direction is far from obvious. I am still afraid of further drops down. That keeps me holding my put spreads that extend the range at least for 2 weeks down to 2,750 points before I will have pressure for adjustments. The long call is meant to reduce margin requirements, because I hold 1 short call at 2,950 more than short puts (the 2,950 short put option is still missing).

The current positions hold are described as follows (click to zoom):

At the levels of 3,150 points and 3,350 points the straddles are still open and doing just fine. At the time when I have to sell my next short put at 2,950 points, I will close the highest strike straddle -- or put a short future against it to cut losses.

The payoff diagram can show quite clear what is the range of profit at the moment (click to zoom):

Based on that, I feel with my current holdings quite comfortable. As long as we do not see chances of more than 10 percent in any direction that short butterfly should ba nice holding to earn time premium.

Next steps have to be taken in following situations:

ESTX50 falling below 2,950 points: Sell missing short put option, sell future to over 3,350 put option.
ESTX50 rising above 3,400 points: Sell short call option at 3,550 points.
Expiration of October Put-Spread: Buy of November or December positions based on volatility.

Based on both scenarios we can move 6 percent down or 8 percent up. We are in the middle of my current range and I will do my best to keep that sitation going.


Short Butterfly Dec 2015 - Performance Report Week 39/2015

Due to personal circumstances I have not been able to publish a report last weekend. Hower, the changes were only minimal. EuroStoxx 50 closed on Friday at 3,113 points and VStoxx closed at 30.5 points.

At the end, the two long put options at 3,000 points expired worthless leaving me with a loss of 458 EUR.

In the same week before expiration I bought already protection for October: 2 long puts at 2,950 points and 2 short put options at 2,750 points for a total debit of 576 EUR.

On the upside I have extended my long call option at 3700 with another contract for 123 EUR to reduce margin and leave room to move in case we do really move upwards again. But at the moment, I do not see that coming.

On September 22, the markets made another big move down below 3,100 points. During the trading hours we saw prices around 3,050 points so that I decided to build up the next leg of the straddle at 2,950 points. After my my last experience in August I prefer to have a bit more buffer on the downside.

I sold one contract short call option 2,950 points for December earning a premium of 2,345 EUR. So the total premium received goes up to 9,331 EUR. To cover the short call, I bought a long call option for october at 3,400 points for 35 dollars to reduce margin requirements by more than a thousand EUR.

The new payoff diagramm including insurance by October expiration looks as follows (click to zoom in):

The short put option will be sold after we close below 2,950 points. If that happens, I will have to close the straddle at 3,350 points to reduce possible losses.

My current positions:

At the moment, the whole short option straddles trade at a profit of 320 EUR. But the negative influence of the insurance leaves me with a loss of 753 EUR in the books. All in all we see a loss of -433 EUR.

But there are still 2 months to go.


Performance Report Week 37/2015

Last week has been kind of boring after the huge market moves at the end of August. Everybody seems to be waiting for the FED? EuroStoxx 50 closed around 3,200 points and volatility in VSTOXX was around 30 points.

There was a good thing and a bad thing: The good thing first -- the EuroStoxx 50 trades exactly in my range of maximum profit between 3,150 points and 3,250 points. I do not wanna say, there is a real chance of making any profit this month after the desctructive results in August, but at least there is a good chance of reducing the loss.

The bad thing is -- the EuroStoxx 50 trades exactly in my range of maximum profit! Why is that bad? My problem is that I generally do not believe that an Index will be flat for a very long period of time. So it might happen that it swings in a narrow or wide range, but I am not sure if it really keeps on staying flat around 3,200 points for long. That means at the same time that the risk increases with every day that the Index will break out in one direction or the other!

So what do I do? Is it wise to hold on and pray that the index will stay flat till expiration? Let's just have a look of the payoff diagram as it was on Friday after markets closing (click to zoom):

We can clearly see that my losses quickly add up if the index market moves more than a hundred points in any direction!

On Friday I decided to keep on holding. The facts make sense that everyone will wait for Thursday for the FED announcement.

But as we have already Monday now, I have to admit that I finally chose to close out my open positions half an hour before the European markets closed! I do not want to take the risk of further losses anymore and just take what I already have.

In real trading we are talking about closing the straddle at 3,150 points for a profit of 1,233 EUR and closing the straddle at 3,250 points for a profit of 298 EUR. At the same time, I sold the long put insurance at 3,000 points for a little time value of 56 EUR and the long calls at 3,400 for a value of 22 EUR. All summed up, I earned 1,609 EUR for a profit of 1,017 EUR.

The biggest loss is still outstanding: The naked put at 3,750 points and the short future at 3,115 points. That will result in expenses of 6,350 EUR. The premium earned before was only 1,558 EUR leaving the position with a loss of 4,792 EUR.

That is the new payoff diagram with only two open positions left (click to zoom):

In fact the position is frozen now. The loss is a fact, but what is more important to me is the exclusion of risk. I do not have to worry anymore what happens on Thursday. My margin is finally back in a reasonable level and I have room to work with my December positions that also might need some further adjustments.

My total loss on the whole trade since opened in June will be 3,187 EUR.


Start of the Butterfly Strategy for December

At the end of August I have startet the next trade for my strategy with expiration in December 2015. Due to the catastrophe with my September positions I did not find the time to describe the trade yet.

On August 21st just before the crash I started with a straddle at 3,350 points. Just after the weekend, on August 24, the market dropped further and reached the second trigger at 3,150 points. At that strike I sold the next straddle for an even higher premium. At the same time I bought insurance with expiration in September: 2 long put options at 3,000 strike.

As the market moved lower, I added one long call option at 3,700 points for December as protection for a possible rebound to the upside. I liked t he low premium and took the chance to reduce the risk for the whole time to expiration. If the markets go up again, the call can pay for further options to buy in case.

Lets have a look at the open positions (click to zoom in):

After all transactions, the premium received totals 698 points. 64 points have been paid for insurance.

The current break even points are 3,550 on the upside and around 2,950 on the downside. Further adjustments will be made if the market moves below 3,000 or above 3,500. Depending on the possible premium, the new straddle will be sold or just the in the money option.

The resulting payoff diagram looks as following (click to zoom in):

Based on my experience, I will close the position when it is possible to take 50 percent of the maximum profit. At this time, the maximal profit possible will be reached between 3,150 and 3,350 points with 434 points of profit. So the trade will be closed with a profit of 217 points.

Alternatively the position will be tied up 6 weeks before expireation -- that is after half of the trading period -- so that no bigger losses can be made after that point in time. I will have to decide who I will treat that exactly. I prefer to close the whole trade at all.

Performance Report Week 36/2015

After the horrible week that crushed my depot by almost 50 % the last trading week has been less volatile. The reason is that markets came back a bit and traded in a narrow range between 3,150 points and 3,300 points. Friday closing was at 3,180 points for EuroStoxx 50 and a volatility of 35 points for VStoxx.

I took the chance to further reduce my September positions and closed out the short put option at 3,350 points. At the same time I also closed the corresponding long put option at 3,200 points.

At the end, I am left with a total premium received of 381 points for short options and 50 points of value in long put positions. The short future FESX is negative 85 points. Book value is 741 points to close the short side. The long puts will pay down for 41 points. In real money terms we are talking about a loss of 381 - 741 - 85 - 50 + 41 = 454 points multiplied by 10 equals - 4,540 EUR.

Looking at the payoff diagram, we can see that round about 4,500 EUR is also the maximum loss that I will be facing. That's going to happen if the index moves far away from 3,150 points. That is the strike of the remaining short straddle that carries time value of almost 1,700 EUR.

Ideally I would close the long options now to lock in the their decreasing value and wait until the short options expire. But in that case I will open the position again to the risk of volatility that I want to avoid by all means. So I will hold the long options and lose 50 points to hopefully earn 170 points from the straddle.

The short future will be hold to neutralize the short put at 3,750 points leaving me with a calculated loss of 3,750 - 3,115 = 635 points. Of course, if I just knew that the market would rise further I could close the future early and earn back some points from the short put, but who does really know?

So the strategy for September will be to survive the last 2 weeks and close that dark chapter before I can finally focus completely on my December positions.


How I lost 50 % of my money in just one week (Report 35/2015)

Last week has been called by many scary names all referring to crash szenarios. The EuroStoxx 50 has gone down to 2,960 points just to go up again to 3,280 points on Friday closing. The Volatility went up to over 30 points, too.

In fact, for my options strategy the week has been worse then ever. All in all I have lost roughly 50 % of my money in just this week. Honestly, that is not acceptable at all and a real catastrophe.

Looking back on my Performance Report in week 34 I have to say, that I fulfilled the plan and opened the straddle at 3,150 points. That brought me a good premium income. Also I sold the spread at 3,000/ 2,850 points.

But never I thought that the index could crash further down another 300 points on Monday. Selling the straddle and using spreads as protection did not offer many buffer for the volatility spike that we saw on that Monday during the trading hours.

That led to the next problem that my margin has been crushed and I needed to do further adjustments that costed hell of a money to do. After many trades and adjustments I finally decided -- too late -- to use short futures to hedge the downside risk.

I closed all spreads as far as possible to take advantage of the higher spread value and to buy long puts for absolute protection. Additionally, I closed all open short calls for September to take advantage of the minimal intrinsic value that was left in those positions. And that also gave me more margin. I also closed the 3,550 short put to reduce the downside risk a bit.

Let's have a look at the result with all open positions right now (click to zoom):

Mistake Analysis

What mistakes have I done that led to this horror drop of depot value? Is it a general mistake in my strategy that I did not saw until now? So far, I would say the strategy still works fine. The idea of rolling down the straddles as the index moves lower is not a bad one at all.

What killed my performance was the fact that I did not cover all short put positions with a respective long put insurance. I never thought that a crash like that would be possible at this time.

If we look at last weeks open positions we can see that I had 8 open short positions in EuroStoxx 50. At the same time, we can see that I only had 6 long put options. So there were 2 naked puts hanging.

What did I do on Monday? I opened another straddle using a bear put spread as protection. In fact, I added another short put to the calculation leaving me with 3 naked puts in the crash scenario.

In hindsight, the wise move to do on Monday would have been to cover the naked puts with futures after the drop below 3,100 points. That would have saved me many premium for expensive put options. I could have bought them after the market bounced back to 3,200 points two days later.

Even better would have been the move to close the trade early with a win of more than 1,000 EUR or 10 % in less than 2 months. Not doing that, is that what we call greed?

Lets have a short look at the payoff diagram:

To be honest, there is nothing else to say then that looks awful! Principally I locked in a huge loss of almost 6,000 Euro in worst case. In best case the loss can go down to only 4,180 points if the ESTX50 closes as 3,150 points. Compared to the possible win of 3,000 Euro the loss is still fine. But knowing that the account is only 10,000 EUR big, the loss is quite game-changing.

Outlook for week 36

For next week I will put another 2,000 EUR in the account to keep myself into the game. I have already opened new positions for December expiration at 3,350 and 3,150 points that are insured at 3,000 points.

The current positions for September will be closed step by step if possible without paying high premiums. If that is not possible, I will simply wait until expiration. In any case there are not many options to increase profits at this time as any adjustment will also increase risk on the other side again that could mean in worst case losing even more money an a losing trade.

Regarding the December opening I will post a separate article with the related information and diagrams.

For now, I will take care of my wounds. I will lean back a bit and will try to calm my emotions to be ready for the next series.

Note to myself:

Always use long put insurance.
Close trades early with 50 percent of profit.
Don't let winners become losers.
Should I close positions before the expiration of the second month, meaning after half of the 3 months period?


Performance Report Week 34/2015

The last week was a killer. EuroStoxx 50 dropped down to 3250 points closing and 3,200 points after hours. Volatility rised up to 30 again. All my profits are wiped out within a week. Now I am facing a paper loss of roughly 1,200 EUR.

So what's the plan for next week?

At first let's have a look at the current options positions (click to zoom in):

The first group contains all insurace-related positions and the second group contains the option straddle positions. SC means short call option, SP means short put option, LP means long put option and so on. Negative numbers show income, positive numbers are expenses.

As expected the short calls do have lost almost all of their intrinsic value leaving us with a paper profit of round about 3,000 EUR. On the other side, the short put options are heavy under water with a current loss of almost 5,000 EUR.

The long insurance options do reduce the loss with a profit of 1,000 EUR.

Having a look at the payoff diagram we can see that the index is currently trading quite below our profit range. That means, further falling prices down to 3,100 points result in higher losses around 3,000 EUR. After that risk increases even higher.

So whats the strategy for next week? At first we will sell the next short call at 3,150 points strike level. That should bring a premium of round about 1,600 EUR. Additionally, we will open another bear put spread 3,000/2,850 points for protection that should cost us around 170 EUR.

If we drop below 3,200 points in ESTX50 index, I will also sell the short put at the same strike level with an expected premium of around 800 EUR. At the same time I might close the short put option at 3,750 points as it is deep in the money.

The new payoff diagram looks kind of ugly after those adjustments. The reason for that is the focus on limiting losses. I will post some updates later this week.

My lesson learned so far is to close the position after 50 percent of the max profit to avoid situations like this.


Performance Report Week 33/2015

On Friday the EuroStoxx 50 closed at 3,491 points almost 5 % down from one week earlier. Volatility moved up to 22.84. All in all we are still in a good range, but I will have to keep a close eye to the market. As the expiration in September moves closer, the possible premium to adjust gets lower. Bigger price movements are getting potentially riskier.

After I have shown the position statements from my brokerage account, I decided to adjust the presentation for a better readability. At first the classic screenshot of the open positions:

We find 2 straddles at 3,350 and 3,550 points. The upper protection comes from the in-the-money short put option at 3,750 points. The bull put spread at 3,200/3,100 points forms the lower protection.

Position Overview

The following table is prepared for easy comparison and understanding. It will summarize all the trades including the closed ones. That allows us to always keep track of the book value and the realized income/ loss.

Let me explain the numbers in detail: The table contains a list of all traded option contracts since opening the strategy. It includes the number of contracts sold (negative) and bought (positive) and the cost price.

The following 3 column areas keep track of the short side and long side of the strategy. The short side will mostly contain the straddles while the long positions are only positions for protection.

The total opening value shows that we earned a total premium of 9,320 EUR up to now. At the same time we have spend 1,644 EUR for protection.

The total book value presents the current market valuations of each position.

The difference between opening value and market value will be our result if we closed the trade. That means, if we closed all short positions right now, we would be left with a profit of 2,150 EUR. Selling the protective puts would at the same time cause a loss of 914 EUR. Overall total profit would be 1,236 EUR as of today.

Trading Plan for Next Week

The range is still bound between 3,300 and 3,800 points. That leaves us with plenty of room to move up and down for a while. If we moved below 3,350 points I would sell a last straddle at 3,150 points with a total premium of 250 points. On the upside, we are left with 3,750 points. If we move to 3,700 points again, I would close the trade and take the profit.


Performance Report Week 32/2015

The EuroStoxx 50 is still moving in a wide trading range. Two weeks ago it closed around 3,600 points. Now, we are still facing 3,638 points. The Volatility Index VSTOXX is still around 18 and almost 50 percent less than the highest markes of 35 points. That is good for earning option premium, but bad for selling new positions.

So what happend in the past 2 weeks? The Butterfly Options Strategy is still working smoothly. I did not have to adjust anything. There are still a straddle (Short put and short call option) at 3,350 points and 3,550 points. Another short put position is open at 3,750 points as upper protection. Current position value is 1,700 EUR.

As the volatility is still low, I chose to close out my August protections. Instead I opend a so-called Bear-Put Spread consisting of 3 long puts and 3 short puts at a lower strike. The advantage is that I can offset some of the long-put expenses by selling puts at lower strike levels and earning option premium. The other side of the coin is, that down-side protection is limited to the strike of the short put strike. In my case, I bought long puts at 3,200 points and sold puts at 3,100 points giving me a maximum income of 1,000 points if the EuroStoxx 50 drops below 3,100 points.

Why did I chose this construction and did not keep with the long puts? The reason is, that we are more close to the upper range than to the down-side. That means, the Index needs to drop from 3,600 to 3,100 or at least 13 percents to release the full power of the bear put spread. A single long put would be on even lower strikes around 3,000 points -- in fact offering me less protections on medium down-moves.

Currently, I have my eyes on the upper side of the range. My area of maximum profit is at 3,550 points strike in September. If the index moves too far from here I will earn less profit until I start losing money above 3,850 points.

At the moment, we are perfectly in the range and everything is fine. The risk is when the markets moves strongly higher. I am only one and a half months out to expiration and premiums are getting notably less. That limits my options to adjust the range properly.

In fact, I don't think that I will hold the positions to the better end. Moreover, I am planning to close the positions before September, so that I can get ready for the next quarter on a blank sheet. The advantage is, that I can take profits and cut the risk that the trade crashes shortly before the expiration turning a fair win in a loss.


Performance Report Week 30/2015

The EuroStoxx 50 Index closed the week at 3,600 points. After the last move up the European markets went down again. After selling the upper range put option at 3,750 points the position fits just perfect in the profit range. The volatility went up slightly to 19 points, but through time decay we were still able to earn some money.

As there were no new positions opened since the last performance report, the break even points did not change. We are still earning a profit if the index will close between 3,275 and 3,850 points. Same applies to the next steps that have to be taken in case the index moves to close to our boundaries.


Performance Report Week 29/2015

Wow, the last week was a real blast in Europe! The Greek story transforms into a never ending fairy tale. The marktes are doing fine with that and so am I. Still, a 10 % rise in a week in a broad market index like the EuroStoxx 50 is an extra ordinary event.

For the short option strategy we usually want flat markets with little movement. Actually, we do have everything but flat markets. Volatility was huge and just dropped last week by almost 40 % from mid 30 points to 18 points. So how did the butterfly strategy do?

Below, I am giving a current status from the portfolio including all past trades that have been made. The overall total is currently 168 EUR. Sure, that is not the greatest result to get, but at least it is not a loss!

Still, there are 2 more months to go. The profit range is currently between 3,275 and 3,850 points. If the ESTX50 stays in that range we will be all fine.

As you can see, we are holding two straddles at 3,350 points and 3,550 points at the moment. At 3,750 points I have opened the short put position first to reduce the risk of further rising prices. Ideally, I also want to sell the short call option to complete the straddle, but I don't feel comfortable with the premiums right now. I would rather like to see markets moving up to 3,750 points, so that I can sell the call.

I don't think that we will go much higher than that anyway. The area above 3,800 marks the last high from this year and I don't think we will go above without further down drops.

Anyway, the butterfly strategy is a market neutral strategy, so I do not really need to care about where we are going.

The next steps to take are:

Selling the 3,750 call on rising markets between 3,720 and 3,750 points.
Wait and see on stagnating markets.


Adjusting downside protection and thoughts about the upside

The EuroStoxx 50 Index is up to almost 3,700 points after its last low at 3.300. That's an upswing of 12 % in less than a week of time.

After I have rolled my put protection in a quite unfortunate time, I closed my the short put side of my bear put spread at 2,900 points for the price of just 20 EUR today. That leaves me with two long puts at 2,700 and 2,900 points with almost no value. I will keep those puts as protection for the next 3 weeks. I don't see any value in rolling them up or out right now, although a long put for September at 3,200 would only cost me 100 dollars.

The upside straddle at 3,750 points

As the Index is above my next milestone at 3,650 points I am supposed to sell my upper put for the 3,750 straddle. That would be close the 2015 high around 3,800 points. My problem is that volatility is really low around 18 at the moment, so premium received will also be little with around 1,500 EUR at the moment.

That is the reason why I chose to wait after the weekend to see where we are heading to. If the ESTX50 keeps on moving higher, I will have to sell the put and the call option right away. I don't want to take the risk to be caught in the short put in the next down swing without the extra premium of the short call.

Also, I will buy put protection for the straddle somewhere in the range of 3,200 to 3,300 points.

On Sunday I will also post my next performance update. I am really curious to see how the strategy is doing!


I chose to follow the plan and sell the short put at 3,750 for a premium of 1,550 EUR already before the weekend. Now, I am thinking to add the short call option, too, but again, it's not yet time for this step. Patience is king when it comes to option writing. Lower break even now at 3,270. Upper break even at 3,870 points.


Performance Report Week 28/2015

Last week has been frightening. The EuroStoxx50 Index was locked in fear about the Greek financial situation and the stock market crash in China. Volatility went through the roof hitting more than 32 Points before closing at 27.88. The ESTX50 traded in a wide range between 3,300 points at the low end and 3,529 points on Friday closing.

That is a range of 6,9 % in one week! As I am following a short volatility strategy selling option straddles that doesn't sound to be optimal for the portfolio, does it?.

In the last week I rolled my long put insurance from July expiration to August expiration. In hindsight, the timing was not the best, but as explained in the last post, I could sell my July insurance for a profit and use that to buy the new puts. Due to the high volatility, the option premiums were also high, so that all in all my protection moved down a bit.

That is not a big deal because i also completed my 3,350 straddle last week so that it would be easier to extend my lower break even point if the market takes another dip. On the other side I can profit from additional income of the short put premium in rising markets.

So let's have a look at the performance of the last week and the current balance.

Currently, the premium earned is 6,930 EUR. For insurance, I earned 50 EUR from the July position. For August I paid 1,016 EUR for two puts each at 2,700 Strike and 3,000 Strike. Additionally, I've earned a credit for selling two puts at the 2,900 strike level for 538 EUR. All in all, insurance cost sums up to 428 EUR, reducing my overall income to 6,502 EUR.

If I would close all open positions now, my expenses would be 6,500 EUR for the straddles and my income would be 158 EUR from the insurance. My book profit would be 160 EUR.

All in all, I am still in a comfortable level even though the market used to trade in large gaps and big moves during the last 3 weeks. I am curious to see the result coming up in September!


Roll-out of Put Protection into August

The market volatility stays high as the July expiration moves closer. Because of that I have decided to roll my long-put protection out into August and add a bear put spread for extra protection.

The problem was that prices for the put at the 3,100 strike was fairly low when I opened it in June. Now, those puts value has risen by 50 % and next months expiration is even more expensive.

My strategy is focusing on getting protection for about 100 Euro. For that price I could only buy puts at 2,700 points which is by far too low based on my actual break even points around 3,100.

That's why I decided to add extra protection using bear put spreads. So I bought more Puts at 3,000 points and sold the complimentary amount at 2,900 points. In worst case they will pay almost 1,600 EUR and cover some of the losses.

Based on my current position with two open straddles at 3,350 and 3,550 I was supposed to buy two long puts. In fact, I sold my July protection for a profit at 151 EUR. For August I added two long puts at 2,700 for total cost of -194 EUR after commissions. For extra downside protection I bought two bear put spreads for a debit of 538 EUR - 822 EUR = -284 EUR after commissions.

All in all I paid 327 EUR for August protection.

I am planning to close the bear put spreads if EuroStoxx50 rises above 3,450 points. But that depends on the general market conditions after July 17.


Adjustment of ESTX50 Sep 15 Butterfly

During the huge drop yesterday, I have sold the second leg of the 3,350 butterfly. The short put with the strike same strike at 3,350 points like the call that I have sold last week earned a premium of 1,631 EUR. Total premium earned increased to 6,921 EUR.

Currently, the broken wing butterfly consists of two September straddles at 3,350 and 3,550 points and one long put 3,100 points with expiry in July.

The lower break even point is at 3,103 points and the upper break even is on 3,796 points. Maximum profit of 4,921 EUR would be earned if the EuroStoxx50 closes between 3,350 and 3,550 points on September expiration.

Upcoming adjustments are to open two long put positions for August as crash insurance. If the ESTX50 drops below 3,250 another call will be sold at the strike of 3,150 to extend the profit range. On the upside we do have plenty of buffer at the moment.


Performance Report Week 2015/27

Last week was dominated with Greek news and political stories. What if? What if not? In fact, the weekend brought kind of clarity, but still, there is not release of rumors and speculation.

Checking the last weeks performance of the butterfly strategy shows little impact. After the last options adjustment to extend the range on the down side, we are still pretty comfortable in the range of profits.

In sum, the EuroStoxx 50 closed around 3,440 last Friday. The value of the options sold is 5,390 EUR decreased by the cost of insurance of 100 EUR that rised in value to 156 EUR. Total depot book value is 5,546 EUR.

Based on the options premium earned to date , we are sitting on a loss in the books of 5,199 EUR - 5,546 EUR = - 347 EUR. As the options expire in September 2015, the loss is not relevant yet. If the EuroStoxx 50 Index would close at the current level of 3,440 Points we would realize a potential profit of 3,199 EUR.

But of course that is only hypothetical, as everybody knows that the index will not be flat for two and a half months. The strategy is to adjust our range as good as possible to keep the index in the middle of our profit zone.

By the time I am writing those lines, the market already opened with another drop of -2 % bringing us close to the next adjustment level of 3,350 points. At the moment we can still lean back and watch the markets. Next steps will be taken if the market declines furthermore.


First Adjustment of ESTX50 Sep 15 Butterfly

Today the next step of the Butterfly Strategy has been triggered. EuroStoxx 50 closed yesterday below 3,450 points giving the signal to sell the first leg of the 3,350 straddle. In hindsight it looks like the market is going to move more up than down after the last days of correction. But so be it, nobody knows the future.

In fact, I added another 2,248 EUR to the premiums earned. The total premium income is now 5,205 EUR. The new break even points are at 3,029 points and 3,710 points.

The next step of the strategy will be to sell the put option at 3,350 points and the call option 3,150 if the EuroStoxx 50 closes near 3,350 points. In case the EuroStoxx 50 moves up to 3,650 the next put option will be sold at 3,750 points.

The insurance at 3,100 points will expire in 3 weeks. Until then we have strong market crash protection. New put options will be bought in the third week of July.


Performance Report Week 2015/26

Last Monday I have opened the first straddle for September 2015. At that day the EuroStoxx 50 Index was 3,550 points. During the week there were many concerns about the Greek debt crisis. Politicians from Germany, France and many other countries are still negotiating about the repayments. Greek default is still possible but nobody seems to know anything.

That is the reason why the European stock market is still in high volatility and the price swings are heavy up and down. After closing on 3,450 last friday the ESTX50 opened more than 100 points higher on monday. That was the time I sold the first butterfly. During the last 5 days the market ranges between 3,580 and 3,650 points and strong movements of more than 2 % in a day.

ESTX50 closing on Friday was at 3,621 points. VSTOXX closed at 26,7 points.

The option positions do trade with a book value of 3,109 EUR now, which is 152 EUR up. But still, even if the book value is higher now, that only effects the outcome if I was forced to close the position right now and buy back the options.

For now there is nothing to do. Next week will be crucial. If the ESTX50 will close above 3,650 points in a day I will sell the next put option with the strike 3,750 points.


Sell to open Butterfly on EuroStoxx 50 for September 2015

Yesterday, I have opened a butterfly for September 2015 expiration. The strike price for the straddle is 3,550 points. The insurance is a one month out long put for July on 3,100. The premium earned is 2,957 Euro after commissions. The break even points are 3,845 and 3,254 points.

Reason for the trade was the strong opening gap of more than 1,500 points after friday closing price of 3,450. The result is a huge volatility of 28 points in VSTOXX. I expect the EuroStoxx 50 to calm down after a few day leaving me with a high premium and buffer.

Adjustments have to be made if the index rises above 3,750 points. Then a new straddle on that level for September will be sold.

The reason I don't buy a long call on the upper level is the strategy to extend the trading range with new straddles. The long put will always be bought for one month expiration. The only goal is to insure huge market drops that could wipe out the portfolio. If the index will decline slowly, the range will be adjusted with new straddles at 3,350 points.


Welcome to Butterfly Millionaire

Butterfly Millionaire is a blog about investing. Specifically I wanna share my learning and experience on how to earn money on the stock market.

The reason why I want to do that is, I want to create a stream of mostly passive income that will found my family's life. Most of the background is presented at the "Start Here" Page. There I explained my experience and my background.

Currently I am working in a fulltime job in the corporate finance world in Germany in a small company. I like what I do but I do not feel confident to stay an employee for the rest of my life.

As my wife is from the Philippines we are both working hard to create a lifestyle that offers us the freedom of choice where and when we want to live or to work.

In the next weeks I will describe the main sources of income that can be used to earn money from the stock market. Additionally, I will describe my strategy how I am planning to generate a regular income stream just using dividend payments and option premium.

My starting capital is only 10.000 Euro, so there is a long road to go to. A basic income for a small family will be at least 2.000 Euro in a month. Based on current projections on earning 2 pct. a month on the capital invested, we will need at least 100.000 Euro.

Currently we do both work hard to buy ourselves the time we want. Both of us know colleagues that have kids at home, but the job does not offer enough flexibility to see to them growing up. We don't want that!

My wife will probably stop working in year or two. So in that time we will need enough income to cover her income and still have spare money to invest.

It's going to be a long journey...