In my update yesterday, I said I was considering buying shares of SPY and placing a trailing stop limit to exit on a dip.  After thinking of that plan a little longer, I decided that didn’t make a lot of sense because I don’t expect any drop in prices to be more than a few percentage points.  In fact, I expect the melt higher to continue, at least until January.  Any dip continues to be a buying opportunity, for now.

Based on this outlook, my two easiest choices were to either simply buy SPY and let it ride or sell an in-the-money put.  I went with the latter.  While SPY was trading at $181.09, I sold one SPY February $185 naked put for $6.74 and received $673.29 after paying $0.71 in commission.  By selling a put, I gained a little more buffer before a loss than if I had bought the shares outright.  By selling in-the-money, I have the opportunity to gain a little more if SPY continues to climb.  I thought about selling January options, but wanted a slightly better premium.  I didn’t want to go any farther out on the calendar because it would reduce my annualized gain and would slow my time value melt more than I like.  I also expect a bigger sell off sometime in the first half of next year and want to be ready to readjust more easily.

SPY Naked Put Risk/Reward Breakdown

  • Potential profit: $673.29
  • Potential return: 3.78%, 15.6% annualized
  • Breakeven price: $178.27
  • Downside protection: 1.56% (Need 2.16% gain for full profit)
  • Recent high: $181.24 hit today, about a minute after my trade hit
  • Cushion from recent high: 1.64%
  • Expected support: $180ish around the 10-day simple moving average (sma), then $178.00 just below the 20-sma where support held last week.  I don’t expect SPY to fall below its support level from November around $175.00.  This should be close to the 50-sma within another week or so.
  • Position close goal/limit: I’ll roll it early for a good profit if I can, but might close it for an early loss if SPY breaks below $175 for more than a day.