We’ve been receiving a good amount of questions on options trading, and how to avoid making mistakes when trading options. So, we wanted to address that today.
Like most investors, one of your top goals has been to enjoy financial freedom at whatever age you choose. So, it stands to reason that your money should ideally generate above-market returns with below market risk.
However, as you start your journey, there mistakes to avoid, whether you trade stocks or options.
Mistake No. 1 — Trading without a Strategy
One of the first steps in avoiding common trading mistakes is to have a trading plan.
- Do you know how much you’re willing to trade and potentially lose on a single trade?
- Do you know when to enter a trade?
- Do you know when to exit a trade?
Without answers to those questions, you should not move forward.
Or, let’s say you do have an entry plan, do you have an exit plan? What if your initial plan doesn’t work out as hoped. Then what?
For example, let’s say I bought the Apple (AAPL) December 21, 2018 200 calls in mid-October 2018 on the idea that the stock was oversold and ready to bounce. Without an exit plan, which can include a stop loss, I would be looking at an 80% loss in a month’s time.
Don’t be an irrational trader. Plan ahead.
Having a plan can help you sleep better. Trust me. Remember, you’re not trading to hit the jackpot. However, to make consistent money, you need to have a consistent plan.
Mistake No. 2 – Ignoring the Expiration Date
Among the many choices in options trading, the expiration date is a major factor.
Once you’ve figured out which way a stock may go, you have to ask yourself, “How long will it take for the stock in question to reach my target price?”
Perhaps you’re anticipating that an earnings report will have a big impact on the stock, and your option. Or, perhaps you know of a significant catalyst. Such factors play a major role. And most times, they’ll help guide you to the right expiration date.
However, if you don’t pay attention to the dates, you could wind up with an option that expires before the anticipated catalyst.
Mistake No. 3—Buying Options because they Appear Cheap
Cheap isn’t always a good thing when it comes to trading options. In fact, oftentimes, the cheaper options are those referred to as “out of the money.” And while it may appear to be a steal, if it doesn’t change to “in the money,” your chances of making money are “out the door.”
If you bought an “out the money” call option for example, you would need a considerable upward move in the stock to make any money from the call option.
For example, let’s say I wanted to make money using an Apple (AAPL) December 21, 2018 200 call option at $2.35. For me to make any real money on this trade, I need the AAPL stock to recover well above $14 a share to make any real money from this call option.
That’s not to say “out of the money” options don’t work, it’s just not a great strategy.
These are just three of the top ones we see most often.
Mistakes happen. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
Understand what may or may not have happened, pick yourself up, and try not to repeat the same mistakes. We’re only human. We make mistakes.
If you’re new to options, consider paper trading first to get the hang of it. This way, you know what to expect. Even seasoned options pros make mistakes and lose.
Velocity Shares Daily 2x VIX Short-Term ETN (TVIX) – $46.88
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures (VXX) — $36.55
ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures (UVXY) — $50.78
Hold all volatility trades, as markets begin to push aggressively lower.
Weight Watchers (WTW) – $51.90
WTW December 21, 2018 55 calls – $2.45
WTW January 18, 2019 55 calls — $3.40
Hold. We’re looking for a bearish gap refill, near-term. It pulled back to $47.21.
Square Inc. (SQ) stock – $74.58
The stock now trades at $63.47 after running above $82. Earnings took the stock down temporarily. But we still believe this is a solid buy and hold opportunity.
New Age Beverage (NBEV) — $6.76
We have a near-term target of $10. It last traded at $4 a share. Hold.
Ceragon Networks (CRNT) – $3.90
Boingo Wireless (WIFI) – $32.04
Zayo Group (ZAYO) — $34.42
All are long-term holds as the 5G revolution just begins to pick up momentum. CRNT now traded at $4.36. WIFI is now at $24.93. ZAYO now trades at $25.50. Hold all.
Kroger (KR) stock – $29.75
KR last traded at $29.70. Give it some patience. We have a $35 price target, near-term.
Electronic Arts (EA) stock –$114.40
Unfortunately, the calls did not work out as well as we would have liked. We exited the call options for a loss, but still hold the stock.
Nike Inc. (NKE) — $82.35
NKE January 18, 2019 85 calls — $3.85
Even on the pullback, hold. We have plenty of time on these calls.
Six Flags Entertainment (SIX) — $66.25
SIX last traded at $60.43 and remains on hold.
Twitter (TWTR) stock — $31.90
Hold the stock. It now sits at $31.12.
CoreCivic (CXW) stock – $25.25
The GEO Group (GEO) stock – $25.32
As long as immigration remains a hot issue, we’ll hold these two stocks. CXW is now trading at $21.56. GEO is now up to $22.64.
Glu Mobile (GLUU) stock — $6.55
GLUU now trades at $6.77 and remains a long-term hold with a target of $10.
Parsley Energy (PE) stock – $28.05
PE last traded at $20.66. Hold, as oil prices becoming ridiculously oversold.
Nucor Corporation (NUE) — $66
NUE trades at $59.42 and remains a hold with a price target of $68, near-term.
Skechers USA Inc. (SKX) — $29.25
We’re holding the SKX positions with a near-term target of $35. SKX last traded at $26.20.
ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ) — $32.30 – exited half
Kush Bottles (KSHB) — $7.85
MedMen Enterprises (MMNFF) — $4.30
Canopy Growth (CGC) — $51.55
Marijuana stocks are will benefit further from U.S. approval across the country, Canadian approval by October 18, 2018, and corporate interest in marijuana stocks, as we’ve seen recently.
Pro Shares Ultra Short S&P 500 (SDS) — $45.15
This remains a hedge against the long positions. It’s now at $39.92.