Sarah: Hi everybody this is Sarah Potter from she can trade. And this is SCT podcast. We are at episode 34. Today's discussion is going to be focused around earnings and specifically how do you adjust and trade sorry how do you adjust and focus on your trades through that earning season. Obviously we'll talk a little bit about actually placing trades for earnings as a result of those. But also what do you do with all your other trades what to expect in the market when we have to go through an earnings season. So I have T.J. here.
Sarah: And we're going to discuss this together. I think it'll be interesting also to hear our various perspectives on these kinds of things. So let's start off with a little kind of a definition of a basically an idea of what is earnings and how do you basically think the market moves through earnings season versus when we're not in earnings.
T.J: All right. So earnings we're talking about corporate earnings so every quarter financials companies release their financials and there's a lot of anticipation and a lot of excitement around the numbers or are sales up or sales down. Our earnings up earnings down how’s the company doing and obviously how does that link the stock price. Well, if you're a fundamental investor obviously the more the company's earnings and the better their financial ratios the higher the stock price. So people look for those numbers they look. They read through them they look for a lot of details to see whether the stock price is accurate. If it's a fair representation of where the stock should be trading and if not obviously do they think the stock price should be higher or lower? And the reason we need to watch for earnings is because it's a high volatility event. It's a pretty binary event. So the day before the earnings are announced or the day of there's excitement earnings are announced and as soon as the numbers come out you generally see a decent a big move in the in the stock's price either up or down. So what we need to do is options traders are we need to look for two things coming into earnings. One is we need to look for increased volatility. So we will see on our options chain that the week of earnings and especially coming into the day of earnings the implied volatility of that stock will increase. The other thing we need to watch out for is obviously if we're holding options positions through earnings so if we have put or a call or a spread or any trade that expires after the earnings date that that earnings date can significantly influence the price of the stock. And we just need to be aware of of those potential kind of potential influences when we go through earnings. So Sarah are there any websites or how do you find out, what do you look for where do you look to see when companies are going to have earnings.
Sarah: Yes, so I'm going to SCT up my trades differently through the earnings season than I will other times. And I do think that it's very important to always be paying attention to looking for when those earnings announcements are going to be because it's really going to change the flavor of how that stock is moving. So you guys know when we're trading in the trading room you'll often see us looking at the history of price how it's moving in relation to the broad market and those are really ways that we can identify opportunities to trade. But when we have earnings and earnings season that that announcement is going to change things. It's gonna do it also leading up to it. So you'll notice that I will still trade stocks a couple weeks before their earnings but we're gonna have to deal with higher implied volatility and if I'm buying a collar put I'm gonna have to deal with paying more than what I usually would in anticipation of that. And now a lot of times I can trade really well earnings actually before their earnings announcements so there's some good trades there when we look at how that stock has been behaving moving up to his announcement. We might have an expiry after the earnings but we can definitely take an opportunity to take advantage of a move prior to earnings. So generally stocks especially the more and more there in the media will have a nice move prior to its earnings announcement so we could definitely capitalize on that. So I mean it's tough to find them though right it's not about just okay well it's the next quarter. So all the stocks are gonna be moving because they have earnings announcements, there's going to be times when those stocks actually don't move they're gonna have less of a reaction than what market makers had anticipated would be in that option. And so that's also something to be paying attention to but when we're first looking for trades you can look at something like Yahoo Finance or a market watch or I think actually even some trading brokerage platforms have earnings announcements in them if I am correct on that. Did that do they have earnings announcements right in the platform?
T.J: A lot of platforms do. Definitely they do have the earnings dates. Obviously the other one too is nasdaq.com. They list the earnings dates you do have to generally current earnings date. If I'm going to be trading the earnings and I really need to make sure that it is that exact date whether it's before the market or after the close. I generally check two different sources because you'll find out as well if you look comb through earnings dates that different websites list may have a day earlier a couple days later. It may not always be that accurate. So I do like to double check there the one thing I do like about earnings I guess we can real really get into some strategies is what happens at earnings? There's two things there's the actual result of what happens and there's a move based on the result of what happens but there's also a move based on the expectations and that's how most stocks move. So if Nike moves up say they've got 75 cents per share of earnings and Nike so if the expectation was only 50 then that look great stocks gonna move up. If expectations were say 85 or 90 cents then the stock could move down as well so we can't look at just the absolute number. It has to be we have to look at expectations we have to look at was it sales was it revenue how do those compare?
And I think that's really what makes kind of earnings such an exciting time because there's so many variables involved. So with so many variables, so many inputs, so many unknowns what are some strategies that we can look at to give us kind of a shot at the best outcome because obviously saying hey I think let me guess I think the stocks gonna go up after earnings that's really a 50-50 trade at best guessing in the direction and we'll probably most likely guess in the wrong direction. So what can we do obviously out of the money credit spreads those are that's a great way to trade earnings you can limit your downside on that by keeping this spread nice and tight so maybe you don't want to do a five or ten dollar spread maybe you want to do a dollar or 250 wide spread. Keep your risk reasonable look for something out of the money as standard and a hat 1.5 standard deviation away staying wait far away from where the expected move is on that earnings announcement. Same thing with iron condors those work really well as well you can also just I mean you can also sell straddles. You can sell a strangle they work out really well again you're playing to the fact that the market thinks there's gonna be a bigger move and then really what's priced in and that's usually what happens. The trouble is they're unlimited loss. So we do have to be careful with that and if we are trading strategies where there is no stop-loss on them or where there is no limitation on what you can lose, we do need to be very careful because nine times out of 10 you're fine but those one or two trades where the earnings is two or three times the expected move. You might see yourself in a loss situation but I do think that there is a lot of opportunity out there to trade earnings. We just have to come at it with kind of a from a standpoint of this is these are some fun extra trades that we're doing. This isn't bread and butter meat and potatoes this isn't how I generate my reliable weekly income.
Sarah: Yeah, I wanted to mention that so when you're trading earnings I think the biggest tip is that you don't want to expect that all of your earnings trades are going to work and I think you need to kind of account for that. So when you're SCTting up trade strategies through earnings let's say you're placing one earnings trade a week through the earnings season that if you look at the collective of all of those at the end you can't have a goal of making eighty percent of those work. Because they won't because those trades at the end of the day are really more 50-50 trades. So as long as you're realistic about that and if you test the strategy over different quarters through the year and let's say you're coming out ahead sixty-five percent of your trades are right through earnings then that is a time that that you want to be adding all more contracts but you certainly want to test that through more than one quarter. So trading earnings is fun because yes it's pretty hyped up everyone talks about it. There's all this great opportunity, absolutely but remember many people don't talk they're losing trades. They only talk about their winning trades and it's with earnings you're gonna have winners and losers to betting regardless of what strategy you pick. But you can still make it work as long as you're very aware of what your percentage is as you move through each earning season. And so perhaps a goal closer to about 65% so you're getting more winners than losers so that overall you're still coming out with profit is important you don't want to just put trades on. And just pay commissions or come out at zero no your opportunity cost is important as well you've spent time looking for those trades and that's really relevant as well.
T.J: Yeah, exactly and I think that is I think that's the key to trading is everybody tries to do the same thing. And I think if you have to find something that works for how you feel comfortable trading and if earnings is a strategy that you can make money at that's fantastic I mean that that's great that's what you need to be focusing on. For somebody else doing the exact same trades they might not look at it the same way or be able to enter or exit at the same time and they may not, they may do the same trades but not but end up losing money on that series of trades. So it's really something that's very personalized and if you can make it work fantastic you just need to realize that with earnings there is a ton of anticipated and unanticipated things that are happening. And it makes it really exciting and there's that potential to make to make some really quick money. As you make that money you place the trade five minutes before earnings are released at five minutes after four and it's usually either max loss or max profit. There's usually not a lot of difference in between and if that's how you like to trade. Then yeah, what earnings is something that you can dip your toe into.
Sarah: Yeah, I think that's a good point let's end on that so we're moving into earnings season now so there's lots of opportunity and I think TJ's got some good examples here on how to kind of keep that risk a little tighter and I do like the idea of still trading but trading out of the money. And keeping that spread a little tighter so that if you some of those trades work great, if they don't that's fine. You're not blowing up any accounts. So look forward to you guys remember we do have our live trading room which is the opportunity for you to see both of us trade live all the time showing our real accounts real, trades, real money. Look forward to seeing you there and happy trading everybody.
Sarah: Hi Everybody and welcome to the SCT podcast, this is episode 33 and we are going to have a nice little conversation today about what to do with the stocks that are trading around $1000 and TJ and I are each going to explain a little bit about how, what are approaches and how to get the most out of these very expensive stocks, so I have TJ here.
TJ: Good afternoon.
Sarah: Now TJ, as we all know especially if you follow in the trading room he is very good at a particular stock and that name is PCLN and he has been doing day trade in this PCLN stock for years, so I think we should kick it off there with your perspective and this stock has actually been sitting around $1,000 for a long time too. Can you tell us a little bit about why you like to trade PCLN which is so expensive and why you like to trade it as a day trade?
TJ: Yeah absolutely, you are absolutely right, I mean PCLN is almost $2,000 now and we have been day trading it since it was under $1000, it was $800 or $900. The reason I really like PCLN as a day trade and that's I guess we should be needing backup and talk about a little bit of how we do it. So, the setup is a Friday trade looking to cash in on the tremendous amount of premium that is still left in NPCLN because it's a really expensive stock on Friday. So the day of expiration placing the trade either in the morning or early afternoon and holding the trade a couple of hours into the close. Primarily, what I will do it either a call credit spread or a put credit spread. Just looking to capitalize on the available premium on Fridays and the reason it works is because the stock is so expensive
Sarah: You have really been trading PCLN since it was below $1,000 and now it is up to $2,000, my gosh time flies.
TJ: It's been a long time. Well the PCLN over the last little bit, it’s really, really ramped out it's been on fire lately.
Sarah: Ok so just curious then, if you think back when you just started day trading the PCLN and today, do you do it any differently like is something changed now that it's almost $2,000?
TJ: No, not at all spreads very expensive anything over $1,000, it just needs to get expensive enough that the time value of that remains on Friday is 20 to 40 cents. Obviously a stock that’s trading at $100 like IBM or Apple. On Friday, we will not have 30 cents or 40 cents of time value in a credit spread, that’s way out of the money, so obviously you need that high price and the higher it goes actually the easier it is to get more and more premium in it.
Sarah: Ok, so I think this is, to me it’s an obvious question but I want to articulate it anyways, is there reason why you are only day trading this as opposed to doing this further out, because it is so expensive and there is a bit of a sweet spot in that day trade.
TJ: There is, the reason we don’t tend to trade PCLN early in the week is that, it doesn’t trend necessarily all that well during the week, it will trend on expiration nicely but what we found is that, you kind of get website in and out of trades during the week, it will be up one day, down the next, up the next, down the next. It’s not a very consistent stock and with it being so expensive, it has really large dollar moves, so we have just found that for efficiency and profitability sake, it’s better to focus on it as a day trade.
Sarah: so, I find that quite interesting because I think what’s also relevant in the market today is we have Google and Amazon that have also crept up close to this $1000 mark and let’s just kind of focus on Amazon here for a second, what’s interesting about it is, it’s characteristics about how price moves in this stock, I think is changed as it has moved up to a $1000 and I find it interesting that you are mentioning that in PCLN, it can rip around quite a bit during the week, it doesn’t trend as much. If we look at how Amazon has been moving and we think about it really over the last, at least couple of months it hasn’t been trending as well either. And do you think, that’s a result of it getting up to about $1000?
TJ: I do think so, I think that $1000 mark is a big number. I think it does have some, I don’t want to necessarily use the word psychological but I think it does weigh on investor’s minds when it gets that expensive and I think that most investors buy stocks are foolishly concerned about the price of the stock, obviously investing you need to be concerned about the relative price of the stock compared to its financials obviously with, looking at it to be a value, compared to itself. Most traders will look at those $1000 stocks and say that they are too expensive and that they are way overpriced, when based on fundamental ratios, at $1000, it may not be overpriced, so I think there is a policy that we can kind of explore but I do think the $1000 mark does keep price, does keep traders and investors away from it and I think because of that, prices have hard time getting through it and stocks have a hard time through that hurdle.
Sarah: Yeah, Looking at Amazon for Call credit spreads now is a great idea and it will be interesting to start up applying your trades that I have seen PCLN to Amazon and Google, now that they are moving into that, that category and I would want to mention something here, I think you brought up something which is important to highlight and that is just because price in Amazon has come up to $1000, I don’t think you want to assume that, that’s just going to go and continue to move higher without any kind of resistance, that is a big marker and not a lot of stocks get up here in terms of price, so absolutely, I think to expect some resistance there is important. Now, the other piece I think also changes for the average traders is when the stock price is getting up to about $1000, that is certainly changing their risk profile for that trade, which means that because it’s going to move back and forth, you obviously have opportunities for gains and record, but there is going to be risk involved there too, because you can get really whipped out of that trade quite quickly. Do you think there is still a case for Calls and Puts in stocks like Amazon, Google or PCLN?
TJ: For me not as much, I would like to trade in the money, Puts and Calls and if I am looking at any in the money Put or Call in Amazon, I mean we could be looking at it being worth $20, $30, $40 per contract, so per contract you are looking dollar risk, anywhere between $2000-$4000, so it becomes a big trade and it does become one of those kind of limiting factors where you really have to think about, is your capital best used for that risk reward profile or is it better utilized in may be trading in two or three moderately priced stocks.
Sarah: Ok, so I kind of have to disagree a little bit because I do think that there is some opportunities in these larger stocks to still trade directionally but yeah, I agree just buying the Call and Put, it becomes too expensive and I would rather be able to spread some of that risk out, but what I can do is do a debit spread, so we can basically look at those stocks, have the assumption that it’s going to move, trade with the same strategy but have far less risk and of course the reward is cap 2 in debit spreads and certainly there is an argument there for debit spreads but it’s a great way for me to be able to take advantage of some of that volatility and still wait for those opportunities to pop, so I can buy debit spreads may be with a little bit larger or longer term expiry date and still have some nice money in debit spreads.
TJ: yeah absolutely, I think debit spreads are a great way of looking at the higher price stock and as well, you have got to think about that too is people look at debit spreads and don’t want to trade them because their profits are limited but honestly, if you look at the last protocol that you bought, did you make $2 or $3 or $4 or $5 on that per contract? Probably not, so if you limit yourself to say $2 $2.50 max profit in a debit spread, you are not even really looking for that anyway but people just tend to seem, oh I can only make $2, so they decide not to do the debit spread, hoping to buy the Put or a Call and making two or three times of that, but how often do they actually make that money, I don’t know, what do you think about that?
Sarah: Well, that’s why, like I said, I like debit spread, it’s because you still have the opportunity. I don’t understand why people will give away the idea of saying well $2 isn’t enough in this trade but if you traded at smaller or cheaper stock or call, you would be ecstatic with that amount of money, so debit spreads provide you a lot of risk and they do think that it gives you also the opportunity to hold a trade a little bit longer as well, right. So, I can still take a debit spread out a few months or weeks, whichever time line you want and still be able to make money, so I actually prefer these days, I have been doing more debit spreads in these larger stocks as opposed to anything else because I just think it has a really nice risk free profile.
TJ: Yeah, opposite there, I don’t do very many debit spreads, I am more of a quick in and out credit spread, overnight Thursday and a Friday or day trade Friday, and we were talking about Amazon and actually Amazon, we have done the last couple of weeks in the trading room on Friday and those trades have actually worked out really well for us, we managed to get 25, 30 cents of credit day of and that expiring for max profit being able to keep that for trade that last in may be 5 or 6 hours at the most. I do still like the credit spreads, credit spreads out of the money definitely, if you look at the chart of the Amazon right now, do you want to be in that stock for a long time, do you want to hold that for 2 weeks in a credit spread, probably not. I mean, it makes highs, it makes drops down, it makes comes back up all-time highs, drops right back down again, one day it’s an uptrend, one day it’s a down trend. So again really changed my focus in shorter time frame with the expensive stocks, so that’s how I trade them, it seems like we kind of approach it in a different way.
Sarah: yeah and I would say that, yeah, with the debit spread because you have protected yourself with the amount of risk, you can hold it through a day that it is moving down because the next day can pop right back again and ask me to take tradeoff for profit and we can end up with the same results, so I mean that’s interesting that we both are approaching these $1000 stock a little differently, both have good success rates in them and I think that’s also a really great reminder to everybody when we are trading, is there isn’t just one way to do it, there’s a lot of different ways to look at the market and it’s all about collecting the evidence and the reasons as to why you want to trade one versus another. Every trade is going to be a little different and it should be tailored based on what you like and so, you and I can look at these stocks and think, ok, yeah, it’s going up, it’s going down. But our approach, our strategy to be involved in the market is different.
TJ: Absolutely and I think that there’s many strategies, whether it’s debit spreads or credit spreads, day trades, long term trades, there is ways, definitely ways to effect the trade that mark expensive stocks with options and that’s the beauty of trading options is, you have choice and you are able to trade a $1000 stock and limit your risk and really make it still a stock that can stay on your watch list.
Sarah: Awesome, great stuff everybody, this was a great talk today about how to be involved in these more expensive stocks and remember that is, the best thing about auctions is we can still trade these regardless of how expensive the underlying gets, there’s still lots of ways to really take advantage of the trade, the movement in auctions even if you do it differently. So I appreciate all of your time coming to the podcast today. I would really appreciate it if you can post a review and honest reviews are the best reviews and it really does help the podcast moving forward and also please share it with your friends. This is something that TJ and I, both enjoy doing and spreading the word about trading. So we will see you in Amazon, Google and PCLN this week, right TJ?
Sarah: Happy trading.