The feature article was designed to be a piece about the January Effect (the period of time when small-caps outperform big-caps, after tax loss selling has ended). But the study revealed some new facts about seasonality, and we make a modification to our Post- Thanksgiving trade because of it.
You’d have to be a pretty long-term subscriber to remember when we used to trade the January Effect. For a long time, it worked like a charm, but then traders started to anticipate the effect, shifting its time frame, and then it stopped working altogether – obliterated, it seems, by conflicting forces, seasonality, and changing market conditions.
The market -- as measured by the S&P 500 Index ($SPX) -- has declined on eight of the last ten days, and that has taken a toll on the technical indicators. However, $SPX is sitting right on support at or just below 1780 (see Figure 1). Hence, shorting the market now could be a mistake.
Lawrence McMillan was recently interviewed at The Disciplined Investor podcast where he explained some of the ways in which investing with options can be beneficial. Larry also discussed some of his favorite strategies and advised which he stays away from. Listen to the full interview by clicking here.
For the Introduction an explanation of Expected Value, refer to Enhancing Option Portfolio Returns Using Probability and Statistics - Part 1.
From a broad viewpoint, using our indicators, the picture is actually fairly bearish except for one major thing: the price chart of the Standard & Poors 500 Index ($SPX) has not broken down. A decline below 1780 would also interrupt the bullish pattern that currently exists of higher highs and higher lows on the $SPX chart.
The feature article discusses various trading strategies and systems around Thanks-giving Day. The article culminates with the recommendation that we already made in previous Hotlines: to buy “the market” at the close of trading on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The article provides some new ways of looking at the entire trade, including holding longer than we have in the past.
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Price action -- via the $SPX chart -- and volatility have remained bullish. We have often said that price is the main indicator and that has certainly been the case this time.
Equity-only put-call ratios turned bearish a little more than a week ago and remain on sell signals.
Market breadth has generally been weaker than the market until very recently, but now the breadth indicators are rolling back over to buy signals.
With nearly four thousand optionable U.S. equities and ETFs and over 400,000 individual option contracts available on a daily basis, retail option traders need a way to determine the optimal way to allocate their investment capital. By employing some well known statistical techniques to calculate the expected profit and return for a set of option positions, an option strategist can rank possible trades.