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The Real Reason Why $VIX Futures and Options Don’t Keep Pace With $VIX (15:10)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 15, No. 10 on May 25, 2006. 

As the market has declined, $VIX has risen dramatically. As owners of $VIX futures – now joined by owners of $VIX calls – have come to expect, though, the futures and options have not followed $VIX higher. This has generated a torrent of frustrated and sometimes nasty email to us. Owners of these products are incredulous as to how this can continue to be. We have explained the process at length, but we agree that something does not seem right here. So we decided to take a much closer look. Doing so involves getting into the very arcane formula for $VIX (if you care, it is published in a “white paper” on the CBOE web site).

Reverse Calendar Spreads (09:12)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 9, No. 12 on June 22, 2000. 

The reverse calendar spread strategy is not one that is employed too often, probably because the margin requirements for stock and index option traders are rather onerous. However, it does have a place in an option trader’s arsenal, and can be an especially useful strategy with regard to futures options. The strategy has been discussed before in The Option Strategist, and it is apropos again because it can be applied to the expensive options in the oil and natural gas sectors currently.

Protective Collars – LEAPS & $VIX (17:11)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 17, No. 11 on June 12, 2008. 

In this article, we’re going to examine a popular strategy – the “collar.” We feel it’s apropos, since it appears that stocks may have now embarked on the next leg of the bear market. Moreover, we’ll give you our take on how to best utilize the strategy, and we’ll also take a look at a new application with $VIX options that should be of great interest.

Does It Pay To Diagonalize? (16:21)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 16, No. 21 on November 8, 2007. 

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve read articles and heard options traders talking about a strategy that is apparently becoming more widespread: the use of long-term options in a position as the preferred hedge when selling near-term premium. These types of strategies generally fall into the category of “diagonal spreads.” While this isn’t exactly revolutionary thinking, it is a new era in the popularity of diagonals. As with any strategy, there are nuances that may not always be obvious to those inexperienced with using it. So, we thought we’d go over some of the benefits and drawbacks of using these strategies.

Q&A: Delta Neutral Positions (08:16)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 8, No. 16 on August 26, 1999. 

Questions & Answers

Q: I would like to ask you about delta neutral trading which I have heard and read about. Could you give me a brief description, it's merits and drawbacks, and in what situations it is best used. K.T. 6/17/99

Speculation Techniques (12:23)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 12, No. 23 on December 11, 2003. 

Probably too many traders treat options as pure speculation rather than the theoretically more profitable treatment as a hedging vehicle or as a way to take advantage of pricing discrepancies. Many of our articles deal with hedging or volatility trading (which is the generic term describing theoretical value trading), but in this article we’re going to change gears a little and talk about speculation – plain old vanilla option buying. Specifically, we’re going to talk about how option activity might denote a potential trade in a stock or its options, and then we’ll discuss how to follow up on the position – setting stops, and letting profits run if they develop.

Protecting A Stock Portfolio With $VIX Options (15:06)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 15, No. 6 on March 30, 2006. 

As our regular subscribers know, the CBOE recently listed cash-based options on its Volatility Index ($VIX). We have published several recent articles describing the details of these options, so we’ll review those only briefly in this article.

Some Practical Considerations for Option Traders (07:06)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 7, No. 6 on March 26, 1998. 

In the course of conversations with other traders or customers, there will occasionally be subjects that come up repeatedly. In this article, we’re going to look at three of them – sort of an article of short subjects. The first is probably the most complicated, as it addresses what volatility to use when trying to project the profitability of an option position. Second, we’ll share some practical insights on trading in futures options – particularly in the New York markets. Finally, we’ve had a lot of questions about one particular usage of our oscillator, so we’ll address that topic as well.

How Much Should You Risk? (13:13)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 13, No. 13 on July 8, 2004. 

This subject of risk is one that we have addressed in the past. In this article, we’ll not only review the basics of risk management, but will also introduce a more advanced technique designed to even better assess your risk and adjust your position size accordingly.

There are two facets to trading: position selection and risk management. Many traders feel that the latter is more important than the former. In fact, some have gone so far as to say that any reasonable method of selection will work as long as one has an excellent method of risk management.

Expected Returns (09:19)

By Lawrence G. McMillan

This article was originally published in The Option Strategist Newsletter Volume 9, No. 19 on October 11, 2000. 

Many sophisticated traders use ‘expected returns’ to analyze the profit and loss expectations of their investment strategies. In this article, we’ll define what that entails and then point out some of the benefits and difficulties in using such statistics to predict how a strategy will perform.

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