Aug/Sept options exp, naked puts in FCX, GM, AFL, T, SDRL, AEM & more

Although it may portend that a significant correction is near (or already underway), the recent increase in market “turbulence” – and higher corresponding VIX level – is actually a welcome change from a put option seller’s perspective. It promises higher option premiums for sellers to collect as well as less-expensive underlying stocks that present more interesting valuation opportunities.

While slightly more of a mixed bag than previous expirations this year (see below), the last couple of monthly options expirations still saw most of my existing naked put option positions expire out of the money resulting in full profits. I did also buy back a couple of naked put option positions early – at pennies on the dollar – that were trading close to the money as expiration approached. But I was assigned one position in a uranium miner, and I did roll out several mostly energy-related naked put positions to avoid assignment in some positions that were deep in the money.

In the meantime, despite a seemingly docile market as presented by the major averages, several sectors and individual stocks have presented interesting put option-selling opportunities and I have initiated (and in some case re-initiated) a number of new positions since my last post (see below). Looking ahead to October I only have three naked put option positions expiring, two of which (both metal mining related) I may be looking to adjust.

Options expiration results:
My August and September-expiring naked put options positions in the following stocks expired out of the money, leaving me with full profits in the positions: Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KMI), Linn Co, LLC (LNCO), Mobile Telesystems (MBT), Rent-A-Center (RCII), Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA), iShares MSCI Turkey (TUR), and Ventas (VTR).

I was assigned a September-expiring naked put option position in Cameco Corporation (CCJ) and put the underlying shares at a cost basis of ~$19.40. I’m comfortable establishing a small initial long-term position in this uranium miner at these levels and will likely add to the position at lower prices if given the opportunity.

Adjusted positions since my last post include closing out (buying back) naked put positions in Cameco Corporation (CCJ) and Textainer Group Holdings Limited (TGH) for close to full profits, and rolling out existing naked put option positions in Diamond Offshore Drilling (DO), Ensco plc (ESV), General Motors Company (GM), and Transocean Ltd. (RIG).

New positions since my last post include December, January, February, March and April-expiring naked put options in AEGON N.V. (AEG), Agnico Eagle Mines Limited (AEM), AFLAC (AFL), Alexandria Real Estate Equities (ARE), AT&T (T), The Babcock & Wilcox Company (BWC), BioMed Realty Trust (BMR), Cameco Corporation (CCJ), Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CBI), CoreSite Realty Corporation (COR), Credit Suisse Group AG (CS), CubeSmart (CUBE), Ensco plc (ESV), Goldcorp (GG), Textainer Group Holdings Limited (TGH), Las Vegas Sands (LVS), Mindray Medical International (MR), North Atlantic Drilling Limited (NADL), New York REIT (NYRT), Pan American Silver (PAAS), Rio Tinto (RIO), SeaDrill Limited (SDRL), Suncor Energy (SU), Syngenta (SYT), iShares MSCI Turkey (TUR), UBS AG (UBS), Global X Uranium ETF (URA), Ventas (VTR), and Vanguard Total International Stock ETF (VXUS).

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June/July options exp, naked puts in GM, LO, POT, MYGN, GG, VALE & much more

A low VIX and elevated market continue to make for a challenging environment for selling put options. Despite that, I’ve added a number of new naked put positions (see below) since my last post.

Meanwhile over the last couple of months I had a significant number of expiring naked put positions that had been initiated late last year/early this year, the vast majority of which ended up expiring out of the money (see below). I was comfortable letting myself be assigned the few positions that expired in the money (see below) as longer-term investments.

Looking ahead to next month I have seven expiring naked put option positions. Most are comfortably out of the money, but a couple are currently near or in the money and I’ll be needing to decide whether to potentially take assignment of them or perhaps roll them out to try to extract more option premium from them.

Options expiration results:
My June and July-expiring naked put options positions in the following stocks expired out of the money, leaving me with full profits in the positions: American Capital Agency Corp. (AGNC), American Realty Capital Properties (ARCP), Cisco Systems (CSCO), EV Energy Partners LP (EVEP), Equity Residential (EQR), Goldcorp (GG), Healthcare Trust of America (HTA), International Game Technology (IGT), The Macerich Company (MAC), Medical Properties Trust (MPW), NuStar Energy L.P. (NS), Omega Healthcare Investors (OHI), Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (POT), Sandstorm Gold (SAND), and SeaDrill Limited (SDRL).

My June and July-expiring naked put options positions in the following stocks expired in the money, and I was assigned the options and put the underlying shares at an average near breakeven cost basis: Healthcare Trust of America (HTA), Rogers Communications (RCI), and Global X Uranium ETF (URA).

Adjusted positions since my last post include closing out (buying back) a naked put position in Compañía de Minas Buenaventura (BVN) for a small net total profit, and rolling out an existing naked put option position in Annaly Capital Management (NLY) to reduce a current unrealized loss to breakeven.

New positions since my last post include December, January and February-expiring naked put options in American Realty Capital Properties (ARCP), Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CBI), Deutsche Bank AG (DB), General Motors (GM), GNC Holdings (GNC), Lorillard (LO), Lumber Liquidators Holdings (LL), Myriad Genetics (MYGN), North Atlantic Drilling Limited (NADL), Natural Resource Partners LP (NRP), Realogy Holdings (RLGY), Rio Tinto plc (RIO), Sturm, Ruger & Co. (RGR), Vale S.A. (VALE), Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index ETF (VWO), and Telefonica Brasil, S.A. (VIV).

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May options expiration, naked puts in COH, CCJ, VTR & more

There wasn’t much drama in this month’s option expiration for me. This is partly because I only had two naked put option positions outstanding for this month, but also because not much had changed since last month.

One of the naked put positions was even farther out of the money (OTM) than it was a month ago, while the other was still trading right at/around the strike price. The latter did end up expiring slightly in the money (ITM), and I was put the units (see below). (I had placed a limit order to roll that position out, but did not pursue it aggressively as I didn’t mind owning the underlying stock as an investment.)

Looking ahead to next month, I have eight expiring naked put positions. Most are trading out of the money. As usual, I may consider rolling out any that look like they may expire ITM.

Options expiration results:
CVR Partners (UAN) – Some May 20-strike put options that I sold against UAN on 11/12/13 for $3.75, as part of a roll-out/roll-down risk adjustment of an earlier position, expired ITM resulting in me being put the units of this nitrogen fertilizer products master-limited partnership at a cost basis of about $20, just a bit above where it’s currently trading.

Ventas (VTR) – A May 55-strike put option that I sold against VTR on 12/4/13 for $3.65 expired OTM for a 5-1/2-month net return of 6.6%.*

New positions since last month’s expiration include November-, December- and January-expiring naked put options in Cameco (CCJ), The Carlyle Group (CG), and Coach (COH).

* As always, the return on sales of cash secured or naked put options was conservatively calculated based on the option premium received from the sale of the options (minus commissions) against the unmargined capital set aside to pay for the possible option assignment (i.e., my being put the shares of the underlying stock).

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April options expiration, naked puts in MSFT, JOY, GG, VOD & more

This month’s options expiration worked out well, with six out of seven of my April-expiring naked put option positions expiring out-of-the-money (OTM), resulting in full profits. My one in-the-money (ITM) naked put position was trading with a small profit and I rolled it out to a later date (see details below).

Looking ahead I have only two naked put positions expiring in May. Both are currently trading OTM – one very comfortably, the other very close to the strike. The latter position has already been rolled down and out once as part of a risk reduction adjustment and is basically a breakeven trade at this point, so I may look to roll out again to try to capture a profit or lower my potential net cost basis in the shares if I am ultimately put them.

Options expiration results:
Franco-Nevada Corporation (FNV) – An April 40-strike put option that I sold against FNV on 10/11/13 for $4.50, as part of a roll-out/roll-down risk adjustment of an earlier position, expired OTM for a 13-1/2-month net return in the total position of 7.6%.*

Joy Global (JOY) – An April 50-strike put option that I sold against JOY on 10/11/13 for $4.31, as part of a roll-out/roll-down adjustment of an earlier position, expired OTM for a 14-month net return in the total position of 8.5%.*

KKR Financial Holdings LLC (KFN) – Some April 10-strike put options that I sold against KFN on 11/8/13 for $0.85 expired OTM for a 5-month net return of 8.5%.*

Microsoft (MSFT) – An April 30-strike put option that I sold against MSFT on 7/19/13 for $2.10 expired OTM for a 9-month net return of 6.7%.*

Global X Uranium ETF (URA) – An April 15-strike put option that I sold against URA on 10/7/13 for $1.40 expired OTM for a 6-month net return of 8.7%.*

Weyerhaeuser (WY) – Some April 25-strike put options that I sold against WY on 8/28/13 for $1.60 expired OTM for a 7-1/2-month net return of 6.4%.*

Adjusted positions since last month’s expiration include a roll-out of a naked put position in Digital Realty (DLR), where I bought back a somewhat in-the-money April-expiring 55-strike put option for a small profit and then sold a DLR January 55-strike put option for $7.43. This is the second adjustment of this position and further lowers my potential cost basis if put the stock. (The first adjustment was a roll-out/roll-down risk adjustment.) If ultimately put the stock, my cost basis will now be about $47.

New positions since last month’s expiration include September, October, and January-expiring naked put options in Cameco (CCJ), Goldcorp (GG), Mobile Telesystems (MBT), Global X Uranium ETF (URA), and Vodafone Group (VOD).

* As always, the return on sales of cash secured or naked put options was conservatively calculated based on the option premium received from the sale of the options (minus commissions) against the unmargined capital set aside to pay for the possible option assignment (i.e., my being put the shares of the underlying stock).

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March options expiration, naked puts in SLW, LO, POT, MOS & more

This month’s options expiration produced full profits across the board for all my expiring naked put option positions (see details below) – no surprise given the market’s continued buoyancy even in the face of various negative news events. The market’s resiliency however has also limited my put selling opportunities, and as a result I have only one new naked put position to report since last month’s expiration (see below).

Looking ahead, I have seven expiring naked put options positions in April. All but one are currently trading comfortably out of the money (OTM) so – barring a significant market downturn between now and then – I don’t currently anticipate making more than one adjustment to those positions.

Options expiration results:
The Carlyle Group LP (CG) – Some March 25-strike put options that I sold against CG on 9/13/13 (for $2.70), as part of a roll-down/roll-out risk reduction adjustment of an existing $30-strike naked put position, expired OTM for a total 12-month net return of 3.4%.*

Lorillard (LO) – A March 40-strike put option that I sold against LO on 7/26/13 for $2.95 expired OTM for an 8-month net return of 7.1%.*

The Mosaic Company (MOS) – A March 40-strike put option that I sold against MOS on 7/30/13 for $4.80 expired OTM for an 8-month net return of 12%.*

Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (POT) – A March 30-strike put option that I sold against POT on 7/8/13 for $4.10 expired OTM for an 8-month net return of 13.7%.*

STAG Industrial (STAG) – A March 20-strike put option that I sold against STAG on 8/16/13 for $2.25 expired OTM for a 7-month net return of 11.2%.*

Valley National Bancorp (VLY) – Some March 10-strike put options that I sold against VLY on 9/19/13 (for $0.80), as part of a profit-taking roll-out of an existing $10-strike naked put position, expired OTM for a total 12-month net return of 13%.*

Williams Partners L.P. (WPZ) – A March 50-strike put option that I sold against WPZ on 8/8/13 for $4.70 expired OTM for a 7-month net return of 9.2%.*

New positions since last month’s expiration include some January ’15 23-strike naked put options in Silver Wheaton (SLW).

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