How to Trade During Earnings Season

For the most part, by being long and short an option at the same time, the "volatility rip off effect" will be nullified. When focusing on taking a position for earnings, we want to get long our straddle at-the-money. If you look at Figure 1, you will see the price action of APOL through February 26 on the left and the "risk curves" for the May strangle on the right. Every trader can tell stories of big losses on the back of what seemed to be an impressive earnings release. By using this service, you agree to input your real email address and only send it to people you know.

Apr 27,  · Watch video · A few weeks ago, Goldman Sachs' options research team looked at the historical returns that would have been yielded by a strategy of buying at-the-money call options on stocks five days before their earnings, and selling them the day Alex Rosenberg.

The Best Option Play For Earnings

It is a violation of law in some jurisdictions to falsely identify yourself in an email. All information you provide will be used by Fidelity solely for the purpose of sending the email on your behalf. The subject line of the email you send will be "Fidelity. Earnings season, which usually lasts a few weeks each quarter, is a period of time when a majority of public corporations release earnings reports. There is not much else that impacts stocks like when a company reports earnings.

It is not unusual for the price of a stock to rise or decline significantly immediately after an earnings report. This potential for a stock to move by a large amount in a certain direction in response to an earnings report can create active trading opportunities. Of course, any strategy should be considered within the context of your individual investing or trading plan. With this in mind, here's how you might consider incorporating earnings season into your strategy.

Before considering how you might trade a stock around an earnings announcement, you need to determine what direction you think the stock could go. This forecast is crucial because it will help you narrow down which strategies to choose.

Whether you are considering trading an earnings announcement, or you have an existing open position in a stock of a company that is about to report earnings, you should consider actively monitoring company-related news before and after the release, in addition to the results of the report itself. An earnings announcement, and the market's reaction, can reveal a lot about the underlying fundamentals of a company , with the potential to change the expectation for how the stock may perform.

Moreover, the earnings impact upon a stock is not limited to just the issuing company. In fact, the earnings of similar or related companies frequently have a spillover impact. As a result of any new information that might be revealed in an earnings report, sector rotation and other trading strategies may need to be reassessed.

If you are looking to open a position to trade an earnings announcement, the simplest way is by buying or shorting the stock. If you believe a company will post strong earnings and expect the stock to rise after the announcement, you could purchase the stock beforehand.

It is very important to understand that shorting involves significant risk. Only experienced investors who fully understand the risks should consider shorting. Similarly, call and put options can be purchased to replicate long and short positions, respectively. An investor can purchase call options before the earnings announcement if the expectation is that there will be a positive price move after the earnings report.

Alternatively, an investor can purchase put options before the earnings announcement if the expectation is that there will be a negative price move after the earnings report. Trading options involves more risk than buying and selling stock, and only experienced, knowledgeable investors should consider using options to trade an earnings report. Traders should fully understand moneyness the relationship between the strike price of an option and the price of the underlying asset , time decay, volatility, and options greeks in considering when and which options to purchase before an earnings announcement.

Volatility is a crucial concept to understand when trading options. The chart below shows day historical volatility HV versus implied volatility IV going into an earnings announcement for a particular stock. Historical volatility is the actual volatility experienced by a security. Implied volatility can be viewed as the market's expectation for future volatility. The earnings periods for July, October, and January are circled. This is intended to show that volatility can have a major impact on the price of the options being traded and, ultimately, your profit or loss.

Buying straddles is a great way to play earnings. Many a times, stock price gap up or down following the quarterly earnings report but often, the direction of the movement can be unpredictable. For instance, a sell off can occur even though the earnings report is good if investors had expected great results.

The strategy here is to buy the straddle two to three weeks ahead of earnings. Significant price movement is necessary for a straddle to make money and in the case of the earnings play, there are three events that can occur during this period which can create price movements sufficient enough to generate a profit.

Prior to the earnings, excitement abound and the underlying stock price may trade up or down ahead of the actual earnings due to increased speculation. Sometimes, price may move so much that you may be able to exit the position with a small profit without holding into earnings. Rare is the case when stock price remains unchanged. A third event, unlikely but not impossible, is the profit warning that may be issued a few weeks prior to the earnings report.

Large downward movements are typical following such warnings and are usually big enough to allow for a profitable exit. Unless you are very certain that the gap up or down after the report will be huge, never buy the straddle just one day before earnings as this is the time when the premiums of at-the-money options get bid up very high due to heightened anticipation. Do your homework and scout for companies announcing earnings two to three weeks in advance. Pay careful attention to stock positions that do not have a profit cushion when earnings are announced.

A profit cushion means you have an unrealized gain in the position. Positions without a profit cushion may lack significant profits because the BIGs have information about what the earnings are likely to be, and they may have been avoiding the stock, so it has not advanced. Be very careful about earning announcements when your stock has an unrealized loss. If you have a profit cushion, it makes things easier because you're not risking your capital, only your profits.

Always pay attention to the price action leading up to the earnings announcement. There are generally clues to the strength or weakness of the stock which tells whether the BIGs are quietly making their way to the exits. Many times the stock will gap up after a very favorable or surprisingly good earnings report. When this happens, trade it like a gap trade with special attention to the volume. Strong gaps have volume that is generally greater than 1.

It's probably a good idea to let the price settle down during the first hour of trading to be more certain that the gap will hold. If the stock shows signs of weakness after the earnings are announced, you will want to avoid it. If heavy selling volume comes into the stock, it means the BIGs are selling off shares and may start to dump the stock.

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Earnings are released before the market opens or after the market is closed which is when the options market is closed, so there is no chance to adjust or close the position. When the market opens, the stock is already outside of your range, and your account begins to blowout. There are also times where earnings miss expectations, but the stock price goes up. That is why we stick to trading the implied volatility aspect of earnings - directionally trading earnings can be extremely difficult, while implied volatility usually expands before earnings, and contracts immediately after. Alternatively, an investor can purchase put options before the earnings announcement if the expectation is that there will be a negative price move after the earnings report. Trading options involves more risk than buying and selling stock, and only experienced, knowledgeable investors should consider using options to trade an earnings report.