Author Archives: Dpinsen

A Lower-Risk Way To Bet Against Oil

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Our Highest-Ranked ETF is a Bet Against Oil – And The Global Economy

Each trading day, Portfolio Armor calculates potential returns for every security with options traded on it in the U.S. Potential returns are high-end estimates of how the security might perform over the next six months, and they’re based on an analysis of price history and on option market sentiment. On Friday, the security with the 5th highest potential return in our universe (which consists of all securities with options traded on them in the U.S.) was the ProShares Ultra Short Bloomberg Crude Oil ETF (SCO), which is 2x short oil.

SCO had a potential return of 19%, which was 5th overall, but the highest of any ETF in our system. Here’s a way an investor who wants to bet against oil (and, by extension, much of the global economy) can own SCO while limiting his downside risk to a decline of no more than 15% if SCO moves against him. The best part is, the cost of this hedge is negative, so our investor would essentially be getting paid to hedge.

Getting Paid To Hedge SCO (more…)

Getting Paid To Hedge VXX

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Hey Fellow Slopers,

With the VIX jumping again on today’s market drop, here’s a quick  Portfolio Armor optimal collar hedge that might of interest to some playing VXX: cap your potential upside at 20%, limit your downside risk to a max drawdown of 20%, get paid 6.47% of position value to hedge.


As you can see at the bottom of the screen capture above, the cost of the put leg of this collar was $2,270, or 11.48% of position value. But if you look at the call leg below, you see that the income it generated was greater: $3,550, or 17.95% of position value…


… So the net cost of this optimal collar hedge was -$1,280, or -6.47% of position value, meaning an investor would essentially get paid to open this hedge.*

*To be conservative Portfolio Armor calculated the cost of the puts at the ask, and the income from the calls at the bid; in practice, you can often buy puts for less (at some point between the bid and ask) and sell calls for more (again, at some point between the bid and the ask). So you would probably have collected more than $1,280 to open this hedge.

Does Hedged Investing Work?

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A Blast From The Past

Hey Fellow Slopers,

Early last year, I posted about a hedged portfolio investing method we developed at Portfolio Armor. The basic idea was to find securities that had high expected returns over the next six months and were also relatively cheap to hedge, and then to buy and hedge a handful of those names every six months. One of you asked if I had backtested this method, and I hadn’t. So, I took a break from posting for a bit while I did that. The backtesting turned out to be a lot more time consuming than I anticipated, but it’s done and now I can share with you the results. First, a quick recap of the hedged portfolio method.

The Hedged Portfolio Method (more…)

Downside Protection For ADM

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In a post on Monday (“VXX Sucks”), our host Tim noted the double digit move in the VIX (though not in VXX, which has made longs’ money evaporate since inception) on the day. With volatility getting a mild bump, I thought I’d take a look at the hedging costs of a few widely-traded stocks trading near their 52-week highs. Agricultural powerhouse Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) was one that was relatively inexpensive to hedge. Here are two ways of doing that over the next several months. (more…)