Category Archives: Options

A Brazilian Reasons To Be Bearish

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A Brazilian Reasons To Be Bearish

In a recent post (“A Brazilian with a Sudden Rip of the Wax”), Tim noted that Brazil ETF EWZ was in free fall. For those who haven’t been keeping up on the bad news from Brazil, the headline of this AP article from Tuesday will give you a sense of what’s been happening: “Brazil’s economy plunging; no relief in sight amid political, financial chaos”.

A Hedged Bet Against Brazil 

Every trading day, Portfolio Armor ranks all of the hedgeable stocks, ETFs, and other exchange-traded products in the U.S. by its estimate of their potential return over the next six months, based on an analysis of price history and option market sentiment. Then it subtracts hedging costs, and ranks them all by potential return net of hedging costs, or net potential return. On Tuesday, the highest-ranked ETF, and the 6th-ranked security overall, was BZQ, the 2x levered bet against Brazil. Portfolio Armor calculated a potential return of 15.2% for it over the next six months.


Bonds Away

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Reuters Poll: Most Primary Dealers See December Rate Hike

In an article late last week (“Wall Street banks eye December forFed liftoff“), Reuters reported the result of its poll of primary dealers on the prospects of a Fed rate hike over the next several months:

Twelve of the 17 primary dealers, or the banks that deal with the Fed directly,polled said they expect the Fed to raise rates in December. Two pegged the date in October, and three in March 2016.

When Interest Rates Rise, Bond Prices Fall (more…)

Apple Loses Its Cool

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The Tao of Steve

In the movie “The Tao of Steve” (2000), the lead character associates the name “Steve” with cool, charismatic men such as the actor Steve McQueen. Apple (AAPL) co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs was famously cool and charismatic, and when he passed away three years ago, investors wondered what impact that would have on the company. As we now know, Apple rocketed to new highs over the next few years. The company had a product pipleline in place, and a wide moat: the convenience of upgrading to a new iPhone, for example, and keeping all of your data and apps, was and still is a powerful inducement to remain an Apple customer. Reactions to Apple’s San Francisco product launch event on Wednesday, however, suggest that Apple may have finally ran out of the residual Steve Jobs cool factor.

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.