Brexit exit iron condor

The pound has been relatively flat for a month after the initial Brexit trauma, so we are considering a “Brexit exit” on our existing iron condor. Currently the iron condor is in the middle of it’s range, as the FXB is at $129 and the mid point of our iron condor is $130. Volatility has contracted from 30% on the brexit announcement to around 15% and trending lower towards the original pre brexit range of 8% to 10% implied volatility.

FXB volatility

Looking at the historical FXB implied volatility chart clearly shows the huge peak for Brexit

Brexit exit FXB Aug 2016 Adjusted Iron Condor Volatility Analysis - 20160801

Given that our continued assumption is bearish on the pound, it makes sense to exit the iron condor before it sells off any further. Also the implied volatility contraction from a peak of 30% down to about 15% makes it more attractive to buy back the short option premium.

From our previous post the original trade was an iron condor at $149/$144/$130/$125 was placed on 16th June (pre brexit). Iron condor was adjusted on 27th June (FXB adjustment is in section “Brexit trading update – Monday”) by adding bull call spread $148/$143 and short call spread $135/$130.

FXB trade exit

The $130/$135 short out spread was slightly ITM giving the trade a slightly bullish deltas, and since our assumption is still bearish we are ok to close out the entire trade for a profit. Given that FXB moved more than 15% after brexit, this is definitely a good result. We could leave on the short call spread $130/$135 to keep short position on the table. However we are trying to more disciplined with our trading approach of “on as a package” and “off as a package” for option strategies. Adjustments to strategies in mid trade are ok, but fundamentally it is cleaner to exit and entry all option legs together. This ATM spread that had been already adjusted on with a short call spread vertical $130/$135, was taken off for a loss of -$73.

Brexit exit FXB Aug 2016 Adjusted Iron Condor ATM trade exit - 20160801

The call spread structure at $140 level is mostly worthless now. The generated a $216 profit and can be easily bought back for $50. It probably would be more logically to let the whole thing expire worthless because it’s way out of the money now, but in the interests of housekeeping we will exit now (on the same day the other side is exited). You could easily back an argument for doing nothing with this side of it, but we don’t have the patience to wait 40 days for it to expire to make only $50. All option legs of the entire OTM spread including the long call spread adjustment at $148/$149 was taken off for a gain of $216.

Brexit exit FXB Aug 2016 Adjusted Iron Condor OTM trade exit - 20160801

Brexit exit trade summary

In summary entire trade was exited for a $144 ($216 – $72) total profit across all options legs, but only with $200 at risk after each trade adjustment was applied (so it was a very safe trade). Without a trade adjustment this would have been a $36 winner, however with the potential max risk of approx $600. So in this case the adjustments ultimately made more money due to selling premium and importantly lower the overall max risk on the trade. This shows how in a volatile trading environment adjusting spread by selling premium, can both reduce risk and manage trade profitability. This was only a small profit, but it does show how to manage an option trade successfully even with a 30 day rule.

VLCCF – Trade Entry – 19-Dec-2014

VLCCF has sold off massively into year end, mainly due to oil price. All small cap shipping stocks have been destroyed. Fortunately we sold 200 shares for about $14 earlier this year, so we have about $1000 profit to play with. So in Nov 2014 started selling puts against the position, with a view to getting either extra income or being assigned. Vol was high, so was a good play, however was still “early”. Sold $7.5 Dec 2014, when VLCCF was approx $8 in mid Nov, but got totally caned in Dec (but still better than buying stock outright). Put will be assigned (deliberately) today on 19th Dec at expiration on the close today.

Table below summarises our stock position, which has an unrealised loss of approximately ($8.08 average price - stock close price $4.71 x 560 shares = -$1887). However we realised a gain earlier in the year (May 2014) of $1011, selling 200 shares at $14.15. So our total loss on the stock is about  -$876. However we have dividend reinvested, so that is lowering the average price as well (hence the 60 or so extra shares, over the original 500 share position). Original cost basis was 500 shares at $9.79 = $4895. So loss is -17%, however given that stock price is down -%52 since purchase, that could be claimed as a small victory.

Our aim is to try and get out of this position, with a patient long term approach coupled with option trades and tactical stock sales to reduce overall cost basis.

Stock Position
Shares
Cost Basis /
Average Price
Cost Basis Principal
Existing VLCCF position3608.873193.2
Dec 2014 $7.5 put assignment (deliberately assigned on 19th Dec 2014)200$6.51300
TOTAL560$8.024493.2

The implied vol is 140% (very high) in Dec 2014, so are looking at volatility strategies, namely selling options. The stock is cheap enough (under $5) to consider very conservative put selling strategies, which when coupled with high IV makes it a good candidate for the philstockworld.com style trade (or longer term premium selling). We havent done this trade before, so will be conservative on the first one.

Look at the option chains for June 2015 shows the $7.5 and $2.5 puts. This trade was executed by selling puts and selling calls (premium on both sides).

VLCCF150619C7.5CALL (VLCCF) KNIGHTSBRIDGE JUN 19 15 $7.5 (100 SHS) -5 $221.07 $0.44/Share
VLCCF150619P2.5PUT (VLCCF) KNIGHTSBRIDGE JUN 19 15 $2.5 (100 SHS) -5 $313.12 $0.63/Share

This makes $221.07 (call premium) and $313.12 (put premium) for a total of $552 if VLCCF finishes in between $2.5 and $7.5 in 6 months time. What are the possible scenarios in Jun 2015:

Closes Below $2.5: This is effectively committing to buy 500 shares at about $2.5 – total option premium of $1.07 (or about $1.43 per share). This would be a bad outcome, and would have average price of about $4.75 on 1000 shares. Assuming stock would not go bankrupt (!) would have to look at option premium trades again (to further lower cost basis), or just buy and hold and wait it out. This would not be good, but would be way better than buy and hold from $9.79 to $1 to $2 range.

Closes Between $2.5 and $7.5: since the IV is VERY high there is a higher likelihood that vol reduces over the lifetime of the trade, so that will also give a way to profit even if stock doesn’t move anywhere over the next 6 months. This is like a “psuedo” dividend assuming the stock stays in a ride range – the options market currently prices this at about at 50% chance of happening, but if the IV comes down the percentage chance of it happening will be reduced as well. The “normal” IV for this stock is about 40% and that would price it at about a 75% of chance of happening (much better odds). The P&L here would be the stock P&L, plus about 5 contracts x $1.07 option premium or about $535 (the “pseudo” dividend). If stock price is over $7 by Jun 2015 expiration then this is breakeven on the currently unreleased open positions, however if you add the $1011 profit from earlier in the year, then the breakeven since position inception is approximately $5 (which looks achievable, and is not a bad outcome given that the position was started at $9.79).

Closes above $7.5 : If the stock is above the $7.5 strike in 6 months, then the entire position will be assigned for a profit:   –  $8.08 average cost basis + $7.5 strike assignment + $1.07 option premium = about $0.49 profit on 500 shares. That would make a small gain on $250, which added to $1011 from earlier this year, would give about a 25% profit on original position (and would have exited with VLCCF position with a decent gain, not having given up on it when it was a loser as it is today).

Note: There are an extra 60 shares that have been acquired due to reinvested dividends, but that would just be bonus profit (e.g. if closed at $10, then would get $2.5 * 60 shares = $150 of extra profit). But that was not included above to keep calculations simpler.