I'm just not finding a lot to work with right now. Many stocks appear overbought, but are not offering the right setups for bearish trades. Straddles would be an ideal trade strategy, as they can benefit if the underlying continues rising, and especially if the underlying falls sharply. The problem with straddles right now is the options have significant premiums in their prices due to high Implied Volatilities. The underlying stocks would have to move significantly for many straddle trades just to break even.
Elevated IV's also makes many other option strategies low probability, high risk. Conservative trades like covered calls on the best stocks are good trades until the market figures out which way it wants to go.
Over the past two weeks, the S&P 500 for instance has traded within a 2% range:
Of the 400+ stocks I regularly follow, only a handful have strong seasonal charts right now, meaning strong track records of either gains or losses over the next several weeks. Of those that do, a surprising number of them have been trading within well-defined ranges, but are sitting right in the middle of the ranges. The daily charts can be close to giving a Stochastics buy signal, yet the weekly charts can be close to giving a sell signal.
Most of the year, there are a good number of high quality stocks with strong seasonal patterns – mostly bullishly oriented, but there are regularly good tradable bearish track records as well. However, this is a quiet time of the year, and strong seasonal patterns are scarce. So I normally switch to income trades, cyclical trading on stocks within trading ranges, and so forth.
But with so many stocks throwing off conflicting signals, I'll give the same advice I gave back in the April 12th newsletter, when there was another instance of conflicting signals. I said…
” Right now, my intuition is making me uncomfortable.…Take profits, trim positions, buy protection, consider shorts and other bearish trades, and enter only smaller new positions.
“Go out and buy a bottle of Maker's Mark or a case of a good Bordeaux (and maybe some of those good $8 cigars), and aim to be more of a spectator than a participant over the next several weeks. One of the best ways to increase returns over any 12-month period is by knowing when to cut back, sit back, and wait for better setups.”
And what happened right after I said that on the morning of April 12th?
Will this week be a replay? We'll see.
I presented six covered call trades in Friday's newsletter that are high quality stocks with good higher-probability setups and 5 to 8% possible returns over the next few weeks. For a conflicted market, covered calls on good quality stocks with elevated Implied Volatilities may be the way to go.
Of course, there's much more you need to know and many more stocks you can capitalize upon each and every day. To find out more, type in www.markettamer.com/seasonal-forecaster
By Gregg Harris, MarketTamer Chief Technical Strategist
Copyright (C) 2013 Stock & Options Training LLC
Unless indicated otherwise, at the time of this writing, the author has no positions in any of the above-mentioned securities.
Gregg Harris is the Chief Technical Strategist at MarketTamer.com with extensive experience in the financial sector.
Gregg started out as an Engineer and brings a rigorous thinking to his financial research. Gregg's passion for finance resulted in the creation of a real-time quote system and his work has been featured nationally in publications, such as the Investment Guide magazine.
As an avid researcher, Gregg concentrates on leveraging what institutional and big money players are doing to move the market and create seasonal trend patterns. Using custom research tools, Gregg identifies stocks that are optimal for stock and options traders to exploit these trends and find the tailwinds that can propel stocks to levels that are hidden to the average trader.
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