Thursday, March 19, 2015

NKE: Iron condor, volatility rules

Update 3/20/2015: NKE exceeded analysts' expectations, gapping sharply to the upside after earnings were published. The move carried the price above the two standard deviation range, meaning that it entered prices that, according to the options pricing, should have been seen by less than 5% of trades.

At the time I exited, shortly after the opening bell, the stock had gained 4.4% since I opened the position the day before, or a 1,615% annual rate.

My options position produced a -74.7% loss on debit, for a -26,185% annual rate.

The sportswear company Nike Inc. (NKE), headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, publishes earnings on Thursday following the closing bell.

NKE has Weeklys among its options inventories, and I shall trade the MAR series of options, which trades for the last time tomorrow.

[NKE in Wikipedia]


The goal of my trade is to construct a direction-neutral position with a zone of profitability at expiration covering all of the one standard deviation range implied by volatility and options pricing, or the 30-day hourly chart support and resistance range, whichever is wider.


NKE hit a peak of $99.76 in December 2014 and then began a shallow counter-trend correction to the downside that reached $90.69 on Feb. 9.

Subsequently, it moved up to a peak within the correction of $98.86 on March 7.

In framing the chart range I've chosen to use the more recent peak and low, which is appropriate for such a short-term position.

Click on chart to enlarge.
NKE at 9:55 a.m. New York time, 30 days hourly bars
Implied volatility stands at 27%, in the top percentile of the most recent rise.

Ranges implied by options and the chart
WeekSD1 68.2%SD2 95%Chart
Implied volatility 1 and 2 standard deviations; chart support and resistance

The Trade

My proposed trade covers all of the chart and one standard deviation ranges.

Iron condor short the $100calls and long the $102 calls,
short the $95 puts and long the $93 puts
sold for a credit and expiring March 21
Probability of expiring out-of-the-money


The risk/reward ratio stands at 6:5.

Decision for My Account

I've opened a position in NKE as described above.

-- Tim Bovee, Portland, Oregon, March 19, 2015


My volatility trading rules can be read here. For a discussion of the rationale behind the rules, see my essay, "Rules for very short term trades".

The directional score is calculated as the sum of the following:
  • Zacks rating --The Zacks ratings are translated as follows: 1=2, 2=1, 3=0, 4=-1 and 5=-2.
  • Enthusiasm rating --: A single percentage derived from the number of analysts whose opinions are in one of five categories: Strong buy, buy, hold, sell and strong sell.
  • Strong buy share -- The percentage of all analysts who rank the stock strong buy. If the share is 60% or greater, the score is 1; if 40% or less, then the score is -1; otherwise, the score is zero.
  • Ethusiasm momentum -- The score is 1 if today’s enthusiasm rating is larger than the rating 30 days earlier; otherwise, the score is zero.
  • 30-day direction -- The trend that best describes the 30-day chart: 1 for an uptrend, -1 for a downtrend and zero for a sideways trend.
  • One-day direction -- The trend that best describes the one-day chart: 1 for an uptrend, -1 for a downtrend and zero for a sideways trend.

From time to time I use the number 68.2% in using applied volatility to calculate the expected trading range. This comes from statistics and refers to the one standard deviation boundaries, which are expected to contain 68.2% of whatever is being studied. Putting it another way, given an item (a trade or whatever), there is a 68.2% chance that it will appear within those boundaries.

Elliott wave analysis tracks patterns in price movements. The principal practitioner of Elliott wave analysis is Robert Prechter at Elliott Wave International. His book, Elliott Wave Principle, is a must-read for people interested in this form of analysis, as is his most recent publication, Visual Guide to Elliott Wave Trading

Several web sites summarize Elliott wave theory, among them, Investopedia, StockCharts and Wikipedia.


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Tim Bovee, Private Trader tracks the analysis and trades of a private trader for his own accounts. Nothing in this blog constitutes a recommendation to buy or sell stocks, options or any other financial instrument. The only purpose of this blog is to provide education and entertainment.
No trader is ever 100 percent successful in his or her trades. Trading in the stock and option markets is risky and uncertain. Each trader must make trading decisions for his or her own account, and take responsibility for the consequences.

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