Mindset is key right now. It's going to control your decisions on the structure of trades as well as sizing.
I'll give you an example. While I do watch price patterns and chart action, I do split my intraday time, when looking for a trade and not researching ideas. On the left screen is charts. On the right screen will be option chains. It won't be a chart or a single month, but multiple chains. It will look something like this:
While I do have scanners and alert set, my mind will work through different combinations I commonly use from spreads to collars to covered calls, even risk-reversals. And that's all good, but without knowing your mindset or opinion around a stock or the market, it won't do you much good. You need to identify what you're looking for most of the time, if you want to find it.
For instance, when options opened on Spartan Energy ( SPAQ) the other day, after staring at the crazy inflated premiums, I knew in less than two minutes I wanted to scan for collars. Essentially, I wanted to find out if I could create a collar that was close to risk-free or even risk-free. If possible, I wanted to skew for some upside, because the stock had been gaining momentum after breaking out from resistance. Obviously, we know now that the momentum has faded from the market and the stock has paused, so hindsight says I should've gone for higher guaranteed, lower upside, but with a month left until expiration, it may be too early to decide what was right now.
But you'll need mindset whenever heading into something. For instance, I was checking out Kensington Capital Acquisitions ( KCAC) and could have gone one of two ways. A collar played out with a low-risk, decent reward setup. Or, bulls could have found buying the shares and layering a ratio call spread, which is a call spread and a short covered call, as a way to leverage the upside on a move from $18 to $30 to add another $8 gain on top of a potential $12 increase in price. That's not a bad trade, either, potentially gaining $20 on a $12 stock move without paying more than the $18 price per share. Not bad, if you're bullish. Also, you need the stock to actually move to see those gains.
But if you go into trade scans without a view, you're going to have too many options (no pun intended). In a fast-moving market, traders will find themselves frozen as paralysis-by-analysis sets in. The long story short is don't get cute or complex if you are chasing a name. If you are familiar and prepared, then by all means, have a look outside-the-box.
Now, I'll take a second to rant. "Clarify" may be a better word here. Probably similar to other contributors on this page, my mind is often working through multiple ideas at the same time. During the day, we're trying to type them up, and do it fast. Sometimes, it's like trying to balance on a beam while the room is spinning. Words can get jumbled. Ideas can get jumbled. If you have questions, there's nothing wrong with a polite email, but my advice would be to avoid leading with insults. I'll have losing trades and strategies that could benefit from some clarity. Just ask. I'll do my best to answer, and when I'm wrong (because I will be from time to time), I'll own it. I've done it before and I'll know I'll have to do it again. That's the nature of the game. No one is perfect nor does anyone know everything. That is one thing I do know.
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The CPI jumps an eye-popping 4.2%, but a lot of noise is included in that number.
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