Stocks & Commodities V. 32:5 (27, 32): Explore Your Options by Tom Gentile

Stocks & Commodities V. 32:5 (27, 32): Explore Your Options by Tom Gentile
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Explore Your Options by Tom Gentile


A lot of my students subscribe to and receive the Stock Trader’s Almanac published each year by Jeffrey Hirsch. In this treasure trove, Hirsch and his father Yale Hirsch discuss seasonality and cyclical trends that have occurred in past years. They also look at the best time, historically, to be long or short the market and sectors during the course of the year. One of the approaches covered in the Stock Trader’s Almanac involves the time-tested strategy “Buy in November, and go away (sell) in May.” One of my students approached me recently and asked, “How can I effectively sell in May using options instead of shorting the stock or index markets?”

I believe the answer to this question is twofold: using options as a way to protect long stock positions, and using options as a way to speculate that a drop will occur in the markets. I will analyze each of these strategies against the SPDR S&P 500 exchange traded fund (SPY). SPY can be used to protect long positions that are correlated with the S&P 500 and also can be used to profit from a bearish market move.

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