OAP 091: Options Backtesting, Investment Research & The Future of Option Alpha

Download The "Ultimate" Options Strategy Guide

In today's show I wanted to take a step back and give everyone an overview of what we've been working on here at Option Alpha and what we have planned over the next couple months. More specifically I wanted to officially announce that our new options backtesting software will be released publicly on June 1st. And as mentioned before to many people, as soon as the new software goes live the cost of the Lifetime Membership will go up by $1,000.

Options backtesting software is something that has been terribly done in our industry and we've worked really hard (and invested a ton of money) to make sure it's done right. After many months of development, I'm proud to say that we've made it not only powerful but simplistic and intuitive enough that anyone can use it. More importantly, it allows you to stress test option strategies before putting real capital at risk.

I'll dive more into the details and everything it includes a little more during today's show. Plus, I'll hint at some new research reports we've already been working on that will be released in the next couple months.

Key Points from Today's Show:

  • We are quickly approaching the launch date of our options backtesting software, which is on June 1, 2017.
  • When the software goes live, the Option Alpha lifetime member is going to go up by $1,000.
  • Unlike a video tutorial or a PDF guide, software needs continuous maintenance and upkeep.
  • Although it comes at a cost, it is of tremendous value for trading and future research.
  • Lifetime members have been getting access to the options backtesting software over the last two weeks.
  • As soon as the software goes live on June 1st, there will be a promotion for a small discount.

Profit Matrix Project

  • On June 14th, 2017 for episode 100 we will be doing an in-depth dive on our new project, the Profit Matrix.
  • The Profit Matrix tests millions of combinations of options strategies across many ticker symbols, rolling it into one big options strategy backtesting report.
  • There will be different sections for overall strategies as well as individual mini-reports on each strategy.

Research Reports Coming Up

  • One of the first things we will release is a covered calls report, from research across 50 different ticker symbols.
  • The next thing is an earnings trading report, to understand more about making profitable earnings trades.
  • The third is an adjustments report on the different trade adjustments you can make, based on strategy first, to enhance returns from the options backtester.

The Trade Optimizer Software

  • The Trade Optimizer is another piece of software we will be releasing as an extra layer to the backtesting software.
  • What the software does is it optimizes your current market situation and spits out exactly what strategy you should be using, down to the exact framework of that strategy.
  • It gives you the exact strategy to use based on the number of days you are from expiration and IV rank.
  • Can filter strategies from the research, to spit out the top 10 strategies based on your inputs and parameters.
  • It helps you optimize what you are doing for the current market situation and executing a strategy that works better.
  • Sometimes a slight tweak in your strategy or inputs can have a major difference and impact on your trade.

Updates Coming to Option Alpha

  • Upgrading the forum, adding to-do checklists and guides, including mini-quizzes and tests throughout the track.
  • Increased number of on-demand classes and on-demand webinars, based on research and data.
  • Launching an ambassador or affiliate program for Option Alpha, without diluting the brand's goodwill.
  • Exclusive trader interviews with members of the Option Alpha community as bonus content.
  • Portfolio tracking software that integrates with your broker platform to import your portfolio for analysis.
  • Updating the watchlist software to make it more comprehensive and integrated into the backtesting software.

Option Alpha Podcast Show Notes[FREE Download] Podcast Show Notes & Transcript PDF: No time to read the show notes right now? We've made it incredibly easy for you to save time by giving you instant access to the complete digital version of today's show. Click Here to Download Your FREE Copy

Free Options Trading Courses:

  • Options Basics [20 Videos]: Whether you're a completely new trader or an experienced trader, you'll still need to master the basics. The goal of this section is to help lay the groundwork for your education with some simple, yet important lessons surrounding options.
  • Finding & Placing Trades [26 Videos]: Successful options trading is 100% dependent on your ability to find and enter trades that give you an "edge" in the market. This module helps teach you how to scan properly for and select the best strategies to execute smarter option trades each day.
  • Pricing & Volatility [12 Videos]: This module includes lessons on mastering implied volatility and premium pricing for specific strategies. We'll also look at IV relativeness and percentiles which help you determine the best strategy to use for each and every possible market setup.
  • Neutral Options Strategies [7 Videos]: The beauty of options is that you can trade the market within a neutral range either up or down. You'll learn to love sideways and range bound markets because of the opportunity to build non-directional strategies that profit if the stock goes up, down or nowhere at all.
  • Bullish Options Strategies [12 Videos]: Naturally everyone wants to make money when the market is heading higher. In this module, we'll show you how to create specific strategies that profit from up trending markets including low IV strategies like calendars, diagonals, covered calls and direction debit spreads.
  • Options Expiration & Assignment [11 Videos]: Our goal is to make sure you understand the logistics of how each process works and the parties involved. If you don’t feel confident in the expiration processes or have questions that you just can't seem to get answered, then this section will help you.
  • Portfolio Management [16 Videos]: When I say "portfolio management" some people automatically assume you need a Masters from MIT to understand the concept and strategies - that is NOT the case. And in this module, you'll see why managing your risk trading options is actually quite simple.
  • Trade Adjustments/Hedges [15 Videos]: In this popular module, we'll give you concrete examples of how you can hedge different options strategies to both reduce potential losses and give yourself an opportunity to profit if things turn around. Plus, we'll help you create an alert system to save time and make it more automatic.
  • Professional Trading [14 Videos]: Honestly, this module isn't just for professional traders; it's for anyone who wants to have eventually options replace some (or all) of their monthly income. Because the reality is that mindset is everything if you truly want to earn a living trading options.

Option Trader Q&A w/ Lewis

Trader Q&A is our favorite segment of the show because we get to hear from one of our community members and help answer their questions live on the air. This week's question comes from Lewis who asks:

I only have a small account size, which is approximately €1,000 and I don't have too much time. I usually only have one to maximum three positions open at a time. Would diversification and beta weighting still be relevant for such a small portfolio like mine?

Remember, if you’d like to get your question answered here on the podcast or LIVE on Facebook & Periscope, head over to OptionAlpha.com/ASK and click the big red record button in the middle of the screen and leave me a private voicemail. There’s no software to download or install and it’s incredibly easy.

PDF Guides & Checklists:

  • The Ultimate Options Strategy Guide [90 Pages]: Our most popular PDF workbook with detailed options strategy pages categorized by market direction. Read the whole guide in less than 15 mins and have it forever to reference.
  • Earnings Trading Guide [33 Pages]: The ultimate guide to earnings trades including the top things to look for when playing these one-day volatility events, expected move calculations, best strategies to use, adjustments, etc.
  • Implied Volatility (IV) Percentile Rank [3 Pages]: A cool, simple visual tool to help you understand how we should be trading based on the current IV rank of any particular stock and the best strategies for each blocked section of IV.
  • Guide to Trade Size & Allocation [8 Pages]: Helping you figure out exactly how to calculate new position size as well as how much you should be allocating to your each position based on your overall portfolio balance.
  • When to Exit/Manage Trades [7 Pages]: Broken down by option strategy we'll give you concrete guidelines on the best exit points and prices for each trade type to maximize your win rate and profits long-term.
  • 7-Step Trade Entry Checklist [10 Pages]: Our top 7 things you should be double-checking before you enter your next trading. This quick checklist will help keep you out of harms way by making sure you make smarter entries.

Real-Money, LIVE Trading:

  • EWZ Iron Butterfly (Closing Trade): After nearly pinning the stock at our short strikes, and thanks to the volatility drop, we netted a $600 profit on this iron butterfly trade.
  • VXX Short Call (Closing Trade): One of the most consistent and profitable options trades we can make is shorting pure volatility with VXX and today we closed this naked short call in VXX after a couple days for a $420 profit.
  • DIA Iron Condor (Adjusting Trade): This neutral iron condor in DIA is need of a quick adjustment early this week as the market continues to rally. In this video, we'll discuss why I'm adding an additional put credit spread while also choosing NOT to close out of our current put credit spread due to pricing reasons.
  • COP Short Put (Closing Trade): These single short puts in COP acted as a great hedge for our other bearish bets in oil this month and helped smooth out our returns after we closed them for a nice big profit.
  • TSLA Put Debit Spread (Closing Trade): Although many people thought we were crazy for getting bearish in TSLA this pre-earnings put debit spread trade made us $200 today. After the huge run up from $140 to $260 and getting some technical sell signals, we were pretty sure this stock would pull back.
  • MON Iron Condor (Closing Trade): Following a huge drop in implied volatility we worked hard to close this MON iron condor trade adjusting the order multiple times to fill before the end of the day.
  • IBB Call Debit Spread (Opening Trade): We'll show you how I started searching for a new bullish trade and eventually found a low volatility trade in IBB looking for a move higher to hedge our portfolio.
  • TLT Iron Butterfly (Closing Trade): Following the Brexit vote TLT and bonds traded in a nearly $8 range really quickly - even still the drop in implied volatility helped generate a $330 profit for us.
  • XBI Call Debit Spread (Closing Trade): Got lucky picking the exact bottom for our entry in this call debit spread for the XBI biotech ETF which ultimately was closed for a profit of $165 today on the rally higher.
  • COH Iron Butterfly (Earnings Trade): Shortly after the market open we close out of our COH earnings trade for about a $160 profit, leaving just 1 leg on to expire worthless.
  • EWW Debit Spread (Closing Trade): Using some of the technical analysis signals we discovered in our backtesting research, we were able to make a quick $130 profit on this bearish EWW debit spread trade.
  • IBM Iron Condor (Earnings Trade): Shortly after the market opened you'll follow along with me as we watch volatility drop and liquidity come into the market before closing out the position for $250 profit.
  • SLV Short Straddle (Opening Trade): Using our watch list software we decided to continue to add to our existing SLV short straddle position with a new set of strike prices reflective of the move lower in the ETF recently.

Thank You for Listening!

I'm humbled that you took the time out of your day to listen to our show, and I never take that for granted. If you have any tips, suggestions or comments about this episode or topics you'd like to hear me cover, just add your thoughts below in the comment section.

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About The Author

Kirk Du Plessis

Kirk founded Option Alpha in early 2007 and currently serves as the Head Trader. Formerly an Investment Banker in the Mergers and Acquisitions Group for Deutsche Bank in New York and REIT Analyst for BB&T Capital Markets in Washington D.C., he’s a Full-time Options Trader and Real Estate Investor.

He’s been interviewed on dozens of investing websites/podcasts and he’s been seen in Barron’s Magazine, SmartMoney, and various other financial publications. Kirk currently lives in Pennsylvania (USA) with his beautiful wife and two daughters.