OAP 049: How To Profit From The Next Stock Market Crash – 15 Backtested Put Option Strategies

Options Trading
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Do you think that there'll be another stock market crash soon? Maybe in the next six months to 1 year?

If you are looking for the ultimate strategy to profit from the next stock market crash, then today’s latest podcast is for you. We went to 2007 and backtested 15 different put option buying strategies to see which combination produced the most profitable results during the last market crash.

Honestly, we’re due now for a serious correction or recession soon, so this show might just come at the best possible time. Recall that we did the hard research into “How Often Markets Crash” in Show 15 and found that 21 times since 1928 stocks fell at least 20%. That’s essentially once every four years, and it’s been eight years since the last significant market correction.

Naturally, we know that the best way to play a stock market crash, if we knew one was coming, is by purchasing put options. But which put options do you buy? How far out to you go for the expiration day? What strike prices work best? Are there some general trading rules we should follow?

Today, we'll answer all of these questions and more during our first little sneak peek inside the backtesting research that we'll be launching later this year.

Key Points from Today's Show:

Background on Research:

  • Did a study to backtest option buying strategies when predicting a stock market crash. Looked at 15 different strategies over the course of two years (2007 to 2008), assuming that the timing is almost dead on.
  • If your assumption is that the market is going to crash and you want to profit, you may have to hold through some long put options before you actually start to realize any money on the position.
  • Tested on SPY, QQQ, DIA, and IWM — all of the major market ETF's, and then averaged out the numbers.
  • Grouped everything into three different contract months — one month out (~30 days), two months out (~60 days), or three months out (~90 days).
  • Bought options at the 10 delta, 20 delta, 30 delta, 40 delta, and the 50 delta for each of the different months to make up the 15 different back tested option strategies. Held everything to expiration, with no money/risk management.

Results and Findings:

  • The front month, 30 day options performed badly the further out you bought. i.e the 10 delta and 20 delta options one month out were not great of performers.
  • Whereas the 30 delta and 40 delta in the front month performed a little bit better — options either held more value closer to expiration or swung to a profitable zone.
  • Results for the three-month options were completely reversed — when you bought options 90 days out at the 10 delta, you made on average about 211% over the course of two years (second highest overall value).
  • The best opportunity for the option buying space was two months out. However, the 10 delta options did not make much money, neither did your 50 delta, 40 delta, or 30 delta options — all made money, but was not the best strategy (~160%).
  • The best strategy is buying options 60 days out at a 20 delta and holding them to expiration. This strategy made 225% over the two-year period.

Backtesting Conclusion:

  • With the 30 day/one month options, better buying closer in — buying options closer to out of the money, i.e 30 delta, 40 delta, or 50 delta.
  • With the three-monthd options, 90 days out, it is better buying options further out — at the 10 delta and the 20 delta.
  • The sweet spot and best strategy ends up being the two-month options, about 60 days out, and at about 20-25 delta, which ends up being really profitable as far as an option buying strategy.

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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.

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:

  • IWM Iron Butterfly (Closing Trade): Exiting this IWM iron butterfly options trade gave us a $1,100+ profit after pinning the stock price one day before expiration at the peak of our spread.
  • CMG Iron Condor (Opening Trade): I just recorded my live trading platform (and real money account) as I walked through the process of entering a new iron condor trade in CMG stock. Inside you'll see me analyze, price and fill the trade in real-time.
  • APC Strangle (Closing Trade): Took about $150 out of this small APC strangle trade even after the stock moved completely against our short call strikes this month. But as always, implied volatility always trumps direction and because IV went down, the value of this spread dropped more-so than the impact of the directional move higher.
  • IYR Call Credit Spread (Adjusting Trade): This adjustment is good for 2 reasons. First, it reduces the overall risk in the trade if IYR continues to move higher. Second, it still leaves room for the stock to fall back down into our new profit window.
  • XHB Straddle (Closing Trade): We were able to bank a $120 profit early in the March expiration cycle for our XHB straddle with the stock trading right in the middle of our expected range.
  • AAPL Call Calendar (Opening Trade): Look behind the scenes as I use our new watchlist software to filter quickly and find this AAPL call calendar spread trade during overall low implied volatility in the market.
  • COF Strangle (Adjusting Trade): Here I recorded my live trading screen (and real money account) showing you the entire thought process we used to make an adjustment to my current short strangle in COF to reduce risk.
  • GDX Strangle (Opening Trade): With gold's high IV we are getting into a new strangle with a 70% chance of success and a decent credit for selling option premium.
  • IBB Iron Condor (Closing Trade): Today we're exiting an iron condor we traded in IBB for a $142 profit. Inside you'll see me analyze the exit price and fill the trade in real-time.

Thank You for Listening!

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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.