OAP 145: Backtesting Results Trading Monthly vs. Bi-Monthly Options For 10 Years

Download The "Ultimate" Options Strategy Guide

Is less more? Often we hear this phrase thrown about with the assumption that when investing you should do less, sit on your hands or trade further out, in order to generate higher profits and better returns. But is this really the case and does the math and data prove this to be the point? We wanted to put this assumption to the test with a couple backtested short straddles in IWM and EFA. No filters, no profit targets, no stop-loss orders; pure option selling strategies. Our goal was to see if trading options 60 days out was more effective or profitable than trading options more actively 30 days out from expiration.

Key Points from Today's Show:

Back-Testing Studies on IWM

Case Study 1:

  • Ran a test on IWM where we traded weekly naked straddles targeting 60 days. 
  • Let the trade go all the way to expiration without management or filters.

Results:

  • A total return of 124% over the testing period
  • Annual KAGR of 8.32%
  • Win rate was 69%, which was expected.
  • Max draw-down was 53%

Case Study 2:

  • Ran a test on IWM trading weekly straddles, targeting 30 days until expiration.
  • Let the trade go all the way to expiration without management or filters - no IV rank, no stop loss, etc.

Results:

  • Total return of 131% over the testing period. 
  • Annual KAGR was 7.73%
  • Win rate was 61%, which was less than expected.
  • Draw down was dramatically less, at 40%.
  • *Trading contracts closer in resulted in a smoother, more stable portfolio with a lot less down-side risk. 

Back-Testing Studies on EFA

Case Study 1:

  • Ran a test on EFA, trading weekly straddles targeting 60 days to expiration. 
  • No filters, no IV rank, no stop loss -- let the position go all the way to expiration.

Results: 

  • A total return of 68.71%, more profitable than the S&P.
  • Annualized KAGR of 4.36%.
  • Win rate was 63%, in the ballpark of the expected 68%.
  • Max draw-down of 48%, almost identical to the IWM study.

Case Study 2:

  • Ran a test on EFA trading weekly straddles, trading 30 days out. 
  • Let the trade go all the way to expiration without management or filters - no IV rank, no stop loss, etc.

Results:

  • Total profit of 71.77%, which is higher than expected return.
  • Annualized KAGR of 7.73%, which is much higher. 
  • Draw-downs of 47%, a slight improvement.
  • Win rate was 64%.

Conclusion:

  • Trading 30 days out versus 60 days out on EFA showed that we have the same trajectory potentially as what we saw with IWM, on a smaller scale. 
  • Moving your timeline from 60 days out to 30 days ends up reducing draw-downs, smoothing your returns, potentially generating more money, and should end up being more profitable for you in the long-term. 
  • Can improve our chances of generating expected returns by making slight adjustments to our strategies. 
  • Being more active in your trading and frequently adjusting your positions ends up generating slightly better returns with less risk. 
  • In all these cases the strategy actually out-performed the S&P, with only 30% of the account at risk.

*All tests were done using 30% of your account

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/ Ron

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 episode's question comes from Ron, who asks:

As a pro member, are we going to be grandfathered into the new automated trading platform?

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.

Want automatic updates when new shows go live? Subscribe to the Option Alpha Podcast on iTunes, Google PlaySoundCloud, iHeart Radio or Stitcher right now before you forget - it's fast and easy.

Did You Enjoy the Show?

Please kindly consider taking just 60-seconds to leave an honest Review on iTunes for The Option Alpha Podcast. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated. They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them!

Also, if you think someone else in your social circle could benefit from the topic covered today, please share the show using the social media buttons you see. This helps spread the word about what we are trying to accomplish here at Option Alpha, and personal referrals like this always have the greatest impact.

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.