USG is at 25.70 , -3.64% today .Feb 2013 26 puts bid 2.60, time premium is 2.24 which is 9.5% on committed capital for appx 2.5 months.May 2013 26 puts bid 3.80, time premium is 3.50 which is 15.5% on committed capital for slightly under 6 months.Company is still losing money, though in the last year price rose rather steadily with expectations for improving housing market.
This was my favourite stock for writing puts for a very long time.But that was done mostly when the stock price was in the $9-15 range.I averaged 27%/year IRR for a few years.At current prices, I don't think there is enough margin of safety for a firm losing money.Things have to get a lot better before an entry price on the putsyou suggested looks like a good deal.Better to pick something everybody loves to hate right now.STX, CHK, SAN, even AAPL, BAC (less so than before).Just my two cents. Maybe worth less than that.Jim
Jim, thanks for the comment.
Just my two cents. Maybe worth less than that.Thus far, worth quite a bit more than that.I am a shameless coat-tailer.STX, SAN, and BAC shares are doing OK,and the written puts keep expiring.Looking at CHK, "standard procedure"* would suggest thatI look at ITM puts 3-6 months out (eg. April).Is that more-or-less correct?*Lifted form an old post:I tend to go for first, second, or third in-the-money (ITM) strike and usually 3-6 months out.Each time an option is assigned, I simply sell the stock and write more.Each time an option expires, I replace it with a fresh one.In either case my breakeven cost gradually gets ratcheted down.Thanks,kcanant
*Lifted form an old post:I tend to go for first, second, or third in-the-money(ITM) strike and usually 3-6 months out.Each time an option is assigned, I simply sell the stock and write more.Each time an option expires, I replace it with a fresh one.In either case my breakeven cost gradually gets ratcheted down.Context is everything.That's a description of how I held my Berkshire stock, which is a bit exceptional.That's a stock which you definitely want to keep, and don't want to get away from you.(i.e., you don't want to give up upside if you can help it, andearning a high time premium is a secondary priority)For an ordinary firm that you really just want the income, the math would be different.I'd tend to go with the lowest-strike OTM longest-dated put that still gives you a time value return over 15%/year. That maximizes the margin of safety.To the extent that it's a very fine quality firm, it's reasonable tomove the strike up or (if you like) move the expiration sooner.The more you trust the firm, the more you want to keep it, the moreyou think it's undervalued, the more you can consider higher strikes.I love BDX, so I have low-time-return ITM puts, more like the Berkshire comment you quote.I don't love CHK, so I write OTM puts and keep the position size small.Note, that list I gave of things people currently love to hate (STX, CHK, SAN, even AAPL, BAC )is a list of things that seem to be a low prices with high put premiums.But then you have to cut that list down to size based on how reliableyou think the firms are. The prices are low because the consensus inmany cases is that they are doomed in some way. Writing puts makes sense only if you disagree, and have a good reason for disagreeing.Basically, put premiums are pretty low right now with the VIX around 16.5.As a very crude rule of thumb, if you're writing puts at a VIX under 25you're having to hunt for things with good returns, meaning you'reprobably starting to look at the iffy companies. Never reach for yield.Put writing on good undervalued firms during panicky times is close to free money.But the flip side is that it has to be abandoned when you don't have that tailwind.My put portfolio is down in size a lot lately, and it's in only a few select names.(8 at the moment, and I'm shrinking 4 of those allocations)One strategy that I think is safe enough is writing WFC puts.I just keep writing them, over and over. At the money, in the money,out of the money, short dated, long dated, whatever looks good that day.I try to add more on dips and lighten up on strength, which helps a bit.I've averaged 20.47%/yr IRR doing that since July 2009.The stock (including dividends) has returned 11.0%/year in that time.WFC is a company that's not going anywhere, and trading under 10x current earnings.I was hoping for one more nice dip down into the 20s since I have alittle less than I'd like right now, but I'm beginning to think it won't happen, or won't happen for long enough for me to react.So I'm edging my position size up on even the smallest of dips, e.g. Tuesday.I think most people could do worse than a strategy of a portfolio ofnothing but perpetually-renewed puts on WFC backed by a stack of cash.If they get really overvalued one might have to reconsider, but you'd be OK anyway.Obviously the return lift has to remain big enough to overcome any tax hit.I have a negative tax hit from switching to puts from stock, so I love it.Jim
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