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Author: sencoman One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 14518  
Subject: USG puts Date: 12/5/2012 3:38 PM
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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.
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Author: mungofitch Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 13015 of 14518
Subject: Re: USG puts Date: 12/5/2012 4:07 PM
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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 puts
you 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

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Author: sencoman One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 13016 of 14518
Subject: Re: USG puts Date: 12/5/2012 5:18 PM
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Jim, thanks for the comment.

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Author: kcanant Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Most Active, Foolanthropy 2013 Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 13020 of 14518
Subject: Re: USG puts Date: 12/5/2012 7:50 PM
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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 that
I 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

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Author: mungofitch Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 13022 of 14518
Subject: Re: USG puts Date: 12/6/2012 5:32 AM
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*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, and
earning 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 to
move 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 more
you 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 reliable
you think the firms are. The prices are low because the consensus in
many 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 25
you're having to hunt for things with good returns, meaning you're
probably 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 a
little 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 of
nothing 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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