This setup offers a potential 13.6% return by January

Another tanker to spread

Shares of Waters Corp.
Quote |
Chart |
News |
fell sharply on
a sales shortfall warning and an announcement of a “continuation of the
challenging business conditions” ahead by management. The news sent the stock
price 10% lower to 37.25 Friday morning. This sets up another nice “not likely
to go zone” trade for writing an out-of-the-money call credit spread (bear call
spread) with the short strike near or above the pre-gap close price. The
technical conditions of the stock look weak, as well.

Figure 1 — — Generated with OptionVue 5 Options
Analysis Software. Gap down of Waters Corp. following earnings shortfall. “Not
likely to go zone” is highlighted in yellow, which is at or above pre-gap close

Figure 1 contains the price chart for WAT showing
the pre-gap area (not likely to go zone) and the current price as of the time of
this writing (at 36.25).

Based on current market prices at the moment, we
could sell a January call spread, but I will add an extra long leg to push the
negative position delta lower for some additional cushion against a move back up
to the pre-gap close levels so this trade would be actually be a call ratio
credit spread, which is presented in Figure 2 with legs, prices and net credit.

Strikes Contracts Prices Value Net Credit

Jan 40 Call -1 90 $90 —

Jan 45 Call +2 15 $30 $60

Figure 2 — January call ratio spread (selling one
Jan 40/buying 2 Jan 45 calls) price when the underlying stock price for Waters
Corp was at 36.25

As always, you will want to close this trade if
the spread price doubles (i.e. at $120), or if the short strike is touched,
whichever comes first. Otherwise, the trade should be held open until
expiration, or until the spread drops to at least 25% of the price it was sold
for, if you want to use a profit target. I tend to use my judgment here, so if
the price is considerably lower from the point of entry, I may not close it
since it is almost assured of expiring out of the money. But if technical
conditions begin to change, I may take profits early if possible.

Figure 3 — Generated with OptionVue 5 Options
Analysis Software

Figure 3 shows the zone of profitability, with
upside breakeven at 40.60 (the short strike plus premium collected), with no
downside risk, and maximum profit occurring at any point under 40 by expiration
of this spread on January 21. As you can see, the addition of the second long
leg (commissions are not counted here but should run about $3.00 to initiate the
positions), the upside profit/loss in pre-expiration profit/loss time frames
(dashed lines) is flattened out great than a 1 x 1 call spread.

If this spread expires worthless, it will
generate a profit of 13.6%. Remember to risk only a small fraction of your
capital on each one of these types of trades to keep risk well diversified.

I hope this gives you some trading ideas you can
use and from which you can learn.

Enjoy the weekend.


John Summa

John F. Summa is Founder and President of
and a registered Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) with the National Futures
Association (NFA). Founded in 1998, offers trading
seminars and tutorials to options traders, futures and option trading
advisories and managed futures and options CTA account services.

Summa’s trading articles have appeared in Technical Analysis of Stocks &
Commodities magazine, as well as Active Trader Magazine, Options Trader
Magazine, Futures Magazine, Stock, Futures & Options Magazine, and He coauthored

Options on Futures: New
Trading Strategies and Options on Futures Workbook
(John Wiley & Sons, 2001) and more recently wrote the groundbreaking

Against The Crowd: Profiting From Fear and Greed in Stock, Futures and
Options Markets
(John Wiley & Sons,
2004), which includes Mr. Summa’s innovative quantitative bear and bull
news-flow Contrarian indicator.
Mr. Summa is a PhD-trained economist
and operates a
delta-neutral options trading CTA program.