Sarah: “Hi everybody, this is Sarah Potter, from She Can Trade. This is the SCT Podcast, and this is episode 32. Very excited to have you all here, the markets have been moving quite a bit lately, so we’ve had a number of really nice trades in the trading room at She Can Trade. So I have TJ here :
Sarah: “And today’s topic, we’re going to talk about the differences, the advantages/disadvantages of weekly options versus monthly options. Now, you guys all know, (who’ve been following me and TJ in the trading room) that we do a lot of weekly options. We do that because they produce really great results. But we’re going to get into it in a little bit more detail today, why we do that, and what is [sic] the main differences between weeklies and monthlies. So, I think we should kind of start it all off with just kind of giving a bit of context about weekly options, and, for those of you who’ve been trading a while, weekly options is a relatively new feature for trade. I think it’s really only been around, what, three, four years? Since they really introduced weekly options. And really, it’s only been the last couple of years that it’s really gaining in popularity. What I've found is when I go and talk to different people, whether they’re from the COE, or I’m doing different talks, is a lot of professionals, a lot of them out there who will trade weekly options with their own money. I think that’s a really glaring great advantage right there, if you talk to a lot of professional people who are always making money from the market, and where they choose to put their money is in weekly options, to me is just a first advantage that’s’ very obvious as well. If they can make money, we can make money, we can all do well using weekly options. So, that’s something that I think is a pretty good advantage. And then, obviously, thinking about the fact that there’s [sic]lots of people trading it, so weekly options are quite liquid. That can sometimes be a good advantage for everybody when you’re trading; because you want to always have somebody to go back and forth with. So TJ, have you ever had that occasion where you’ve been trading in an option and the stock or the underlying might have moved in the direction you want, but the option doesn’t necessarily produce the financial results that you want?”
Sarah: “Ok, well this has happened to me, which is why I was kind of bringing it up, so sometimes when you’re getting involved in trading options that don’t have the same volume, sometimes the stocks can look so enticing on a chart, it looks really good to trade. So, I’ll go and trade the option, but sometimes I get caught in being involved in something that I’ve made a little bit of money in, but had I done something like Apple, or Facebook, or something in a weekly option, then generally I would have made more money in that stock as opposed to something that doesn’t get traded back and forth. There’s nothing more frustrating about being involved in a chart, when you see, and you look at it, and it’s taking off, but that option strike that you traded isn’t trading as much as you want. So I kind of find that weekly options, because there are lots of people trading them, make it easier to get in and out of trades.
TJ: Yeah, I think you’ve brought up a good point in that, with the popularity of weekly options, there is a ton of volume in the weeklies. You’ll almost see that in a lot of stocks, there’s as much volume in the weeklies as there is the traditional monthly expiration, in the third week of the month. Some stocks you do see a difference in open interests in volume in the monthlies, but, for a lot of the big stocks, the Amazons, the Googles, people are trading the weeklies and there is a ton of volume, there’s a ton of liquidity, you’re getting great fills in the weeklies, you’re getting all the advantages of a traditional option, but you’re able to trade those options four times a month. So, I think the discrepancy, the disparity between a weekly and a monthly expiration is that gap is narrowing, and really, we should be thinking of monthlies as just another expiration, as just another weekly expiration. Whether it’s the first week of the month or the third week of the month, that expiration for options is really all the same. Sometimes on the monthlies you’ll see a little bit of difference in terms of hitting or in terms of volatility on expiration day, just because it is traditionally the monthly expiration. You also get (on the monthlies) you’ll get contract rollover, you’ll get other types of options, not just equity options expiring as well on some of those dates. So, sometimes there is a little bit of difference but I would argue that right now, the gap between the weeklies and the monthlies is really closing and we just need to realize that yeah, you know what, we’re trading an option. Also, you know, I don’t have the stats with me, but most of the stocks on the S&P 500 right now have weekly options as well, and even now I mean if you look, we’ve started to (on the options on futures, on the cash settle indexes like the SPX) we’re now having three expiration dates per week. There’s sometimes with the SPX a Monday and a Wednesday expiration as well, so, the Exchanges have really looked to add product, and to give people really a lot of, you know, advantages of variety. What do you think the advantages of trading the weeklies are? Trading a short term? I mean, I think one of the biggest advantages for me is just how much the market is moving. I’m able to pick a smaller market trend and and trade that micro-trend that week and not have to, you know, sit through a weekend, or two weekends until the option expires.”
Sarah: “Yeah, I mean, the market likes to move, right? I’ll make money because everything goes up and down. So I think when you have more choices of when something expires, you’re able to tailor your trade a little bit more, like almost refine it more, because you can make more money in that, by getting in and out of those trades more often and looking for opportunities to really pop. Of course it depends on the strategy you’re using but rather than sitting in something, like let’s say doing a credit spread on a monthly option, which really doesn’t have the premium decay acceleration that we’re looking for, that you can really take advantage of in a weekly option, it just, to me, seems like you have far less risk. You just analyze and create the reasons for why you want to enter something like the credit spread in the first place, and then you get to place your trade and have an accelerated amount of premium decay in the weekly, as opposed to the monthly where, sure you might say ‘oh yeah, you can get more credit’, but you’re just sitting in it, like you’re just sitting there, a week, or two, and nothing’s really happening. I also think there’s a little bit more ‘give’ in a weekly option versus the monthly. So, with monthlies, let’s just talk credit spreads first : With monthlies, the credit spread has to, um, I think you have to be better at the direction, almost. You have to be pretty sure that, if you think a stock is going down, and you’re selling the call credit spread, you really need that stock to go down, because that’s where you’re going to see the premium come out and where you’re going to make some money off that trade. Versus, in the weekly option, because you already have an accelerated amount of premium decay, you can kind of be a little wrong. The stock can just stay still, and you can still make money in a short amount of time, which I think is so key. You don’t really have that advantage with monthlies. What are some advantages, you think? Let’s talk specifically in terms of strategies like credit spreads or premium time trades.”
TJ: “Yeah, as we mentioned before I think the advantage to the weeklies is just – I can get in a trade Wednesday or Thursday that expires Friday, and I can get in that trade and I can pick up, say, 30 cents a contract on a credit spread. If I go out a month, I may be able to get 50 or 60 cents, so it almost, to me, makes more sense to be in the trade a day or two, or three days, rather than three or four weeks, and do that same trade week in and week out, and even generate a little bit more in terms of, you know, if the strategy is working out and more credit – 30 cents a week times 3 or 4 weeks versus trying to get 50 or 60 cents out on the next monthly expiration. I think the advantage is that over those three weeks or four weeks that you’re trading, the market isn’t necessarily doing the same thing every week and you can tailor your trades. If I’m trading Wednesday and Friday there’s less of a chance of the market having a big move or abruptly changing direction than if I’m trading this week for three weeks out. I think we’ve seen it in the S&P, I mean everything looks great, we’re above the 21, we’re above the 8, we’re pushing higher Monday Tuesday Wednesday. Thursday we drop and Friday we drop and it’s completely changed how the market looks that week and by trading a shorter term I think we’re able to stay on the right side of the trend more often than not.”
Sarah: “Yeah, and that’s a good point too: the market has been moving around quite a bit, and you don’t want to be stuck in trades in the wrong direction. There’s not much you can do with those other than lose money. Whereas, if you’re getting in and out and actually cashing out of your trades, profiting on them and putting that money in your pocket, and then the following week you look to do it again, you can work with whatever direction the market’s moving in that week, as opposed to trying to hope that over the next few weeks or the next few months it continues to move in that direction. I think there’s far less times when you’ll open your account and you’ve seen that the trade has actually swung down into a losing position, because you’re not holding the trades as long, you don’t need to. You really get to capitalize on the moves. Now, I mean, that’s being said too: Do weekly options work when a stock underlying is moving quite a bit? So, you’re going to have, obviously more premium something as the implied volatility is higher, so things are moving around. Would there be an argument for buying calls and puts in monthlies, then, giving it a bit more time, versus the weeklies?”
TJ: “Yeah, I think there is, I think yeah absolutely. So for long puts and calls, yeah, I think you do need to give the stock time to move so I absolutely will buy it, typically buying it three to four trading weeks out, but I’m not going to be looking solely, saying, ‘okay well I can only buy an expiration of the third week of the month, the traditional monthly.’ No, I’ll be buying it, you know, maybe 3 or 4 weeks out, but the expiration will still be in a weekly option a lot of the time. I’m not focused solely on that third week of the month expiration. I’m just going to go out 3 or 4 weeks no matter where that falls. But yeah, I think definitely you do need to give trades a little bit of room when you’re trying to buy a call or a put.”
Sarah: “Yeah, I mean you do need some time, but you can still pick your weeks. And, I think the more choice you have, the better. And don’t get overwhelmed by choice, I think a lot of traders, because you do have, in options there are so many different things you can choose, make that a way to really focus on your own strategy, to make it really your own, and test the different ideas so that you’re really maximizing what you’re getting out of the market. There’s no sense in being in one stock when you can make more money in another. I would say that with weekly options, whether you want to trade it within that week or you want to go out a couple of weeks and still use the weekly option as your choice for expiry, there’s way more opportunities to tailor trades based on how you like to personalize things, how you like carry a risk, what rewards you like to work with. Regardless of whether the implied volatility is up or down, regardless of whether the market is moving or not, all of those advantages are still very relevant in weekly options. So, why not get into those and cash out of your trades more often? To me, it just makes way more sense. There’s far less risk than sitting in something and letting it go day after day, after day in the wrong direction when the market’s moving all over the place. So, I think this was a good talk and honestly, I actually believe that moving forward, we’re really not going to see new trading instruments come on, with only monthlies – I just think that weeklies is just the future. Or, it is the way that people trade now and it’s important to be able to adapt to those strategies in a modern market that we’re seeing today, because of all the advantages that we’ve outlined. So I did want to make sure that I’m mentioning in this podcast that reviews are really important and I would really appreciate if you guys enjoy the podcast, then post a review up on iTunes or any place that you like to post reviews about not only our podcast, but of course our trading room for many of you who are also members. Feedback is really important and an honest review is very helpful for everybody so I would appreciate that, if you guys could do that. Do you have any last minute words?”
TJ: “No, I think we’ve covered it! I think weeklies… the one thing that I’ll leave with is that I don’t think we should be thinking of them as weeklies and monthlies – they’re just options. Pick the expiration date that you want to trade!”
Sarah: “Good point. Alright everybody, have a great week in the market. We look forward to talking with you again. Take care!