Kinda OT - covered calls


I just closed some covered calls I wrote March 21, where were covering about an eighth of my overall position.
Price slips can be useful:
I managed to get 57.5% of the maximum possible profit in 14.8% of the maximum possible elapsed time.

It’s hard to say what the capital at risk was…nothing, in one sense, since I’d have sold the backing stock at that price anyway given the opportunity.
(strike plus premium would have been a forced exit at net $567513 = $378.34 per B).

But for a sense of scale, the realized profit was 5.1% of today’s price, managed in 45 days.
So the optimistic view is an annualized rate of return of 41.6%/yr.
Pretty good for getting paid to do something I would have done anyway.

In case anybody is interested, the calls were January 2023 $350 strike, sold for $28.342 when the stock was at $349.80.

That block of stock is no longer “covered”. So I might get a chance to do it all over again if the price rises again then falls again.



I too covered some of my Jan23 340s on Monday. I was selling a little earlier so I was only able to secure about 40% of the premium but that’s in less than 60 days of holding them. Maybe I can sell some again on a run up. All are in tax free accounts so that makes it easier.

There was about $14 of premium left in them but every $1 drop in stock price only equates to roughly $0.50 drop in option premium. A drop in stock price to $300 (bottom quartile of p/b) would yield less than $7 of additional premium. There just didn’t seem to be much left in them other than waiting for the time premium to slowly burn off. I would rather have flexibility.

My various flavors of tea leaves put year end IV somewhere in the 370-380 range now. I’m happy to wait until there are attractive all in covered calls available in that range. Or maybe the price will keep dropping and leaps become attractive again when the June24s become available this month. Getting more difficult with rates rising.


Jim, thanks.

I was pondering this myself recently, thinking that it’s time to close this covered call because of its large gain in 1 1/2 months.

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I was pondering this myself recently, thinking that it’s time to close this covered call because of its large gain in 1 1/2 months.

If you can make over half the return in well under half the time, I concluded it was OK to close them, even if they have more money to go.

My test for when to close cash-backed puts I’ve written is simple:
if the maximum remaining rate of return till expiry is below a low uninteresting threshold, close it. Maybe 6-7%/year, whatever.
In that situation you’re doing it purely for the income, and you have downside exposure, so it makes sense not to have money committed if it isn’t worthwhile.

When writing covered calls this time I did the same thing, but it’s not really the same situation.
The remaining rate of return is now pretty low, but expressed as a percentage of what, exactly?
I don’t really have any capital at risk in the position. I have my BRK longs, but I’d have those one way or another.
I might get forced to sell them at a high price, but I’d sell them if offered that price anyway.
So, I suppose there is a case to be said for letting it ride. A low return is better than no return.

The best argument for closing them is this: if the stock price rebounds, those mark-to-market profits disappear for a while.
So you might as well take what’s on offer. If the stock price rises, you can repeat the whole process again.
If you don’t close them, then you don’t have that block of “uncovered” stock against which to write covered calls the next time the price seems temporarily rich.
This reasoning makes some implicit assumptions about the likely price trajectories for the remainder of the year.
The assumptions don’t have to be right, but picking what to do does requiring picking what you think is a bit more likely.
Unlike the short puts scenario, which can be decided with a simple calculation.

I got half the profit. I could have got all the profit. So was closing them the smart thing to do?
Only if the stock price rebounds in a fairly modest time frame. Who knows?

I guess both keeping them and closing them early both make sense.



I was thinking about writing puts on BRK/B now for example write puts strike 310 expiration jan 2023 its about 20.
If i get exercise the purchase price will be 290 almost 1.26 bv (an excellent price), if not I get a 6.9% for 8 months (10.35% annualized).

I believe its a trade that sound reasonable.

Thoughts and comments are welcome !


Seems reasonable to me (thanks for the suggestion), although I haven’t yet studied the option chain to pick an “optimal” strike&expiration, which can be subjective.
The return would perhaps keep up with inflation, and the alternative is owning BRK at a good price which is fine.

I have cash sitting around, so might do “halfsies” (my favorite strategy when in a quandry): sell some BRK puts assuming this vol continues, but keep some cash on hand for bargain hunting later. Somewhat more adventurous would be selling puts on QQQE.

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