Aug 18th, 2017 – Sep 27th, 2017
Salt Lake City, Utah – Mr. October “Heartbreaker” Condor was born on Aug 18th, 2017 amid great fanfare. His proud papa (Papa T) welcomed him with open arms into a warm portfolio. Papa T even provided him with a highly coveted perch to settle on. And while his doting father had many hopes and dreams for Heartbreaker, happiness was not meant to be. Since the beginning the beloved bird misbehaved. Instead of a feathered friend, a fiery fiend was foisted upon poor Papa T. And no amount of cajoling or begging convinced the Condor to straighten up and fly right. The entirety of his tragic life was spent burning any and all greenbacks he could get his claws on. And these weren’t Washingtons we’re talking about here, but Benjamins. Heartbreaker had expensive tastes.
Always one to test his boundaries, Heartbreaker finally went too far last Tuesday. The dastardly bird ran afoul (afowl?) of the one line in the sand which Papa T swore would be the last straw. That line, of course, was $1970 on the Russell 2000 Index. And true to his name, Heartbreaker didn’t just tip-toe across, he straight up flew across like a bat out of Hell on rocket boosters. By the time Papa T could load his shotgun and mercifully pull the trigger, Heartbreaker had gobbled up half the treasure left by his predecessors.
A Celebration of Death (Heartbreaker doesn’t deserve a Celebration of Life) will be held on October 18th at 8:30 PM EST for any and all owners of the Condors for Cash Flow system. In preparation, Papa T is providing the following post-mortem for Heartbreaker. Consider it a retrospective highlighting the lessons everyone can extract from a Condor gone wrong.
What made the October Condor so unique was the speed at which RUT ripped when it hit my short strike. It’s probably been a year or two since this has happened, and even then I don’t think we’ve seen a squeeze of this magnitude perfectly timed to extract max pain.
Here’s what I mean. The value of the Iron Condor jumped an insane amount when the RUT broke out on Tuesday. Its cost rapidly rose from around $5 to almost $7 in a little over an hour. In case you didn’t know, that’s INSANE. If you weren’t quick on the trigger when $1470 was breached, or if you didn’t have a standing contingent order to get out at market once $1470 was hit, odds are you lost a lot more than expected.
For example, I initially entered the 1070/1080/1470/1480 Oct Iron Condor for $1.10, and I exited Tuesday at $5.18, so my loss per Condor was $4.08 not counting any hedging. It’s a miserable outcome, no doubt, but one that is still within the parameters of what we typically expect for a losing trade.
But, if you didn’t get out quickly, or if you were stubborn and waited to see if the price would drop back a bit so you could exit at a smaller loss, you got screwed. Suppose you finally threw in the towel an hour after the touch of $1470 when the RUT was fast approaching $1485. Let’s say you paid $6.50 and locked in a loss of $5.40 per spread. How many gains did that give back? If you typically make $1 per spread on a winning month, you just sacrificed the profits of the last five months. OUCH!
I don’t mind giving back two, maybe three months’ worth of gains with a losing Condor. But five is a nightmare!
For what it’s worth, I ended up losing a little over $3 per Condor because of hedging. That means with the profits from other bullish trades I added on RUT, I essentially sold the Condor for $1 at trade entry and bought it back for $4.
Hedging Can Help
There are two approaches to the Condors for Cash Flow system: active and passive. The passive approach is to set it and forget it. In a losing month, you simply take your lumps and move one, confident in the system’s edge and its ability to produce profits over time.
The active approach involves hedging. That is, adding extra bullish trades when the RUT is too strong and bearish trades when it’s too weak.
Here are the details of how you might have played October.
- 8/18 – Entered Oct 1160/1170/1470/1480 Iron Condor @ $1.10
- 8/31 – RUT breaks resistance – Entered Oct 1300/1290 Bull Puts @ 80 cents
- 9/11 – RUT breaks resistance– Entered Oct 1330/1320 Bull Puts @ 70 cents
- 9/18 – RUT breaks resistance – Entered Oct 1370/1360 Bull Puts @ 55 cents
- 9/19 – Exited Oct 1300/1290 Bull Puts @ 15 cents. Locked-in gain of 65 cents
- 9/21 – Exited Oct 1330/1320 Bull Puts @ 20 cents. Locked-in gain of 50 cents
- 9/27 – Exited Oct 1160/1170/1470/1480 Iron Condor @ $5.18. Locked-in loss of $4.08
- 9/28 – Still hold Oct 1370/1360 Bull Put – should be able to close @ 10 cents locking in a gain of 45 cents
Assuming we entered the same number of contracts on the hedges as the original Condor (i.e., five Bull Puts for five Condors), then our net loss was reduced from $4.08 to a more comfortable $2.48 per spread. In this case, we would have given back the gains of the prior two and a half winners instead of four.
Access Part 2 where we talk about pain prolonged when correlations crumble and using bull calls instead of bull puts to hedge.
Financial freedom is a journey
The Tales of a Technician series is brought to you by Tackle Trading.
Sign up now and gain unfettered access to all of the quality content and powerful Scouting Reports that our Pro Members enjoy for 15-days absolutely free with no strings attached and let us show you what your trading has been missing.
Tackle Trading LLC (“Tackle Trading”) is providing this website and any related materials, including newsletters, blog posts, videos, social media postings and any other communications (collectively, the “Materials”) on an “as-is” basis. This means that although Tackle Trading strives to make the information accurate, thorough and current, neither Tackle Trading nor the author(s) of the Materials or the moderators guarantee or warrant the Materials or accept liability for any damage, loss or expense arising from the use of the Materials, whether based in tort, contract, or otherwise. Tackle Trading is providing the Materials for educational purposes only. We are not providing legal, accounting, or financial advisory services, and this is not a solicitation or recommendation to buy or sell any stocks, options, or other financial instruments or investments. Examples that address specific assets, stocks, options or other financial instrument transactions are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to represent specific trades or transactions that we have conducted. In fact, for the purpose of illustration, we may use examples that are different from or contrary to transactions we have conducted or positions we hold. Furthermore, this website and any information or training herein are not intended as a solicitation for any future relationship, business or otherwise, between the users and the moderators. No express or implied warranties are being made with respect to these services and products. By using the Materials, each user agrees to indemnify and hold Tackle Trading harmless from all losses, expenses and costs, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, arising out of or resulting from user’s use of the Materials. In no event shall Tackle Trading or the author(s) or moderators be liable for any direct, special, consequential or incidental damages arising out of or related to the Materials. If this limitation on damages is not enforceable in some states, the total amount of Tackle Trading’s liability to the user or others shall not exceed the amount paid by the user for such Materials.
All investing and trading in the securities market involve a high degree of risk. Any decisions to place trades in the financial markets, including trading in stocks, options or other financial instruments, is a personal decision that should only be made after conducting thorough independent research, including a personal risk and financial assessment, and prior consultation with the user’s investment, legal, tax, and accounting advisers, to determine whether such trading or investment is appropriate for that user.