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The Market Taker Take: Option Trading Blog

Implied Volatility Skews During Earnings

If you don’t trade options over earnings announcements, you may not have noticed what happens to implied volatility (IV) levels. Usually an expected volatility event like earnings increases the price of options. In other words, when implied volatility increases, so do option prices. That can give an option trader an edge, but

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Why Expiration and Strike Prices Are Important

When it comes to options trading, traders have many strategies from which to choose. One could say there are plenty of options on your options. This can be particularly true for vertical spreads. Just to start with, there are vertical debit and vertical credit spreads. Generally vertical debit spreads are used when

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A Prepared Trader Is a Profitable One

This week was historic for more than a few reasons. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement was accepted by all three countries and should be passed in early January. Phase 1 of a trade agreement with China was signed. The pact included some resolution to theft of intellectual property. There will be large purchases

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Traders Deserve a Break

This is my usual blog that I write every soften where I implore you to take some time off from trading. The market will be there when you get back. No matter what you do or did for a living, everyone needs some time off to energize themselves. Trading is no different.

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How to Enhance Trade Entry

I learned long ago that keeping a trade journal not only helped me recognize patterns that suited my personality, but it also taught me how to avoid repeating mistakes. The journal, through diligence and repetition, permitted me to develop a short-term entry strategy to enhance the timing for catching longer-term trends. One

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My Favorite Option Things

Every year Oprah releases a list of her favorite things ahead of the holidays. According to her magazine, she has selected 79 perfect presents and one bonus selection for 2019. I also have a list, but it is not seasonal. It is a few phrases I like to use that I think

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Fed’s Stance Sparks Fundamental Shift

Over the past week we saw a subtle fundamental shift, but sometimes that is all it takes to get a trend rolling. It started with the Fed hinting at a more neutral stance. A fourth interest rate cut had been widely expected in the December FOMC meeting. That may not happen now

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Is Option Trading Easy?

Let’s answer that question right now before we go any further…no! It takes a lot of work and patience to be a profitable option trader. Getting started by putting some cash into a trading account is easy. But that is where the easy part ends. Not only do you have to learn

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How Will Brexit Affect Markets?

I was writing my daily commodity market updates early Thursday morning and just as I was ready to hit send, stock indexes and interest rates rose abruptly. The euro and pound rallied while the dollar dipped. Gold fell as well. These immediate reactions were reversed later in the day when it appeared

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To Find Money Flows, ‘Follow the Sun’

A week ago, we finished the first of 2 MTM Mastermind sessions. On the last day we had a visit from a very good friend and colleague, CNBC’s Rick Santelli. He and I worked together in the ’90s where we compared notes often. We each had our own personal style and technical

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How to Trade ‘in the Zone’

It was the mid-1980s and I was in my mid-twenties when I stepped on the CBOT trading floor as an employee. I was terrified, intimidated and eager. I got a jacket with team colors, a badge for access to the pits, and a warning to keep my mouth shut and do what

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Learning the Option Greeks

As summer comes to a close here in Chicago, I have spent more than the usual amount of time over the past few weeks reviewing the option greeks in our Group Coaching class. It is always important to know about the greeks when trading options, but many traders neglect to properly educate

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What Has a Better Chance of Happening?

When it comes to technical analysis, there are certain indicators traders rely on. For me, monitoring simple support and resistance is the main way I feel I am putting the odds on my side. Support and Resistance Support is a level that keeps the underlying from moving lower. Resistance is a level

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Reduce Anxiety by Decreasing Risk

Tariffs, China, Hong Kong, Russia, Iran, inflation, central banks, recession, negative yields, inverted yield curve: All these terms have dominated headlines, and they incite anxiety for investors. Even agile short-term traders struggle in an environment where unvetted stories and half truths move markets. Rumors and threats in social media have had more

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Big News From the Fed This Week

The Federal Open Market Committee has a mandate to promote full employment and keep inflation in check. It raises interest rates when the economy is overheating, and it lowers rates to promote spending or increase economic activity. Lately, Fed Chair Jerome Powell has taken a dovish or more accommodative stance. Many economists

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Support and Resistance on the 15-Minute Chart

If you know me even a little as a trader, you know how I feel about support and resistance when it comes to trading. I feel knowing that support and resistance has a better chance to keep the underlying advancing gives the trader a much-needed “edge.” As traders, we want to put

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Know Average Daily Range and Average True Range

Around holidays, especially in the summer, the participation rate often decreases, and subsequently so do volume and ranges. The typical seasonal lulls and end of each quarter are ideal times to do research and update statistics. I keep a spreadsheet with statistics covering average ranges over the most frequently analyzed time frames:

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Go-To Strategies for Any Market

As you probably know, there are several option strategies available to option traders depending on what the trader thinks the market and underlying will do. Of course, there are market risk, implied volatility bid/ask spreads and other factors to take into account as well. But every option trader should have a few

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How to Improve Trade Entry and Exit

One of the more difficult issues traders face is choosing prices that are apt to be extremes, or highs and lows, over a given time frame. Pinpointing daily entry and exit levels, also known as support and resistance areas, requires a view of recent history of the market you are trading. When

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How to Trade This Options Market

This is just a little blog to remind you about your options trading management. Everyone needs reminders, especially option traders. I will often say in my Group Coaching class to know exactly what you will do no matter what happens before you enter any trade. The same can be said about the

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Trade Talk and Tweets: the New Fundamentals

Fundamental data are also known as event risk. Professional traders keep a close eye on the economic calendar for events or reports that could alter a trend or start a new one. A treasury trader might hedge a long position by buying 10-year note puts or selling calls just before employment or

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