I have a love-hate relationship with earnings plays. When they work out, I'm happier than a clam; when they don't, I swear off them, use expletives to describe them, and say that they're a total *?! waste of time.

That being said, there are some I just can't pass up, usually because the premium is just too good. In the next couple of weeks, these will be NFLX             , GOOG             , and GS             , so I am keeping a little bit of powder dry to do those.


1. Look to put on a short strangle or iron condor prior to the close of the New York session before which the earnings announcement will occur. As a general rule, I play these nondirectionally, assuming no directional bias for the underlying and generally set up the sides at or around the 1 standard deviation line for both the call and put side.

2. Use expiries that are either the weekly options expiry immediately after the announcement or, if that provides too short a time frame in which to potentially manage the trade post-announcement, the Friday expiration thereafter. I generally prefer the weekly expiries for these setups, since they sometimes give you strikes in .50 increments, which allow you a little more precision with your strikes.

3. For both the short strangle and iron condor setups, I look to take the entire setup off at 50% max profit as volatility contracts post-announcement.

4. In the event of a test of a side of the setup, look to roll that tested side out to a later expiry for at least a credit equal to the cost of putting the trade on (fees/commissions) two to three days prior to expiry and close out the untested side or allow it to expire worthless.

Additionally, attempt to improve the strike prices for the rolled out side if possible.

Lastly, after rolling out the tested side, match it with an oppositional trade in the same expiration as the rolled out side (for example, if the put side is tested, roll it out to a later duration and set up a call side for that same expiry, ordinarily at or around the 1 standard deviation line for that expiry). My general rule is to roll out to the expiry that is of the shortest days until expiration that provides me with an opportunity to both roll for no additional cost in fees and commissions and that allows me to improve my strike price. If a particular expiry doesn't afford you that opportunity, try a later expiry for the roll.

I'll post examples of setups in these and any other "too good to pass up" high volatility , premium selling earnings plays as we get closer to the announcements .... .
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