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Trading Futures with options as protection


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Trading Futures with options as protection

  #1 (permalink)
Gooffy2010
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Anyone trading commodities, currency or index futures with options as protection?

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  #2 (permalink)
 
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 Fat Tails 
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Gooffy2010 View Post
Anyone trading commodities, currency or index futures with options as protection?

Investor Approach

Using options as a protection is a strategy that can be used by investors. If you hold a long stock position and want yourself protected against downside risk, you can sell a call option at a strike above the current share price, and use the proceeds to buy a put option at a strike below the current share price. This limits your upside, but protects you against a massive downside. The strategy is called a collar.

Protection for Traders

Now for traders, things are different. If you want to protect a long futures position by purchasing put options on the futures contract, this is similar to a long call. So you could effectively purchase a long call instead. This raises the question, why you would want to have a long futures position and a long put?

I think there is an answer to this question. The bid/ask spread for options is typically larger and there is less liquidity in the market, so if you frequently trade in out of your positions and if you are trading large, the futures market is a better place to be. In this case holding puts on index futures along with a long futures position makes sense to me, as it allows you trade in and out of your index futures position and have additional protection, in case that the market moves against you.

Stop-Loss or Long Put ?

As an alternative, protection can also be offered by a stop-loss. But if you had protected your long position during the flash crash last May with a stop market order,

- you would probably not have got a decent fill, as the tape was lagging behind
- you would have no longer been in your position, after the market had pulled back

So a long put would have protected you against slippage and against selling your position at an unfavorable price.

But the protection does not come free. If you buy insurance, the cost is the premium, and the question is whether the regular losses inflicted by the insurance premium are higher or lower than the one-time loss which is suffered during the crash. The best protection is offered by put options, which are not far out of the money, and those are the most expensive ones, as everybody wants to use them.

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  #3 (permalink)
Quarry
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IF you are trading the Indices, you may as well trade ES and hedge with Futures OPtions. No reason to take the overnight risk if each contract trades the same as the index

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  #4 (permalink)
 britkid99 
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I would turn this question on its head and say I would rather hold an options position, long or short, and use the futures contract as the hedge.

If you are trying to hedge a futures contract with an option you would find thet an ATM option only has a delta of 0.5 so you would require twice as many options to cover your futures position. This brings up liquidity, spread and commission problems. Also the volatility is huge with at the money strikes so the premium you pay is large and if forced to hold for any length of time the you would suffer from time decay as well.

On the other hand if you traded options directionaly, especially short puts or calls, and hedged with futures you would need only half as many futures to cover your option loss, at least initially, plus you get the added liquidity and close bid/ask spread with the futures and you benefit from the time decay.

Brit

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 Fat Tails 
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britkid99 View Post
I would turn this question on its head and say I would rather hold an options position, long or short, and use the futures contract as the hedge.

If you are trying to hedge a futures contract with an option you would find thet an ATM option only has a delta of 0.5 so you would require twice as many options to cover your futures position. This brings up liquidity, spread and commission problems. Also the volatility is huge with at the money strikes so the premium you pay is large and if forced to hold for any length of time the you would suffer from time decay as well.

On the other hand if you traded options directionaly, especially short puts or calls, and hedged with futures you would need only half as many futures to cover your option loss, at least initially, plus you get the added liquidity and close bid/ask spread with the futures and you benefit from the time decay.

Brit


@britkid99: Thank you for your suggestion, I love to discuss that type of questions....


A short option position cannot be hedged with futures

If you sell a naked call, there is a limited upside (the premium) and an unlimited downside in case that the underlying moves up. You may want to hedge that by entering a long futures position which transforms the naked call into a covered call. Unfortunately the covered call has the same risk profile as a short put. So in fact you have not hedged your position but just transformed your short call into a short put. The risk is now sitting on the other end of the price scale.

You cannot hedge short options positions with futures or stocks. You are compensated for the risk of a short option position with the premium which you have collected.


A long option position cannot be hedged with futures

If you buy a call option, then the downside is limited to the premium paid, which means that the position is already hedged to some extent. If you add a short futures position to the long call, then you get further downside protection in case that price moves down, even profits if price moves far enough, but you lose all the benefits, if price moves up. You have now transformed your long call into a long put. This is a hedged position as it was before. The limited risk is now sitting on the other end of the price scale.

You cannot hedge long options positions with a futures or stocks. You can only transform a long call into a long put and vice-versa.


To conclude, your way of "hedging" just transfers the risk of the directional position by changing the direction, but then your risk is sitting on the other end. This is not what I would call a hedge.

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  #6 (permalink)
 britkid99 
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Fat Tails View Post
@britkid99: Thank you for your suggestion, I love to discuss that type of questions....


A short option position cannot be hedged with futures

If you sell a naked call, there is a limited upside (the premium) and an unlimited downside in case that the underlying moves up. You may want to hedge that by entering a long futures position which transforms the naked call into a covered call. Unfortunately the covered call has the same risk profile as a short put. So in fact you have not hedged your position but just transformed your short call into a short put. The risk is now sitting on the other end of the price scale.

You cannot hedge short options positions with futures or stocks. You are compensated for the risk of a short option position with the premium which you have collected.

To be more specific, if selling an OTM naked call the position can not lose unless the option expires in the money. If that looks likely one could scale in to a long futures position based on net delta until covered one for one at the strike price. To my simple way of thinking covering an unlimited upside is indeed a hedge and it is only activated by degree if required so not quite a covered call either.

A secondary benefit would be that the gain from the futures positions would offset the mounting loss of the rising options which is also a hedge.

Now whether it would actually be worth the hassle to do all this is another matter.


A long option position cannot be hedged with futures

If you buy a call option, then the downside is limited to the premium paid, which means that the position is already hedged to some extent. If you add a short futures position to the long call, then you get further downside protection in case that price moves down, even profits if price moves far enough, but you lose all the benefits, if price moves up. You have now transformed your long call into a long put. This is a hedged position as it was before. The limited risk is now sitting on the other end of the price scale.

You cannot hedge long options positions with a futures or stocks. You can only transform a long call into a long put and vice-versa.

To conclude, your way of "hedging" just transfers the risk of the directional position by changing the direction, but then your risk is sitting on the other end. This is not what I would call a hedge.

Agreed. I was specifically refering to selling options not buying them

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 Big Mike 
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On Wednesday, October 10th @ 4:30 PM Eastern US, Carley Garner will be presenting a webinar on nexusfi.com (formerly BMT) which covers Options Trading (specifically Futures, but it will be a broad overview). I've asked Carley to put together a multi-part webinar, so this is Part 1 and will just be "Basics - 101".

You can find more info here:


Mike

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  #8 (permalink)
 datahogg 
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Fat Tails View Post
@britkid99: Thank you for your suggestion, I love to discuss that type of questions....


A short option position cannot be hedged with futures

If you sell a naked call, there is a limited upside (the premium) and an unlimited downside in case that the underlying moves up. You may want to hedge that by entering a long futures position which transforms the naked call into a covered call. Unfortunately the covered call has the same risk profile as a short put. So in fact you have not hedged your position but just transformed your short call into a short put. The risk is now sitting on the other end of the price scale.

You cannot hedge short options positions with futures or stocks. You are compensated for the risk of a short option position with the premium which you have collected.


A long option position cannot be hedged with futures

If you buy a call option, then the downside is limited to the premium paid, which means that the position is already hedged to some extent. If you add a short futures position to the long call, then you get further downside protection in case that price moves down, even profits if price moves far enough, but you lose all the benefits, if price moves up. You have now transformed your long call into a long put. This is a hedged position as it was before. The limited risk is now sitting on the other end of the price scale.

You cannot hedge long options positions with a futures or stocks. You can only transform a long call into a long put and vice-versa.


To conclude, your way of "hedging" just transfers the risk of the directional position by changing the direction, but then your risk is sitting on the other end. This is not what I would call a hedge.

Taking ES futures as an example. If you sell one (1) ES futures contract, and sell four (4) put options each having a
delta of 25, you have mitigated Delta risk for the short term. So you could say that Delta is hedged for the short term,
but risk is unlimited on the upside and downside. And delta can change drastically. If you buy a put option with
a delta of 80 , and sell 4 put options with a delta of 20, you have mitigated the Delta risk for the short term. And this
is probably a better hedge than a futures contract. Also Vega is reduced with an 80 delta put, and it is not with a
futures contract. Also an 80 Delta put has defined risk to the upside.

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  #9 (permalink)
zxcv64
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I realise this is an old thread, but I'd like some opinions pls :

As a relative newcomer, I have been buying/selling futures with protection. For example, I recently bough NGJ19 at 2.82 and a long Jan put at 2.70 strike for 0.066 and I closed the trade a couple of weeks later when NG rose up sharply for a very good profit.

I have done 20 trades like these now on a variety of commodities, to get used to the mechanics. The profit figures have been impressive - but I realise that 20 is a small sample size. I have been trading at a very small lot size. I will now increase allocations but wanted to know if I am missing anything.

My max loss is basically [Future price - long put strike]*multiplier + the cost of the put.

(I work my profit figures based on the max loss.)

Before I scale up, are there risks that I am blind to?

Eg....are there liquidity issues with some of the options on lesser popular commodities (eg. Cocoa)? This could be an issue when closing the trade.

In the event of a total collapse of the underlying, will the put really offer the protection that I think it will - the delta for the future will be much higher than that of the put, so will the margin requirements rocket? Any
liquidation-by-the-broker risk involved in this case?

Looking forward to all suggestions/comments/criticism.

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  #10 (permalink)
 myrrdin 
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zxcv64 View Post
I realise this is an old thread, but I'd like some opinions pls :

As a relative newcomer, I have been buying/selling futures with protection. For example, I recently bough NGJ19 at 2.82 and a long Jan put at 2.70 strike for 0.066 and I closed the trade a couple of weeks later when NG rose up sharply for a very good profit.

I have done 20 trades like these now on a variety of commodities, to get used to the mechanics. The profit figures have been impressive - but I realise that 20 is a small sample size. I have been trading at a very small lot size. I will now increase allocations but wanted to know if I am missing anything.

My max loss is basically [Future price - long put strike]*multiplier + the cost of the put.

(I work my profit figures based on the max loss.)

Before I scale up, are there risks that I am blind to?

Eg....are there liquidity issues with some of the options on lesser popular commodities (eg. Cocoa)? This could be an issue when closing the trade.

In the event of a total collapse of the underlying, will the put really offer the protection that I think it will - the delta for the future will be much higher than that of the put, so will the margin requirements rocket? Any
liquidation-by-the-broker risk involved in this case?

Looking forward to all suggestions/comments/criticism.

If you buy an ATM put option and a future your maximum risk is the loss of the option. There are no problems regarding margin. But - especially as a beginner - you should buy put options for the same month as the future.

Liquidity is a minor problem if you buy options, as usually there will only be largebid / ask spreads when the price of the underlying moves down sharply and everybody is looking to buy options. But in this case you would be happy to keep your options. But you should stay away of options for some commodities, eg. lumber, orange juice etc.

Your main risk in the long run is that often futures move sidewards for a while. In this case, the value of the optioin erodes, and the future does not compensate for this loss.

I also use this method once in a while, but only, if I am convinced of a fast move upwards of the price of the underlying.

Best regards, Myrrdin

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