Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Anatomy of an XOM Earnings Trade

If you have been following our trading partner J.W. Jones on his Apple options trades you'll want to take a minute to see how he uses the same methods to trade HFU favorite ExxonMobil [XOM].........

One of the most interesting aspects of options is the myriad opportunities presented for high probability trades for those who understand the details of option behavior.

For example, I have recently discussed the routinely observed collapse of implied volatility immediately following an earnings release. We have looked at several examples of profitable trades constructed to benefit from this expected decline in implied volatility.

Today I would like to review another group of trades based on a fundamental characteristic of option pricing. In order to understand this phenomenon, we need to review briefly the anatomy of the price of an option.

Remember that an option’s price, while quoted as a pair of bid / ask values, is in reality the sum of two components. The current market price is the combination of the extrinsic and intrinsic components of the individual option contract.

The extrinsic component can comprise the entirety or only a variable portion of the market price of an option. All options contain at least a small amount of extrinsic component.

The intrinsic component of an option may comprise the majority of the value of an option, as for example a "deep in the money" option. Conversely, an individual "out of the money" option routinely contains no intrinsic value whatsoever.

Here is an example of the trades and the charts to go with them.

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