ETF Options Trading when combined with the right options strategy, can be one of the best and safest ways to profit consistently from the financial markets. Here, we’re going to explore some of the reasons why.
Firstly, ETFs, which is an acronym for Exchange Traded Funds, are available for a wide range of markets including stock indexes, stock market sectors, various commodity sectors and currencies. This provides great versatility for the active trader because even though one market may be quiet at any given point in time, another one will be on the move. For example, the stock market may be stagnant but a currency is trending, and so forth.
If you wanted to trade the currency or commodity markets, you would probably have to resort to futures, CFDs or forex pairs if you want the benefit of leverage. Trouble is, all these types of financial instruments carry unlimited risk – which means that should market price action turn against you, you can lose more than your entire trading capital.
The maximium risk with buying options on the other hand, is limited to the investment amount – and if your preference is to trade simple long options positions, ETF Options trading is your best choice.
1. Most ETF options have low implied volatility, which is what you want if you’re buying options. This low IV also means that should the trade be going against you, your losses will be reduced because you have bought the options cheaply in the first place. Low IV also allows you to give yourself the gift of time for the trade to work out in your favour.
2. ETFs have no huge and sudden price surges that arise from news events such as earnings reports, management incompetence, product disasters, SEC investigations or the like. This is because they represent huge underlying, often broad based, markets, where the fortunes of individual companies can’t affect the market as a whole.
3. ETF options trading ensures you’re using financial instruments that have high daily volume and since the underlying market is huge and broad based, price action cannot be manipulated by market makers. This allows you to leave the trade active and sleep at night.
4. Unlike individual companies, Exchange Traded Funds tend to trend in a predictable and fairly even manner. Once a trend is established, it is more likely to continue rather than whipsaw all over the place.
5. ETF options can be purchased for cents, which is very good for traders with small accounts. For a few hundred dollars you can set yourself up for over a thousand in profit. It also means there is no need to employ advanced options strategies along with increased brokerage fees. You can just buy single options positions.
A Simple ETF Options Trading Strategy
Let’s say you can see that the Japanese Yen is falling. Did you know that the Yen has an ETF in the US markets and there are also options on this ETF? It’s symbol is the FXY.
You use the weekly charts for the Yen as your guide to how far the currency can be expected to move. You then apply fibonacci percentages to anticipate your profit targets.
So you purchase put options contracts on the FXY, each having a delta of -20 and at least 4 months to expiration date. Most brokers will give you the options delta. The cost for these options would be around 25 cents each, so if you purchased 10 contracts, the risk would be 10 x 100 x 0.25 = $250.
This way, you risk the smallest amount but with the greatest potential leverage and four months for it to realize a good return on investment.
ETFs will often move between 8-10 percent in value over a few months. This will push your cheap options deep into the money where the profits can be spectacular.
It is important that using the above strategy, you pay attention to position sizing. Never risk too much on any one trade! There are plenty of ETFs with options to provide multiple trading opportunities – and all you need are some trades with impressive profits to outweigh the small losses you might experience on other trades where your dirt cheap options with low IV don’t work out.
Here’s a List of Some ETFs with Options
QQQ - follows the Nasdaq 100
DIG - follows the price of oil and gas
EWJ - Japan Index for smaller accounts; can’t chart it though
USO - United States Oil Fund
GLD - follows the Gold price
XLE - follows the energy sector
IWM - follows the Russell 2000 stock index
VIX - follows the volatility index
EEM - follows the emerging markets sector
DIA - follows the Dow Jones Industrial Average
SPY - follows the S&P500 index
SLV - follows the price of Silver
NUGT - triple leverage ETF but IV is higher, but moves really well
DUST - triple leverage bearish gold ETF, IV is higher, but moves really well
FXY - follows the Japanese Yen
And there are many more . . .