Fed Day, Once Again Options Traders

Tom Gentile

Posted in

By: Tom Gentile
September 27th, 2023

4 mins read

Originally published via our newsletter previously. Subscribe for early access!

From Chairman Powell’s mouth to the market’s ear…

The Fed decided to… Drum roll…………………. Nothing. They left the interest rate where it is/was and decided not to raise this month.

They indicated there is likely one more hike to come by years end.

Last it was stated net year there will be cuts, but not as many as indicated prior.

The markets do not do well with surprises, so one might expect since things went as expected and the hike to come this year is pre planned the market would react favorably today. Alas, it did not – the Dow closed down from its intraday highs closing down 0.22%

Market in Focus

SPY: SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust
SPY: SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust

The prospect of a false breakdown was there on the first day it closed below the ascending support of the triangle, but it did not end up being a fake breakdown. It is looking like a legit breakdown based on today’s price action closing lower and on its close for the trading day.

From the Desk of a CMT – Money Calendar & Theta

It’s interesting that I so often find myself writing when a Fed announcement occurs before the article posts. September 20th is another rate announcement with expectations for the Fed to hold steady while the data Powell has referenced as relevant calls for an increase. Regardless of the outcome, keep in mind it can take a day or two for the impact to be fully felt in stocks (so Thursday or Friday)?

This seems like a good time to check out the Money Calendar to simply note late September’s seasonality. You can access this tool by selecting the Tom’s Tools button, then Money Calendar.

Figure 1: Money Calendar for September 2023
Figure 1: Money Calendar for September 2023

Seasonal conditions favor the bears with Thursday particularly negative.

Figure 2 provides the drill down information for Friday (9/22/2023), capturing the first 10 names sorted by accuracy (high to low) after sorting by the Power Meter. The lowest accuracy was 90%.

ADM is a stock with good liquidity and expectations for options with reasonable liquidity as well.

It has a short holding period which may allow for a weekly option case study/paper trade (not a recommendation) with a Sep 29th expiration.

Since semiconductors have already been declining, an at-the-money (ATM) or in-the-money (ITM) will be used if the case study is long premium (i.e., long put) and an out-of-the-money (OTM) option will be used if it is short premium (i.e., bear call credit spread).

Figure 2: September 22, 2023, Money Calendar Details Sorted by Accuracy
Figure 2: September 22, 2023, Money Calendar Details Sorted by Accuracy

Drilling down further, figure 3 shows the ADM historical data.

Figure 3: ADM Seasonality 2013 – 2022
Figure 3: ADM Seasonality 2013 – 2022

Five trading days for duration translates to seven calendar days for the period. Results range from $0.07 to $3.64 but keep in mind that the data does not take into consideration the percent change.

For context, ADM was in a range from approximately $28 – $53 from 2013 through 2020, and $60 – $83 in 2021 and 2022.

ADM’s ATM short-term implied volatility (IV) is relatively low (Figure 4, 7-30 day); however, time decay will still serve as headwind if the short-dated option is not ITM.

Figure 4: ADM 7–30-day ATM IV (9/19/2023)
Figure 4: ADM 7–30-day ATM IV (9/19/2023)

Let’s take this opportunity to consider two scenarios for a long-put strategy, both short-term, ITM options.

The table below provides data for Oct 6 & Oct 13 expirations and a highlight at the 81strikes.

Figure 5: ADM Option Chain for Oct 6 and Oct 13 (9/19/2023)
Figure 5: ADM Option Chain for Oct 6 and Oct 13 (9/19/2023)

Each option indicates theta decay of approximately -0.021, so it will have a greater impact on the lower priced option (Oct 6).

Figure 5 displays the theta chart for each option and since theta changes over time, let’s simply track two case studies to compare this timed exit strategy for the weekly options.

Figure 6: Theta Chart for ADM 81 Put on Oct 6 & Oct 13 (9/19/2023)
Figure 6: Theta Chart for ADM 81 Put on Oct 6 & Oct 13 (9/19/2023)

The guidelines for the case study include:

Buy to Open Put on Friday, September 22, 2023:

Scenario 1: 1 ADM Oct 06 81 Put

Scenario 2: 1 ADM Oct 13 81 Put

Sell Put to Close on Thursday, September 28, 2023

A single contract is used to maintain the $500 max risk when we don’t have an entry price for each option.

What are your expectations for the two scenarios?

What is the worst-case theta headwind for each scenario if it stays within its range for September?

How do you think the theta charts will change over the holding period?

Risk graphs for each case study, theta charts, and back test data will be provided in the next article.

Regards, Clare White, CMT

Thank you, Clare!

Tom Gentile
C1P: Chief 1-Percenter


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