Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bookkeeping: Buying Long Term Downside Protection with January Puts

I am going to repeat a strategy I've tried 3 times in the past half year, once successfully - twice not so much; that is to buy a long term put as "portfolio insurance".   If the market has a sizeable downdraft in the months to come the insurance pays off; it we just rally to S&P 1200 to close out the year, these will expire worthless or near to it.

With this morning's rally from deep in the red to "flat", I am going to allocate 1.5% of the fund to this put option; we're using January 2010 101 SPY Puts (SWGMW).  For reference the S&P is just under 1040. This won't be traded "around" unless there is a heavy swoon in the next few weeks.  Most likely we'll revisit it near Christmas.  These puts are a bit "out of the money" and to pay off well we'll need to see upper 900s on the S&P 500.  Any move to low to mid S&P 900s will generate a large % gain... as with all options, due to time decay, the sooner the better.  Again... just an insurance policy stashed at the bottom of the portfolio, so don't be alarmed if in two weeks these show a 50% loss.  I will sell these for a loss if we make new highs on the year, i.e. S&P over 1100.

Long Jan 2010 101 SPY Puts in fund; no personal position

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