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Friday, August 7, 2015

Established New Position in United Continental Holdings Inc.

Today, the Covered Calls Advisor established a new position in United Continental Holdings Inc.(ticker symbol UAL) by selling three Sep2015 Put options at the $55.00 strike price. This position is a somewhat conservative one since it was established with 3.2% downside protection to the strike price.

As detailed below, the United Continental investment will yield a +3.6% absolute return in 43 days (which is equivalent to a +30.6% annualized return-on-investment) if UAL closes above the $55.00 strike price on the Sep2015 options expiration date. 

This potential return is excellent given the 3.2% downside protection (from the current $56.84 stock price to the $55.00 strike price) when the position was established.  The implied volatility in the options was high at 37 when this position was established; so the $2.02 price per share received when the Puts were sold is very attractive to us option sellers, especially since the level of unknowns between now and the Sep2015 options expiration is relatively low, given that UAL has already announced their 2nd quarter earnings results.  With about 30% of airline companies' operating earnings coming from fuel expense, they will likely continue to achieve substantial earnings benefits (compared with last year) from oil prices that are substantially below their prior year pricing.  Their bookings are relatively stable and their pricing remains strong.  This situation does not appear to be fully appreciated in the price of airlines stocks, including United Continental.    

1.  United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) -- New Position
The transaction was as follows:
08/07/2015  Sold 3 UAL 100% cash-secured $55.00 Put options @ $2.02
Note: The price of UAL was $56.84 when this transaction was executed.

The Covered Calls Advisor does not use margin, so the detailed information on this position and some potential results shown below reflect the fact that both of these positions were established using 100% cash securitization for the three Put options sold.

A possible overall performance result (including commissions) would be as follows:
100% Cash-Secured Cost Basis: $16,500.00
= $55.00*300

Net Profit:
(a) Options Income: +$594.80
= ($2.02*300 shares) - $11.20 commissions
(b) Dividend Income: +$0.00
(c) Capital Appreciation (If UAL is above $55.00 strike price at Sep2015 expiration): +$0.00
= ($55.00-$55.00)*300 shares

Total Net Profit (If UAL is above $55.00 strike price at Sep2015 options expiration): +$594.80
= (+$594.80 +$0.00 +$0.00)

Absolute Return (If UAL is above $55.00 strike price at Sep2015 options expiration): +3.6%
= +$594.80/$16,500.00
Annualized Return (If UAL is above $55.00 at expiration): +30.6%
= (+$594.80/$16,500.00)*(365/43 days)

The downside 'breakeven price' at expiration is at $52.98 ($55.00 - $2.02), which is 6.8% below the current market price of $56.84.
The 'crossover price' at expiration is $58.86 ($56.84 + $2.02).  This is the price above which it would have been more profitable to simply buy-and-hold UAL until Sept 18th (the Sep2015 options expiration date) rather than selling these Put options.