The Secret to Playing Earnings Strangles Effectively
It’s that time of the year again: earnings season.
Earnings season is when companies report their numbers from the previous quarter. These figures can move stock prices sharply up or down.
For that reason, earnings season is the perfect time to use strangles.
A strangle is an options strategy you might use when you are betting on a big move higher or lower for a stock. And earnings reports are some of the most common catalysts for these kinds of big moves.
Sounds easy enough, right? It’s not.
Let me lay it all out for you.
To pull off a winning earnings strangle, you have to…
- Pick the right strike price for both the puts and the calls
- Pick the right company
- Pick the right expiration date.
But the beauty of an earnings strangle is you can make money regardless of which direction the stock goes.
The point of the trade is to buy a put option and a call option so you’re covered in the event of either an upside move or a downside move.
To close the trade for a gain, all you need is for the stock to move enough (in either direction) that the price of one of your options rises above the total price you paid for both.
For example, back in November 2023, our Head Trade Tactician Bryan Bottarelli executed one of these strangles on Cisco Systems (CSCO) in The War Room.
Heading into CSCO’s earnings day, Bryan mentioned that the premiums for CSCO options appeared extremely cheap compared with other major tech stocks’ options. He even called them “the bargain of all bargains.”
Leading up to earnings, options generally see a spike in implied volatility as investors anticipate a large move following the earnings release.
Bryan expected this implied volatility to translate to higher premiums, so he issued a strangle trade well ahead of the earnings release.
CSCO ended up falling 11% in reaction to earnings. But Bryan got in two days before earnings, and as you’ll see in the chart below, he delivered us an impressive 149.78% return in less than 48 hours in The War Room.
While this trade may seem simple to execute, there are a few things you need to keep in mind if you want to successfully trade earnings strangles.
If the underlying option is predicting a huge move, then you likely will not make money, because the option will already be very expensive.
What you want to look for is a situation where the market is NOT expecting a huge move and has therefore underpriced the options. That’s where a surprise in earnings can lead to a sizable move.
You also need to know companies’ official expected earnings and unofficial “whisper numbers” (which represent what the market is really expecting).
And lastly, you need to know the technical support and resistance levels.
YOUR ACTION PLAN
That may seem like a lot to keep track of…
But figuring out these earnings situations is what we specialize in inside The War Room.
So if you want to get all this data fed to you every trading day without doing any work yourself, you can check out Bryan’s trades in The War Room. Bryan specializes in overnight earnings strangles, and the CSCO trade I mentioned above is just a small sample of his strangle trading strategy.