– Option Strategies for

For options traders, these are the best of times. A “perfect storm” of technology and competition has eroded the traditional advantages of access, information, and cost enjoyed by market makers and other professionals. These changes in the industry have helped open the door to the individual to participate in the options market in ways that would have been practically impossible just a few years ago. Options can now be priced, executed, and managed electronically using many trading platforms, and these same technological advances have allowed brokers to reduce their commissions dramatically. Penny pricing and portfolio-based margining may serve only to further level the playing field. Innovations at the exchange level allowing the electronic matching and processing of complex orders have stimulated greater participation and thus greater liquidity in these types of structures. Strategies that were previously “untouchable” by the individual investor may now be within reach, allowing the individual to express complex market views involving direction or lack thereof, timing, magnitude, velocity, and volatility levels. In our first book, The Options Workbook, 3rd Edition (Dearborn Publishing, 2004), we introduced the entire options strategy toolbox. In this book, we explore strategies that address a directionless or sideways market: the butterfly and its variations, including the iron butterfly, condor, broken-wing butterfly, and pterodactyl. We introduce the basics of long butterfly spreads and long condor spreads, including structure, P&L diagrams, and various scenarios. We also take a look at the Greeks (delta, gamma, theta, and vega) to see how they are used to measure the sensitivity of an option to changing conditions—a key factor in understanding long butterfly and condor spread structures. In later chapters, we explore using the butterfly structure as a trading vehicle for more aggressive trading tactics. A detailed discussion on strategy application and position management is offered for each structure. 

Numerous charts and graphs help illustrate key concepts throughout each chapter. 

It’s one thing to read about these structures and strategies, but it’s quite another to implement them in your own trading. So, at the end of each chapter you will find exercises and a quiz to test your understanding of the concepts presented. There is a final exam in the back of the book to further test your comprehension of the material covered.

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