I’m often asked what stocks, indexes and ETF’s I use for generating my own monthly income credit spread and Iron Condor option trades.
The book The Monthly Income Machine spells out a technique and a series of specific qualifying “entry criteria” that must be met for an underlying stock or index to be used properly for these credit spreads and Iron Condors.
Here’s how I approach the selection process each month in terms of parameters reviewed, and my own current list of underlyings that typically meet some of the basic entry requirements. (All of the requirements are spelled out – in specific detail – in the book.)
Step 1: I’ve Already Eliminated Most Stocks From Consideration
There are approximately 2750 NYSE, 500 S&P, and 3200 Nasdaq listed stocks (and there is some duplication).
The good news is that the vast majority of them do not meet The Monthly Income Machine requirements for liquidity (we want actively traded underlying stocks and indexes with narrow bid-ask spreads) and for price and volatility (we need high enough stock prices and sufficient price movement for us to be offered at least the minimum acceptable premium required by the technique).
In short, I start with a list of candidates (see below) that is most likely to offer me the required premium income at the system’s required option strike price distance from the current market price. Unless a stock meets liquidity, price, and volatility entry criteria, I don’t even bother checking any of the rest of the necessary qualifications for credit spread consideration.
Note: the screening for some entry rule parameters (e.g. average daily volume of underlying, price of underlying, etc.) can usually be accomplished efficiently using the stock screener application most brokerages offer as part of their websites.
Step 2: Evaluate the Step 1 Survivors in Terms of the Rest of the Entry Criteria
Therefore, deciding on my credit spread and Iron Condors each month begins with Step 2 since I already have completed Step 1, my working list of current potential underlying stocks, indexes and ETFs.
Below is my list of the stocks, indexes, and EFTs I currently (mid-2017) consider. It’s my personal list and as such does not represent every possible qualifying underlying stock, index or ETF and – obviously – just being on the candidate list does not mean that this underlying meets all the necessary Monthly Income Machine trade entry requirements at any given moment.
But I find that most months I am able to find, based on this universe of underlyings, some qualifying credit spread and iron condor trades that do meet all the requirements.
Note: Remember that, depending on the available strike prices, we can use spread Strike Prices with intervening strikes, i.e., we are not limited to adjacent strike prices for capturing sufficient premium.
* These underlyings are usually – but not always – a particularly good hunting ground for “entry rules” conforming underlyings.
Step 3: Underlying Conformity to Earnings Report Dates, Price, and Liquidity Parameters
We further refine this month’s candidate list in terms of underlying conformity to earnings report dates, price, and liquidity parameters by pulling up a quote on the stock. The resulting quote screen will show: (1) when the next earnings report is due to be released (no trades qualify if underlying will experience an earnings report prior to expiration), and (2) enable us to confirm whether or not the current underlying price is high enough, has sufficient volume, etc. to remain a candidate.
I immediately eliminate those stocks for which there will be an earnings report prior to the option expiration date or whose price or liquidity has dropped below required levels.
Step 4: Look up Remaining Candidates
We next bring up the option chain data for remaining candidates to
- check to quickly see which underlyings have options whose strike prices both are at the required distance from the current market, and also meet the minimum premium required;
- confirm that each potential trade still under consideration meets the delta verification criterion;
- by reviewing the 6 month chart to note proximity to near term support and resistance points to further assist in choosing the most attractive trade candidates from the list survivors.
Step 5: Determining MRA (Maximum Risk Amount)
Now we determine MRA by establishing and writing down the MRA (maximum risk amount) for the trade(s) having been selected based on “Machine” guidelines, i.e., to pin down a pre-determined “exit point” (usually well below my MRA) in the event that the position were to come under pressure as a consequence of a significant support or resistance point being breached after the trade takes place.
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Note: We can – and do – guarantee your satisfaction with “The Monthly Income Machine” detailed how-to blueprint for conservative income investors. No one, however, can guarantee market profits. For a full description of the risks associated with such investments, see Disclaimers.