Volatility Edge in Options Trading

by OptionPundit on March 28, 2008

One complete book on Volatility!! What??? Yes, that was the reaction I had on my mind when I received an offer from Financial Times Press to review manuscript of an upcoming book “Volatility Edge in Options Trading” by Jeff Augen, Instructor, New York Institute of Finance. Since I have a insatiable desire to learn, I accepted the manuscript and decided to read, but that coincided with my month long holidays and therefore couldn’t write a blurb in time for the book. Well the book is now published and you may buy a copy from Amazon.

Let me begin my perspective that it was worth my time. It added value to my existing knowledge about IVs and specially reinforced my thoughts about stock pinning action. It’s not an easy book and therefore requires undivided attention. I couldn’t read and comprehend during my travel to places (my usual style of reading books) so I decided to read it during market hours, instead of looking at monitors, read the book and do simulations and back testing as well.

The book is categorized well and each chapter has a summary page. Don’t jump straight to the summary as I would recommend following authors thought process to get to the points.

The book covers fundamental about Options Pricing and elaborates a lot on volatility (Chapter 2 and 3) which may be a good refresher, but if you know it and “been there, done that”, you may want to skip those and go straight to Chapter 5 which is managing basic option positions. One thing I want to highlight, you do need to have an understanding about options, should know greeks and have fundamentals in place before taking full advantage of the concepts. Pls OP toolbox to find several tools that can help you get started. The same chapter, explains puts, calls, straddles and strangles, covered calls and puts, synthetics.

I suggest pausing after reading chapter-5. Give yourself a break for a day or two and just try to simulate the ideas that author has described in the chapter-5. Play around with the price changes, IVs, and if your broker’s platform allows then do becktesting on examples given in the book.

I liked Chapter 6, 7 and 8. I quickly glanced through chapter-9.

Chapter 6 talks about managing complex positions and covers 5 interesting areas 1) Calendar and Diagonal spreads, 2) Ratios, 3) Ratios that span multiple expiration dates, 4) Complex multipart trades and 5) Hedging with the VIX. There are a lot of examples and therefore you need to either have your computer with you or a paper pen to follow trade completely. You won’t find a lot of discussion on how to convert calendar into XYZ or diagonal into calendar etc. but it does give fairly good idea on how to play these. I liked”hedging with VIX” but I wish there were few more examples better even if the author would have given a portfolio and show how to hedge that with VIX in different conditions. Nevertheless, he has provided good grounding to understand VIX which can be supplemented with free resource on CBOE or in the OPToolbox.

Earning cycles are discussed in Chapter-7. Jeff has unfolded the price movements pre and post earning announcement and shared examples of strategies that can be implemented to benefit from this once in every three months event. This may be of importance to experience traders as earning cycle is about to begin (as of this writing). This is even more interesting for some stocks like GOOG, AAPL, BIDU, FSLR, SPWR which may offer great opportunities solely around earnings.

Stock pinning via expiration cycle is discussed in Chapter-8. I liked it. Jeff has very well explained, in simple terms, what are factors that may drive “inefficiency” and volatility on this day. I have been experimenting with Google for long time and has two successful wins. Check the first one here and second one here. Specifically he talks about:

  1. Rapidly accelerating time decay
  2. Large daily IV swings
  3. IV collapse on the final day
  4. Stock pinning caused by unwinding of complex positions and hedges

This is quite an interesting chapter that has potential to deliver good results provided readers have good understanding of concepts and did hands-on experience before diving with real money. This is once every month opportunity and returns (and so the loss) are significant. I would suggest reading it at the last (I think there is a reason why Jeff kept it last).

It’s an interesting book that I would like to add to my reading list and would recommend to those who have some background about Greeks and understand fundamentals of options trading. As a kind gesture, I have been offered 5 copies of the book that I am distributing to 5 OPN members who often contribute to learnings of others as well.

Profitable reading, OP

Share the knowledge.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jeff Augen April 3, 2008 at 10:43 am

As the author I’d like to thank OptionPundit for their thoughtful and thorough review. My goal was to create a book for serious investors who recognize that consistently beating the market is a significant achievement that takes time and effort. That said, I was pleased to see a review that focused on the more subtle details of the book, and I can’t think of a better place for that review than the OptionPundit website.

Equity and index options are almost always mispriced. If that wasn’t true then prices would tend to stay stable throughout the expiration cycle. But, as we all know, an option can trade for 50 cents one day and $3.00 the next. Successful option trading is all about getting on the right side of the price change. To accomplish that task one must be able to evaluate risk; volatility and risk are two sides of the same coin.

The OptionPundit website is one of the few places where an investor can go for detailed analysis across all the various dimensions that must be comprehended by an options trader. Just today I enjoyed reading the earnings series that highlighted Google. Trading against earnings is a complex problem with dozens of moving parts, and I was pleased to see that someone has taken the time to break down the components into digestible pieces that fit a coherent framework.

When I wrote the book my goal was to create a document that would never land in the “get rich quick” section of a bookstore. That theme fits well with the kind of in-depth analysis provided by OptionPundit.

2 OptionPundit April 13, 2008 at 5:35 am

Thanks Jeff. It is a great book and I plan to use it often. Many of the OPN subscribers have already bought it and plan to use concepts for real trading.

Congrats of writing an excellent piece.

Best regards, OP

3 Dennis B May 28, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Jeff,

I read your book and thought it was very informative.
I had a couple of follow up questions to your book.
1) Where did you get your data regarding daily options price swings? Specifically, you mentions the options swings regarding ESRX or Express Script.

2) You discuss how implied volatility fluctuates significantly prior to the earning announcement and then crashes.
Based on your research, about how far out (i.e. 1 week) prior to the earnings announcement should someone purchase their options to take advantage of this swing?

Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
Dennis B

4 Robert Nicholson April 3, 2009 at 7:33 pm

I recently picked up this book and would like to know if a PDF (non DRM) is available so that I can read the book when I’m on the road from my iphone.

5 OptionPundit April 4, 2009 at 9:42 am

Robert, I shall check with Jeff and get back to you whether or not a pdf version is available.

6 Alex April 16, 2009 at 10:13 am

I have not yet finished reading through it all but the level of analysis and knowledge has blown me away. I spent 2 hours in the book store trying to find a book that throughly analyzes how options behave. They were all the same until I found this book. Thank you Jeff for writing a book that has a complete and well thought approach to options. I will definitely be looking out for any other books that you decide to write (and I hope you write many more of this quality)

7 Jeff O September 25, 2009 at 12:31 am

This is the most unique options book that I have read. Options’ price affected by deviations of volitility is a hard lesson. It seems to answer what has fustrated my own trading.
I’m trying to get the book to answer what strategy to use in two different situations.
In the first situation it is known that the underlying stock suddenly drops, the trader then predicts that the underlying stock will contine to drop another 20% in 20 days.
In the second situation it is known that the underlying stock suddenly drops, the trader then predicts that the underlying stock will rise 44% in 15 days.
Please tell me what could be appropriate strategy in each situation.
Thank you.
Jeff O
p.s. Prior the reading the book, it baffled me why my option positions did not respond to the underlying stock. Now I know more, but am still a student.

8 Robert Nicholson October 10, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Jeff, I purchased your Volatility edge in hardback and Non-DRM Ebook from FTpress (informit) a few months ago and now I’m disappointed that this time when when I purchased your new Day Trading Options book thru the same vendor that the PDF is a DRM’d PDF that cannot be read on my iphone or ipod touch. Also, when you purchase it from FTPress in Safari on a Mac it is not made clear that you are buying a DRM adobe digital editions version of the book because that information isn’t on the page. Strangely enough it is in the source code to the web page itself but that information isn’t rendered on the page.

http://www.informit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0137054149

but source has

Before downloading this DRM-encrypted Adobe® Reader® PDF file, be sure to:

but only if you “View Source” before purchase.

I’m requesting a refund or a Non-DRM version of the book thru the folks at informit.

9 John Jakobs October 27, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Jeff

I hear that you and your product are Great! I a currently have a Teleseminar/Webinar Series project that I am producing with Alan Short and believe you would be a perfect fit for this production.
I would like to extend to you an opportunity to participate as a guest speaker and expert on the
topic of Option Trading. Specifically focused on a Product of your choosing in your area of expertise with options!

As a Speaker you should expect to earn from 7 to 20 thousand dollars for 1 session as a speaker (approx 1 to 1.5 hours).
In addition you can expect the following benefits as a result of participating in this series.
*Earn from the comfort of your home
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*Have a chance at winning the Marketing/Promotion Grand Prize of a week vacation in many resorts or the cash equivalent!

Currently I have commitments from High Profile Speakers such as:

Peter Rosenstriech – Author of Forex Revolution and Chief Market Analyst for AMC and
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With High Profile Speakers as these positions in the series are filling up quickly! Please let me know of your interest in participating
at your earliest possible convenience. Send me notice of your willingness and desire to participate by reply to this email or by phone at the numbers listed below. I look forward to hearing from you and working alongside you with this list of excellent, high profile speakers.

John Jakobs
845-544-1476 – Office
845-406-7056 -Cell

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