Bullish Outlook
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Renting the Upside of the Canadian Markets

Patrick Ceresna
April 12, 2019
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6 minutes read
Renting the Upside of the Canadian Markets

The uncertainty for Canadian investors has everything to do with the confusing crosscurrents of a rising stock market but simultaneously a weakening Canadian economy.

The outlook for the weakening economy comes right from the top, where the Bank of Canada came out with its rate statement on March 6. The BoC took a dovish stance, making it clear that not only, rate hikes are on hold, but rate cuts would be considered if the economy started to deteriorate. Such a dovish pivot by our central bank governor can only represent the growing concerns of a weakening Canadian economy.

Couple that with a Canadian housing slump as we are experiencing a first drop in values in decades and WTI crude oil prices trading near $60.00 a barrel (at the time of writing), it becomes harder to look at the glass as half full.

To the surprise of many pessimists, the Canadian stock market remains resilient, trading just a few percentage points below its all-time highs. Where is the disconnect? Interestingly enough, throughout history, the correlation between the economy and stocks is surprisingly divergent with some of the strongest performances occurring when the economy was just muddling along.

So, should investors disregard this current muddled market environment and stay fully invested?

Possibly yes. But at the same time, these economic conditions often exist just prior to a recession which can usher in a bear market.

So what can a Canadian investor do?

Raise cash and rent the upside of the market by using call options. Very few times has it been cheaper and more appropriate.

One of the better ways to demonstrate the point is to observe the VIXC, which measures the 30-day implied volatility of the Canadian stock market using the S&P/TSX 60 index options. On the chart above, you can observe that beyond very short-term surges, the level 10 on the index has been the lower boundary. The lower the volatility, the cheaper the option price, as it is pricing in a smaller expected range for the index.

So how does the strategy (renting the upside) work and is it right for you?

In this example, we have:

  • An investor who owns 1000 shares of the S&P/TSX60 Index ETF (XIU)
  • XIU is trading at $24.42 (April 2, 2019)
  • The September 20, 2019 $22.00 call is trading at $2.62
    ($0.20 time value, $2.42 intrinsic value, delta 0.8201)

Our investor proceeds to sell their 1000 shares of XIU and raises $24,420.00 cash. This is even more ideal in a registered account as it would not trigger a taxable disposition.

The investor then proceeds to buy 10 contracts of the September 20, 2019 $22.00 call options for $2.62/share or $2,620.00. The remaining $21,800.00 cash ($24,420 – $2,620) is safely set aside in an interest paying money market.

It is important for an investor new to trading options to recognize that by buying the $22.00 call strike (the right to buy the shares at $22.00), our investor has synthetically purchased $2.42 of the stock (9.90% of the underlying). For this, the cost to rent the shares through the options was a $0.20 time value, or $200.00.

What is the outcome? Let’s discuss two scenarios.

First scenario: The Canadian stock market continues to rise. In this case, comes September, our investor can simply exercise the call option and buy in the 1000 share positions at $22.00 +$2.62 ($24.62 breakeven).

Source: OptionsPlay

Second scenario: The S&P/TSX 60 proceeds to drop 20%, exceeding the lows back in December 2018. Our investor’s loss is limited to the $2.62 premium as the option would expire with no value. While the option would expire for 100% loss, the investor is only materializing a loss of 10.72% of the cash proceeds from the sale of the original XIU shares. More importantly, the investor has the cash on the sidelines to buy the dip on the markets for the recovery.

The key takeaway, using this technique, is that our investor can continue to bullishly participate on the upside of the markets knowing that if a bear market/recession were to materialize, the majority of their investment is in cash and their maximum loss is clearly defined. In this case, spending the $200.00 of time value to rent the upside of the market, while limiting the maximum loss to 10.72% (of the cash proceeds) may be a worthwhile investment in the current market conditions.

The strategies presented in this blog are for information and training purposes only, and should not be interpreted as recommendations to buy or sell any security. As always, you should ensure that you are comfortable with the proposed scenarios and ready to assume all the risks before implementing an option strategy.

Patrick Ceresna
Patrick Ceresna http://www.bigpicturetrading.com

Derivatives Market Specialist

Big Picture Trading Inc.

Patrick Ceresna is the founder and Chief Derivative Market Strategist at Big Picture Trading. Patrick is a Chartered Market Technician, Derivative Market Specialist and Canadian Investment Manager by designation. In addition to his roll at Big Picture Trading, Patrick is an instructor on derivatives for the TMX Montreal Exchange, educating investors and investment professionals across Canada about the many valuable uses of options in their investment portfolios. Patrick is also co-host to the MacroVoices weekly podcasts. Patrick specializes in analyzing the global macro market conditions and translating them into actionable investment and trading opportunities. With his specialization in technical analysis, he bridges important macro themes with the attempt to understand when those trends are beginning and understanding where they likely to go. With his expertise in options trading, he seeks to create opportunities that leverage returns, while managing/defining risk and or generating consistent enhanced income. Patrick has designed and teaches Big Picture Trading's Technical, Options and Macro Masters Programs while providing the content for the members in regards to daily live market analytic webinars, alert services and model portfolios.

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