The Volatility Option Trade After Earnings in Assured Guaranty Ltd.

Assured Guaranty Ltd. (NYSE:AGO) : The Volatility Option Trade After Earnings

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This is a slightly advanced option trade that starts two calendar days after Assured Guaranty Ltd. (NYSE:AGO) earnings and lasts for the 19 calendar days to follow, that has been a winner for the last 3 years.

Assured Guaranty Ltd. (NYSE:AGO) Earnings
For Assured Guaranty Ltd., irrespective of whether the earnings move was up or down, if we waited two-days after the stock move, and then sold a 3-week at out of the money iron condor (using monthly options), the results were quite strong. This trade opens two calendar after earnings were announced to try to let the stock find equilibrium after the earnings announcement.

We can test this approach without bias with a custom option back-test. Here is our earnings set-up:

* Open the short iron condor two calendar days after earnings
* Close the iron condor 21 calendar days after earnings
* Use the options closest to 30 days from expiration (but at least 21-days).

And a note before we see the results: This is a straight down the middle volatility bet -- this trade wins if the stock is not volatile the three weeks following earnings and it will stand to lose if the stock is volatile.

We can add another layer of risk management to the back-test by instituting and 40% stop loss and a 40% limit gain. Here is that setting:

In English, at the close of each trading day we check to see if the entire iron condor is either up or down 40% relative to the open price. If it was, the trade was closed.

If we sold this 35/15 delta iron condor in Assured Guaranty Ltd. (NYSE:AGO) over the last three-years but only held it after earnings we get these results:

AGO: Short
35 Delta / 15 Delta
Iron Condor

% Wins: 58%
Wins: 7 Losses: 5
% Return:  20.1% 

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We see a 20.1% return, testing this over the last 12 earnings dates in Assured Guaranty Ltd.. That's a total of just 228 days (19 days for each earnings date, over 12 earnings dates).

We can also see that this strategy hasn't been a winner all the time, rather it has won 7 times and lost 5 times, for a 58% win-rate.

Setting Expectations
While this strategy had an overall return of 20.1%, the trade details keep us in bounds with expectations:
      The average percent return per trade was 7.28% over 19-days.
      The average percent return per winning trade was 24.05% over 19-days.
      The average percent return per losing trade was -16.2% over 19-days.

Traders that have a plan guess less. This is how people profit from the option market. Take a reasonable idea or hypothesis, test it, and apply lessons learned.

We hope, if nothing else, you have learned about Assured Guaranty Ltd. (NYSE:AGO) and the intelligence and methodology of option trading and this idea of equilibrium right after earnings.

Please note that the executions and other statistics in this article are hypothetical, and do not reflect the impact, if any, of certain market factors such as liquidity and slippage.