Does The Iron Condor Strategy Actually ‘Do It’?

May 14, 2012 by Ted Nino  
Filed under Investment

What exactly is the iron condor? This is a trade that makes profit when the underlying market being used is range bound. Of course options traders try to utilize strategies that can take advantage of movements in the market. Many times – and maybe most of the times – there is not a lot of movement and the underlying just trades in a range, leaving the options being traded to expire with no value on expiration day. These types of trading range markets are ideally suited for the iron condor option trading strategy.

You can imagine the iron condor strategy trade as a purchased strangle and a sold strangle. ‘Strangles’ can be both bought and sold and it is a trade where both a put and a call option is purchased some distance away from where the underlying is trading at. The premiums a trader can expect to take from a strangle position will be less than a straddle due to the fact that the options being sold are some distance away from ‘at the money’. A different way to imagine the iron condor option trading strategy is to think of it as 2 credit spreads – a bull put spread and a bear call spread. The long calls or puts above and below where the short options are placed at are the wings.

For example, let’s take a look and we find that the SPX is trading at around thirteen hundred and so we buy the jan call option at 1375 bringing in right around $245, and at the exact same time we buy the january put option for $4.38. If you are working with an options friendly broker – the required margin will be the difference between the two strikes – or the difference in the spread. In this example you would need around thirteen hundred dollars or so for this spread trade.

The calculation would be:

1380 at $2.45

1350 at $4.00

That’s around a credit premium that has been brought in of around two dollars or so.

$15 dollars minus $2 dollars = Thirteen – then times this by one spread (100 contracts) equals about $1,320.00 dollars.

Just as long as the underlying stays below the short strike levels the entire credit that was pulled into the account can be kept – which can be a very good short term return.

This is the call side spread of the iron condor trade we are referring to. To finish off the iron condor completely, you would need to add another credit spread – a put credit spread – down below.

This trading strategy can work wonderfully if you know what you are doing and the market conditions are right – and there are some option traders who use it as their primary trading strategy. But it’s not without its potential pitfalls and dangers.

Knowing which stock or index to use – as well as knowing how and when to properly place, exit, manage and adjust the iron condor is essential. And perhaps the most important of all of these is understanding how and when to correctly manage and adjust the position. If you don’t understand this strategy fully – or if you have a game plan that you will follow strictly – could be your downfall and wind up costing you significant losses. I know this from first hand experience.

To discover how to acceptably trade the iron condor methodology for steady monthly income, visit this iron condor site and catch our Free Video and get our Free Report.

categories:

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!