Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Expiring Monthly

We can only hope that Expiring Monthly has no expiration date itself. With Bill Luby, Mark Sebastian, Mark Wolfinger, and Jared Woodard—names that should be familiar to all options traders—as featured contributors, a spate of well-known guest contributors, and interviews with notables in the field, Expiring Monthly is a valuable resource for those seeking a solid options trading education.

The monthly magazine, now in its second year, addresses traders at all stages in their education. Mark Wolfinger answers rookie questions and writes about basic issues. The other contributors tackle somewhat more complex topics, though nothing esoteric or quant-like. You would never mistake Expiring Monthly for Wilmott Magazine.

One column that traders at all stages of their education can profit from is “Follow That Trade,” in which a contributor walks the reader through a hypothetical trade (sometimes a really bad trade) and how he managed it (again, sometimes poorly). For instance, Mark Wolfinger tracks a disastrous RUT trade where he bought three iron condors per strangle, made a delta adjustment along the way, and stuck it out to the bitter end even though “proper risk management would have forced a much earlier exit.” All that was left was a prayer that went unanswered. Mark Sebastian shares a successful surgical strike SPX calendar entered during the Egyptian sell off as well as an OEX butterfly. Bill Luby describes a silver and gold pairs trade that went against him.

In addition to writing feature articles (such as “Why Black-Scholes Is Better Than We Think” or “Trading Ranked Volatility with Non-Directional Spreads”), Jared Woodard often ruminates in a back page column on topics ranging from living and dead history to why decision theorists and average investors are both right. Bill Luby tends to look at big-picture issues that underlie trading decisions: “What Is a Non-Trending Market?” or “Evaluating Volatility Across Asset Classes” or “Exploring Put to Call Ratios.” Mark Sebastian draws on his experience as a pit trader to write gritty articles like “Whose Bones Are You Eating?” and practical pieces like “Understanding Order Flow.”

And, of course, there are the interviews, some with corporate types such as the CEOs of OptionsXpress and TradeKing and others with authors of hot-off-the-press trading books. Over the course of the last four issues Ping Zhou (Trading on Corporate Earnings News), Michael Benklifa (Profiting with Iron Condor Options), and Jeff Augen (Trading Realities, among several other books on options) shared their thoughts. But authors of legendary books are not ignored. In the inaugural issue Sheldon Natenberg (Option Volatility and Pricing) was interviewed and, more recently, Larry McMillan (Options as a Strategic Investment).

All in all, a nice publication, cleanly laid out and with limited advertising. On the Expiring Monthly website you can explore the archives of back issues and, of course, subscribe.

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