The Horizontal Calendar Put Spread, also known as the Put Horizontal Time Spread, is a neutral strategy that profits from stocks that are expected to remain stagnant or trade sideways within a tight price channel. Horizontal Calendar Put Spreads profit through the difference in time decay between long term put options and short term put options. Because of its long term position, one Horizontal Calendar Put Spread can be rolled forward for many months. Most other complex neutral options strategies needs to re-establish the whole position on a monthly basis. Another advantage of the Horizontal Calendar Put Spread is that it is a debit spread due to the fact that more expensive long term options are bought and cheaper short term options are sold, thereby requiring no margin.
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There are two main types of Put Time Spreads; The Horizontal Calendar Put Spread and the Diagonal Calendar Put Spread. Both Put Time Spreads are differentiated based on the moneyness of the short term put options written. As a Diagonal Spread, Diagonal Calendar Put Spread writes out of the money put options instead of at the money put options. As a Horizontal Spread, the Horizontal Calendar Put Spread writes at the money put options at the same strike price as the long term put options.
The Horizontal Calendar Put Spread has both a lower maximum profit potential and a narrower profitable range (the stock needs to stay within a narrower price range in order to stay profitable) than the Diagonal Calendar Put Spread. However, the Horizontal Calendar Put Spread has a much higher profit if the underlying stock remained totally stagnant, closing at the same price as when the position was first put on. The Diagonal Calendar Put Spread has a higher maximum profit which only reaches when the underlying stock drops moderately. As such, if you think a stock is going to stay extremely stagnant, the Horizontal Calendar Put Spread would be your options trading strategy of choice versus the Diagonal Calendar Put Spread.
Horizontal Calendar Put Spreads could be used when you wish to profit from a stock that is expected to stay stagnant or trade within a tight price range for the short term while keeping a long term call option position in place in case of future breakouts.
In a Horizontal Calendar Put Spread, At The Money (ATM) LEAPS put options are bought and then ATM near term put options are sold.
Buy Long Term ATM Put + Sell Short Term ATM Put
Horizontal Calendar Put Spread Example
Assuming QQQQ trading at $45 now. Buy To Open 10 contracts of QQQQ Jan 2008 $45 Put options at $4.70.
Sell To Open 10 contracts of QQQQ Jan 2007 $45 Put at $0.75.
Net Debit = $4.70 - $0.75 = $3.95
A Level 3 options trading account that allows the execution of debit spreads is needed for the Horizontal Calendar Put Spread. Read more about Options Account Trading Levels.
The Horizontal Horizontal Calendar Put Spread makes its maximum profit potential when the stock closes at the strike price of the short term put options upon expiration of the short term put options.
The value of a Horizontal Calendar Put Spread during expiration of the short put options can only be arrived at using an options pricing model such as the Black-Scholes Model because the expiration value of the long term put options can only be arrived at using such a model.
Horizontal Calendar Put Spread Example
Assuming QQQQ closes at $45 upon expiration of the short term put options.
The 10 contracts of QQQQ Jan 2008 $45 put options is now trading at $4.30.
The 10 contracts of QQQQ Jan 2007 $45 put expired worthless.
Net Profit = $0.75 (total premium gained from the Jan 2007 $45 put) - $0.40 (total premium lost on the Jan 2008 $45 put)
= $0.35 x 1000 = $350.
Upside Maximum Profit: Limited
The breakeven point of a Horizontal Calendar Put Spread is the point below which the position will start to lose money if the underlying stock rises or falls strongly and can only be calculated using the Black-Scholes model.
:: Able to profit even if underlying asset stays stagnant.
:: Can be rolled forward for as many months as the expiration month of the long term put options.
:: Profits are limited.
1. If you wish to profit from a drop in the underlying asset, you could buy back the short put options before it expires and allow the LEAPS put Options to continue its profit run.
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