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Early Assignment

I was just notified by my broker of early assignment.

music selection:  “Dissident” — Pearl Jam

I had 11 contracts of a PSEC call open.  Four of them have been called away early.  This is something that happens from time to time when you sell options for income.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Whoever holds my other seven contracts wisely saw the time value remaining on the options is more than collecting the dividend.  The counterparty who called my shares away would have made more money by selling his calls instead of opting for early assignment.

For me, this is a tiny windfall.  I collect the remaining time value on the contracts early.  And it is more than I would have collected from the dividend when it arrives.  I’ll be taking the money and running.

Devour your prey raptors!


Tuesday Trades 21FEB2017 – FNMA, PMT, SXCP, GEL, NAP

I made five trades today.

music selection:  “If You’re Gone” — Matchbox Twenty

weigh-in:  211.0 (0.4)

First off, in the non-options space, I sold out of Fannie Mae (FNMA).  A judge ruled today that hedge funds don’t have a legal right to sue the government over the profit sweep.  Shares fell 30% on the announcement.  The thesis might not be dead as the hedge funds will probably lobby Congress and President for a new ruling but for now I’m out.  I sold 2,631 shares at 3.10 a share for a 63.16% gain.

I sold yet another covered call in Penny Mac (PMT) today.  I sold PMT170317C00017500 for 10 cents a share.  The trade will be in force for 25 days and yields 8.34% annualized.  I remain eligible to collect the underlying distribution of 11.1% while I wait to be called.

I was also able to go back to the well for another covered call on Suncoke Energy Partners (SXCP).  This is a metallurgical coal company that I’m high on right now due to the possibility of Trump infrastructure spending.  A lot of steel could be consumed.  I sold SXCP170317C00020000 for 10 cents a share.  The trade will be in force for 25 days and yields 7.30% annually.  Like with PMT, I remain eligible to collect the distribution of 13.6% while I wait to be called.

There is one more covered call on Genesis Energy LP (GEL).  I sold GEL170317C00037500 for 15 cents a share.  The trade will be in force for 25 days and yields 5.84% on an annual basis.  The underlying distribution, if not called, is 8.16%.  I like this one a lot as a Trump play as well.

The final trade for today is a cash secured put in Navios Maritime Midstream Partners (NAP).  The pricing is at a difficult place versus the options strikes to get premium and I’m hoping to ultimately get assigned here.  This one should do well as crude oil exports from the United States to Europe and Asia ramp up.  I sold NAP170421P00010000 for 20 cents a share.  The trade will be in force for 60 days and narrowly meets my minimum yield for writing a put at 12.17%.

I was unable to get acceptable pricing on AMLP or MAA and put those in the watch pile for now.

Devour your prey raptors!


Friday Expiries 17FEB2017

Six positions expired with the bell.

music selection:  “Fake It” — Seether

Five positions, two of which are puts and three of which are calls, expired out of the money today.  Those are: NAP, PMT, SXCP, GEL, MAA.  Average return across the five positions was 21.35% annualized and 1,070 in premiums were earned.  I plan to roll all these positions on Monday.

A cash secured put in AMLP finished in the money by two cents and will be assigned.  I’ll be buying 1,100 shares at 13 dollars.  My yield on basis will be 18.31% annually.  That is pretty good and I may be able to get a few hundred basis points more with an out of the money covered call at the 14 strike.  It will depend on if I can get enough premium to make the commission worthwhile.  This position yielded 35.5% annualized and generated 550 in premium income.

Total options income for the month of February is thus 1,620 from short options and 1,365 in long options on the long dated UVXY puts closed this week.  That is total options income of 2,985, more than covering my monthly budget needs.  Pretty nifty.

Devour your prey raptors!


Update UVXY

I rolled UVXY puts today.

music selection:  “The Rest For The Wicked” — Sohodolls

On 17JAN2017 I bought 20 strike puts with the 18JAN2019 expiry for UVXY for 12.95 a share.  Today, I was able to sell those puts for 13.60 a share.  The trade was in force for 28 days and yields 65.43% annualized.

I have moved down to the 13 strike with UVXY190118P00013000 at 8.20 a share.  I bought 20 shares in my tIRA account and 35 in my taxable account.  Target holding period is 30 days but that may be shorter if the puts move into the money sooner than that.

The average return for the two closed UVXY positions so far this year is 46.17% annualized.  Since I target 10% of my portfolio in UVXY puts, I’m on track to add 462 basis points to my annual return.

This trade remains my highest conviction idea.  The ETF is constructed to buy the 14 and 40 day futures and roll them daily.  Contango in the futures markets ensures they will typically sell a “cheap” asset to buy an “expensive” one.  Decay of 90% of the fund value a year is virtually certain.

Devour your prey raptors!


The 8 percent safe withdrawal rate

Aspiring to a 4% withdrawal rate means you will work too long!

music selection:  “Drones” — Rise Against

weigh-in:  211.4 (1.8)

It is very possible to double the normal withdrawal rate of the Trinity study with active portfolio management.  This trick can add several years to an early retirement.  I’m going to review my approach to a high income early retirement.

There is an asset class that can be purchased below its market value and typically yields over 10% a year.  This is the Closed End Fun (CEF).  These funds have a fixed number of shares and trade freely on the market.  Market sentiment can send them to a premium to the underlying net asset value but often sends them to a discount.  You want to buy when they sell at a discount.  I sometimes sell if a holding later trades for a premium.  A couple examples are Virtus Global Multi Sector (VGI) and Calamos Global Dynamic Income (CHW).  VGI sells for a discount to NAV of 7.73% and yields 11.88%.  CHW trades for a discount to NAV of 10.07% and yields 11.07%.  With yields over 11%, you can withdraw 8% annually and still have some wiggle room to buy more shares to stay ahead of inflation.

There is a second asset class, when bought right, leads to long term gains in the 15% range.  This is insurance companies with long histories of profitable underwriting.  Underwriting is measured by the “combined ratio” with a ratio below 100 indicating profitable underwriting.  Since cash is collected upfront and claims are (sometimes) paid later, the insurance companies can invest this money in the interim for bonus return.  This “float” is a source of leverage with a negative interest rate when underwritten profitably.  There are several elite insurance companies that regularly produce a combined ratio around 90.  AFG, WRB, TRV, and AXS are good examples of insurance companies with at least 40 quarters of profitable underwriting.  These can be powerful wealth compounders when bought at fair valuation.  Don’t pay more than 1.3 times book value.  Long term returns in the 15% range give you a big edge over the long term return of the broad US market which historically around 9%.  A good book about the power of this strategy is “The Davis Dynasty.

A third asset class that can provide income in retirement is high yield stocks.  I like MLPs, REITs, and BDCs for this part of my portfolio.  Each of these use a legal organization that exempts them from federal taxes if they pay out substantially all of their cash profits as distributions to shareholders.  The result is sectors that yield over 10% in many cases.  You can live on the distributions at an 8% rate and still have some left over to grow your wealth for future years.

The final asset class that lets you manage a higher than conventional withdrawal rate is, of course, options.  A lot of people think options investing is risky (and it can be when done wrong).  At the raptor, we SELL options.   Usually I write puts on companies I’d be happy to own at the strike price so I have limited downside when a trade goes against me.  Lately, I’ve done very well by writing options on the third asset class above.  Assignment means taking on a high yield underlying that can be held for a long period of time without being a drag on returns.  Covered calls can juice returns.  I target a minimum of 12% annualized for written puts but frequently do much better.  The average for written puts I currently have open at the 17FEB2017 expiry is 28%.  This is clearly a larger number than 8% and especially more than the conventional 4% number that is generally considered safe for retirees.

I hope there is someone out there that finds this useful and is able to retire sooner.

Devour your prey raptors!






I found this amusing

Props to Zach Weinersmith at Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:


Financial Transparency 31JAN2017

Financial Transparency for first month of 2017.

music selection:  “Give Me All Your Love” — Whitesnake

weigh-in: 213.2 +3.4 – Superbowl eating!


Wells Fargo (taxable): I’m up 613 here to 29,747.  A monthly gain of 2.10%.

Interactive Brokers (taxable): Strong gains of 10,221 for the month up to 279,747.  That is a gain of 3.79% – smoking!

Interactive Brokers (tIRA): A more pedestrian gain of 2,108 to 142,325.  That is good for a monthly gain of 1.50%.

Checking:  Not much action here with cash balance up 685 to 9,128 or a 8.11% gain.

Total Assets: Total assets increased 13,924 to 461,244, which is good for a 3.11% gain on the month.  I’m more than happy with that result.


House: Paid

Car: Paid

Taxes: I should qualify for the full Obamacare subsidy for 2016 thanks to tax loss harvesting.  That will not be an option in 2017 so I’m going to start converting my tIRA to Roth.  I’ll need to send Uncle Sugar 1,250 a quarter to reach 5,000 by year end to support 20,000 in conversions.


My projected 12 month withdrawal is now 24,000.  I’m budgeted at an even 2,000 a month to make the  math easy.  It’s going to be tight with the extra income tax burden.  Against an asset base of 461,244 that is a projected withdrawal rate of 5.20%.  Current forward twelve month estimate for distributions, dividends, and interest is 25,263 or 105.26% of budget.  I also clocked 3,805 in options income for the month.  That is a record and not likely to be duplicated again this year.  Overall, I’m happy to have budget met by distributions with options premium serving as gravy.


Spending for the month came in at 1,757.  I’ve done better but its good to just be under budget.  I need to get a little further under budget to meet my tax burden without needing to increase withdrawals.  I have some additional expense hitting the credit cards next month as I registered for FinCon in Dallas and booked a hotel room.

Devour your prey raptors!


Buy The Traveler’s Companies (TRV)

I’m making a long term cash deployment.

music selection:  “Down To Earth” — Jem

weigh-in:  209.8 (2.0) – new low!

I often say that insurance is the best business in America.  The reason is simple.  Insurance companies have “float”.  Money that is not theirs that they can invest on their own behalf.  Good insurance companies have profitable underwriting which is the same as having access to a negative cost of capital.  One insurance company that has been on my radar for some time due to its history of solid underwriting is Traveler’s (TRV).  I finally hit the right combination of valuation and available cash to make a deployment.  This is a non-options position intended as a buy and hold investment.

Traveler’s sports a 12.5% return on equity (trailing twelve months) and regularly posts a ‘combined ratio’ of 90 or less.  For those of you who don’t speak insurance, combined ratio is a measure of underwriting success with 100 being breakeven and 90 being a very strong score indicating 10% margins on underwriting.  Anything the company makes above this from investment of float is gravy for investors.  I expect long term growth in book value per share from this company over 15% a year.  Shares also yield 2.27% annually.

Action taken: Bought 85 shares of TRV at 117.62.  I’ll be holding with a 25% trailing stop and otherwise hope to let it run forever.

Devour your prey raptors!


Update Discounted Bonds (IHRT)

First some unfinished business from yesterday, then bonds.

music selection:  “Summertime Sadness” — Lana Del Rey

Yesterday, I was unable to sell a covered call in PSEC.  I went further out today and finally got filled about 8 minutes before market close.  I sold PSEC170519C00009000 for 9 cents a share.  The trade will be in force for 117 days (long for  me!) and yields a paltry 3.15% annualized.  It’s all bonus yield over the underlying distribution of 11.5% though.

A long open limit order for the 10.000 coupon 15JAN2018 maturity IHRT bond finally cleared today.  Originally, I purchased the bond on 13SEP2016 for 63 cents on the dollar.  I paid seven dollars in commissions and 33.89 in accrued interest.  Today, I sold for 78.25 cents on the dollar.  I paid 7.75 in commissions and collected 6.67 in accrued interest.  I also collected 50 dollars in coupons during the holding period.  The trade was in force for 133 days and  yielded 76.58% on an annualized basis.

This trade leaves me with just 6 outstanding bonds, half of which are in bankruptcy/debtor in possession status.  I’ll be waiting for a crack in the credit cycle to give existing bonds some weakness to buy into before topping up again.

Devour your prey raptors!


Monday trades: SXCP, SDLP, MAA, GEL, GE

Five trades made this morning.

music selection:  “Dream Ridiculous Implausible” — Jane Jensen

weigh-in:  211.8 (0.2)

Shares of Suncoke (SXCP) were assigned over the weekend.  I’m delighted to collect the 13.37% distribution yield.  I’m enhancing yield with a covered call.  I sold SXCP170217C00020000 for 20 cents a share.  The trade will be in force for 26 days and  yields 14.04% annualized.  The five contracts add 100 dollars in premium income for the month of February.

Also expiring in February is a new covered call in Genesis Energy (GEL).  I sold GEL170217C00037500 for a nickle a share.  The trade will be in force for 26.  It only yields 1.87% annualized but that is all bonus yield on top of the underlying distribution, yielding 8%.

Rounding out February expiries is Mid America Apartments (MAA).  This is a mezzanine level apartment provider operating as a REIT.  It has a low yield but a lot of potential for price appreciation.  I sold MAA170217P0009500 for 3.10 a share.  This trade will be in force for 26 days.  It yields an impressive 45.81% while enjoying 4.45% downside protection.  I’m very happy with the extra 310 dollars in premium income that will be earning in February.

A covered call in Seadrill Partners (SDLP) expired out of the money over the weekend.  I opened a new one to earn more premium income.  I was able to sell SDLP170317C00005000 for fifteen cents a share.  This trade will be in force for 54 days and yields 20.28% on an annualized basis.  I expect to continue collecting the underlying distribution yielding 9.48%, as well.  I sold 13 contracts here and accumulated 195 dollars in premium income for March.

I did my best to sell a covered call at the February and March expiries in Prospect Capital (PSEC) but couldn’t find any liquidity.  I’ll try again tomorrow with an expiry further out.

Finally, I initiated a new position with a written put in General Electric (GE).  GE has been on my radar for some time.  I’ve primarily been waiting for them to finish divesting themselves of the disastrous GE Capital and also to shed the Systemically Important Financial Institution regulatory designation.  Both of those goals are now substantially complete.  The company has a much better balance sheet now and should enjoy higher margins across its remaining businesses.  I also remain bullish on the prospects for their new industrial product operating system Predix.  This new software could do for industrial machinery (and GE) what iOS did for cellphones and Apple.

I sold GE170303P00030000 for 87 cents a share.   The trade will be in force for 40 days and yields 26.46% on an annualized basis.  The trade also sports 1.85% downside protection against a fall in share price.  I went slightly in the money with the intent of getting assigned and writing out of the money covered calls to generate a small amount of income while I wait on long term price appreciation.

Devour your prey raptors!