Straddle Spread - What is an Options Straddle?

Overview

DEFINITION

A short straddle is a position that is a neutral strategy that profits from the passage of time and any decreases in implied volatility. The short straddle is an undefined risk option strategy.

DIRECTIONAL ASSUMPTION

Neutral

IDEAL IMPLIED VOLATILITY ENVIRONMENT

High

PROFIT/LOSS CHART

Profit loss chart of a Short Straddle

Setup

Sell ATM Call

Sell ATM Put

HOW TO CALCULATE MAX PROFIT / BREAKEVEN(S)

MAX PROFIT

Credit Received

BREAKEVEN(S)

Upside:

Call Strike Price + Credit Received


Downside: 

Put Strike Price - Credit Received

tastylive Approach

With straddles, it is important to remember that we are working with truly undefined risk in selling a naked call. We focus on probabilities at trade entry, and make sure to keep our risk / reward relationship at a reasonable level.

Implied volatility (IV) plays a huge role in our strike selection with straddles. The higher the IV, the more credit we will receive from selling the options. A higher credit ultimately means we will have wider breakeven points, since we can use the credit to offset losses we may see to the upside or downside. At the end of the day, a larger relative credit results in a higher probability of success with this strategy.

Our target timeframe for selling straddles is around 45 days to expiration. Our studies show this is a great balance between shorter and longer timeframes.

CLOSE / MANAGE

WHEN TO CLOSE

The first profit target is generally 25% of the maximum profit. This is done by buying the straddle back for 75% of the credit received at order entry.

WHEN TO MANAGE

With premium selling strategies, defensive tactics revolve around collecting more premium to improve our break-even price, and further reduce our cost basis. With short straddles, we don’t have much wiggle room because the short options are already on the same strikes. One option is to roll the whole straddle out in time, using the same strikes. This can be done for a credit, and we will hope for the stock price to return to our short strike by the new expiration.

Supplemental Content

EPISODES ON STRADDLE

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