Consistently, one of the more popular stocks people enter into their stock options watchlist at Stock Options Channel is American Capital Agency Corp (Symbol: AGNC). So this week we highlight one interesting put contract, and one interesting call contract, from the January 2016 expiration for AGNC. The put contract our YieldBoost algorithm identified as particularly interesting, is at the $17 strike, which has a bid at the time of this writing of 34 cents. Collecting that bid as the premium represents a 2% return against the $17 commitment, or a 3.4% annualized rate of return (at Stock Options Channel we call this the YieldBoost ).
Selling a put does not give an investor access to AGNC's upside potential the way owning shares would, because the put seller only ends up owning shares in the scenario where the contract is exercised. So unless American Capital Agency Corp sees its shares fall 14.7% and the contract is exercised (resulting in a cost basis of $16.66 per share before broker commissions, subtracting the 34 cents from $17), the only upside to the put seller is from collecting that premium for the 3.4% annualized rate of return.
Turning to the other side of the option chain, we highlight one call contract of particular interest for the January 2016 expiration, for shareholders of American Capital Agency Corp (Symbol: AGNC) looking to boost their income beyond the stock's 12.1% annualized dividend yield. Selling the covered call at the $20 strike and collecting the premium based on the 54 cents bid, annualizes to an additional 4.6% rate of return against the current stock price (this is what we at Stock Options Channel refer to as the YieldBoost ), for a total of 16.7% annualized rate in the scenario where the stock is not called away. Any upside above $20 would be lost if the stock rises there and is called away, but AGNC shares would have to climb 0.3% from current levels for that to happen, meaning that in the scenario where the stock is called, the shareholder has earned a 3.1% return from this trading level, in addition to any dividends collected before the stock was called.
The chart below shows the trailing twelve month trading history for American Capital Agency Corp, highlighting in green where the $17 strike is located relative to that history, and highlighting the $20 strike in red:
The chart above, and the stock's historical volatility, can be a helpful guide in combination with fundamental analysis to judge whether selling the January 2016 put or call options highlighted in this article deliver a rate of return that represents good reward for the risks. We calculate the trailing twelve month volatility for American Capital Agency Corp (considering the last 252 trading day AGNC historical stock prices using closing values, as well as today's price of $19.92) to be 14%.
In mid-afternoon trading on Monday, the put volume among S&P 500 components was 866,115 contracts, with call volume at 866,115, for a put:call ratio of 0.75 so far for the day, which is above normal compared to the long-term median put:call ratio of .65. In other words, if we look at the number of call buyers and then use the long-term median to project the number of put buyers we'd expect to see, we're actually seeing more put buyers than expected out there in options trading so far today. Find out which 15 call and put options traders are talking about today .