bearish options strategies
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Netflix Stock Is Crashing! Try These 4 Profitable Options Strategies

Do you get nervous when a stock goes on a downward trend?

Most people's reactions are usually one of the following two choices:

  • One is to sell off immediately
  • The other is to buy more to spread out the cost

Today I'll use Netflix as an example to show you how to make a profit in a bearish market.

How Do You Buy a Put to Anticipate a Downward Trend?

Looking at the price chart of NFLX, we can see a clear downward trend since the company disclosed their Q1 earnings. The stock price has dropped 10% in 2 weeks.

If you reference Morningstar's fair value of Netflix, the stock is only worth $250, so we expect NFLX price to continue to drop.

Looking at the previous low of $497, we can buy a Put option at $495 to anticipate the bearish movement.

NFLX股價下跌
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The NFLX stock price fell 10% after Q1 earnings call.

It costs around $1185 to buy a $495 Put that expires next month.

NFLX put options交易成本
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A long Put option at $495 that expires next month costs $1185.

If the stock price drops below $495 before expiration, we can exercise the option to sell 100 shares at $495.

We can make $100 for every $1 decrease in the stock price.

Netflix Put option的獲利機會
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The Probability of Profit for buying a Netflix Put option is low.

But the Probability of Profit is only 30%, so it's not a high probability trade.

If NFLX goes on a long downward trend, the maximum theoretical profit of the trade is around $48000 as the price heads toward $0. But this is unlikely to happen to a financially strong company like Netflix.

NFLX買put options的最高獲利
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The maximum profit of a long NFLX Put option is strike price times 100 minus the cost of trade.

From a different perspective, if you already own NFLX stocks, buying Put options is a good way to minimise your losses in a bearish trend. You have the right to sell 100 stocks at $495 no matter how far the price falls.

Although the maximum profit of a long Put is strike price x100, but the cost of buying Put is very high, and the option would expire worthless if the stock price doesn't fall.

So we can consider a higher leverage strategy of buying a Put Calendar Spread to profit from a market downturn.

How to Buy a Put Calendar Spread?

It is more difficult to profit from a Calendar Spread than from a long Put, because you need to be very accurate in guessing both the direction and the size of the downturn to be profitable. But the advantage of a Calendar Spread is a lower cost of trade and a higher leverage.

If we look at the Netflix price chart from last year, the downward fluctuation is usually between $50-$100. So we can buy a Put Calendar Spread that is $100 below the current market price.

NFLX股價下跌的幅度
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Recent downward moves for NFLX has been around $50-$100.

A bearish Calendar Spread is made up of:

  • A short Put that expires next month
  • A long Put that expires in 2 months or more

The maximum profit occurs when the stock price falls to exactly the Strike price within a month.

Netflix put calendar spread
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NFLX Put Calendar Spread consists of buying and selling Put options with different expirations.

When trading with TD Ameritrade:

  • Find the Puts that expire next month
  • Right click to BUY Calendar
在TD Ameritrade購買NFLX日曆價差
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Right click to BUY Calendar in TD Ameritrade to buy a Put Calendar Spread that expires next month.
  • Change Qty to 1
  • Set the BUY Put to Exp next month
NFLX日曆價差設定
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Change the NFLX Calendar Spread settings.

Then we can Analyze the trade.

Netflix日曆價差分析最高獲利
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When Netflix stock price falls to the strike price, the maximum profit of Calendar Spread is 15x.

We can see the cost of this Calendar Spread is around $90. If the stock price drops to the strike price within a month, we can make $1500, a 15x Return on Capital.

But it is very difficult to pull off this trade, and you can lose the initial investment if you are wrong about the trade.

Since we have covered the strategies on buying options, now we can talk about how to be the seller of options.

How to Sell a Call?

If we believe the stock price will continue to fall, we can sell a Call option very close to the market price, at around -0.40 delta. As an option seller, we can receive the $1205 premium upfront.

NFLX賣naked call選擇權
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Selling a Naked Call at -0.40 delta has potential for 14% Return on Capital.

Because NFLX is an expensive, and volatile stock, the Naked Call we sell would need a Buying Power of over $8600. Resulting in a Return on Capital of around 14%.

The analysis of this trade shows there is a 68% chance of profit after 1 month. As long as the stock price remains below our strike price, we can collect the full premium.

Netflix naked call選擇權的獲利機會高
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Selling a Naked Call has 68% Probability of Profit.

The drawback of this trade is if we are wrong about the direction of the stock price, we as the seller, will lose $100 for every $1 price increase, with a theoretical maximum loss of infinity.

How do we sell options in a safe way?

How to Sell a Call Spread?

We can buy a Call at a higher Strike price to cap the loss of our short Call. This way, the Buying Power required would be reduced as well.

Netflix賣call spread
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Selling a Call Spread can reduce the Buying Power required, limit maximum loss, and increase Return on Capital.

Even though the Call Spread has lower premium than a Naked Call, only $175, while maintaining the same 68% chance of profit. But a lower Buying Power of $325 means we can have a Return on Capital of more than 54%.

Comparison of 4 Options Strategies

We discussed 4 Bearish option strategies today, and my personal favourite is selling the Call Spread. It has the highest Probability of Profit, and a great Return on Capital. As a seller, we can simply wait for the option to decay in value, then exit before the market price cross the Strike price.

Trade MethodBuy PutBuy Put Calendar SpreadSell CallSell Call Spread
ProsEasy to setup
Can limit the losses of holding stocks
High theoretical maximum profit
Low cost of trade
High leverage
Receive premium first
High probability of profit
Profit by waiting for options to depreciate in value
Receive premium first
High probability of profit
Low Buying Power required
High leverage
Profit by waiting for options to depreciate in value
ConsHigh cost of trade
Low chance of profit
Need to be correct in both direction and magnitudeRequires high Buying Power
Unlimited maximum loss

Now it's your turn to try the options trading strategies we shared today, and find your favourite bearish trading strategies.

If you would like us to analyse other popular stocks, please leave a message below.

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