« January 2020 »

IVolatility Trading Digest™

Volume 20 Issue 2
Volatility Kings Fourth Quarter 2019

Volatility Kings Fourth Quarter 2019 - IVolatility Trading Digest™

Review Notes

Fourth quarter earnings reporting will start this week and will really crank up next week, so the time has come to update our Volatility Kings™ list of companies that have a regular tendency to experience increasing option implied volatility as their quarterly reporting dates approach. 

The degree of uncertainty for upcoming reports may not be comparable to previous quarters. While some companies are on the list one quarter and not the next, others seem to remain on our list quarter after quarter. Since the focus is on earnings, others with high-implied volatility due to takeover speculation, FDA announcements or other extraordinary events, are excluded, along with those lacking sufficient liquidity due to low option volume described below.

In order to focus on those with the best options volume and liquidity, the weekly option volume requirement is set at those with greater than 20K contracts. As a result, some companies are included one quarter but not the next. In addition, when market implied volatility rises more companies will meet the volume threshold. The objective is to find those stocks with sufficient options liquidity and therefore reasonable bid/ask spreads to use for various multiple leg strategies, such as Calendar Spreads, Butterflies, Iron Condors, Straddles and others. 

The selection process begins at our daily listing of Review Notesfound in the Rankers and Scanners section of our home page about one-half way down the page, at the top left. Individual stocks with options volume less than 20K are eliminated along with those with prices less than 10, since when prices are too low there are usually not enough option strike prices or liquidity for attractive option strategies.

The implied volatility differential from last quarters’ high to the subsequent after reporting low, needs to be greater than 10%, occurring regularly with some flexibility on the regularly, due to changing market volatility, company or sector specific events. After a bit of subjective judgment, here are the best 33 of the 125 stocks considered.     

Volatility Kings™ Q4 2019


Descriptions and details for the column headings in the table above:     

Price in column 3, are closing stock prices as of January 10, 2020.       

When in column 4, shows the next expected earnings report date. They require checking often as these are only estimates and companies often change the dates. Time in column 5, shows the time during the day to expect the report, where B is before the open, A is after close. 

Est. or Estimate in column 6 represents the current consensus per share earnings estimate according to Earnings Whispers and may change before the report date. Some may also have higher “whisper” estimates. In addition, stock prices move on forward guidance as much, or perhaps more than on reported revenues and earnings.

Last Q IV in column 7 shows the Implied Volatility Index Mean (IVXM) of the puts and calls reached just before the last quarterly report, but may not necessarily be as relevant this quarter. 

IV Min Ex in column 8 shows the Implied Volatility Index Mean (IVXM) low after the last earnings report, making it easier to compare the pre-report high to the subsequent after reporting low. 

IV Now in column 9 is the Implied Volatility Index Mean, (IVXM) as of January 10, 2020. Depending upon the last report date the implied volatility of those having recently reported may still be declining, such as Micron (MU).

52R displays the current Implied Volatility Index Mean (IVXM) relative to the 52-week range, where .64 is above the midpoint for Luckin Coffee (LK), while near the bottom for CrowdStrike (CRWD) at .05 and Slack Technologies (WORK) at .06.   

IV Est/Now in column 11 (yellow highlight), shows the ratio of the estimated implied volatility to the current implied volatility based primarily on the high reached the previous quarter. Those with higher ratios have a potentially greater opportunity to increase going into their next report date such as Pinadoudou  Systems (PDD) at 1.76 and Pinterest (PINS) at 1.67.  

From our Historical Data Charts service, this Roku (ROKU) chart illustrates the pattern of regular quarterly changing implied before and after reporting. In addition to the rapid implied volatility decline shown by the orange line, the volume spikes in the small second chart align with the earnings date.


Notice how the orange IV Index Mean volatility drops dramatically on the report dates. When the stock also makes a large move the blue 30D HV (Historical Volatility) quickly advances.  

Comments and Observations

Typically implied volatility declines for 4-6 weeks after the reporting date followed by a subsequent rise for about 3-4 weeks before the next report, but vary with each having their own somewhat unique pattern.

In addition, market implied volatility plays a role. The S&P 500 Index implied volatility, measured by our IVolatility Implied Volatility Index Mean (IVXM) using four at-the-money options for each expiration period along with our proprietary technique that includes the delta and vega of each option, declined 1.21 points or -10.61% last week ending at 10.19 vs.11.40 for the week ending January 3.


To help identify implied volatility highs, lows, and forecast where they may go, along with other details, make sure to check the volatility charts at either our complimentary Basic Options or our more detailed Historical Data Charts on our website.

Big Data? In options, we are Big Data!
For a comprehensive review and reminder, check this out
Options: Observations of a Proprietary Trader  

Earnings Strategy Ideas

Long Calendar Spreads buy deferred month options with lower implied volatility and sell near term options with higher implied volatility with the same strike prices. However, since this position has short gamma or the rate of change of delta, any large move of the underlying stock on the reporting date will result in a loss. 

Short Calendar Spreads take a different approach by buying near term options and selling deferred options before the implied volatility of the front month begins to advance anticipating the next report date. The deferred short option implied volatility is less likely to advance while the implied volatility of near term increases going into the earnings date. Then close the position near the top of the implied volatility just before the earning date. The risk of a harmful stock price gap diminishes by closing the spread before the earnings report release. Two examples to consider for this approach are CrowdStrike (CRWD) and Slack Technologies (WORK).    

Iron Condors sell both out-of-the-money call and put spreads when implied volatility advances significantly, especially when the stock price trades near the middle of a range. Even if the stock makes a large move, only one side of the position will be threatened.


Since earnings reporting will begin this week use the Volatility Kings™ list as a source for potential volatility strategies, such as Long or Short Calendar Spreads or even Iron Condors if implied volatility appears abnormally high just before the report date.

Actionable Options™

We now offer daily trading ideas from our RT Options Scanner before the close in the IVolatility News section of our home page based upon active calls and puts with increasing implied volatility and volume.

“The best volatility charts in the business.”

Next week will include our regular Market Review and indicator update.

Finding Previous Issues and Our Reader Response Request


All previous issues of the Digest can be found by using the small calendar at the top right of the first page of any Digest Issue. Click on any underlined date to see the selected issue. Another source is the Table of Contents link found in the lower right side of the IVolatility Trading Digest section on our website homepage.

CommentAs always, we encourage you to let us know what you think about how we are doing and what you would like to see in future issues. Send us your questions or comments, or if you would like us to look at a specific stock, ETF or futures contract, let us know at Support@IVolatility.com or use the blog response at the bottom of the IVolatility Trading Digest™ page on the IVolatility.com website. To receive the Digest by e-mail let us know at Support@IVolatility.com

Trade selection using volatility as the primary criteria. Different trades for different volatility opportunities.
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IVolatility.com is not a registered investment adviser and does not offer personalized advice specific to the needs and risk profiles of its readers.Nothing contained in this letter constitutes a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Before entering a position check to see how prices compare to those used in the digest, as the prices are likely to change on the next trading day. Our personnel or independent contractors may own positions and/or trade in the securities mentioned. We are not compensated in any way for publishing information about companies in the digest. Make sure to due your fundamental and technical analysis homework along with a realistic evaluation of position size before considering a commitment.

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