How to skin a synthetic?

Discussion in 'Options' started by drcha, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. drcha


    What is your favorite way to manage a synthetic that is working? For example, let's say that in July I set up some long Dec synthetics on XYZ when it is trading at $50:

    - 50 Dec P
    +50 Dec C

    Now, it is August and XYZ has risen to $60. Suppose that:

    1) XYZ is not a particularly volatile underlying, so this is a pretty big move. [If XYZ were especially volatile, I would not have been messing with this type of trade in the first place. I would have stuck to spreads or just bought XYZ itself.]
    2) the technicals for XYZ are still fairly strong, or at least not deteriorating substantially
    3) XYZ options are heavily traded so that slippage will be minimal.

    Here are some of my choices; you may decide to suggest others as well:

    1) exit the trade and take profit
    2) buy a Dec 60 put
    3) buy a Sep or Oct 60 put, decide later when that is expiring what to do next
    4) buy a Dec 55 put (or Sep or Oct)
    5) buy in the Dec 50 puts and let the Dec 50 calls run
    6) buy in the Dec 50 puts and sell enough Dec 50 calls to pay for them, keeping the rest of the calls
    7) do nothing
    8) do some combination of the above

    You can tell me that the right move depends on my expectations for XYZ. But of course I, like everyone else on the planet, do not know what XYZ will do next. And also like everyone else, I want to have my cake and eat it, too.

    I can tell you that in the past I have favored choices 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8. Before you tell me to always take the bird that is in the hand, keep in mind that synthetics do not always work, and that my winners have to more than make up for my losers. So I think it's important to not lop off your profits too quickly here.

    Looking forward to hearing everyone's thoughts.
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  4. drcha


    Guess I should have titled my thread "How to Spell Non Sequitur"

  5. spindr0


    As you noted, the right move depends on your expectations for XYZ. Given that we don't KNOW what will happen, my game plan is always to lock in profits. I could live with any of your suggestions but my if still bullish, of them I'd lean toward #3, locking in gain and allowing further upside (buying nearer term ATM put).

    I think that if bullish, my preferred plan of attack would be to roll the synthetic up every 5 points, booking 5 pts (synthetic has delta of 100). 50 then 55 then 60 etc.
  6. A synthetic long should be treated as the natural. If you don't like it, sell it. It's vol-neutral. The only reason (IRS excluded) to be in the long synthetic over the natural would be a discount. Then it's simply a matter of trading the reversal in as much size as possible.