Rolling option spread without buying back OTM short leg

Discussion in 'Options' started by eratosthenes, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. Example scenario:

    You are long 1x QQQ May 12 $64 put and 1x short QQQ May 12 $65 put (a put bull spread). Your margin requirement is $100. It is now expiration Friday in May 12 and QQQ is finishing around, say, $68. This means both puts will expire worthless and you will get the maximum profit from your put bull spread.

    Let's say you now want to sell the same 64/65 spread using the weeklys that expire the following week. Assuming you have no cash in your account, you can do this by:

    1) Buying back the $65 short put so that your margin requirement goes to $0. Then you can sell the following week's spread.

    2) Wait until Monday. Your $65 short put will expire over the weekend which will again take your margin requirements from $100 to $0 — at which point you can sell the next week's spread.

    The disadvantage of #1 is that you have to pay something to close your position. The disadvantage of #2 is that you won't get as much for the spread you sell because its time value will decay over the weekend.

    My question: can I have my cake and eat it too? Is it possible to just ignore the short expiring leg and go ahead and sell the next week's spread? By the time trade settlement occurs, in which the next week's options are officially long/short by you, the current week's options will have expired — so is this possible?