One tool I like to use with stock options, especially on Straddle or Strangle trades, but also long-term trades, is the Chicago Board Options Exchange IVolatility options calculator/pricer. The link is here: www.cboe.com/framed/IVolframed.aspx?content=http%3a%2f%2fcboe.ivolatility.com%2fcalc%2findex.j%3fcontract%3dC44A90FE-8D3F-4F26-A1EA-AAB6AB7CB180§ionName=SEC_TRADING_TOOLS&title=CBOE%20-%20IVolatility%20Services.
This calculator allows trader’s to put in a ticker symbol and choose their own parameters, such as the strike price, expiration date, current volatility percentage, and the current share price in relation to the strike price. One this information is added in, the calculator will then compute all of the parameters and show the estimated (very accurate) price for both the call and put options. This is especially handy for new option traders, but also very useful for options that have a longer expiration date and time-value left.
I am frequently asked how do I know what a good price to place the sell-to-close order should be on strategies such as the Straddle/Strangle, which has both call and put options placed simultaneously, a neutral-based strategy.
Yesterday, 10/17/16, I placed a Strangle on Netflix (NFLX), using November $115.00 strike price calls and November $85.00 put options. The stock was trading at $100.00/share at the time of placement and fill. I paid $3.10 to place this trade. Since there is about a month of time-value left on both legs of the strategy, I do not want to sell either side of the trade too low. Pre-market on Tuesday, the stock is up about $18.50 a share, so I have a general idea of what the call side will be trading at just based on experience and the intrinsic value alone, but the put side may also still have some value, especially should there be a pull back on the stock.
One important thing: after earnings, the Implied Volatility of a given security will drop. This is because the news is already out as to the results post-earnings and the uncertainty is mostly removed as to what direction the stock will move. When using the IVolatility calculator, as a general rule, I like to lower the volatility percentage about 20 points. So if the chart on the calculator had a volatility percentage of 58 pre-earnings, use 38 when you input the new information. This may be too much, or too little, but it will give you a good idea as to the average drop of volatility. I do this pre-market.
On earnings trades, you can always use trailing stops if you think the trade will keep gaining in value in relation to how the stock is moving.
If you have any questions, you can e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org