Monthly Archives: January 2013

Money Is A Family Affair

If you are single and don’t have kids this tip won’t mean much to you. For the rest of us that have others to consider when making money decisions it just may make things a little easier.

I guess the best knock-down, drag-out fights my wife and I ever had was about money. No, it never came to blows because she’s meaner than I am. Believe me you can have a lot of fights in almost 40 years.

At some point we realized that it wasn’t accomplishing anything. We still didn’t have any money but we never earned a nickel fighting about it.

To get a handle on your finances it is going to take a team effort. The whole family has to be working in the same direction.

My suggestion would be to sit down and talk your money situation over with your spouse and the kids. It’s important for everybody in the family to know what is going on.

You may be surprised at what the kids will come up with.

When I bought my first house I made a miscalculation on how much I would need to come up with for the down payment. When I realized it we had maxed out our credit cards and wasn’t sure where we would get the rest of the money.

My wife and I discussed this with the kids and they offered to baby-sit and mow lawns. They came up with enough to cover the down payment. I’ll never forget how proud that made them feel and how proud we were of them.

All too often one person in the family is strapped with making the money decisions. This is a great idea and the best way to keep things organized but they shouldn’t take all the blame when something doesn’t work out.

A family solves difficult problems everyday. Money is just one of them.

Money Counters Simplifying Money Management

When you hear the word “money counter”, the first thing that comes to your mind is someone who counts money. Money counters do count money, but they are not persons. A money counter is a machine that can count, add, stack, and detect money. Money counters are used by banks, arcades, casinos, restaurants, multi national companies and any firm that handles a lot of cash or change in a day.

Money counters are used all across the world to increase speed of counting cash, eliminate errors and simplify money handling. There are machines that can handle international currencies. These machines can detect the currency from various countries and display their values.

Money sorters come in all kind of shapes, sizes and types, as well as configurations and price ranges. There are simple banks meant for children that help them count their allowance and there are complex counters that place coins into rolls and tally the exact amount. There are other money counters that count and sort cash as well.

Counterfeit Detectors

A counterfeit detector is a built-in setting in a money counter that detects fake currency from the rest of the bundle. If the currency is counterfeit, an alarm alerts the user. A counterfeit detector has the following components

A magnetic detector scans the bills for the magnetic component that is used while making bills. In case of US bills, the bills when passed over the detector will produce a positive magnetic response.

A magnifying detector is used to detect and check micro printing, fine-line printing pattern, serial number, inscribed security thread etc that is customized on various currencies. These cannot be seen with the naked eye. Hence magnifying detectors are used.

A watermark is a specialized marking found on the US currency. It is produced by applying pressure on the bill mold. Holding the currency against a UV bulb will detect the quality of the watermark. A weak watermark means fake currency.

Every US dollar bill has unique color shifting property on its lower right hand side corner. If you focus the bill on the lighted reflector, that part changes color from green to black. If there is no change in color, then it means the currency is counterfeit.

Use counters to improvise your money management mechanism!

Momentum Investing and Trend Following: The Secret to Significant Portfolio Returns

Two popular terms which often confuse investors are “trend following” and “momentum investing.” Perhaps the most glaring commonality between these two is their blatant defiance of “buy and hold,” the practice of selecting an investment and holding it indefinitely, believing that over time the market goes up, and therefore any investment will appreciate. Although the buy and hold approach has been touted for years by academics as the best method of investing, in reality it has its shortcomings, which are apparent in every Bear market.

Despite being the antithesis of buy and hold, both momentum investing and trend following strategies are predicated upon a disciplined investment approach that’s designed to buy when the price of an issue is increasing and sell when the price is declining. Additionally, an exit strategy is normally incorporated to override the human tendency to hold losing positions much too long. Yet despite the distinct characteristics that these two terms share, in reality they are quite different.

What is Trend Following?

Trend following, in its most basic definition, is a systematic investment approach predicated upon buying and selling securities based on the sustained price movement of the issue. It’s important to point out that trend followers don’t predict the future price movement of a stock; rather they examine the issue using technical analysis to determine which direction, if any, the equity is currently moving. If a bullish trend is emerging, the trend follower will likely buy a position in the stock and hold it until the trend begins to weaken or change direction. If the equity exhibits a bearish trend, the trend follower can short the position, wait until the trend reverses, or merely find another issue.

But there’s much more to being a successful trend follower than just selecting and buying securities. In fact, it can be argued that the most important aspect of trend following isn’t when and what to buy, but rather when and what to sell! Often times, successful trend followers establish a “sell rule” that must be violated prior to selling the issue. These sell rules vary depending on the risk tolerance of each investor, but they typically consist of a trailing stop loss coupled with a confirming indicator. The overarching benefit of sell rules is that they provide a disciplined, mechanical methodology which the average investor should seriously consider implementing into his investment philosophy.

What is Momentum Investing?

Momentum investors are constantly searching for companies that are moving faster than the market. They believe substantial returns can be realized if they find, buy and hold onto those issues for as long as the price continues to go up. The old axiom, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” illustrates the shared philosophy of momentum investors; those companies with the biggest price changes over the last few months are more likely to continue making substantial gains.

Fundamental analysis plays a much bigger role in momentum investing than it does in trend following. Momentum investors believe that buried within a company’s earnings statement is the reason why the price has been increasing so dramatically. And if that underlying reason is uncovered, the opportunity presents itself to capitalize on that knowledge in the future.

In the case of trend following, investors want to identify where a security may be within the performance cycle. For example, how close to the 52-week high or low is the current market price and what is the short-term direction of the issue? For the momentum investor, the key criteria may be the relative strength of the security versus the market or more importantly the peer group of the particular security in question.

How to Develop a Successful Investment Strategy

Investors often ask why go through all the effort of actively managing a portfolio. The simple answer lies in the proven behaviors of economic cycles and sector rotation. Independent studies have proven that over time the largest percentage of a securities’ price appreciation is driven by the industrial group within which the company is classified and not the performance of the individual company itself.

However, the real reason why investors should actively manage their portfolios is a concept called the “Time Value of Money,” also known as “Compounding Rate of Growth.” Many financial professionals will use the example of how a penny, if doubled every day, is worth over $10 million after only 30 days. A very impressive and eye opening number given the small amount of initial capital outlay. What would happen if instead of doubling the penny every day, it were to grow by only 75%? The investment would be worth slightly over $195,000 rather than $10.7 million. Reducing the growth rate further to 50% and the end value is now $1,917.51. A 25% growth rate for 30 days produces a value of only $8.08.

How does the concept of compounding growth translate into the selection of an investment strategy? Investors who actively manage their portfolios, either through trend following or momentum investing, have the ability to take modest gains and re-invest the profit in other trending securities over and over again. Buy and hold investors are not awarded this luxury since they rarely sell when the price is at the top. Rather, they buy a position when the price is low, ride the position all the way up in a bull market, and then watch as is loses value in a bear market. It’s a very frustrating strategy, equally hard on the stomach as it is on the wallet.

Both strategies, trend following and momentum investing, demand a certain level of self-discipline in order to be successful. A portfolio risk-management system that uses the current market price and equity level of a position and some form of market volatility measurement is recommended. An example of such a system could be a proprietary market model focused on technical indicators, back tested over time, coupled with a volatility indicator. The system might employ either the Average Directional Movement Index (ADX/R), the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) or the more traditional Advance Decline Line, Breadth or Volume indicators.

Taking Portfolio Risk Management Systems One Step Further

One noted management system authored by William O’Neil is CANSLIM. The CANSLIM approach combines both fundamental and technical analysis much like the Core Equity Portfolio available at QMA Investment Management, LLC. The weakness in the CANSLIM approach, along with many other similar systems, is that they stop short of providing a truly utilitarian system for the investor. The user ends up with a list of stocks, all of whom have meet the systems criteria, but no method for distinguishing between the good, the better and the best.

To address this problem, Alpha Advisor Service, LLC created the AAS Rating Score. This number is a time-weighted risk-adjusted alpha value used to rank each of the 1700 investments analyzed daily by AAS. The purpose of the AAS Rating Score is to create a level field to measure all investment alternatives. The highest AAS rated securities provide the greatest risk-adjusted return compared to the lowest rated securities. This approach is superior to other forms of alpha analysis since it is time-weighted, thereby identifying those stocks or funds that are providing greater returns for the risk taken. A tool of this caliber, which is available for any investor via the Alpha Advisor Service Newsletter, provides the means of not only developing a customized portfolio risk-management system, but also a disciplined method of buying and selling the securities within the portfolio.

If you shoot the bottom bird first

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Microcaps Can Be Big Investments

September 11, 2001 was a defining moment in the history of our country. Prior to this historical date the Department of Homeland Security was not even created and airport security was just like any other industry. Investors have capitalized on the recent surge in this sector. As most investors do, they go for the bigger companies and bigger name stocks when investing. As a result there are many micro-cap stocks that get overlooked.

Micro-cap stocks sell for $5 or less per share. While you most likely will not become the next Warren Buffet by investing solely in micro-caps you can and should add them to your portfolio. Just as you will not become filthy rich with micro-caps, you will most likely not go broke either. Because of the minimal selling price there is so much less risk. Whether you are looking to improve your existing portfolio or you are just getting into investing, and you do not have a lot of money to spend, this level of stocks can be an excellent investment.

Some of the companies that exist in the homeland security sector are relatively new, which makes researching them a bit more difficult than a company such as GE. If you do spend the time you can find some excellent stocks.

When looking for a company to invest in you should consider things such as management, what the current hot products in the industry are, and some evidence of stability. I will share some companies that I feel meet these criteria. By no means should these examples be taken as a recommendation. This is just a guideline of what to look for in a possible investment. If you decide to invest in any of these companies it should be because you researched them and found them to be a good investment for your portfolio.

Global ePoint, Inc.- symbol (GEPT)- they develop and manufacture industrial and commercial computer systems as well as digital audio and video surveillance. The company is made up of three divisions: Aviation, Contract Manufacturing, and Digital Technology. Some of Global’s biggest clients are: Citibank, FedEx, GE Interlogix, Universal Studios, and American Airlines. Global has been very active in the news in recent months as well:

o October 28, 2005- Global ePoint’s aviation division is awarded $750,000 in additional contracts to be delivered during the fourth quarter.

o November 3, 2005- Global wins the Ukiah, CA Police Department contract.

o November 7, 2005- Global receives orders for $1.2 million of Image Processing Equipment for X-ray scanning equipment.

Global’s management is proven as well. Their CEO, Toresa Lou, was CEO of McDigit Company prior to being named the CEO of Global ePoint. She took McDigit from $0 in annual sales to over $400 million annually. Their stock price ranged from a 52 week low of $2.00 per share up to a 52 week high of $8.00 per share.

Sense Holdings, Inc.- symbol (SEHO)- Their primary business is the explosive detection, human authentication and identification, as well as time and attendance systems. Sense Holdings has been in business since July of 1998.

o They have recently been awarded contracts from two Fortune 100 companies for deployment of biometric solutions.

o Sense Holdings was given exclusive sales and representation rights to a U.S. granted patent. The patent is for the use of biometric technology to access and operate any motor vehicle. The biometrics included in the patent are: fingerprinting, voice, facial, and iris recognition to be used in cars, boats, plans, and trains.

The co-founder of the company is still involved and now the CEO and President of the company. The five people highlighted as the leaders of Sense Holdings, Inc. all have successful careers prior to founding or joining Sense Holdings. Their stock is a bit different than Global. Their 52 week low was $.14 per share and their high was $.42. Such low prices might be enough to scare off some investors.

Sniffex, Inc.-symbol (SNFX)- Founded in October of 2004. They have only one product, which is a device that will detect explosive material up to 100 feet away. It can even detect explosives through metal boxes or concrete walls. There are variables that would determine its ability, such as weather conditions and the amount of explosive used. This is their only product.

o Paul Johnson is their CEO. He has lead over seven companies in his career. Although all of them, prior to Sniffex, Inc., were more web-based technology companies.

If I were thinking of investing any of the three companies I have mentioned so far I would be most skeptical about Sniffex. They are the newest of the three companies. They have a leader that is new to the industry, and they have only one product, albeit a very important product. Their current stock price, as I write this, is $1.65 a share. The 52 week low was $.05 per share with a high of $6.00 per share.

While doing research for this article I came across many companies. There are dozens of companies in the Homeland Security sector. It is an important industry for obvious reasons. I read some “experts” views on some companies where they give recommendations on which companies you should and should not invest in.

One of these recommendations was for a company that currently had no products on the market. They were awaiting numerous patent approvals. The recommendation went on to break down what would happen if the patents were approved. As I was reading it I thought to myself, “This guy must own stock in this company.” Could this stock make you a lot of money if the patents are approved, of course. But, I think I have shown in this article that there are other companies that offer similar opportunity for return on your investment for much less risk. If you are researching this sector I think you have the chance to make some solid investments. Just use good judgment and look for the rights indicators for success.

Market Timing A Danger to Your Financial Success

Market timing are the two most dangerous words in investing – especially when practiced by novice traders.

Market timing is the strategy of attempting to predict future price movements through use of various fundamental and technical analysis tools – and when used to predict trending moves, ends in disaster, and losses.

Many investors feel that market timing is the same as trend following and the two go hand in hand, they don’t.

Trend Following and Market Timing

Trend Followers REACT to market movement and act on these moves when they occur.

Traders who believe in Market Timing think they can PREDICT turning points in advance and buy at a low or sell at a high.

This is impossible to do; no one can predict the market.

Market timing advocates “buy low and sell high” but this is not the way to make money from trend following.

The Real aim of Trend Following

To increase your chances of success in trend following you need to wait for confirmation of a move and for a trend to develop.

You are going to miss the start of the trend and not buy the bottom or sell the top, but this is hindsight.

By waiting for the confirmation for the trend to develop, the probability of the trend continuing and you getting a proportion of the profits are vastly increased.

The real way to make money don’t predict wait for confirmation!

The real way to make money is by “buying high and selling higher” and “selling low and buying lower” You will have far less losses this way and still make healthy profits than if you try to predict with market timing techniques.

Market timing is doomed to failure – as the market never does exactly what we expect, and no scientific law governs the market (despite what the followers of predictive theories such as Gann and Elliott wave might tell you).

We are only dealing with probabilities – not certainties.

Trading is an odds game and your entry and exit levels from the market need to reflect this.

This means trading only when the trend is underway and likely to continue.

Dealing with Volatility

When dealing with market timing many traders are attracted to it as they feel it controls risk.

One of the major problems for traders is when they enter a trend in motion and they get stopped out.

The most effective way of entering a trend is a breakout method, but very often the trade dips back stops out the trader and then goes back they way they thought, but there is a solution:

Enter the Trade with Options

Options give you staying power to ride out short-term pullbacks against you, but you need to know how to use them correctly and this means:

1. Buying in the money or close to the money options 2. Make sure you have plenty of time value on your side

This will increase your chances of success dramatically; give you staying power, limited risk and unlimited gains!

The best Method, Market and Vehicle for Trading

The best method to get in on a trend is a breakout method (read our other articles for more information on why) the best vehicle to control and manage risk on entry is options.

Finally, the best markets with the best trends to lock into for profit are:

The global FOREX markets, all the major currencies offer great long-term trends, many of which last for years.

These trends last so long that you can forget trying to predict with market timing and just take a proportion of the trend, which will still give you big profits over the longer term.

As you can see market timing is misunderstood and has nothing to do with making money from trend following and actually creates risk, rather than reducing it.

Margin Trading Dangers Highlighted by Real Cases

Margin Trading Dangers Highlighted by Real Cases

Several recent high profile company share price collapses on the Australian Stock Exchange highlight the danger posed to ordinary shareholders from large scale margin trading of shares by directors of listed firms. So dramatic have been the consequences that no equities investor can afford to ignore the lessons.

Significant shareholdings by directors in a listed company have traditionally been viewed favourably as an alignment of executives’ and other private shareholders’ interests, but this ideal can be dramatically compromised in cases where those large shareholdings have been aggregated through, and remain security for, margin loans. Directors leveraging into positions well beyond their capacity to meet margin calls may create a known and acceptable risk for themselves but their actions inescapably also create a significant but hidden and usually unsuspected risk for other shareholders.

On exposure in a falling market, the consequences can be devastating to all concerned.

Basically margin trading involves borrowing through a brokerage to purchase shares on deposit with the shares purchased being held as collateral for the loan. As with all leveraged investments the potential for both amplified profits and losses exists, but particular additional risks attach to margin trading of shares.

Depending on the particular share being purchased and subject to other margin account criteria such as maintenance of a minimum balance, a private investor may be able to borrow, say, 50 loan to collateral value must be maintained at all times – hence a 50, owing to the director’s perceived influence on the company and the scale of business such a purchase will bring to the margin broker. Thus the director’s margin is only 20 of the purchase price of one million $10 shares through a margin broker. Borrowings amount to $8 million with $2 million “equity” being put up by the director to complete the $10 million purchase. Furthermore, the margin trading agreement states that a minimum 80 to a market value of $9 per share will reduce the director’s holding of 1 million shares to a value of $9 million, but still carrying the $8 million debt and therefore breaching the 80 loss) will then be served with a “margin call” for a further $1 million to re-establish the original loan/asset ratio. Failure to meet the call w

In this situation private shareholders become unsuspecting victims of a risk they didn’t even know existed.

This scenario is far from academic. In a number of now salient Australian cases, dumping of directors’, executives’ and related party holdings have indeed seen share prices slashed, stock exchange listings suspended, directors and executives lose their jobs with their entire company shareholdings wiped out. Residual personal liabilities are suspected of being huge in some cases. Consequently, private investors have also suffered massive write downs in the value of their own holdings.

Needless to say, any company subject to such a fate will find it nearly impossible to raise fresh equity capital and will pay heavily for debt – particularly in today’s credit crunched world. Assuming the enterprise can remain solvent, aggressive sale of assets becomes the most logical choice to fund a restructuring program.

Private investors engaged in margin trading the same company may well suffer a similar fate to the directors, albeit without a loss of employment.

A more detailed case study is available through the resource link.

As the case study points out, effects of a major margin call default can be widespread and devastating, seriously affecting even secured investors in related companies.

So how should the private investor guard against such an unwelcome outcome to a seemingly quite reasonable investment?

As we have discussed, potentially damaging margin trading by directors and executives can be difficult to detect, but some clues may be available through stock exchange announcements. Better still, just ask the Company Chairman through private correspondence or at the Shareholder’s Annual General Meeting. Companies able to report a clean slate in respect of such activities are likely to be happy to do so. Investigate the others.

In one recent case it turns out that not only were directors purchasing shares on margin for their own accounts but were also margin trading other listed shares with shareholders’ funds in the Company’s name. Needless to say the Company and its shareholders soon lost many millions of dollars once markets suffered a modest reversal.

For the private investor, good advice is to avoid margin trading through a margin broker altogether. This, however, does not completely exclude the leveraged purchase of shares which remains a valid investment strategy under certain circumstances. It does, however, place vital separation between financier, sharebroker and shareholder.

In one recent Australian margin trading case, some private investors reportedly had their entire nominee-held share portfolios seized and sold to recompense the margin financier, a major bank. When the margin brokerage house collapsed, private investors were left as unsecured creditors of the failed broker. Prospects of recovery from this position would be dim indeed.

At a time when ever more complex means of trading traditional share markets are being developed, such as options, short selling, stock borrowing and margin trading, investors need to recognise that new opportunities for exceptional profit also bring exceptional new risks. Some may well be hidden behind a cloak of “immateriality” even though potential consequences could be disastrous.

In summary, private investors can minimise exposure to margin trading risk by taking a few precautions:

“Treat very fast growing companies with caution. These companies and their high profile directors seem most susceptible to the allure of big rewards offered by serious margin trading while overlooking the exceptional risks posed to both themselves and others.

“Examine available stock exchange announcements and news to unearth margin trading practices relating to major shareholdings, including those of directors, executives and related parties. These may be difficult to find and interpret, but they do exist.

“Simply ask the Company Chairman if Directors and Executives or even the Company itself, is involved in margin trading the company’s own shares – if the answer is yes, stay away.

“Also ask if shareholders’ funds are being used to margin trade any other company’s shares – hidden danger lurks there too.

“Avoid personal use of margin share trading accounts altogether – borrow elsewhere if you intend to use leverage for share purchases.

“Ensure any shares you purchase on leverage are registered in your own name to avoid the possibility of seizure by a higher ranking creditor should your sharebroker’s business collapse.

Eventually disclosure of margin trading by company directors, executives and related parties may become mandatory under stock exchange listing rules, but until that time equity investors will need to include “margin trading risk” as yet another factor for their own determination.

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Managing Your Risks In The Stock Market

Whenever you invest your money in the stock market, you take on a certain amount of risk. While there is no way to get around that risk, it is possible to manage your risk by educating yourself before you start trading.

One of the most important things to remember about any investment, is that if your capital is borrowed, you take on an even greater risk than the actual investment itself. It is never a good idea to borrow, either from a lending institution or from your credit cards, to come up with the money you need for any particular investment. This maximizes your risk in that, if the investment doesn’t pan out, you will still have to repay the amount you borrowed, and may even have to pay penalties depending on your financial position and ability to repay.

Make sure that before you start trading, you have planned ahead and set aside the capital you will need to invest. This will eliminate that third party, and ensure all of your profits will go in your pocket, and not some bank’s ledger. Keep in mind, though, not only will you need the money for your capital, but also for the most expensive part of the stock market – brokers fees.

While each broker will have different rates, most charge a flat fee per trade. These flat fees make it much easier to see a return on your investment much sooner than you would with a variable rate. This also means that, if you are starting with a fairly large investment of perhaps $10,000, and the brokers trading fee was a $100 flat rate per trade, you would only have to see a one percent return to break even. Of course the reverse is also true, in that if you are starting with a smaller investment of only $1000 or so, you would have to see at least a ten percent return to do the same.

Your rate of return will also depend on whether you are investing in a short term or long term system. In a short term system, you will have many more trading fees, since it is based on the buy low, sell high, do it now philosophy. With a long term system, however, you will incur far fewer trading fees due to the fact that with a long term investment, you are investing in the future viability of a company, rather than in an immediate merger or other change.

Managing your money wisely will help to manage your risk. But it is important to remember that even when your monetary risk has been considered, there is always the market risk. That is to say that there is always the chance that when you invest in the stock market today, there is no guarantee that the market will exist tomorrow. There are no guarantees in stock market trading, and there is no way to eliminate your risks entirely. But with good financial planning, and a little common sense, stock investments can be a wonderful way to provide money for your future.

Managing Option Directional Trades

Options provide great position management and risk control potential when using them to trade the market directionally. This goes beyond the simple fact that a long position in a call or put option has an absolute maximum risk equal to the cost of the option (plus commissions, of course). That, in and of itself, is a very useful thing. What this article discusses, however, are a couple of handy little things one can do while holding an option position to maximize the return and keep the risk well constrained.

Roll Up/Down

Most traders are familiar with the concept of a trailing stop whereby one moves their protective exit as the market moves in favor of the trade. This is used to lock in profits. The same thing can be accomplished when one is trading options rather than the underlying. This is done by rolling one’s position up or down strike prices depending on whether the trade is a long using calls or short employing put options.

Here’s a recent example from the author’s own trading.

A long position in Seagate Technology (STX) was initiated when the stock was trading at around 21.50 using the March 22.50 call options. They were purchased for $0.80. The market rallied over the next few weeks, eventually moving up above $24. At that point, a roll-up was executed by selling the March 22.50 calls at $2.60 and purchasing the March 25 calls at $1.40. This action served two purposes. The first is that it took $1.20 off the table, reducing the portfolio exposure and freeing up cash for use elsewhere. It also locked in a profit of $0.40 ($2.60 sales price minus the $0.80 purchase price for the 22.50 calls minus the $1.40 purchase price for the new 25 calls). At the same time, it had no effect on the remaining upside potential for the trade. The two strikes would probably profit about the same from any further appreciation in the price of STX shares.

If the portfolio exposure was deemed acceptable at $2.60, an alternate course of action would have been to sell the March 22.50 calls and not take any money out, but rather roll it all in to the March 25 calls. For example, if the position was 10 options, selling the 22.50s would net $2600. That cash could have been used to purchase 18 of the 25 calls ($2600/$140 = 18.57). By doing so, one actually increases the upside potential for the trade substantially. Of course, the full position is at risk, meaning one could theoretically lose the whole $2600 invested, which is more than could have been lost when the trade was first initiated.

Roll Forward

One of the issues with options is the limited duration they provide for holding trades. If one is an intermediate to longer-term trader, this can be an important hurdle. That said, however, in a manner similar to the roll up/down, if one wants to extend the holding period of a position it can be done by rolling forward the expiration month.

Continuing with the STX example, we can look at rolling forward. That would be accomplished by going from the March contract to the June one. As of this writing, the March 25s are trading at $2.40 and the June 25s are at $3.60. There’s the rub, though. Because of the longer time to expiration, the June contract is priced significantly higher. That is why a roll forward is often best accomplished with a roll up/down.

Consider the earlier roll-up in STX from the 22.50 call to the 25 call. If we were still in the former, and wanted to both roll forward and up, we could jump to the June 25 call. The current price on the 22.50 option is $4.10. With the June 25 at $3.60, we could accomplish both the roll up and roll forward and take $0.50 off the table. That is not quite as much as we accomplished with the roll up, but it does extend the time we could hold the position by three months. Whether that is worth the trade-off depends on the anticipated holding period for the trade.

The rolling of strike prices and expiration is something easily accomplished. The transaction costs for options trades have come down substantially for the individual trader in recent years. That opens up a great many possibilities for playing the market directionally and managing positions efficiently.