Cash is a critical component to any portfolio strategy to reduce volatility, seize opportunities, lower cost basis of a long position and avoid full exposure to the equity markets. Controlling portfolio volatility is essential as the broader markets continue to undergo a sea change from high beta/richly valued technology stocks and into value names. The past four-month stretch from September 2021 - January 2022 serves as a prime example of extreme market volatility. The markets pushed to new all-time highs early in September 2021, then suffered a significant selloff in the same month where the Dow Jones was down as much as 6%. October 2021 saw a bounce back into positive territory with new all-time highs set. Then the November/December 2021 stretch saw a sharp dichotomy between the tech-heavy Nasdaq and the Dow Jones, with these indices experiencing relentless selling and heavy buying, respectively.
Amid the bifurcated market, entire sectors have been decimated, and some companies have lost swaths of market capitalizations. Even many well-established, profitable large-cap companies have seen their market capitalizations reduced in a meaningful way. Entire sectors of the market have been wiped out, specifically the fintech space and some pure stay-at-home plays. Given the market backdrop, the cash portion of the portfolio can come in handy to seize unique opportunities to bolster a portfolio. In addition to cash, a conservative options strategy can offer additional mitigation against these pockets of extreme volatility.
A Holistic Approach
Proper portfolio construction and optimal risk management is essential when engaging in options trading to drive portfolio results (Figure 1). Managing a long-term successful options-based portfolio requires a risk tolerance balance between cash, long equity, and options. Ideally, an options-based portfolio should be broken out into the below structure (This is an example breakdown, and percentages can be modified): Continue reading "Extreme Volatility: Options-Based Portfolio Approach"