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Penny Stocks vs. Options Trading

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 2/2/2021 6 min read

I prefer penny stock trading as I’ve never had success nor met anyone who has consistent success trading options, but I encourage everyone to try EVERY strategy possible and make their own decisions.

Below is the opinion of a new trading challenge student on the subject:

What is a Penny Stock?

According to the SEC the definition of a penny stock is as follows – The term “penny stock” generally refers to a security issued by a very small company that trades at less than $5 per share. Penny stocks generally are quoted over-the-counter, such as on the OTC Bulletin Board(which is a facility of FINRA) or OTC Link LLC (which is owned by OTC Markets Group, Inc., formerly known as Pink OTC Markets Inc.); penny stocks may, however, also trade on securities exchanges, including foreign securities exchanges. In addition, the definition of penny stock can include the securities of certain private companies with no active trading market.

Download the key points of this post as PDF.

What is an Option?

Options are contracts giving the purchaser the right to buy or sell a security at a specific price within a certain period of time. The seller also holds an obligation to fulfill the transaction, that is to sell or buy, if the long holder chooses to “exercise” the option before its expiration. An option which gives the right to buy something at a particular price is called a call option; an option which conveys the right to sell something at a specific price is called a put option. Options expire on the third thursday of every month.

So what are the Similarities and Differences?

Both, PennyStocks and Options are tradeable securities, you can buy and sell options on the exchanges in similar ways to shares. If there are more buyers than sellers the price will rise, and if there are more sellers the price will fall.  However, what you must understand is that a Option is a derivative. Its price moves on speculation to what traders think the stock will do in the future.

Similarly both types of securities have Bid-Ask prices and therefore a spread. But what is different will soon become clear. Options have an expiry date and a strike price. The strike price is the price at which the security would be bought or sold.The transaction has to occur before or on the expiry date of the option. Once you have bought or sold the option the strike price does not move, in fact the strike price never moves. The option has its own price, that moves the same way as the price of a Stock.

Lets look at an example:

Trader 1 wants to buy a call option in $F,(i.e T1 wants to buy the right to buy a certain amount of shares in Ford on or before a certain date in the future). I will use Yahoo Finance for this example.

Firstly you must go to your broker and take a look at the list of expiry dates.
ford-example

By selecting May 13 , T1 will need to exercise the option before or on the third thursday in may, which is the 23rd May.

You can then look down the list of call options for this particular expiry. (Please note I wrote this post at the weekend when the markets were closed, therefore the Bid-Ask price will not show).
ford-chain

If T1 thinks that the price will move upwards, from its current trading price of 15.08, he is likely to buy a call option which strike price is the same as or less than its current trading price.  For the sake of this example T1 will buy 100 x F MAY13 13.50 CALL @ 1.50 per Option. This means that T1 would have just paid $150 dollars for the right to buy 100 shares in the Ford Motor Company before on on the 23rd of May 2013.

So lets see what could happen.

The price of F rises to $20 per share, and T1 exercises the option. He therefore buys 100 shares in F for 13.5 per share, costing a grand total of £1350, he then goes to sell these shares on the market for $2000 ($20×100 shares). T1 has then made a $650 on the trade, but wait, don’t forget to subtract the $150 he paid for the option in the first place. T1’s net profit for the trade is $500.

However, if T1 gets it wrong and the price falls, he simply doesn’t have to exercise the option, thus leaving the loss at $150 dollars.

One thing that should be mentioned about pennystocks is that they can be very easily manipulated and pumped, fortunately for us the manipulators aren’t that smart. To learn more about how to profit from penny stock pump and dumps sign up to one of Tim’s plans by clicking here, alternatively to watch one of Tims DVD’s, simply click here.

Unlike PennyStocks there is no set limit on how many options there are, theoretically, if a company has 1Bn shares in circulation, there could be 2Bn options in circulation at the very same time.

You also may be able to find arbitrage on the option market, although it is rare. It is possible to profit from an option within 5 seconds or so, it is even possible to program computers to spot arbitrage opportunities and place the trades automatically.

To find out more about options trading check out this trader and sign up to one of his plans by clicking here.


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Author card Timothy Sykes picture

Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

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* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (205) 851-0506 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”