ROI Note Iron Condor Sep 20 2018

The Iron Condor strategy was destabilized by Trump’s tariff announcement on March 1, 2018.  The portfolio was fully prepared for the early February 2018, thirteen percent correction. When the correction ended on February 14 and the S&P500 index (SPX) started to stabilize, we made some trade adjustments in anticipation of a gradual rebound of the SPX, so all was good at that point.  Part of our adjustment strategy, once the correction was over and the SPX started to rebound, was to reduce our call exposure and move to a maximum put exposure for a short period of time.  That is, to hold 5 put spread positions, representing 100% of the cash, for 5 days.  We feel comfortable to do this, sparingly, as long as the macro economic, corporate earnings, market breadth and investor sentiment data is strong to ensure a high probability that the SPX will hold above the 50 day or 100 day EMA, and that volatility will stay in it’s normal range.  Unfortunately, when we flipped two call spreads into puts spreads, which moved the portfolio into 100% put exposure, Trump announced the China tariffs.  For two months, early March through the end of April 2018, the market whipsawed on high volatility and the SPX pulled back hard and retested its 200 day moving average multiple times.  That is, it was a very ugly market for two consecutive months.  By the time that the stock market stabilized in May, and after many adjustments, our portfolio ended up with 5 “tight” iron condors that made it challenging to adjust and manage.  As of late September 2018, we’ve spent that last 6 months adjusting the trades and we are almost out of the trades, but it’s been a long haul. We concluded back in March of 2018 that we can no longer hold more than 3 put spreads open at any one time, representing 60% exposure, as long as the current administration is in office.