Questions about the top bear call spread and why the premiums tend to be low

Question:   We are less than 2 weeks from options expiration for our RUT and SPY Feb bull put spread options, the DOW is UP today almos 200 points, how about if we were to open some Feb bear call spreads today and bring in some premium.

Response:   I would wait a touch longer before jumping into the bear call spreads, if at all.   For the RUT, it would be wise to set our short call at 650 or higher, which is the Jan high.  It’s pretty easy to get burned on the top spreads…so we need to be careful. 

Question:  But it’s interesting to notice with today’s market that even though the DOW is up almost 200 points, NASDAQ 30+ point, and S&P 500 is up 16+, the Call options on these indexes aren’t moving up much.   Why isn’t there much premium on these call options?

Response:    A lot of it comes down to supply and demand and currently there are few speculators that want to buy calls on the major indexes, and rightly so since we might still be in a correction, so the premiums that they are willing to pay are low.   Premiums are low anyway for OTM calls, especially when we’re down to the last 10 days of trade or less before expiration.    We know that  it’s difficult to push a boulder uphill and if we ‘re able to move it, it will move slowly;  however, if we let go it will start to roll down the hill quickly and momentum will build as gravity takes over.   Because the stock market is similar to a boulder on a hill,  we can charge the speculators more for Puts because there is more potential to make money on them if the market has a correction, versus the lower premiums that we are able to charge for the Calls.

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