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The Volatility Edge in Options Trading: New Technical Strategies for Investing in Unstable Markets by Jeff Augen

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7. Trading the Earnings Cycle

Quarterly earnings create tremendous opportunities for option traders. For stocks that have a history of large earnings-associated price spikes, the market tends to overprice options by setting implied volatility too high. The distortion is especially large when an earnings release coincides with options expiration. For these stocks, implied volatility rises sharply to offset the rapid time decay of the final few days of the expiration cycle.

A second distortion occurs just after earnings are announced and volatility collapses back to an appropriate level. The rate of collapse depends on the magnitude of the price spike. When the spike is much smaller than implied volatility would suggest, the collapse is very ...

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