Trade Update $XLU / $XLE Pair: Closing For A Small Gain

by Dan June 21, 2013 3:07 pm • Commentary

Trade Update June 21st, 2013:   Earlier this morning CC updated our thoughts heading into today’s expiration in his Considering Our Options post (here) and the conclusion was with both spreads at intrinsic value that we would do our best to hold tight to see if we could squeak a bit more out of the wider of the 2 spreads.  Now with about an hour to expiration, we are going to close the pairs trade for a small gain. We are only closing 3 legs of the trade as the XLU 36’s aren’t worth the commissions to close.


XLU ($36.53) Bought to close June 38 Put for 1.45 for a .45 loss. I am not selling the 36 Put as it is worthless.
XLE ($78.28) Sold to close June 80/77 Put Spread at 1.65 for a .65 gain.




Original Post June 6th, 2013:   New Trade $XLU: Completing The Pairs Trade

Ok, before the open I laid out the case for Short XLE via Long Premium and Long XLU via Short Premium, and why I liked the 2 as a pairs trade.  When XLE was up this morning I put on the short leg of the pair, and now with XLU down I want to complete the trade.  

Trade:  XLU ($37.28 ) Sold the June 38/36 Put Spread at 1.00

-Sold 1 June 38 Put at 1.20

-Bought 1 June 36 Put for .20

Break-Even on June Expiration:

-Profits of up to 1.00 btwn 37 and 38, max gain of 1.00 with stock above 38

-Losses of up to 1.00 btwn 37 and 36, with max loss of 1.00 if stock is below 36



Previous Post June 6th, 2013 at 9:53am:

Earlier this morning I laid out the case for long XLU, short XLE (below), With the XLE up I am going to leg into this pairs trade and put on this portion and look to add the XLU on a downtick….

Trade:  XLE ($79.85 ) Bought the June 80/77 Put Spread for 1.00

-Bought 1 XLE June 8o Put for 1.60

-Sold 1 XLE June 77 Put at .60

Break-Even on June Expiration:

-Profits of up to 2.00 btwn 79 and 77, max gain of 2.00 at 77 or below.

-Losses of up to 1.00 btwn 79 and 80 with max loss of 1.00 above 80.



MorningWord 6/6/13: One dog goes one way, the other dog goes the other way, and this guy’s sayin’, Whaddaya want from me? $XLU, $XLE

MorningWord 6/6/13:  Over the last week Enis has laid out his bearish near term thesis for oil (here) and traded (here) via USO options.  Enis is obviously focused on the commodity but in a market environment (whether it be seasonal or not) where global economic data appears to be weakening my sense is that the underlying stocks in the sector (despite being cheap and decent yielders) could be vulnerable.  The one year chart of the XLE (the Energy Select etf, where the top 5 holding XOM, CVX, SLB, OXY, & COP make up nearly 50% of the weighting) just broke a very crucial technical level on yesterday’s close.

1 yr XLE chart from Bloomberg
1 yr XLE chart from Bloomberg

If in fact global growth concerns rear their head once again this summer, energy stocks with significant overseas exposure could re-test the April lows as investors rotate back into domestically focussed “defensives” after the recent plunge in such sectors like Utilities.

Which leads me to the almost 10% decline in the XLU from the early May highs, quickly approaching a massive support level which matches its 200 day moving average.  From a purely technical perspective, from the Nov 2012 lows, to the recent highs, the XLU has now made almost a perfect 50% re-tracement that could set up nicely for a long trade back back to the $39/$40 area.  

[caption id="attachment_26691" align="aligncenter" width="589"]XLU 1 year chart from Bloomberg XLU 1 year chart from Bloomberg[/caption]

If the little spike that we have seen in interest rates does moderate, and if we go back to the U.S. “safe haven” trade on the heels of weaker global economic data, we could see a rotation back into some of the defensive higher yielding sectors (XLU div yield ~3.5% vs the XLE div yield of ~1.7%). 

Despite Implied Vol in XLU being in the mid teens, the recent price decline in the ETF has caused IV (blue line below) to make new 52 week highs and Realized Vol (white line) pick up substantially.

[caption id="attachment_26695" align="aligncenter" width="589"]XLU 30 day IV vs 30 day Realized Vol from Bloomberg XLU 30 day IV vs 30 day Realized Vol from Bloomberg[/caption]

This set up could make put spread sales attractive to express a near-term bullish view, or possibly calendar spreads.

On the flip side, XLE Implied Vol (blue line) while clearly a bit elevated from recent low levels, has not seen a meaningful pick up in Realized Vol (white vol).

[caption id="attachment_26696" align="aligncenter" width="589"]XLE 30 day IV vs Realized Vol from Bloomberg XLE 30 day IV vs Realized Vol from Bloomberg[/caption]

This set up could make bearish trades expressed with long premium attractive in the event that the etf does breakdown as Implied and Realized Vol will likely re-test the levels seen last summer.

OK SO STAY WITH ME HERE, I am considering a pair trade Long XLU via Short premium and Short XLE via Long premium. I’ll post on the site if and when I make a move.