A Lesson in the School of Volatility

A couple weeks back, "Options Action" fans got a lesson in volatility when education provider Apolloreleased earnings. The stock had averaged a 15% move over the last eight quarters, but a funny thing happened after it posted results: nothing.

In twin strokes of genius, Mike Khouw and Dan Nathan, whose collective star power is approaching single-name status, actually went against the grain and offered trades that would profit most from no movement. Khouw suggested selling the tongue-twisting Apollo July 60/65/70/75 condor for about $3.00. Dan offered a similar trade by selling the July 60/75 strangle for about $2.50.

While they are different strategies, they share a common thesis: both profit most if Apollo stock stays between $65 and $70 bucks. In short, both make money if nothing happens, the financial equivalent of getting paid to watch paint dry.

Currently, Khouw's condor can be purchased for about $1.40, leaving you with a $1.60 profit. Dan's strangle can be repurchased for about $0.30, leaving you with a cool $2.20 in profits if you close out the trade today.

The segment was part of our award-nominated Put Up or Shut Up segment (not kidding, "Options Action" was just nominated for a CableFAX award for Best Host in a News Show, with our excellent Melissa Lee - aka, the "Barbara Walters of Options," going up against our own stock star Jim Cramer and hall of fame broadcaster Dan Rather), where Khouw and Nathan engage in an all out, drag down cable news blood fest. Stacey Gilbert, known around the options pits as the "Diane Lane of Derivatives," called it draw, saying at the time that there "ain't gonna be no rematch," but in truth, those trades were for different people.

"Dan's trade is for a person who knows the story. Mike's 'I can sleep at night trade' is for those taking a shot," Gilbert's rep told me.

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Questions, comments send them to us at: optionsaction@cnbc.com

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Host Bio

  • Melissa Lee

    Melissa Lee is the host of CNBC's “Fast Money” and “Options Action.”

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