SPX Straddle - 38 DTE - Manage Profits at 35%

In this post we look at the backtest results of selling a one-lot, at-the-money (ATM) straddle on the S&P 500 Index (SPX), initiated at 38 days-to-expiration (DTE).  In this fourth post of five on 38 DTE straddles, we look at trades that use the same loss exits as shown in the first post, and in addition, take profits at 35% of the credit received.  The results displayed in this post represent data from more than 800 individual trades entered by the backtester.

For background on the setup for the backtests, as well as the nomenclature used in the charts and tables below, please see the introductory article for this series: Option Straddle Series - P&L Exits.

In the trade metrics tables, I've highlighted some of the metrics rows to indicate values that are in the upper half of the readings.  One of the metrics to note is the average P&L per day in percentage terms (P&L % / Trade - Avg. P&L / Day).  This is a measure of the P&L per day normalized to the maximum initial portfolio margin (initial PM) required for that trade run...it tells us the effectiveness of theta with respect to our margin requirement.  Also note that the y-axis scale is the same in all of the 38 DTE equity curves.


No IV Rank Filter

In this section we will look at the results of entering one trade for every monthly expiration regardless of the implied volatility (IV) rank of the SPX on the date of entry.  Entering these trades at 38 DTE and utilizing our loss exits and 35% credit exits (described here), resulted in the equity curves below.

SPX Short Options Straddle Equity Curves - 38 DTE - Risk:Reward 35% Exits
(click to enlarge)

The trade metrics for these different exits are shown in the table below.  The (100:35) and (125:35) variations stand out with solid P&L % / day readings, high overall P&L %, and good win rates.

SPX Short Options Straddle Trade Metrics - 38 DTE - Risk:Reward 35% Exits
(click to enlarge)

The table below shows the distribution of returns in five-number summary format.  Hat-tip to tastytrade.

SPX Short Options Straddle 5 Number Summary - 38 DTE - Risk:Reward 35% Exits
(click to enlarge)

Below are three sets of scatter plots for selling 38 DTE ATM SPX straddles. The first image contains one scatter plot per strategy and shows P&L in percentage terms versus IV rank for the SPX. The IV rank was captured on the day each trade was initiated.  As we noticed in the prior articles, there is a clear trend of increasing P&L with increasing IV rank.

SPX Short Options Straddle Scatter Plot IV Rank versus P&L - 38 DTE - Risk:Reward 35% Exits
(click to enlarge)

The next image shows P&L in percentage terms versus initial ATM IV. This ATM IV was captured on the day each trade was initiated.  Higher IV resulted in higher returns, but the majority of the profitable and unprofitable trades occurred at lower IV...below 30.

SPX Short Options Straddle Scatter Plot IV versus P&L - 38 DTE - Risk:Reward 35% Exits
(click to enlarge)

The third image shows P&L in percentage terms versus days-in-trade (DIT).  We see the same two patterns that we observed in the prior articles...when managing losses early (25%,  50%), the losses were fairly evenly distributed across DIT.  As the loss management becomes less aggressive (125% and higher), we see that the losses are concentrated above 25 DIT.

SPX Short Options Straddle Scatter Plot DIT versus P&L - 38 DTE - Risk:Reward 35% Exits
(click to enlarge)


IV Rank > 50% Filter

In this section we will look at the results of entering one trade for every monthly expiration only when the IV rank of the SPX is greater than 50% ( >50% ).  Entering these trades at 38 DTE and utilizing our loss exits and 35% credit exits (described here) resulted in the equity curves below.

SPX Short Options Straddle Equity Curves - 38 DTE - IV Rank > 50 - Risk:Reward 35% Exits
(click to enlarge)

The trade metrics for these different exits are shown in the table below.  As we've seen with the earlier articles, there are significantly fewer trades that meet the >50% IVR criteria.  The P&L% per day readings are much higher at the lower loss levels (25%, 50%, 75%).  We observed this pattern with the 10% and 25% profit management also.  The win rate is 77% for all variations, except for the 25% loss management level.

SPX Short Options Straddle Trade Metrics - 38 DTE - IV Rank > 50 - Risk:Reward 35% Exits
(click to enlarge)

The table below shows the distribution of returns in five-number summary format.

SPX Short Options Straddle 5 Number Summary - 38 DTE - IV Rank > 50 - Risk:Reward 35% Exits
(click to enlarge)


IV Rank < 50% Filter

In this section we will look at the results of entering one trade for every monthly expiration only when the IV rank of the SPX is less than 50% ( <50% ).  Entering these trades at 38 DTE and utilizing our loss exits and 35% credit exits (described here) resulted in the equity curves below.

SPX Short Options Straddle Equity Curves - 38 DTE - IV Rank < 50 - Risk:Reward 35% Exits
(click to enlarge)

The trade metrics for these different exits are shown in the table below.  Using the lower IVR filter did not improve any of the metrics.

SPX Short Options Straddle Trade Metrics - 38 DTE - IV Rank < 50 - Risk:Reward 35% Exits
(click to enlarge)

The table below shows the distribution of returns in five-number summary format.

SPX Short Options Straddle 5 Number Summary - 38 DTE - IV Rank < 50 - Risk:Reward 35% Exits
(click to enlarge)

In the next post we will look at the backtest results of 38 DTE ATM SPX short straddles using the same loss thresholds as above, but with profit taking occurring at 45% of the credit received.


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