Alleghany Corporation (NYSE:Y) : The One-Week Pre-earnings Momentum Trade With OptionsDate Published: 2017-10-13
There is a bullish momentum pattern in Alleghany Corporation (NYSE:Y) stock 7 calendar days before earnings, and we can capture that phenomenon explicitly by looking at returns in the option market. The strategy won't work forever, but for now it is a momentum play that has not only returned 256%, but has also shown a win-rate of 67%.
The logic behind the test is easy to understand -- in a bull market there can be a stock rise ahead of earnings on optimism, or upward momentum, that sets in the one-week before an earnings date. Now we can see it in Alleghany Corporation.
The Bullish Option Trade Before Earnings in Alleghany Corporation
We will examine the outcome of getting long a weekly call option in Alleghany Corporation 7-days before earnings (using calendar days) and selling the call before the earnings announcement.
Here's the set-up in great clarity; again, note that the trade closes before earnings, so this trade does not make a bet on the earnings result.
We can add another layer of risk management to the back-test by instituting and 40% stop loss and a 40% limit gain. Here is that setting:
In English, at the close of each trading day we check to see if the long option is either up or down 40% relative to the open price. If it was, the trade was closed.
Here are the results over the last three-years in Alleghany Corporation:
The mechanics of the TradeMachine™ are that it uses end of day prices for every back-test entry and exit (every trigger).
We see a 256% return, testing this over the last 12 earnings dates in Alleghany Corporation. That's a total of just 84 days (7-days for each earnings date, over 12 earnings dates). This has been the results of following the trend of bullish sentiment into earnings while avoiding the actual earnings result.
We can also see that this strategy hasn't been a winner all the time, rather it has won 8 times and lost 4 times, for a 67% win-rate and again, that 256% return in less than six-full months of trading.
While this strategy had an overall return of 256%, the trade details keep us in bounds with expectations:
➡ The average percent return per trade was 22.01%.
Back-testing More Time Periods in Alleghany Corporation
Now we can look at just the last year as well:
We're now looking at 75.6% returns, on 3 winning trades and 1 losing trades. It's worth noting again that we are only talking about one-week of trading for each earnings release, so this is 75.6% in just 4-weeks of total trading which annualizes to 986%.
➡ The average percent return over the last year per trade was 17.26%.
Bullish momentum and sentiment ahead of earnings can be a repeating pattern in a bull market for some companies. This is just one example of what has become a tradable phenomenon in Alleghany Corporation.
Please note that the executions and other statistics in this article are hypothetical, and do not reflect the impact, if any, of certain market factors such as liquidity and slippage.