Then it all looked good until RUT corrected almost 7% just from April 2 to April 11. For Christ's sake.
Now I had to protect the 1080/1090 Put side which hit the 30% probability of expiring in the money. So, this was the trade yesterday:
Bought to Close 3 RUT 1090 April Put @6.90
Sold to Close 3 RUT April 1080 Put @4.80
Net debit: 2.10
I originally received 0.60 of credit for this spread. Closing it for 2.10 debit represents a loss of 1.50, or $450 in 3 contracts per leg.
I adjusted further down as follows:
Sell 6 RUT 1060 April Put @2.25
Buy 6 RUT 1055 April Put @1.85
Net Credit 0.40 ($240 in 6 contracts per leg)
Notice the 5 point difference in the strikes of this new spread vs the 10 point difference in the original one)
Because of this trade, April will be a negative month. No salvation.
So, what was the mistake here?
Well, you could say it was adjusting the original 1020/1030/1245/1255. I would be sitting on a perfect position now. But actually I don't think adjusting that original Iron Condor was a mistake. By adjusting I minimize the size of the losses. Yes, they will be more frequent but smaller. Rolling up the 1245/1255 after the 30% probability of being in the money was hit was the right move for me. I know I'll have more losers throughout the year, but I know my equity curve will be smooth and losers will be smaller. So, I'm fine with that, moving the 1245/1255 up to 1280/1290 was the right move back then.
My real mistake was rolling the 1020/1030 Put side up to 1080/1090. It was not a mistake because it ended up being a loser. It was a mistake because I totally went against my rules there.
When the market meets my definition of overbought, my rule is to never roll up a Credit Put spread. Well, I was absorbed by the herd mentality and the thought that the market was unstoppable and headed to the moon. Wrong! Wrong, again not because the trade turned out to be a loser, but wrong simply because I violated one of the rules of my system based on emotions. I knew I rolled that put spread out of emotions and that I was not following my system. Had I left the 1020/1030 side untouched, my final Iron Condor would have been 1020/1030/1280/1290, a sure winner at this point, and the April expiration cycle would have still been a positive cycle. That's the lesson right there: Not to roll the untested side when the markets are at an extreme. Crystal clear and nothing new. Just that emotions sometimes get in the way even though you have been doing this for 3 or 4 years.
Anyways, it is not the end of the world. If the adjustments are successful, the final balance for April will be roughly -3.5% when considering commissions. And while losses suck, It feels good that having an Iron Condor tested twice in the same expiration cycle will only cost a -3.5% draw-down to the overall portfolio. That's not bad. Two Iron Condor losses the same month, and only a -3.5% per cent loss for the portfolio.
My final position is now 1055/1060/1280/1290 with 6 days to expiration and a total credit of $520.
RUT's definitely my papi. It dominates me, I have to admit it. The wild beast that I can't ride. Looking at my track record it is clearly visible, not just this year, that RUT is not my game. I do way better trading SPX and SPY. So, maybe, just maybe, the Lazy Trader will become even more boring in the near future and will only concentrate on SPX or the corresponding ETF SPY when liquidity becomes a pain in the ......
Check out 2014 Track Record
Weekend Portfolio Analysis (April 12, 2014)
Iron Condor expires worthless on April 18, 2014