Usually, when I sell puts, I’m not that enamored of the possibility of taking possession of shares.

Really, all I care about, whether buying shares or selling puts is just how much income I can generate from the position and how much risk is associated with the income production.

When selling puts, I especially like being able to roll them over, just like has been the case recently with Cliffs Natural Resources, where I have some puts that expire next week and that have been rolled over since mid-December, or so.

During that time there were more than a few occasions at which it was looking pretty bleak, but as with most stock positions, if you can wait long enough the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good.

Sometimes, though, it does make sense to take possession.

It looks as if that might be the case with Marathon Oil this week.

Those shares actually go ex-dividend on Monday, so by allowing assignment of puts at today’s close, the dividend, albeit only $0.05, is still a nickel more than I had yesterday.

It would also represent a few pennies less in the premium than I would have received had there not been an ex-dividend in the picture.

So I do want the dividend.

Then, there’s also the matter of next week’s earnings.

Hopefully Marathon Oil will end the day on an up note and stay within striking distance of that $16.50 cost level at which shares will be assigned.

In that event, and also hoping that Monday opens on a positive note, I’ll be looking for a chance to sell calls in advance of those earnings.

There may be reason to look at more than a week’s worth of expiration, but even in the event of an adverse decline after earnings, there may be another opportunity to do, as I’ve been doing with those well below strike calls, coincidentally enough, also on Marathon Oil.

Those expire today and while trying to prevent those from getting assigned at well below cost, they’ve racked up another $1.84 in premiums in a bit more than  months.

Things go up and things go down.

Sometimes you want to take possession, sometimes you don’t and sometimes you don’t want to let go.

It’s really not that complicated, though, as long as you don’t mind getting it wrong on occasion.

 

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  • benesole

    Good afternoon George, I followed you into the MRO puts last week and also accepted assignment. I pulled the trigger this morning on Calls I sold the 2/17/17 $16.50 at 9:45 am I got $0.23 for them did I screw up given earnings and the dividend this week?

    • No. I just went a little longer because I already had enough positions up for expiration this week and I wanted to be less susceptible to a market breakdown on Thursday or Friday